Army Group B :. It was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in eastern Belgium , northeast France , and Luxembourg , towards the end of the war in Europe. The offensive was intended to stop Allied use of the Belgian port of Antwerp and to split the Allied lines, allowing the Germans to encircle and destroy four Allied armies and force the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis powers ' favor. The Germans achieved a total surprise attack on the morning of 16 December , due to a combination of Allied overconfidence, preoccupation with Allied offensive plans, and poor aerial reconnaissance due to bad weather. 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 they were largely unable to replace them. German personnel and, later, Luftwaffe aircraft in the concluding stages of the engagement also sustained heavy losses. The Germans had attacked a weakly defended section of the Allied line, taking advantage of heavily overcast weather conditions that grounded the Allies' overwhelmingly superior air forces. Fierce resistance on the northern shoulder of the offensive, around Elsenborn Ridge , and in the south, around Bastogne , blocked German access to key roads to the northwest and west that they counted on for success. Columns of armor and infantry that were supposed to advance along parallel routes found themselves on the same roads.
In This Review
Among a new book's revelations: Crystal meth was the German army's drug of choice.
In , the Nazis launched a huge counterattack in the west aimed at bringing the Allied advance on Germany to an abrupt halt. Peter Caddick-Adams reveals why Churchill hailed the ensuing battle of the Bulge as 'an ever famous American victory' Nestling deep in the Ardennes, overlooked by hills and woods, Hotton is an unremarkable Belgian town, sitting astride the river Ourthe. This sleepy crossroads community, with its church, stone farmhouses and wooden barns, still bears a close resemblance to the s settlement, although the scattering of modern buildings indicate that vicious fighting once occurred here. Walk down the main street and you can picture the 5th Panzer Division racing through, on their way to the river Meuse during the Saturday afternoon of 11 May At the same hour three miles south, other panzers belonging to a then obscure major-general named Erwin Rommel were splashing across a ford, at Beffe. This time it was men from th Panzer Division, called the Windhund — the Greyhounds. And this is how they saw themselves: fast, sleek and straining at the leash to reach the Meuse, 24 miles away. The sudden cacophony rolled from the pretty half-timbered town of Monschau in the north along 80 miles of front to the resort city of Echternach in the south.
All rights reserved. German soldiers cross a muddy road during the Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Offensive, which began December 16, , and ended January 25, Now, British military historian Peter Caddick-Adams is drawing on his years spent reconstructing the epic battle in his just-published book, Snow and Steel: Battle of the Bulge Speaking from a British military base in Germany, he talks about Hitler's reasons for launching the offensive, why crystal meth was the drug of choice for the Wehrmacht, and what lessons the battle can teach us today. To begin with, soldiers weren't sure what to call the battle. It was a German penetration into the American lines, which the Americans had then surrounded and eventually sealed off.
Jump to navigation. In late , Adolf Hitler, still recovering from the shock of a failed attempt on his life and the setback of the Allied landings at Normandy, decided to make one last desperate push against his enemies. It was a bold move, aiming to catch the complacent Allies unaware by driving toward the port of Antwerp through the Ardennes.