In December 1944, just as World War II appeared to be winding down, Hitler shocked the world with a powerful German counteroffensive that cracked the center of the American front. The attack came through the Ardennes, the hilly and forested area in eastern Belgium and Luxembourg that the Allies had considered a quiet sector. Instead, for the second time in the war, the Germans used it as a stealthy avenue of approach for their panzers. Much of U.S. First Army was overrun, and thousands of prisoners were taken as the Germans forged a 50-mile bulge into the Allied front. But in one small town, Bastogne, American paratroopers, together with remnants of tank units, offered dogged resistance. Meanwhile the rest of Eisenhowers broad front strategy came to a halt as Patton, from the south, and Hodges, from the north, converged on the enemy incursion. Yet it would take an epic, six-week-long winter battle, the bloodiest in the history of the U.S. Army, before the Germans were finally pushed back. Christer Bergström has interviewed veterans, gone through huge amounts of archive material, and performed on-the-spot research in the area. The result is a large amount of previously unpublished material and new findings, including reevaluations of tank and personnel casualties and the most accurate picture yet of what really transpired. The Ardennes Offensive has often been described from the American point of view; however, this balanced book devotes equal attention to the perspectives of both sides. With nearly 400 photos, numerous maps, and 32 superb color profiles of combat vehicles and aircraft, it provides perhaps the most comprehensive look at the battle yet published.
From the bestselling author of Stalingrad, Berlin and D-Day, Antony Beevor's Ardennes 1944: Hitler's Last Gamble tells the story of the German's ill-fated final stand. On 16 December, 1944, Hitler launched his 'last gamble' in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes. He believed he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp, then force the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back. The Ardennes offensive, with more than a million men involved, became the greatest battle of the war in western Europe. American troops, taken by surprise, found themselves fighting two panzer armies. Belgian civilians fled, justifiably afraid of German revenge. Panic spread even to Paris. While many American soldiers fled or surrendered, others held on heroically, creating breakwaters which slowed the German advance. The harsh winter conditions and the savagery of the battle became comparable to the eastern front. And after massacres by the Waffen-SS, even American generals approved when their men shot down surrendering Germans. The Ardennes was the battle which finally broke the back of the Wehrmacht. 'Revealing, profound and thoroughly unputdownable, Stalingrad is an extraordinary achievement which transcends its genre' Vitali Vitaliev, Daily Telegraph (on Stalingrad) 'This brilliant storyteller. . . makes us feel the chaos and the fear as if every drop of blood was our own: that is his gift. It is much more than just a humane account; it is compellingly readable, deeply researched and beautifully written' Simon Sebag Montefiore, Spectator (on Berlin) 'This is a terrific, inspiring, heart-breaking book. It makes the argument all over again that the world would be an infinitely better place if it didn't keep producing subject matter for military historians: but as long as it does, we can rejoice that at the top of that profession is Antony Beevor' Sam Leith, Daily Mail (on D-Day) 'His book is the definitive history. This is World War II as Tolstoy would have described it - the great and the small' Gerard DeGroot, Washington Post (on The Second World War) Antony Beevor is the renowned author of Stalingrad, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature, and Berlin, which received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award. His books have appeared in thirty foreign editions and sold over six million copies.
From the earliest planning stages of the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes, Hitler was convinced of the importance of taking the Meuse bridges. He resolved that, when his forces broke through the US lines, one special unit should be dressed in American uniforms and issued with American weapons and vehicles. In this guise they could take advantage of the surprise and shock of the breakthrough, and move forward to the Meuse bridges as if they were retreating Americans. Jean-Paul Pallud details their organisation and the fateful sequence of events that followed.
