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Gdje se odigrala Bitka za izbočine?

Gdje se odigrala Bitka za izbočine?


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Potkraj 1944. ofenziva u Ardenima nosila je Hitlerove uzaludne nade da će ponovo zauzeti Antwerpen, podijeliti savezničke snage i uvjeriti Sjedinjene Države da uđu u pregovore o nagodbi.

Ovaj je događaj nazvan "Bitka kod Bulgea" zbog dubokog prodora u Belgiju koji su Nijemci postigli u nešto više od tjedan dana, što je rezultiralo značajnim iskrivljenjem savezničke linije fronta.

U ovom intervjuu (snimljenom u ljeto 2018.) zapovjednik Winga Tom Neil, jedan od posljednjih u 'The Few' i borbeni as RAF -a, govori o svom izvanrednom iskustvu iz Drugoga svjetskog rata i kako je bilo boriti se u nebo.

Gledajte sad

Njemački napad

Napad se dogodio duž valovitog, šumovitog dijela od 80 milja s ograničenom infrastrukturom, uz njemačke granice s Belgijom i Luksemburgom. Ovo je vjerojatno bio najteži teren na zapadnoj fronti, a izazov prolaska kroz njega pogoršao se tijekom lošeg vremena.

16. prosinca u 05:30 četiri divizije borbenih potresa i neiskusni američki pješaci stacionirani u tom području bili su prisiljeni skloniti se u svoje rupe u rupama dok ih je bombardiralo 1.900 njemačkih topničkih topova. Niski oblak, zimska magla i snijeg sablasno su se spojili s gustom šumom kako bi stvorili posebno slutnju za ulazak njemačkog pješaštva.

Američki vojnici leže mrtvi i lišeni opreme u Honsfeldu u Belgiji, 17. prosinca 1944.

U roku od jednog dana žestokih borbi Nijemci su se probili, a Peta tenkovska armija brzo je napredovala prema rijeci Meuse, koju je do 24. prosinca skoro dosegla kod Dinant -a. To je djelomično određeno prirodom krajolika, pri čemu se ovdje nalazi donji, otvoreniji dio regije i ograničenja u uključivanju zrakoplova zbog vremenskih uvjeta.

Dan intervjuira Romea Vechta, židovskog izbjeglicu zarobljenog i zatočenog u toplicama u Belgiji tijekom Drugog svjetskog rata. Ova epizoda dio je serije filmova koji otkrivaju iskustva djece tijekom holokausta.

Gledajte sad

Američki otpor odugovlači ofenzivu

Iako je došlo do proboja na sjeveru, to nije bilo tako duboko, s Elsenborn Ridgeom koji je nudio jednu od točaka za obranu. Uporni otpor Amerikanaca prema jugu osigurao je mali utjecaj Sedme tenkovske vojske. Tako su ramena avansa bila sputana.

Bastogne, središnji dio cestovne mreže, bio je okružen tijekom napredovanja i postao fokus američkog pojačanja i obrane. Vremenski uvjeti su se ublažili od 23. prosinca, a savezničke zračne snage brzo su uspostavile potpunu nadmoć.

Bastogne je odahnuo do 27. prosinca, a protunapad je pokrenut 3. siječnja. Linija je u idućim tjednima bila gurnuta unatrag po jakom snijegu i više-manje ponovno je uspostavljena na svom izvornom putu do kraja mjeseca.

Amerikanci su se iselili iz Bastognea početkom 1945. godine.

Ova je epizoda predstavljala težak poraz za Nijemce koji su potrošili posljednje rezerve i, unatoč velikim žrtvama, slavi se kao jedna od najvećih pobjeda u američkoj vojnoj povijesti.


Gdje se odigrala bitka na izbočini

Objašnjenje: Nakon završetka Prvog svjetskog rata Njemačka je bila jako poražena. ugovor ih je još više ubio unutra jer ih je u osnovi tamo podijelio na pola. Nakon što se to dogodilo Hitler je počeo kontrolirati vladu. (trebali biste znati tu priču).

Bitka za Bulge dobila je ime po činjenici da je izbočina široka 70 milja i 50 milja duboka stvorena u savezničkim redovima kada su Nijemci ušli u Ardene i podijelili američke i britanske snage.

Nijemci su izgubili toliko vojnika i opreme/oružarnice da nisu mogli ponovno napasti saveznike. Uništila je njemačku vojsku i dovela do kraja rata.

Drugi svjetski rat, od 1939. do 1945., postao je veliki svjetski sukob jer je praktički zahvatio sve kontinente širom svijeta. Ono što je prvo počelo samo kao sukob interesa među europskim narodima, to se ubrzo promijenilo jer su Hitler i njegovi saveznici nastavili hrabro napadati i napredovati, prijeteći sada ne samo Europi, već cijelom planetu. Jedan od takvih saveznika koji je doista postao problematičan i opasan, ali na pacifičkom frontu, bio je Japan. S obzirom da ovo ima više pitanja, odgovori su sljedeći:

1: Atlantska povelja bila je deklaracija između čelnika SAD -a i Velike Britanije, glavne i najmoćnije savezničke skupine, protiv Njemačke, Italije i Japana, a održana je 14. kolovoza 1941. Doslovno je utvrđeno korake koje su oba naroda predvidjela za sebe i svijet u poslijeratnom scenariju. Postavila je ciljeve, ali i granice i granice koje će se od tada roditi.

2. Napad na Pearl Harbor, koji se dogodio 1941. godine, i koji je doveo do konačnog ulaska SAD -a u Drugi svjetski rat, dogodio se jer je Japan želio osvojiti određene teritorije na Pacifiku i želio je proširiti svoju moć. SAD, s pomorskom bazom u Pearl Harboru, bila je prijetnja njihovim planovima. Dakle, iako je Japan nagovarao SAD da vjeruju da žele mir, oni su pripremili lažni napad na bazu, uništivši gotovo cijelu pacifičku flotu.

3. Nakon napada, predsjednik Roosevelt je 8. prosinca 1941. objavio rat Japanu, a do 11. prosinca 1941. Njemačka, Italija i sile Osovine objavile su rat američkom Rooseveltu, uz puno suglasnost Kongresa i američkog naroda , počeli uspostavljati financijske politike za prikupljanje novca za rat, prikupljanje američke vojne moći, novačenje ljudi i raspoređivanje prema pacifičkoj fronti i europskom scenariju.

4. Borbe na različitim frontovima utjecale su na sve uključene zemlje jer su podijelile njihove snage i snage. Kao takav, vojni bi se strateg usredotočio na uspostavljanje mehanizama napada na slabije strane snaga kako bi ih probio. To se dogodilo s Njemačkom, na primjer. Otvorili su previše velikih frontova: u sjevernoj Africi, zapadnoj Europi i u Rusiji, a na kraju su se njihove snage raširile i nisu mogle izdržati napade ujedinjenih saveznika.

5. Bitka kod Bulgea, poznata i kao protuofenziva u Ardenima, dogodila se između 1944. i 1945. godine i pomogla je u okončanju rata jer je u ovom trenutku Njemačka, u gotovo očajničkom posljednjem nastojanju, poslala svu svoju snagu da prekine sukob na zapadnom frontu. Međutim, vojna moć Njemačke već je bila iscrpljena, što je uzrokovalo prijelomne točke kroz koje su saveznici uspjeli početi gurati Nijemce natrag i pobjeđivati ​​ih.


Gdje se odigrala Bitka za izbočine? - Povijest


(Natrag na & quotNaša povijest & quot)

Bitka kod izbočina
Autor Cole Barnard

Satnija B, 63. oklopno -pješačka bojna

Cole Barnard povukao se sa Državnog sveučilišnog koledža u Cobleskillu 1991. godine nakon što je 23 godine služio kao dekan Odjela za usluge hrane i ugostiteljstvo. Odrastao je u Cobleskill -u, izabran je 1943., a otpušten 1946. Ovaj je članak prilagođen s adrese koju je gospodin Barnard dao Povijesnom društvu Cobleskill 15. studenog 2000. godine.

Vidim da su neki ljudi koje poznajem prilično dobro prošli isto što sam i ja prošao, pa ćemo vidjeti mogu li se pravdati onome što ste vi prošli.

Bitka kod Bulgea bila je najveća bitka na Zapadnom frontu tijekom Drugog svjetskog rata. Trajala je 35 dana i uključivala je više od milijun vojnika. Bio sam strijelac u satniji B, 63. oklopno -pješačkoj bojni, 11. oklopnoj diviziji, Treća armija i bili smo potpuno novi za borbu.

Oklopna divizija tada se sastojala od tri dijela: tenkova, pješaštva i topništva. Svi su naši napadi bili povezani s tenkovima, tenkovsko-pješačkom kombinacijom, a mi smo bili vrlo mobilni. Cijelo je topništvo bilo samohodno, a pješaštvo je jahalo na pola kolosijeka, to je bilo kad god smo mogli.

Bitka za Bulge vodila se u dijelu jugoistočne Belgije pod nazivom Ardeni. Ardeni su šumoviti, valjani brežuljci, puno otvorenog polja, a po izgledu mi pomalo liče na sjeverni dio okruga Schoharie: mala sela, šume i polja.

Zašto se bitka dogodila ovdje? Savezničke vojske su cijelo ljeto prolazile Francuskom na širokom frontu. Napadali smo posvuda istovremeno. Do kraja studenog imali smo dva vrlo ozbiljna problema. Prva su bile zalihe. Nismo mogli držati korak s potrebnom količinom zaliha jer su, sve dok luka Antwerpen nije oslobođena krajem studenog 1944., sve zalihe pristizale preko plaža i kroz luke u Francuskoj, te su se transportirale sve do fronta. Vojska jednostavno nije mogla pratiti potražnju za zalihama. Drugi veliki problem bile su zamjene. Imali smo velike bitke za gradove Metz i Aachen, a bitka u šumi Huertgen uzela je ogroman danak u pješaštvu. Zamjene nisu mogle pratiti stopu žrtava. Donesena je odluka da ćemo i dalje izvesti određene napade, ali će neki dijelovi fronta ostati tihi.

Neko je vrijeme njemačka vojska koristila Ardene za odmaranje svojih borbenih postrojbi na Zapadnom frontu. Američka vojska je počela činiti istu stvar. Promiješali bismo podjele unutra i van. Potpuno nove divizije dovedene su na asimilaciju radi borbenih uvjeta. Borbene jedinice dovedene su na samo nekoliko dana odmora prije povratka u borbu. Dakle, ono što smo imali bilo je oko 80 milja fronta duž Ardena na kojem su bile samo tri divizije. Normalna fronta podjele ima četiri do pet milja. O tome možete izračunati.

Vojna povijest pokazuje nam da je Hitler još od ljeta 1944. planirao veliki protunapad kako bi podijelio saveznike. Nadao se da će tužiti za odvojeni mir. Tajno je gradio divizije, smještajući ih zapadno od rijeke Rajne i planirajući ovaj veliki napad. Jedan od vojnih povjesničara nazvao je ovu frontu od 80 milja, te uvlačenje i odvajanje podjela, "izračunskim rizikom".

Vojna povijest pokazuje nam treću stvar. Kad je 1940. godine Hitler zauzeo Francusku, Belgiju i Nizozemsku, Ardeni su bili njegov put napada.

Pa, 16. prosinca 1944. naša je divizija prebačena iz Engleske u Cherbourg. Francuska, i što je još važnije, Hitler je započeo svoj napad. Pokrenuo je napad s četiri tenkovska korpusa, 1.200 tenkova i oko 250.000 vojnika protiv fronta od 80 milja, tanko zadržanog sa samo tri divizije. I znam da je jedan od vas u prostoriji sudjelovao u ovome.

Dana 16. jedna od divizija u sjevernom dijelu bila je 106. pješačka. U Englesku su dovezeni krajem studenog, a prvi tjedan u prosincu isporučeni su na kontinent i odmah prevezeni u dio Ardena poznat kao Schnee Eifel. Schnee Eifel vrlo je brdovit dio Belgije. Linije grebena protežu se gotovo do Njemačke, a 106. divizija bila je tamo stacionirana nekoliko dana prije napada.

Kad se napad dogodio, to je bilo potpuno iznenađenje za američku vojsku. Bila je to ogromna situacija. Neke su se postrojbe borile sve dok nisu bile preplavljene, neke trupe bile su preopterećene prije nego što su se mogle boriti, a neke su trupe jednostavno napustile svoju opremu i poletele za pozadinu. Do 17. prosinca Schnee Eifel je izoliran, a 20. Nijemci su prisilili na predaju dvije cijele pukovnije 106. divizije, oko 7000 ljudi.

Nijemci su nastavili prema Malmediju i zauzeli topničku jedinicu, postrojili ih na terenu i sve ih pogubili. Ubistvo je izašlo u novinama kao masakr u Malmediju. Na sjeveru otprilike u isto vrijeme, Prva armija započela je napad prema branama rijeke Roer. U tom napadu sudjelovale su 2. divizija i 99. divizija. Do kraja 17. napad je otkazan i dvije divizije prešle su u obranu, što su ionako prilično bile s obzirom na napad koji se događao. Kad su pali unatrag i uzduž grebena Elsenborn, uspjeli su stvoriti obrambenu liniju i početi obuzdavati njemačku navalu od kretanja na sjever.

Postoje neki zanimljivi aspekti napada, a jedan od njih je da je Hitler stvorio posebnu brigadu koja će ići zajedno s vodećim elementima napada, izaći iza naših linija i zauzeti mostove na rijeci Meuse kako bi ih mogli držati do ostatak trupa se popeo tamo. Ova brigada bila je opremljena svim zarobljenim američkim i britanskim tenkovima. Svi su imali zarobljeno američko oružje i svi su bili odjeveni u američke uniforme.

Drugi aspekt njihova napada bilo je formiranje jedinica komandosa. Jedinice komandosa bila su četiri čovjeka u džipu, ponovno opremljena američkim oružjem i američkim uniformama. Po jedan čovjek u svakom džipu odlično je govorio engleski. Njihov je cilj opet bio da izađu iza naših redova, promijene prometne znakove, promijene znakove koji ukazuju na minska polja, pronađu jake strane iza naših linija da mogu poslati informacije putem radija i općenito stvoriti zabunu u već zbunjujućoj situaciji kada su naše trupe padale i bore se za svoje živote pod silnom snagom njemačkog napada.

Drugi aspekt njemačkog napada bio je pad padobranaca. Padobranci su izbačeni na sjevernom dijelu u pokušaju da blokiraju autoceste i spriječe pojačanje na jugu. Međutim, vjetar je bio toliko jak da je vrlo mali broj padobranaca stigao do točke sastanka. Većinu su zarobili elementi Prve armije i Devete armije na sjeveru. Neke od komandoskih jedinica, nije ih bilo mnogo, jesu uspjele proći, ali povijest pokazuje da su neke uspjele, a neke su zarobljene, a naravno neke su ispitivačima rekle koja je njihova misija. Kad su se te informacije proširile američkom vojskom, stvorile su ogromnu zabunu.

Pokazalo se da specijalna brigada nije bila jako učinkovita. Povijest nam pokazuje da su se zaglavili i da nisu uspjeli zauzeti niti jedan od mostova na rijeci Meuse. No sve tri te stvari, padobranci, postrojbe komandosa i specijalna brigada u američkim odorama, imale su psihološki učinak koji je bio daleko veći nego što je vojska ikada mislila da će biti.

Glasine su se proširile. Svako vozilo zaustavljeno je na nišanu, a putnici su ispitivali sve vrste američkih trivijalnosti kako bi im dokazali da su GI, a ne Nijemci u američkim odorama, pa je to stvorilo veliku zabunu u stražnjim elementima.

Liniju grebena Elsenborn pojačala je 1. pješačka divizija i uspjela je spriječiti Nijemce da odu na sjeverozapad. Negdje između Stavelota i Toplica bila je ogromna deponija benzina, koja je Nijemcima bila jako potrebna. Tamo je pohranjeno oko 2 milijuna litara benzina, ali branitelji tog područja izlili su tisuće litara plina niz autocestu koja je vodila do njega i zapalili ga. To je spriječilo Nijemce da ustanu na tom području. Dogodila se golema bitka kod Trois Pontsa, ali opet se linija zadržala i nisu mogli proći dalje.

Na jugu su imali malo više uspjeha. Mislim da sam zaboravio spomenuti da je vrijeme prvih šest dana išlo u prilog njemačkom napadu. Bilo je jako hladno, padao je snijeg, bilo je jako maglovito, a naše zračne snage bile su potpuno prizemljene prvih šest dana. Nismo imali nikakvu zračnu pomoć. Na jugu je put napada išao prema Bastogneu koji je bio vitalna mreža cesta. Dana 17. general Dwight Eisenhower naredio je 101. zračno -desantnoj diviziji Bastogneu da postavi obrambene položaje. Oni su postavili svoje položaje i oko 18. njemačka vojska je potrčala s obje strane i krenula prema zapadu. Potpuno su okružili Bastogne i uložili su određene napore da zauzmu grad, ali tek kasnije.

