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17 Curious Battle of Bastogne Facts Based On World War Two

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Can you name the war which was titled as ‘the greatest war in American history'?

Did you know that this war didn’t even take place on American soil? To know several such facts that make the Battle of Bastogne so interesting, continue reading this article.

The fierce and strict foreign policy of Adolf Hitler towards his neighboring countries is considered as the prime reason that led to the greatest war in the history of mankind, World War II.

Hitler considered the Treaty of Versailles, which was the aftermath of World War I, as a great injustice and insult for Germany and its people. As a result, as a soldier of the First World War, he wanted to bring back the lost glory of his country and thus brought Germany under his control and initiated the Second World War by invading Poland in September 1939.

Call it ‘the battle of Bastogne' or ‘the Ardennes Counteroffensive’, the Battle of Bulge was one of the most furious battles of World War II and proved to be a turning point for Germany which ultimately led to its fate in the intercontinental war. On the face of it, the Battle of Bulge was a face-off between the American forces as the Allies and Nazi Germany in the December of 1944. Germany had a serious motive behind the capture of Bastogne (part of modern-day Belgium).

Their ultimate goal was to capture the harbor of Antwerp which was an important link in favor of the Allied forces as the port facilitated the major import of arms and ammunition along with troops and other necessities required for the war. The Nazis wanted to acquire the port before it could come in the guard of the strong Allied Air Force. Thus, the German army proceeded towards seizing the roadways that went through east Belgium.

For this purpose, Bastogne was the apple in the eye of the German forces, as it was a vital road junction where all the seven major roads of the densely wooded Ardennes intersected. The location was also important due to its proximity to the border of Luxembourg and thus the control of this crossroad was essential for the German advance.

After reading facts about the great battle that highlights the fortitude and determinant of an American soldier, also check Baton Rouge facts and Australia culture facts. 

History Of Battle Of Bastogne

The Allied troops successfully captured Normandy and were able to push through eastwards, into France, which extended their line of control from Nijmegen in the north till the neutral Swiss border in the south.

They were even able to regain control of the port of Antwerp from the German army during their escalation, and by winters, they even had control over the German territories near Aachen.

Disappointed with his failure in Belgium, Hitler made out a blueprint to recapture the port of Antwerp as it was a vital link for Germany in winning the war. He planned to fight the Allied forces and push the allied lines further east by attacking them through Luxembourg and Belgium. He planned to send in 25 divisions of the German forces through the dense forest of Ardennes with the ultimate aim of recapturing the port.

While Hitler considered his plan to be error-free, many of the senior commanders of the German forces strictly voted against this coup. With this surprise attack, Hitler wanted to regain his control over the western front of the war and demoralize the allied forces thereby forcing them to join the Nazis and fight against the forces of the Soviet Union.

While Hitler ignored the advice of his commanders, errors were made on the other side too. The Allied commanded considered the Ardennes untraversable due to its tough inaccessible terrain and forests that were too dense for navigation and unsuitable fie any extensive German attack. Errors were also made by the intelligence teams which suggested the presence of weary and lowly numbered German troops stationed in the area.

Hence, none of the Allied commanders had witnessed even the slightest possibility of the German attack in such a way. On top of this, the 28th Infantry Division stationed at Bastogne had been fighting continuously for months before it was assigned to this area. They also believe that only a group of German infantry was present on the other side and thus concluded that if at all German attacks take place, they will be on a low scale. The Allied forces took the significance of this junction a little too lightly, which ultimately led to the battle of the bulge.

Reasons Why Battle Of Bastogne Is Called The Battle Of Bulge

The Ardennes proved to be one of the most prominent locations on the map as the western front of World War II. With the surprise attack of more than two hundred thousand German soldiers through the inaccessible terrains and thick forests of the region, the German attack is considered as the last bet that the German dictator, Adolf Hitler, placed to turn the war in his favor.

Thus, with more than 500,000 soldiers on the field and the best of German artillery, Hitler went all in to win the Battle of Bulge.

But, one might find the name ‘Battle of Bulge' quite intriguing. Well here is an explanation of how this war got this weird name. If one views the map of allied lines in Belgium after they successfully cleared the area off German forces by November 1944, one can clearly notice the strange shape which appears like a bump.

According to some geographers, the bulge had a length of approximately 50-70 mi (80- 112 km) in its depth and width respectively, wherein the German forces had pushed the allied lines back. Earlier, the region was referred to as ‘Nazi’s salient into Belgium' as the world ‘salient’ defines something that protruded outwards. But later this name was thought to be too formal and thus the word ‘salient' was replaced with the word ‘bulge’.

However, after the month-long clash between the American and German forces, the German army finally surrendered to the American troops and thus the news heading of January remained the region as ‘Germans flee bulge'.

German commandos infiltrated Allied lines wearing US uniforms to enter the Allied side.

The Condition Of The City Of Bastogne Like During The Battle Of The Bulge

The Battle of Bulge is remembered as one of the most challenging battles fought during World War Two. With the hard wintry conditions of Belgium and about a foot deep snow, the terrain of Ardennes proved to be the most difficult one for the American and German forces.

While the world celebrated Christmas in the warmth and comfort of their homes in the December of 1944, hundreds of thousands of German and American troops were involved in a brutal confrontation over the combat command, with the average temperature reaching a mind freezing 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 degree Celsius).

The city of Bastogne was liberated by the Allied forces, after they successfully recaptured it from the German army, in September 1944. But, the city was again attacked by the Nazis in the mid of December in an effort to regain their control over Ardennes and with an ultimate goal of recapturing the port of Antwerp which played a key role in supplying arms and arsenal to the allies.

Their conquest of Ardennes would also separate the British and American forces which would favor Germany’s stand in the war. Thus, taking advantage of the cold and foggy weather conditions and the presence of the low number of American troops (its infantry division) in the region, the German soldiers initiated the surprise attack which came to be known as the Battle of Bulge.

The Number Of American Soldiers Died At The Battle Of The Bulge

The German offensive proved to be one of the deadliest warriors fought by America in the Warfield. Initially, the German army marched towards the German front with a little over two hundred thousand soldiers, over a thousand tanks (from the Panzer army), and hundreds of artillery pieces, backed by an air fleet of more than 2,000 aircraft.

In the initial days of the Battle of Bulge, the German troops outnumbered the American troops which were eighty thousand in number. These American troops were inexperienced and tired after fighting for months of war while the German army on the other hand had the best of the lot, with the best soldiers from the eastern front along with German paratroopers.

In course of the month-long war, more than five hundred thousand German soldiers fought with more than 600,000 American and British forces. While the Germans infantry incurred a total loss of more than 120,000 soldiers and seven hundred tanks along with 1,600 aircraft, the allied forces lost more than 80,000 soldiers, 600 aircraft, and tanks. The losses sustained by the Nazis were irreparable. The battle of bulge recorded an estimated count of more than 3,000 civilian deaths.

On December 26, 1944, the relief forces of American General George S. Patton along with his Third Army was able to recapture Bastogne. By January 3, 1945, the First Army of America began a counteroffensive. In the next few weeks, the Allied forces accumulated their troops to clear this Ardennes region which stood as a wedge along the allied line and ultimately defeated Germany.

Hitler believed during the planning of the German offensive that his forces would repeat history as they had already won a war in the Ardennes during the summer. But his decision turned out to be the biggest blunder. The German soldiers were not ready for the freezing temperatures in the region where the Battle of Bulge was fought. This miscalculation proved to be fatal for the German forces. As Hitler put all at stake in the Battle of Bulge, the last major offensive, his loss in the conflict led to his incapacity to maintain any resistance against the allies. Hence the battle of the bulge is often regarded as the main reason for the defeat of Nazis in World War II.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 17 curious battle of Bastogne facts based on World War Two then why not take a look at Brazil nut tree facts: what is it and why it's so important, or interesting Ireland education facts that will teach you a lot!

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