Most important dates in the Battle of the Bulge

Most important dates in the Battle of the Bulge

Guy BLOCKMANS

 

Dates

16 December 1944: Start of the German Offensive between Monschau (Montjoie) and Echternach, at 0530 a.m. see the map: The German attack of 16 December 1944

 

17 December 1944: The Panzer Group lead by Joachim Peiper of the 6th Army of Sepp Dietrich attack at Losheim.

 

18 December 1944: Star of the German assault on Bastogne, and arrival of American reinforcements: The 101th Airborne Division (Gen. A. Mc Auliffe), transported by road from Reims, and the 10th Armored Division (Gen. Roberts).

 

20 December 1944: Gen. D. Eisenhower, Chief of the Allied operation at the western front, fixes commands: Field Marshal Montgomery to the north of the Givet - Pr m line, Gen. O. Bradley to the south. The two German Panzer Corps of Gen. von Manteuffel's 5th Panzer Army storm towards the River Meuse. Gen. Patton sends his troops to the aid of beleaguered Bastogne.

 

22 December 1944: After some violent attack, the Germans take St Vith in the north. The German troops cut off all access roads to Bastogne. The town and its defenders are surrounded. In reply to the German demand for surrender, Gen. Mc Auliffe sends his now famous message: "NUTS".

 

23 December 1944: After a period of fog and excessive snowfall, the star of a spell of brighter weather allows the US Air Force to resume its operations, including flying supplies to the besieged at Bastogne. The improved flying conditions mark a turning-point in the fighting.

 

24 December 1944: The German Panzers surging towards the Meuse are stopped near Dinant, and they withdraw after suffering important losses. The Germans also give up their push towards Elsenborn and send their Panzer Divisions to reinforce troops at Bastogne. Christmas! Operations continue with the same intensity on all fronts. see the map: The limit of the German advance, 25 December 1944.

 

26 December 1944: The 37th Tank Battalion of the 4th Armored Division of Gen. Patton's 3rd Army pushes toward Assenois, to the south of Bastogne, and succeeds in breaching the German lines to join the troops at Bastogne.

 

27 December 1944: A convoy of ambulances follows through the "corridor" of Assenois, and return with casualties from Bastogne to take them to field hospitals.

 

28 December 1944: Allied counter-attack by the 2nd, 9th and 99th US Infantry Divisions. The Germans concede that their initial objective, to reach the port of Antwerp, cannot be achieved.

 

30 December 1944: Failure of an all out German attack on Bastogne aimed at cutting off the Assenois "corridor".

 

1 January 1945: The Luftwaffe launches its last major offensive strike. The 30th British Corps is deployed between Bure and Hotton.

 

3 January 1945: Allied counter-attack toward Houffalize towards Houffalize by the 1st US Army of Gen. Hodges.

 

8 January 1945: The German decide to reduce the length of the frontline. see the map: The retreat 8-16 January 1945.

 

11 January 1945: La Roche-en-Ardenne is liberated by a Scottish unit.

 

16 January 1945: The joining at Houffalize of the 2nd Armored Division of the 1st US Army of Gen. Hodges and the 11th Armored Division of the 3rd US Army of Gen. Patton, and the start of an all out Allied counter-attack toward the east, i.e. the German border. The last German shell drops on Bastogne.

 

22 January 1945: The 6th German Panzer Army of Sepp Dietrich withdraws from the front in the Ardennes.

 

23 January 1945: Liberation of St Vith by the 7th US Armored Division of Gen. Hasbrouck.

 

31 January 1945: The Germans are rolled back beyond their positions at the start of the offensive on 16 December 1944.

After the Battle

By the eve of 28 January - the date which the Americans look upon as the final day in the Battle of the Bulge - the Americans suffered 75.522 losses: 8.477 men had been killed, 46.170 sustained injuries and 20.905 had either been taken prisoner or were missing. The 30th British Corps suffered 200 deaths, 239 wounded and 969 prisoners or missing persons. The German losses amounted 67.675 men: 10.749 killed, 34.439 wounded and 32.487 prisoners or missing persons. In addition, 2.500 civilians were either killed in bombardments or massacred by German troops. The Battle of the Bulge gave rise to many reflections regarding the failure of the German offensive and the remarkable recovery of the Allies. But, in the Ardennes, the Americans officers certainly justified the training at the Military Academies which effectively united method, discipline and personal initiative. We must also pay tribute to the perseverance, the courage and the imagination of the American soldiers who saved the Allied front in the Ardennes from disaster.

Bibliography:

 

  • Nuts!... La Bataille des Ardennes, by Michel Georis (Ed. (Ed France-Empire))
  • La Bataille des Ardennes, by Michel H rubel, (Ed. (Ed. Presse de la Cit ))
  • La Bataille des Ardennes: Le choc des arm es, by Emile Engels, (Ed. (Ed. Didier Hatier))