December 1944: Allies
advance on Germany in 600-mile north-south line.
counterattack, his Wacht am Rhein. Ensuing battle - known as "Battle of the
Ardennes" or "Battle of the Bulge," because of the shape of the enemy line -
will result in 76,000 American and 100,000 German casualties.
Cold, snowy, foggy
conditions prevent aerial help for Allies.
St. Vith and Bastogne,
both important road and rail junctions, control the two north-south
thoroughfares fit for tanks.
Controlling port of
Antwerp would cut Allied supply lines and split their armies, buying time
for Germany to perfect its rockets and develop atom bomb.
His 5th and 6th Panzer
armies would break through the Allies' line at weak spot in the Ardennes.
German 7th Army would
hold off Gen. George Patton and the American 3rd Army.
Panzer armies would cross
Meuse River, head northwest and capture Antwerp.
EVENTS OF BATTLE
(Numbers correspond to
1 -- Dec. 16, 1944, 5:40
a.m.: 250,000 German troops, 2,300 tanks roll over American 106th Division
(416 killed, 1,246 wounded, 7,000 missing in
2 -- Malmedy: Germans slay
3 -- St. Vith; 424th Division
joined by 7th and 9th armored divisions, hold St. Vith for about a week.
4 -- Dec. 19, Bastogne: 101st
Airborne, 10th Armored divisions besieged by Germans. Americans short of
ammunition, food, suitable clothing for the cold.
Dec. 22: Germans demand
Americans surrender. Gen. McAuliffe reportedly replies 'Nuts.' Bad weather
prevents air drops.
Dec. 22-23: Luftwaffe
Dec. 23: 150 tons of
American supplies dropped.
5 -- 2nd Armored Division
fights five days against 2nd Panzer Division and part of 9th Panzer Division
at Havelange at head of bulge.
6 -- Divisions of Patton's 3rd
Army attack Germans from south.
Dec. 24: Unable to reach
Antwerp, Germans plan to cross Meuse at Dinant, drive north, meet other
German column that crosses at Roer River and cut off 1st and 9th armies.
Dec. 25: Allies hold
Bastogne with help from 4th Armored Division.
7 -- Rochefort and Celles:
Americans crush German panzers.
8 -- Jan. 1, 1945: Patton
attacks Germans from south.
9 -- Germans attack in Saar
River valley, hoping to draw Patton's army away from Ardennes.
10 -- German Air Force bombs
Allied airfields in Belgium and I Holland.
Jan. 3: Montgomery
attacks Germans from north.
Jan. 3-4: Germans launch
new, unsuccessful attack on Bastogne.
Russians begin offensive
to take Berlin. 6th SS Panzer Army pulled from Ardennes to protect Germany
from Russians in east.
11 -- Jan. 16: 84th Division
from 1st Army and 11th Armored from 3rd meet in Houffalize and nip the end
off the bulge.
The Battle of the Bulge
is over - although not officially until Jan. 28, when the Germans retreat to
their original position of Dec. 15. Their morale broken, Germans begin
surrendering in huge numbers. By May, the war in Europe is over. Neither the
British nor the Americans are destined to reach Berlin first. With many
German forces occupied in the Ardennes, Russians sweep through Poland and
end up capturing the German capital.