This study examines the nature of the defense at the operational level of war by analyzing the Battle of the Bulge in Dec. 1944 using the concepts of blitzkrieg and "web" defense. The monograph begins by discussing the influence of defensive theory on the operational concepts of blitzkrieg and "web" defense. The German concept of blitzkrieg incorporates Clausewitz’s theory of the offense by emphasizing surprise, speed, and concentration at the decisive point. The counter to the blitzkrieg offense is found in COL F.O. Miksche’s concept of "web" defense. The Battle of the Bulge provides an excellent example of a "web" defense pitted against a blitzkrieg offense. The German blitzkrieg in the Ardennes in 1944 failed for many reasons: 1) Army Group B did not concentrate its strength against the most vulnerable section of the Allied line; 2) The rugged Ardennes terrain could be easily defended against attacks by mechanized forces; 3) Key American commanders (Eisenhower, Gerow, and Middleton) quickly recognized the value of holding several key road junctions (St. Vith, Malmedy, Bastogne, Marche, and Rochefort) which dominated movement through the Ardennes; 4) The Allies held the shoulders of the German penetration; 5) The Allies quickly concentrated armored and motorized units to blunt the German penetration; and 6) Army Group B lacked operational reserves and adequate logistic support. The analysis of the Ardennes shows that the defense is indeed the stronger form of war and that a "web" defense can be employed effectively against a blitzkrieg offense...The Allies effectively used a "web" defense to counter these threats. If NATO is to defeat a Soviet attack without resorting to the use of nuclear weapons, it must adopt a viable operational defensive concept. "Web" defense is such a concept.
Bastogne will live forever in the annals of American military history. From the resounding Nuts, in response to the German demand for surrender, to the breaking of the siege by Patton s Third Army brilliantly disengaged from its positions on the Saar, wheeled 90 degrees and marched northwards faster than any thought possible the defense of Bastogne and victory in the Ardennes was one of the greatest feats of American arms in the European Theater. This title in the Past & Present series looks at the encirclement, siege, and relief with then and now photographs; specially commissioned aerial photos, and a wealth of detail."
Osprey's examination of the 'Battle of the Bulge,' which was the last major German offensive in the West during World War II (1939-1945). Three armies attacked through the Ardennes, the weakest point in the American lines, and almost broke through. This title describes the planning of the attack and the course of events, including the defence of Bastogne and the heroic delaying actions fought by GIs supposed to be in a 'quiet' sector of the front. In spite of serious American disadvantages, Hitler's offensive was stopped. James Arnold explains exactly how this was achieved, and how Germany's last hopes of victory were finally put to rest.
The 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler was the spearhead of the assault by Sepp Dietrich's Sixth Panzer Armee on the northern flank of the German Ardennes offensive. Divided into Kampfgruppen, the lead was Kampfgruppe Peiper whose armored force included SS Heavy Tank Battalion 501 equipped with King Tigers. The attack was launched on a snowy, freezing December 16, but from the outset, the division lost time against schedule. It captured a fuel dump at Bullingen, but brave defense forced Peiper onto the southern Rollbahn D whose tight, winding roads proved difficult to negotiate and soon the Kampfgruppe was strung out over 25 kilometers with its heavy armor--the King Tigers--slowly losing ground as vehicle after vehicle succumbed to automotive failures. Pushing through Stavelot and Trois Pont, the advanced units of the Kampfgruppe reached Stoumont before lack of fuel--the Americans had retaken Stavelot and closed off the route for German resupply--and US Army action forced it to halt at La Gleize. Six days later, on Christmas Eve, with no hope and no fuel, Peiper and his men abandoned their vehicles and made their way back to their lines: only 770 got there. They left behind 135 armored vehicles including the King Tiger that today stands in front of the museum at La Gleize. They also left scattered on their route the murdered bodies of US servicemen--at Malmedy, Ligneuville, and Wereth--and civilians, massacres that would lead to postwar trials and continued recriminations. The Past & Present Series reconstructs historical battles by using photography, juxtaposing modern views with those of the past together with concise explanatory text. It shows how much infrastructure has remained and how much such as outfits, uniforms, and ephemera has changed, providing a coherent link between now and then.
A positive tuned novel of a desertion out of the hell of the Battle of the Bulge in the winter 1944, where the course of the war stays in strong contrast to the tender love story that develops between the German deserter and the pretty Belgian Monique. The book is the rejection of all forms of violence, particularly the war as most inhumane condition of human coexistence. For the author were his experiences as a young soldier a trauma that attaches to him for a lifetime. With the books, he provides readers not heroic epic, but they are coping with the worst time of his life.