Nakon što smo 17. sletjeli u Sherbourg, naređeno nam je istočno do rijeke Meuse da zauzmemo obrambene položaje. Nakon što smo prešli nekih 700 milja po Francuskoj, stigli smo na Meuse i zauzeli obrambene položaje, otprilike 22. prosinca, zapadno od & quotBulge & quot. Tada se razvedrilo vrijeme i zračne snage mogle su poletjeti. Lovački bombarderi mogli su početi napadati i bombardirati njemačko napredovanje. Kad smo bili na rijeci Meuse, bili smo svjedoci nečega što se činilo kao da stotine teretnih aviona C-47 idu iznad nas, a ispostavilo se da su išli u Bastogne ostaviti prijeko potrebne zalihe, medicinu, streljivo i sve ostalo što su bili nedostaje. Bio je to pravi prizor. Sjećam se da je grmljavina bila toliko glasna da je gotovo potresla tlo dok su ti avioni išli iznad njih, jer nisu bili jako visoki.

Do 22. Bastogne je postao svojevrsni trn u oku njemačkog napredovanja i zahtijevali su predaju svih trupa u Bastogneu. To je rezultiralo vjerojatno najvećim odgovorom u ratu kada im je general Anthony McAuliffe rekao & quotNuts! & Quot, a 101. se borio dalje.

Nakon što su zračne snage počele uzimati zrak, bombardirati i razbijati, njemački prodor počeo je prestajati. Napredovali su sve do Celesa, koji je bio udaljen oko 50 milja od mjesta gdje je napad počeo, i to je bio njihov najdublji prodor.

Kad je Hitler shvatio da mu je napad zaspao, Bastogne mu je postao još veći trn u oku. Do 26. naredio je potpunu opsadu kako bi zauzeo grad Bastogne. Dana 26., dan nakon Božića, dobili smo naredbu da se iselimo s obrambenih položaja. Bili smo tamo stacionirani da branimo to područje, a posebno most na rijeci Meuse na koji smo došli, a trebali smo biti posljednji preko mosta prije nego što su ga inženjeri digli u zrak, ako je do toga došlo. Na sreću nije. Dana 26., naređeno nam je da se spustimo jugozapadno od Bastognea, južno od Bulgea u području Treće armije. Nijemci su počeli premještati trupe iz sjevernog dijela prema Bastogneu kako bi izvršili veliki napad.

Treća armija, 26., konačno je probila rupu u Bastogneu. Četvrta oklopna divizija iz sastava Treće armije generala Georgea Pattona stvorila je koridor za kopneni reljef u Bastogne dan nakon Božića. Tada je Treća armija odlučila izvršiti veliki protunapad, a Nijemci su u isto vrijeme odlučili da će započeti njihova sveopća opsada grada Bastognea. Dana 30. napada oba su se napada susrela.

U noći 29., naš je odred bio dodijeljen za čuvanje šatora Stožera bojne. Stajali smo ispred šatora, a policajci su nadirali i odlazili, i mogli smo prilično dobro čuti što se događa unutar šatora. Uostalom, to je bio samo platneni zid. Čuli smo jednog časnika koji je rekao (a ja to još jasno mogu čuti) & quot; Je li to u planu ili ćemo tek biti ubačeni. & Quot Znali smo da naše vatreno krštenje nije daleko.

Pa ujutro 30., prije dana, premjestili smo se s područja bivaka u malo selo Ramagne. Provezli smo se kroz to malo selo i krenuli prema polju gdje su nam se vozila razišla, a mi smo sjahali i ušli u napadnu formaciju. Naš vod je tog jutra bio vodeći vod, pa smo krenuli preko brda i ono što smo vidjeli kad smo se popeli na vrh brda bilo je veliko veliko polje koje je vodilo, oh, možda otprilike pola do tri četvrtine milju dolje prema drugom malom selu.

Naš napad je bio u sprezi s 87. divizijom, a kao pričuvu smo imali 17. zrakoplovno -desantnu diviziju. Ostatak napada Treće armije bila je 30. divizija, 26. divizija, 35. divizija i, naravno, 4. oklopna, koja je već uvukla tu rupu u Bastogne.

Pa, mi smo sišli tim otvorenim poljem prema tom drugom selu, možda 250 ili 300 metara, nisam siguran, kad smo podvrgnuti minobacačkom napadu i tenkovskoj vatri i pali smo na tlo, snijeg u tom trenutku. Bilo je jako hladno i bilo je puno snijega na tlu, pa smo počeli puzati. U minobacačkom napadu jedan od ljudi u našem odredu nije bio predaleko od mene. Minobacačka granata pala je tik do njega. Njegovo je tijelo letjelo zrakom i sletio je ravno na mene. Svuda oko mene bilo je nekoliko mrtvih i sjećam se da sam se osvrnuo na liniju grebena da vidim hoće li jedan od tenkova doći da nam pomogne. Spremnici koji su došli preko grebena već su bili izbijeni i gorjeli su, pa nam tu nije bilo pomoći.

Cijeli dan smo ležali na tom polju. Nije bilo topničke potpore i nikakvi tenkovi više nisu htjeli doći preko tog brda. Jedina pomoć koju smo dobili cijeli dan bio je let lovaca-bombardera koji su prišli i nanijeli selo ispred nas i bacili malo napalma na neke plastove sijena. Odletjeli su i to je bio kraj. Konačno, u sumrak je stiglo naređenje da se povučemo i naravno čim smo krenuli krenuli smo pod drugu minobacačku paljbu i pretrpjeli još nekoliko žrtava pokušavajući se vratiti preko grebena.

Opet smo se okupili pod mrakom, preselili na drugo područje i sljedećeg jutra nastavili napad, niz ono što se zove Rechrival Valley. Na kraju dana smo očistili selo Rechrival, istjeravši Nijemce iz njega, i tek smo počeli kopati na rubu sela zajedno s našim tenkovima. Omiljena njemačka taktika bila je odustajanje od terena, a onda su, prije nego što smo uspjeli uspostaviti svoju obranu, krenuli u protunapad, pa smo očekivali protunapad i dobili smo ga.

Nisam bio duboko iskopan. Neki od vas će se sjetiti ove stvari, koja se naziva vladin alat za učvršćivanje pitanja. Ako možete zamisliti da s ovom stvari pokušavate kopati u čvrstom, smrznutom tlu kako biste iskopali rupu dovoljno duboko da se spustite i uđete u zemlju, znat ćete kakve smo probleme imali. Nismo stigli daleko kad je ušla prva minobacačka granata. Vjerojatno nije bilo 15 metara od mene i bila je to gadura, nije eksplodirala. Gotovo odmah je zazviždalo još petorica, svi unutar 20 metara, a nijedan nije eksplodirao. Ne razumijem kako objašnjavate takve stvari. Jedan od momaka koji je ušao prokopao je svoju rupu malo dublje od mene, sjedio je na rubu rupe i jedan od tih tipova je pao točno u njegovu rupu, točno između njegovih nogu. To ga je uplašilo još gore nego što smo se mi već bojali, reći ću vam.

Morali smo napredovati kroz duboku šumu i snijeg do koljena, sa snijegom po cijelom drveću, i naravno naši tenkovi nisu mogli poći s nama pa smo ih morali sami očistiti. Odlučili smo da mitraljesci drže mitraljeze u rukama i oru naprijed oko 10 metara. Prskali su sve ispred sebe dok su odlazili, a mi ostali smo hodali do mjesta gdje su bili, a zatim bismo ponavljali ovu izvedbu iznova sve dok ne prođemo kroz šumu i naši tenkovi nam se ne mogu ponovno pridružiti.

Bilo je jako hladno. Jedne noći bilo je toliko hladno da smo se bojali da ćemo se smrznuti ako ostanemo u rupama, pa smo cijelu noć stajali i malo smo se kretali, lupali nogama, pa da vam kažem kad padne mrak u 4 : 20 na način na koji to čini sada i ne svijetli tek nakon sedam, to je užasno duga noć. Sljedećeg jutra, naravno, odmah nakon dana, ponovno smo započeli napad. Kantine su nam bile smrznute pa smo pojeli puno snijega zbog vlage. Obroci su nam bili zamrznuti. Jedino što smo morali jesti nekoliko dana bile su & quotD & quot pločice, visokoenergetske čokoladice. Često su nam ogrtači bili smrznuti od mokrog snijega cijeli dan. Noću bi se tkanina jednostavno smrznula. Teško je to omotati oko sebe kako biste se zagrijali.

