"We were across the Saar River in Dellingen, where the Battle of the Bulge started. That was where Axis Sally told us about the Bulge. The Germans had a loudspeaker back in the woods, and she was talking on that. They played a few American records first. I don't remember everything she said. She said, 'Your wives and girlfriends are probably home in a nice warm building, dancing with some other men. You're over here in the cold.'" (Dent Wheeler)
After the successful amphibious invasion on D-Day in June 1944, the Allies began racing east toward Germany and liberating France along the way. By the end of August 1944, the German Army in France was shattered, with 200,000 killed or wounded and a further 200,000 captured. However, Adolf Hitler reacted to the news of invasion with glee, figuring it would give the Germans a chance to destroy the Allied armies that had water to their backs. As he put it, "The news couldn't be better. We have them where we can destroy them." Today Americans know it best as the Battle of the Bulge.
Regardless of the term for it, and despite how desperate the Germans were, the Battle of the Bulge was a massive attack against primarily American forces that inflicted an estimated 100,000 American casualties, the worst American losses in any battle of the war. However, while the German forces did succeed in bending and at some points even breaking through Allied lines (thus causing the "bulge” reflected in the moniker), the Germans ultimately failed. As Winston Churchill himself said of the battle, "This is undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war, and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever famous American victory."
©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors