What would become the bloodiest battle for the US in WW2 would begin on 16 DEC 1944 in a surprise attack by German forces.
- Germany: In total 450,000 troops, along with 1,500 tanks and assault guns took part.
- Losses: Estimated between 63,000 to 98,000 troops wounded, killed or captured.
- Allies: At the peak of the battle 610,000US Soldiers were involved.
- Losses: 89,000 Soliders wounded or killed.
Where: The Ardennes region of Belgium. A combination of being lightly defended by the Allies and poor weather enabled German forces to have complete surprise and air superiority at the start.
What Happened: At the start German forces were widely successful and took a large swath of ground, creating the “bulge” in Allied battle lines the battle is named after. Allied units, primarily American, took a pounding from superior German units. Undermanned, under supplied and limited to defensive positions it was not until the weather cleared that American forces were able to go on the offensive. With reinforcements and the regaining of air superiority, American forces pushed German forces back to their starting positions.
Result: The battle would end on 25 Jan 1945. German losses would decimate their reserves and air force. Their forces were pushed back to the Siegfried line and while delaying the Allied invasion of Germany, they could no longer stop it. Another result of their concentrated assault was forces pulled from the eastern front. With a weaker front the Soviets were encouraged to go on the offensive earlier than planned, enabling a quicker German defeat.
A German goal of their offensive was to create enough Allied losses to allow them to negotiate a peace treaty that was to their advantage.