Dopustite mi da vam dam neke statističke podatke iz našeg periodičnog izvještaja bataljona koji je obuhvaćao razdoblje od 1. do 3. siječnja 1945. Ljudske žrtve: časnici, 1 poginuo u akciji, 2 ranjena. Prijavljeni muškarci: 17 poginulih u akciji, 15 vjerojatno ubijenih, 53 ranjenih, 18 zarobljenih. Neborbeni: ozebline, 31 prijavljeni muškarac.

Sjećam se da mi je jednog jutra jedan od momaka iz našeg odreda došao do mene i rekao: "Stopala me toliko bole da jednostavno više ne mogu izdržati, vraćam se u stanicu za pomoć." To je zadnji put vidjela za njega sve do poslije rata, ali se pokazalo da je zbog toga izgubio dosta nožnih prstiju.

Pa, nakon nekoliko dana ovoga, očistili smo i ponovno zauzeli područje gotovo do obrambene crte 101. zrakoplovstva. U noći 11. siječnja rasteretili smo vod od 101. zračno -desantne postrojbe i zauzeli njihove rupe kako bismo sljedećeg jutra nastavili napad. Popeli smo se na Bertogne i istjerali Nijemce iz njihovih rupa. Na rubu Bertognea, nakon borbe s vatrom, u blizini se nalazio plast sijena koji je zapalila tenkovska granata. Svi smo se okupili oko tog plasta sijena da se pokušamo zagrijati, ali bojim se da smo napravili predobru metu. Došli smo pod još jednu minobacačku paljbu. Žurno smo se vratili u te njemačke rupe i tamo ostali ostatak noći.

Napredovali smo prema Houffalizeu. Houffalize je bio cilj jer je Prva armija napadala južno sa sjevernog oboda izbočine, dok je Treća armija napadala s juga. 16. siječnja zauzeli smo uzvisinu južno od Houffalizea. Očistili smo tamošnje kuće, uzeli neke zarobljenike, a jedna od naših patrola dočekala je patrolu iz Prve armije i učinkovito otkinula izbočinu, barem njen zapadni kraj. Šesnaesti je za mene bio dan sa crvenim slovom, jer mi je slučajno bio 20. rođendan, rođendan za koji sam mislila da ga nikad neću vidjeti.

Time Bulge nije završio. Na tom smo mjestu skrenuli na istok i nastavili napad prema njemačkoj granici. Zauzeli smo selo Buret 21. siječnja i tada su nas stavili u pričuvu. Bulge je službeno proglašen gotovo jer je ponovno zauzeto sve tlo koje su saveznici držali prije njemačkog napada.

Kad smo stavljeni u rezervu, dobili smo toplu hranu, dobili smo novu odjeću, okupali smo se prvi put otkako smo napustili Englesku, otprilike mjesec dana i ne znam koliko dana prije. Dobili smo poštu (svi važni pozivi putem pošte), a dobili smo i Zvijezde i pruge, vojne novine. U Zvijezdama i prugama čitamo da se ono što smo prošli naziva bitka na izbočini. To je bio prvi trag o tome što je to. U većini slučajeva pješaštvo nije znalo kamo idu, što rade ili išta o bilo kakvim strateškim dijelovima rata. Upravo smo otišli.

Nijemci su napravili ogromnu kocku, koju su izgubili. Počinili su 28 divizija, oko 500.000 ljudi, a njihove su žrtve premašile 81.000. Počinili smo oko 29 divizija od oko 600.000 ljudi, a naši uzroci premašili su 76.000. Naš odred počeo je s dvanaest ljudi, a bilo nas je samo četvero. Naša je tvrtka započela s 250 ljudi, a moglo ih je biti i 70. Udaljenost od točke napada 30. prosinca do Houffalizea, gdje je Bulge otkinuta, udaljenost zračne linije je oko 15 milja. Trećoj je armiji trebalo 18 dana da pređe tih 15 milja.

Svaka priča trebala bi imati malo humora, ali prokleto ako uspijem pronaći mnogo. Bio je jedan incident, međutim, ako nije bio smiješan, bio je barem smiješan. Nakon otprilike pet dana borbe, naša je četa povučena u pričuvu, što je značilo da smo bili oko kilometar iza leđa. Dovoljno daleko da nas kuhinjski kamion stigne i da nam ponudi topli obrok, a mi smo primili najvažniji mail. Vjerujte, to nas je održalo kao i sve: pisma od kuće.

Bili smo parkirani na otvorenom polju i mogli smo zapaliti vatru pa smo zapalili veliku lomaču pokušavajući se zagrijati. Naravno da ste ključali na prednjoj strani smrzavajući se na stražnjoj strani, ali bilo je bolje nego da niste zapalili vatru. Kapetan je u našu postrojbu premjestio jednog od kuharskih kuhara kao strijelca, a kad je došao, sa sobom je donio dvije velike limenke soka od ananasa. Pomiješao je ovaj sok od ananasa sa snijegom i, kako bi bio u prednosti, mogli biste ga nazvati šerbet. Stajali smo oko ove vatre jedući šalice za ručak pune šerbe od ananasa i smrzavajući se u isto vrijeme, i ništa nije imalo bolji okus

Pa, valjda sam rekao o svemu što mogu reći. Nakon što sam otpušten 1946., počeo sam se zanimati za ukupnu bitku i počeo sam skupljati neke knjige o tome. Ako imate ikakvih pitanja. Rado ću pokušati odgovoriti na njih, a ako im ne mogu odgovoriti, nazvat ću svoje prijatelje koji su radili isto što i ja, a možda mi mogu pomoći.

P. Nisi imao više vojnu zračnu potporu, osim jedno vrijeme nakon izbijanja vremena?

C.B. To je otprilike jedini put kad se sjećam. Kasnije u ratu imali smo mnogo, ali tijekom Bulgea to je bio jedini put da se sjećam kako su dolazili lovački bombarderi.

KOMENTAR. Mogu provjeriti jedan dio koji ste spomenuli. Na Božić smo se ujutro probudili. Bili smo na terenu i izgledalo je poput željezničke pruge na nebu. Avioni idu u jednom smjeru, a povratak nazad. Kao što kažete, bilo je zaglušujuće i s vremena na vrijeme vidjeli biste veliku napuhanost, a jedan od tih aviona bi nestao. Povremeno biste vidjeli padobran kako pada, ali ne prečesto. Da biste potvrdili ono što ste rekli, izgleda baš poput željezničke pruge na nebu, jedna linija ide preko, a jedna linija ide natrag.

C.B. Da, bilo je tako hladno, posvuda su bili tragovi pare. Na neki način je bilo lijepo.

C.B. Ovo se ne odnosi na Bulge. Bili smo u Siegfriedovoj liniji kad se to dogodilo. Dobili smo novog satničara, ljekara iz voda, i mislim da on nije želio biti naprijed, većina nas nije. Rekao je: "Prvo što mislim da bih trebao učiniti je provjeriti sve na podnožju rova". Pa nam je dao da svi skinemo čizme i provjerio je li svi u podnožju. Napravio je vraški dugačak popis ljudi koji su imali rovovsko stopalo i treba ih poslati nazad. Pa popis je bio toliko velik da ih nitko nije ostavio naprijed. Vidio sam našeg vodnika kasnije tog dana i rekao "Što se dogodilo s dečkima koji su imali rovovsku nogu?", A on je rekao "Pa, umjesto toga smo poslali liječnika straga."

KOMENTAR. Ispričajte im kasnije o svom iskustvu s Rusima.

C.B. Pa, ne znam jesam li ja bio jedan od sretnika ili onih koji nisu imali sreće. Prošao sam cijeli rat, prije nego što smo u Austriji sreli rusku vojsku. Nakon što smo ih upoznali, građanima Austrije bilo je užasno drago što su nas vidjeli jer su se samo užasavali ruske vojske. Pljačkali su, palili, krali i sve ostalo. Prilično su živjeli od zemlje kad su stigli. Pa su nas vidjeli kao zaštitnike.

