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World War II

Battle of the Bulge

The Battle of the Bulge was a major battle in Europe during World War II. It was Germany's final attempt to drive the Allies off of mainland Europe. Most of the troops involved on the Allied side were American troops. It is considered one of the greatest battles ever fought by the United States military.

Battle of the Bulge soldiers
101st Airborne troops move out of Bastogne
Source: US Army

When was it fought?

After the Allies had freed France and defeated Germany at Normandy, many thought that World War II in Europe was coming to an end. However, Adolf Hitler of Germany had different ideas. Early in the morning on December 16, 1944 Germany launched a major attack. The battle lasted for around one month as American forces fought back and kept Germany's army from overrunning Europe.

What's with the funny name?

The Battle of the Bulge actually took place in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium. When the Germans attacked, they pushed back the center of the Allied forces' line. If you were to look at a map of the Allied army front, there would have been a bulge where the Germans attacked.

What happened?

When Germany attacked they used over 200,000 troops and nearly 1,000 tanks to break through the US lines. It was winter and the weather was snowy and cold. The Americans were not ready for the attack. The Germans broke through the line and killed thousands of American troops. They tried to advance quickly.

WW2 Soldiers in the snow
Soldiers had to deal with snow and bad weather
Photo by Braun

The Germans had a good plan. They also had English speaking German spies drop in behind the Allied lines. These Germans were dressed in American uniforms and told lies to try and confuse the Americans so they wouldn't know what was going on.

American Heroes

Despite the quick advance and the overwhelming forces of the Germans, many American soldiers held their ground. They did not want Hitler to take over again. The Battle of the Bulge is famous for all the small pockets of American soldiers who attacked and harassed the Germans as they tried to advance.

One of the famous small fights that occurred was at Bastogne, Belgium. This city was at a key crossroads. The US troops of the 101st Airborne Division and the 10th Armored division were surrounded by Germans. They were ordered to surrender or die. US General Anthony McAuliffe didn't want to give up, so he replied to the Germans "Nuts!" Then his soldiers managed to hold out until more US troops could arrive.

Battle of the bulge soldiers in white
Soldiers in white for camouflage
Source: US Army

It was small groups of American troops throughout the front who dug in and held out until reinforcements could come that won the battle for the Allies. Their courage and fierce fighting won the battle and sealed the fate of Hitler and the Nazi's in World War II.

Interesting Facts about the Battle of the Bulge

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