Tamo je bila njemačka bolnica, svi su pacijenti bili Jugoslaveni i borili su se na strani Nijemaca protiv komunista. Rusi su dolazili maltretirati ljude u bolnici, krasti zalihe i tako dalje. Zamolili su nas da umjesto njih čuvamo bolnicu, i to smo učinili. Tome je bio dodijeljen naš vod. Tamo smo imali po jedan odred nekoliko dana, a onda smo se rotirali. Kad smo mi došli na red, većina Slavena je dobro govorila engleski. They had an orderly there that spoke excellent English. He told us they needed some supplies, I can t remember for the life of me what kind of supplies they needed, but he knew where they were. He asked if we could take the vehicle and go get them. At that time I was having fun just driving our half-track, so I said sure I ll take a couple of the guys and you come along and we ll go get your supplies for you.

We drove off, and went to the area where he said they were and when we got out of the vehicle, we were in the midst of a Russian regiment. It was their camp! They immediately surrounded the half-track, the accused us of being Germans in American uniforms and they wanted to see our identification papers. We said "We don t have identification papers, we are Americans." They didn t buy that, and pretty soon a colonel came out. He was a cartoon character, of what a Russian colonel ought to look like. He had a scar on his face, he was big and rugged, and just tough looking. The conversation was kind of hard to deal with because we couldn t speak anything but English. We spoke to the orderly who could speak English and he spoke to one of the Russians who could speak German and he translated to the colonel in Russian, so it took awhile to get this conversation back and forth.

It was getting a little hairy, because they weren t buying our story. One of the fellows said "I know what" and he went to the half track and got a carton of Camels and gave it to the colonel, and said "See we are Americans, see Camel cigarettes." At that point something convinced him that we were. The colonel invited us into his headquarters. He brought out some wine and he toasted Truman and so we toasted Stalin and he toasted General Patton and we toasted one of their generals and pretty soon we were toasting the Golden Gate Bridge and anything we could think of. Not to be out done, being good American citizens, we tried to keep up with them. Then he brought out some food. Food that we hadn t seen, and certainly we didn t think the Russian army had, but it was pretty nice. Pretty soon an accordion player and a guitar player came in and they were playing music. We convinced the colonel to do that Russian dance where you squat down and kick your feet out, and he did! We had quite a party there I ll tell you. I m not sure how I got the half-track back to the hospital. I still don t know until this day.

I do remember that as we were leaving the Russian colonel said he wanted to give us some of their cigarettes, so he asked an orderly, and he brought out a box. We put it in the half-track, said thank you very much and went on our merry way, really merry way. When we got back to the hospital one of the guys said "I guess I ll try one of these things." He about died, I don t know what s in there, but they are not cigarettes. So we gave them to the patients, the Yugoslavia patients that were in the hospital. They were in seventh heaven, they thought that was just tremendous, they thought they were great. That s the way that turned out. It was quite an experience.


How the Battle of the Bulge Got Its Name

O n Dec. 16, 1944, more than 200,000 Germans launched a surprise attack on the Allied troops via the Ardennes, the densely forested area of World War II’s Western Front, bordering eastern Belgium, Luxembourg, and northeast France. What began that day &mdash and what is seen now as Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s last attempt to turn the tide in his favor &mdash would become the Battle of the Bulge, in which more U.S. troops fought than any other battle in the war’s European theater.

As maps were released of the Allied lines, it was easy to notice a strange shape: a bump, which some experts have described as about 50 miles wide and 70 miles deep, where the German offensive had pushed the line back. According to Peter Caddick-Adams’ Snow & Steel: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944-45, American war correspondent Larry Newman was shown such maps by Gen. George Patton, and knew he’d have to communicate the development to readers.

The word “salient” &mdash meaning something that projects out &mdash had been used during World War I to describe the arc shape caused by a German assault on the Belgian city of Ypres. Some outlets like the Topeka Daily Capital were referring to the 1944 news with the same word, calling the shape the “Nazi’s Salient Into Belgium.” But Newman wanted to think up something less formal. The solution: it was a “bulge.”

The Zvijezde i pruge newspaper picked up Newman’s technology, and by mid-January in 1945, newspapers like the Baltimore News-Post were proclaiming “Germans Flee Bulge” as the Americans surprised the Germans back.

However, that’s not the turning point most talked about when the Battle of the Bulge is remembered.

The most famous story came in the walk-up to Christmas. The Americans refused to surrender to the Germans in the town of Bastogne, with American commander Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe offering a memorable response to the German suggestion that the fight might be over, as TIME reported in the Jan. 8, 1945, issue:

Through the lines on Friday came an enemy envoy carrying a white sheet. He delivered an ultimatum: two hours to decide upon surrender. The alternative: “annihilation by artillery.” The German commander appended a touching appeal to U.S. instincts: “The serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well-known American humanity.”

General McAuliffe did not hesitate. He had been touring the aid stations, had heard the wounded beg him, “Don’t give up on account of us, General Mac.” He sat at a debris-littered desk, printed his reply with formal military courtesy: “To the German Commander&mdashNUTS!&mdashthe American Commander.” So there would be no misinterpretation, an officer translated for the blindfolded German envoy: “It means the same as ‘Go to Hell.'”

The Americans stayed through Dec. 27 to defend the city.

The effort, sometimes called the “Christmas relief” effort, was more of a turning point in terms of morale than military strategy, argues Alex Kershaw, author of The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II’s Most Decorated Platoon.

“That’s the story that’s come to dominate, and it became one of the most celebrated moments of the entire war, but the Battle of Bulge wasn’t won through the ‘Christmas relief.’ It was won in the first 48 hours, when small groups of American soldiers stopped [German] strike forces from reaching the Meuse river,” he says. The American soldiers ambushed these tanks on narrow winding roads, causing a traffic jam that slowed down their march and caused a crucial loss in momentum, keeping them from reaching the crucial Belgian city of Antwerp. “Then we had to push the forces back to where they started, so that bitter battle to push the forces back didn’t end until the end of January 1945,” says Kershaw. “Even if the Germans had seized Bastogne, the question was što dalje? They wouldn&rsquot have been able to get to Antwerp.”

This huge victory came at a huge cost. There were more than 75,000 American casualties, and nearly 20,000 Americans were killed by the time the month-long campaign ended in mid-January.

“They were facing two enemies: the Germans and the weather,” as Kershaw puts it. “They had to hug each other to share body warmth.”

Back then, TIME reported that 1944 was “the climactic year” of the war against Germany. “It was not the last year of that war, as many had predicted and more had hoped. But it was, beyond all reasonable doubt, the last full year.”

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said the Battle of the Bulge was “undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war, and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever famous American victory,” in his January 18, 1945, address to the House of Commons.

History has remembered it similarly 75 years later. As Kershaw puts it, “It was the last great battle fought by the U.S. in Western Europe. It was General Patton’s finest hour. It determined the outcome of last six months and sped up the German defeat.”

The war in Europe would end less than six months later, with the German surrender at Reims on May 7, 1945.


Bitka kod Bulgea

In December 1944 and January 1945, the Germans, under the command of Field Marshall von Rundstedt, attempted to mount a definitive counter-offensive against the Allies, with the aim of driving them out of the Ardennes. It became known as the ‘Battle of the Bulge’. The clashes took place in the Belgian province of Luxemburg, in surrounding areas of Luik and Namen, as well as in the Grand Duchy. This, the biggest operation on Belgian soil during World War II, is commemorated in a series of graveyards, monuments, sites and museums, such as Elsenborn Camp, La Gleize, Baugnez 44 and La Roche-en-Ardenne.
In the centre of the historic events is the city of Bastogne, which holds a ‘Nuts Weekend’ every year. It is named for American General McAuliffe’s infamous answer to the German request for surrender, after the city had been surrounded. The Bastogne War Museum occupies a central role in the event, and the Bastogne Barracks is also a popular attraction.


Pravi razlog koji je Hitler pokrenuo bitku kod Bulgea

Među otkrićima nove knjige: Kristalni meth bio je lijek izbora njemačke vojske.

Winston Churchill je bitku za Bulge u Drugom svjetskom ratu nazvao "najvećom američkom borbom u ratu". Steven Spielberg ugravirao je šestotjednu kušnju u popularnu maštu s Band of Brothers, koji je dramatizirao napad tri sela 101. zrakoplovne divizije Screaming Eagles na selo Foy.

Sada se britanski vojni povjesničar Peter Caddick-Adams oslanja na svoje godine provedene u rekonstrukciji epske bitke u svojoj upravo objavljenoj knjizi Snijeg i čelik: Bitka na izbočini 1944-45. Govoreći iz britanske vojne baze u Njemačkoj, on govori o Hitlerovim razlozima za pokretanje ofenzive, zašto je kristalni met bio lijek izbora za Wehrmacht i kakvim nas poukama bitka može naučiti danas.

Kako je bitka dobila ime? Što je bilo ispupčenje?

Za početak, vojnici nisu bili sigurni kako nazvati bitku. It was a German penetration into the American lines, which the Americans had then surrounded and eventually sealed off. The word for that in the First World War was "salient." But that sounded too formal, perhaps too British. An American journalist was interviewing George Patton. The journalist needed a unique, American-sounding word that could become shorthand for the battle. And the word "bulge" popped into his mind. It was adopted pretty soon after the battle, and it stuck.

Your interest in the battle began with a schoolboy epiphany. Take us back in time.

I had some friends who restored secondhand military vehicles. One summer in the mid-1970s they invited me to return to the area where the Battle of the Bulge had been fought. We drove in these vehicles, and to make it look right, we put on some khaki, then drove through the little villages of the Ardennes.

I was amazed by the older generation, who came out of their houses and could remember what was by then 30 or so years earlier. You could see by their faces how much it had meant to them. Some of them burst into tears the moment they saw a U.S. jeep.

One farmer led us up a small trail to the top of a hill and showed us where the American and German lines had been. I couldn't see anything, which was somewhat of a disappointment. Then I kicked idly at a stone. It turned out not to be a stone but an entrenching tool. All of a sudden beneath the undergrowth, when I looked, there were cartridges, bits of helmet, canteens—all the debris you'd associate with a battle. When you're a teenager, that makes a huge impression.

You say Hitler's decision to launch the Ardennes offensive was more political than military. How so?

I feel I was breaking new ground by asserting that the decision by Hitler to launch the Ardennes attack—and it's his alone—is a political one rather than a military one. The traditional view is that this is an attempt to turn around the military situation as it was at the end of 1944. (See a World War II time line.)

I came to the conclusion that this is rather Hitler's attempt to reassert his personal political control over the German general staff and the entire Nazi hierarchy. It's a reaction to the von Stauffenberg bomb attempt on his life on the 20th of July, 1944. After that, he hides away. He goes into shock. He doesn't know whom to trust. His health goes downhill. The genesis of Hitler's plans to launch the Bulge is his grappling to retain control of the direction of military affairs and prove to the Third Reich that he's still the man at the top.

A fascinating section in your book explains the mythological and cultural significance of forests to the German psyche. How did the Ardennes campaign fit into this?

Again, I think I was breaking new ground here. I wondered why Hitler had specifically chosen the Ardennes. It's his plan, and everything about it had to have significance. Therefore, I wondered if there was more to the Ardennes than simply a region where the Allies were weak. I went back to Hitler's pronouncements, his beliefs, and his fascination with Wagner. In Wagner, a huge amount of the action takes place in woods and forests. This taps into the old Nordic beliefs and gods—that woods are a place of testing for human beings.

If you look at the whole Nazi creed, the false religion that Hitler and the SS created, woods and forests crop up time after time. Even the code name for the offensive, Herbstnebel—Autumn Mist—has all sorts of Wagnerian connotations. Wagner uses mist or smoke to announce the arrival of evil. So it was no accident that the attack against the Americans was launched from large forests, in heavy fog.

Hitler had a very low opinion of the Americans as a fighting force. Zašto?

Hitler thought the Americans were a mongrel force made up of all sorts of different nations. But that's a blatant misreading of history. For a start, Germany itself is a mixture of all sorts of different nations. Huge numbers of Americans who went to fight in the Ardennes in 1944 had also come originally from Germany. He also overlooks that so many great American figures were originally German. Eisenhower originally came from the Saarland. Pershing, the American general in World War I, is a German name.

All Hitler's knowledge of the United States is from reading cowboy books written by a charlatan writer called Karl May, who'd never actually been to the United States. So Hitler is remarkably ill-equipped to make these sweeping generalizations about the Americans—particularly about their ability to mass manufacture, which is one of the things that bring about his downfall. The Germans are going into battle barely better equipped than they were in 1914, with upwards of 50,000 horses. By contrast, the Americans are fully mechanized.

A figure who strides out of the pages of the book is the cigar-chomping American general, Patton. In what ways did he typify the American character—and fighting tactics?

It's difficult to discuss the Bulge without referring to George Patton, with his cigars and trademark pearl-handled revolvers. He is so American, from a British point of view. What do I mean by that?

Well, he had unbounded confidence. And, I think, one thing that marks out successful captains in history is a superb confidence that almost borders on arrogance. That's something Patton has. He would always say that a perfect plan is not as good as an imperfect plan that's executed violently and immediately.

One of the key aspects of the battle is the speed with which he can reorientate his Third Army, which is to the south of the Bulge, and get them to counterattack the Germans by moving north. To turn a whole army around on its axis by 90 degrees and move north in the middle of winter at almost no notice is almost unheard of.

But Patton achieves this within a couple of days—much to the amazement of the Germans and even more to the amazement of his fellow Allies. He says he will do it. Most people don't believe he can. Yet, my goodness me, he delivers, and delivers in spades.

On the other side, one of the most compelling characters is the German Panzer commander, Joachim Peiper. He was nasty bit of work, wasn't he?

Joachim Peiper was a 28-year-old true believer in the Nazi faith. His whole life had been acted out in the shadow of Hitler and the Third Reich. He'd come to prominence early. He was a colonel in the Waffen SS and worked as an adjutant to Himmler. He was involved in a whole series of war crimes on the eastern front, where he taught his men to regard Russian lives as being worth nothing.

He and his men bring this mentality to the western front when they fight in the Bulge in 1944, and it's they who perpetrate the famous massacre just outside the town of Malmedy.

I also wanted to try and strip the gloss off Joachim Peiper as a brilliant military commander. One of the points I make in the book is that he had passed his best in a military sense. His performance wasn't nearly as good as he claimed it to be. When I went back through the records, I found he'd lied about the progress he'd made during the Battle of the Bulge.

One of the things that most surprised me was your contention that the use of crystal meth was widespread in the German army.

The Germans routinely encouraged their soldiers to take what we would now call crystal meth before battle. It would whip them up into a fury and may explain some of the excesses they committed. It's a way of motivating scared young men. And some of the Germans are very young indeed. I found lots of evidence of 16-year-olds being put into uniform and sent into battle.

So I think you're reaching for every possible technique to exaggerate your soldiers' combat performance. This wasn't just an SS thing. The German army was not below stooping to use drugs to increase its soldiers' effectiveness on the battlefield.

What are the most important lessons, militarily and personally, you took away from studying the battle?

Writing military history is fascinating because you never end up where you think you will. One of the things I took away was how much the Allies deluded themselves as to the situation of their opponents—how much they believed, because they wanted to believe, that the Germans were a spent force. The Battle of the Bulge proved exactly the opposite. And we do this time and time again. We under-appreciate the effectiveness of our opponents even today.

Personally speaking, I was fascinated and humbled by the resilience of the soldiers, particularly the Americans, I met, whether personally or through their letters and diaries. I have seen action in combat zones myself. But I could have no conception of the horrific, freezing conditions that the American soldiers coped with and overcame.

What I took away is that soldiering is not about planning. It's all about how you react when something goes wrong, when the wheel comes off—how quickly you can turn things around, how resilient and deep your resolve is. That was demonstrated in spades by the U.S. Army at the Bulge. And that is deeply humbling and very instructive.

How many Bulge veterans are alive today?

There are precious few. Of the several hundred thousand that took part in the Battle of the Bulge, only a couple of thousand are now left with us. Most of those are fading fast, which is one of the reasons I wanted to write the book for the 70th anniversary. I knew that if I left it any longer, there'd be no one left around to say, "Yes, that's how it was," or "No, the author's talking a load of rubbish." [Laughs] I wanted to write it as a tribute to those who'd fought in the campaign, while there were still some of them left alive to appreciate my comments.

Simon Worrall curates Book Talk. Follow him on Twitter or at simonworrallauthor.com.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Battle of the Bulge lasted 14-months. The story has been changed to reflect the correct duration, which is 6-weeks.


Eisenhower Came Out of Retirement to Denounce the Movie “Battle of the Bulge”

One of the most beloved war stories ever filmed is that of HBO’s “Band of Brothers” (2001), based on Stephen Ambrose’ 1992 book by the same name. Now, the series was meticulously researched, and not only were military experts consulted on everything from uniforms to hatches to bullets, but the men of Easy Company were there virtually every step of the way.

Look carefully at the scene of Dutch liberation – Edward “Babe” Heffron, E Company veteran, has a cameo as an old man drinking wine at a table.

When Major Dick Winters died a few years ago, Tom Hanks did an interview about him after his service. He related how when initially talking to Winters, Hanks told him that in the best of movies you can hope for maybe twelve percent accuracy. In this case, we were going for seventeen, Hanks said he told the veteran officer.

When the film finally came out, most of the veterans were satisfied, but a number of them pointed out some glaring errors in memoirs they wrote after the series had been out for a time. Still, virtually all of them were satisfied that the overall result depicted their personalities, the events and the sight and sounds accurately enough.

Now, imagine if, after the preview of the first couple of episodes, Dick Winters and the other survivors of E Company had organized a press interview and said something like “We totally disavow this series – it is nothing like what we experienced, and it is a poor excuse for a film.” Virtually no one would have watched it, and the series wouldn’t have the shelf life that it has today as one of the greatest depictions of WWII ever filmed.

That is exactly what happened in 1965 when the movie “The Battle of the Bulge” was released, but instead of a major, the SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER IN EUROPE and 34 th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower came out of retirement to denounce the film as “historically inaccurate”. Eisenhower and others (veterans and critics both) criticized virtually everything about the film, from its setting to its equipment to its time-line.

SHAEF commander Gen. Eisenhower walks by an overturned Tiger II. The overlapping, non-interleaved steel-rim roadwheel arrangement is visible.

Even if you don’t know anything about WWII, the film is sub-par. Even taking into account the film making style of the time, the dialogue is stilted, the battle scenes are contrived and very obviously choreographed (there are so many men getting hit by bullets or shrapnel, stopping in their tracks with their hands to their chests or stomachs,without blood, and slowly falling to the ground. If I had a dollar for each one, I would be rich.

It’s clear that the film-makers had no conception of what actual combat was like, and what’s worse, it seems obvious that what technical advisers they did have must have been ignored on this point, if they were consulted at all.

The main technical adviser was an ex-Wehrmacht colonel, Meinrad von Lauchert, and perhaps the film reflects that, spending as much or more time on the Germans than on the Americans. In what is perhaps the best or most memorable scene in the movie, Robert Shaw, who is playing a fictional character of SS Panzer leader Jochen Peiper, leads his despondent men in a rousing version of the “Panzer Lied”, the Wehrmacht tank branches’ fight song. That scene lasts about five minutes – the film is 167 minutes long.

What are some of the inaccuracies in the film?

First, the tanks. The battle involved thousands of tanks and armored vehicles on both sides. On screen, one can’t realistically show that – especially in 1965 before CGI, but enough tanks could be on screen at one time to give the impression of strength. Problem is, most of the tanks are American M-47 Patton tanks that were not produced until…six years nakon Drugi svjetski rat.

Which means, among other things, that the Germans didn’t have any, but in the film, the German “Tigers” are painted Pattons. There was not even an attempt to use wood to alter their shape. A German insignia was simply slapped on American tanks.

M47 Patton tank in service with the Bundeswehr, 1960.

Secondly – there is virtually no snow. The movie was filmed on the plains of Spain. Of course, the Bulge was fought in December/January 1944-5, in one of the worst winters on record, so there was snow everywhere.

Not in Spain. What “snow” is on film is spray painted on the ground. Also, there are very few trees, except for a couple of scenes. The Battle of the Bulge took place entirely in the Ardennes Forest. Dovoljno je rekao.

U.S. infantrymen of the 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, First U.S. Army, crouch in a snow-filled ditch, taking shelter from a German artillery barrage during the Battle of Heartbreak Crossroads in the Krinkelter woods on 14 December 1944.

When Henry Fonda takes to the air to scout German positions, again they are in the desert looking surroundings of Spain, but “snowflakes” swirl around the plane. Furthermore, he is flying in a Cessna L-19 Bird Dog, which was not made until the 1950’s.

In the intro to the film, the narrator states that British Field Marshal Montgomery’s Eighth Army is in the north (of the Bulge) and Patton’s Third Army is to the south.

Some points: Firstly, Montgomery commanded the 21 st Army Group, not just an army. Second: the Eighth Army was fighting in Italy, not northern Europe. Third, the narration implies that Patton’s Third Army was the sole US army to the south of the Bulge. Again, Third Army was just part of the total US force in northern Europe.

General Omar Bradley, General Dwight Eisenhower, and General George Patton, all graduates of West Point, survey war damage in Bastogne, Belgium

Never mentioned is the fact that Eisenhower gave command of the US forces on the north shoulder of the Bulge to Montgomery. Not a popular move among US troops at the time, but a historical fact which the film overlooks.

Towards the end of the film, the German spearhead approaches a huge US fuel depot, which Henry Fonda and others blow up in their faces. In the film, it seems that if the Germans do not capture this one particular depot, their drive is over. This was not the case.

Yes, the Germans were low on fuel, and the movie accurately depicts this, but they never had in mind one particular depot, and did not generally know where the American supplies were kept – they were hoping to overrun them in the course of the battle.

Soldiers of the 161st Chemical Smoke Generating Company, U.S. Third Army, move a barrel of oil in preparation to refilling an M-2 smoke generator, which spews forth a heavy cloud of white smoke. These men are engaged in laying a smoke screen to cover bridge building activities across the Saar River near Wallerfangen, Germany, December 1944

After Eisenhower’s talk, the producers of the film came out to defend it, stating that they wanted to capture the feeling of the battle, not its actual moments. Critics, while generally panning the film, agreed that it was made for younger audiences, who may not have known much about the battle twenty years later, and who wanted “action”.


Where Did The Battle of the Bulge Take Place? - Povijest

100,000 men
440+ tanks
440+ other tracked AFV
Aircraft: 2,400
Ukupno: 500,000 men

Casualties and Deaths američki
89,500
(19,000 killed,
47,500 wounded,
23,000 captured or missing)

As even those with a passing knowledge of history will be aware of, there were scores of major battles fought during World War II. These battles raged across several continents. The battles were waged fiercely because winning one, single battle had the potential to shape the course of the war in a particular theater. In some cases, winning a battle could lead to changing the direction of the entire war.

The Battle of the Bulge was the only counteroffensive ordered by Hitler. The goal of this battle was to force the Allies into a position to sue for peace. In essence, this particular battle was sought by Hitler to be the ultimate game changer. He wanted the outcome of the battle to lead to the end of the war. As history shows us, Hitler and Germany did not succeed in their gambit. To some degree, the outcome of the battle may even have emboldened the Allies to continue to press forward and defeat the Axis powers.

Response to the D-Day Invasion

The Battle of the Bulge took place between December 16, 1944 and January 25, 1945. To a certain extent, it can be considered a response to an even more important battle that had impacted Germany in a devastating manner

Among the greatest and most important battles of World War II was the Allied invasion of Normandy, France. The invasion was known as the D-Day invasion and it led to the liberation of France and a major change in the tide of the war.

Hitler and the German army certainly were not ready to concede the war. Therefore, plans were set in motion to launch a counteroffensive that had as its goal a complete change in the tide of the war in the favor of Germany. The counteroffensive was launched on December 16 at the height of a very harsh winter. The attack by Germany would stretch through the Ardennes Mountains, which was located along the forests of Western Front in Belgium, and France and Luxembourg.

The Troops Stationed in the Region

About four divisions of Allied troops were stationed in this forest region. The troops were there primarily for rest, as the 75 mile stretch of forest was not considered for a high probability of battle. There were no roads. It was densely populated and the winter conditions were very harsh. That said, the region was not without strategic value. Pushing through the troops could help Germany eventually reach the English Channel which could have led an outright ground invasion of Great Britain.

The German Army saw this as an opportunity for an easy victory and believed that the tide of the war could be swayed by such a victory. A massive offensive was set in motion where 200,000 German troops along with 1,000 tanks invaded the area, seeking to overtake the battle weary soldiers by surprise.

The Strategic Value of the Battle of the Bulge

The goal of the German Army was not to merely defeat the Allied troops located in the forests. The goal was also to break the Allied front lines that were protecting the Western Front. Maps of the Allied troops made them appear to bulge outwards and this colloquialism would contribute to the eventual nickname of the events that unfolded as the Battle of the Bulge. Splitting the American and British troops would have been a huge victory for Germany.

The German troops were successful in their first day of battle and were able to greatly flummox the Allied troops. Germany’s brief victory was critical from a strategic perspective. The American front was broken and splintered after the first day of fighting. Major crossroads were captured and the Germany army was able to position itself so that it could continue an unabated forward march into the more populated areas of Belgium and France. Again, the Army felt it could once again reposition itself in such a way it could eventually overtake large segments of Western Europe.

Much of the civilian population was terrified of the German advance because they well remembered the devastation the German troops brought forth during successful invasions of 1940. The situation on the ground, however, had changed dramatically in 1945 and the German army was facing much tenacious opposition than it had in 1940.

The American Troops Go on the Offensive

The American troops did suffer major losses during the early days of the battle. However, the troops were able to hold off the German advance long enough so that reinforcements were able to reach the region by December 26. The goal of the German troops was to reach the Meuse River. They were stopped before they could actually reach it.

Also, on December 26, reinforcements reached the besieged American soldiers at Bastogne. The German attack did take many American casualties, but it was going to achieve its goals. In fact, when the full American reinforcements did reach the region, the German troops began to suffer massive losses. At the end of the Battle of the Bulge, 80,000+ American troops had been killed, but well over 100,000 German casualties had been suffered. At one point it did look bleak and the assumption was the German Army would come out of the Battle of the Bulge victorious. The main reason they did not was because the American troops were able to fight gallantly and prevent the onward march of the Germans before they reached their strategic goals.

To a great extent, the fighting spirit of the American troops along with the British helped prevent the tide of the war from changing. Instead, the events were a bitter loss for Hitler and a very demoralizing one. For the Allied troops, a great psychological and tactical victory was gained.

The Losses for Germany

Germany endured devastating losses. In addition to the massive casualties, the German reserves were no more, the aerial warfare wing of the German troops was equally devastated and the German Western Front Line soldiers were pushed even further back. In a very short time after this battle, the war would be over and Germany would be defeated.


December 16, 1944

In a quick glance at the situation maps from October to December 1944 the eye is drawn to an area with few unit symbols along the Allied and German front lines in the Ardennes. During the autumn of 1944, the American front line was typically held by four or fewer divisions. The December 16th situation map shows the front line in this sector thinly held by the U.S. Army VIII Corps comprised of the 106th Infantry Division, 28th Infantry Division, the reduced 9th Armored Division, and the 4th Infantry Division arrayed from north to south. The VIII Corps headquarters was located in Bastogne. The VIII Corps was holding the southern edge of the U.S. First Army front lines adjacent to the U.S. Third Army. Also notice that throughout the autumn until December 15, the maps show a similarly small number of German infantry divisions behind the Siegfried Line opposing VIII Corps. By 12:00pm on the first day of the attack, December 16, there were twice as many German divisions, including two panzer divisions, identified in the sector moving against VIII Corps. During the next four weeks the situation maps show many interesting developments as the battle progressed.

December 18, 1944

Two distinct German advances appear. One in the north and one in the center of the sector. The northern advance is along the edge of VIII Corps' area of operations adjoining V Corps. The advance in the sector's center is pointed at VIII Corps' headquarters in Bastogne.

December 19, 1944

The German drive towards Bastogne has almost reached the town while the VIII Corps headquarters has relocated to Neufchateau. Notice that the 101st Airborne Division is shown in Bastogne and the 82nd Airborne Division has moved to blunt the northern German advance.

December 21, 1944

The German main advance through the center of the Ardennes sector has moved in a narrow corridor northwest to Marche after bypassing Bastogne. The 84th Infantry Division has moved to block the German northwestern advance.

December 23, 1944

Bastogne's envelopment begins as the German main advance widens and moves north and south of the town. However, the 4th Armored Division, 10th Armored Division, 26th Infantry Division, and the 80th Infantry Division from General Patton's Third Army have moved against the southern flank of the German main advance.

December 25, 1944

The 101st Airborne Division is shown as encircled in Bastogne with three German infantry division and one panzer division deployed around the town. The distinct bulge in the American front lines that gave the battle its name has formed.

December 27, 1944

The encirclement of Bastogne is broken as the 4th Armored Division moves up from the south. With American units pushing from the north and south, the German advance stops and bulge is contained.

January 1, 1945

The reinforced British 6th Airborne and 53rd Infantry Division are shown moving against the western tip of the German advance. Notice that some German units that were identified in the bulge on earlier maps have begun to be listed as Unlocated in a box on the right portion of the map near Frankfurt.

January 3, 1945

Three German Panzer divisions are shown withdrawing from the front lines toward the interior of the bulge.

January 15, 1945

As the bulge is further reduced, notice the nine German divisions concentrated in western tip of the bulge.

January 18, 1945

The bulge caused by the German advance has been reduced to a slight curve in the front lines.


Where Did The Battle of the Bulge Take Place? - Povijest


Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer
– GER | TANK DESTROYER

M4A3E2 Sherman “Jumbo” – USA | TANK

M16 Half-Track / M45 Quadmount – USA | PERSONNEL CARRIER/ANTI-AIRCRAFT

M5 3-inch Gun – USA | ANTI-TANK GUN

M5A1 13 ton High-Speed Tractor – USA | ARTILLERY TRACTOR

M8 Scott – USA | HOWITZER MOTOR CARRIAGE

After the breakout from Normandy at the end of July 1944, and the Allied landings in southern France on August 15th, 1944, the Allies advanced toward Germany’s borders very quickly. But then a rapid thrust into the Netherlands was blocked by recovering German forces, compelling the Allies to retreat out of Holland. The British slowly retook the Scheldt estuary to allow use of the key port of Antwerp. Canadians advanced a second time into the Netherlands in hard winter fighting. American and French armies attacked the fortified Siegfried Line and Metz farther south, while other Americans bogged down in close and bloody fighting in the Huertgen Forest. The nearby Ardennes Forest, where Americans had fought Germans in WWI in 1918, looked to be a quiet sector. It soon turned into a bloody battle zone when the German Army launched a surprise counterattack.

The Battle of the Bulge, named for the bulge in American lines created by the German attack, is also known as the Ardennes Offensive. It was the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II. It took place from December 16th, 1944 to January 25th, 1945. It was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of eastern Belgium, northeast France, and Luxembourg. The offensive was intended to stop Allied use of the Belgian port of Antwerp and to split the Allied lines, allowing the Germans to divide the Allied armies and stave off looming defeat for a little while longer. If the attack were to succeed in capturing Antwerp, four complete armies would be trapped without supplies behind German lines. Unfortunately for German ambitions, they did not have the tanks, aircraft, fuel or offensive punch left to even reach Antwerp. Still, many men would die trying while others died to stop them, then force defeat on the Nazi regime.

American forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties of any operation during the war. The battle also severely depleted Germany’s armored forces and all but eliminated the last of its air forces (Luftwaffe). The Germans’ initial attack involved 410,000 men just over 1,400 tanks, tank destroyers, and assault guns 2,600 artillery pieces 1,600 anti-tank guns and over 1,000 combat aircraft. Around 98,000 Germans were killed, missing, wounded in action, or captured. For the Americans, out of a peak of 610,000 troops, 89,000 became casualties. Over 19,000 were killed. The “Bulge” was one of the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by the United States in World War II and the third-deadliest campaign in American history (behind the Battle of Normandy 1st, and the Meuse–Argonne offensive that was a major part of the final Allied offensive of World War I that stretched along the entire Western Front).

During World War II, most U.S. black soldiers in Europe still served only in maintenance or service positions, or in segregated units, although a black combat division saw extensive action against the Japanese in Burma. Because of troop shortages during the Battle of the Bulge, Eisenhower decided to integrate the service for the first time. This was an important step toward a desegregated United States military, although that did not formally take place until after the war ended. More than 2,000 black soldiers volunteered to carry rifles and go to the front. Others served a vital role as drivers of supply trucks that ran 24 hours a day in the “Red Ball Express.” The 761st tank battalion was the first African American tank battalion to see combat in World War II. The “Black Panthers” received nearly 400 combat decorations, fighting in France, in Belgium during the Bulge, and ending the war in south Germany and Austria.

The American Heritage Museum at the Collings Foundation featuring the Jacques M. Littlefield Collection explores major conflicts ranging from the Revolutionary War until today. Visitors discover and interact with our American heritage through the history, the changing technology, and the Human Impact of America’s fight to preserve the freedom we all hold dear.

American Heritage Museum
568 Main Street
Hudson, MA 01749


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