Battle of the Bulge

By | December 18, 2021

[December 18, 2021]  This week begins the 77th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge.  For those who no longer study history, you cannot learn important lessons like courage, tenacity, flexibility, and honor.  This anniversary, perhaps, can begin you down the right path.

The German name, for what became known as the Battle of the Bulge, was Operation Autumn Mist.1   Hitler had to make one final try to defeat the Allies.  Antwerp was the port that the Allies used to get supplies.  Hitler knew if he could capture Antwerp, it would severely hurt the Allies in Europe.

The name, Autumn Mist, comes from a phenomenon that occurs in the Ardennes Forest in late Fall.  Fog fills the forest making it impossible for aerial reconnaissance to see what is on the ground.  Hitler also knew the Allies thought the Ardennes Forest was impenetrable by armored vehicles because it was so dense.

Hitler thought U.S. military forces were mongrels because of the variety of people, races and religions who were in it.

Hitler was right, the Allies were not suspecting an attack.  Inexperienced green Infantry units occupied much of the sector.  When the battle-hardened Germans attacked, the green troops were overrun.

The Germans only had four days to reach Antwerp because they were running out of fuel.  A Tiger tank without fuel is just a cumbersome paperweight.  On the 23rd, the fog cleared and Allied air forces pounded the Germans.

The Allies burned their forward fuel reserves to prevent them from falling into German hands.  On December 27th, General Patton’s Third Army arrived, hitting the German left flank.  One of those units was the 761st Armored, known as the Black Panthers.  The 761st was the first American unit to breach Germany’s Siegfried Line, Germany’s main defensive line.

Hitler’s Operation Autumn Mist had failed and Germans were in retreat.  By January 16th, the battle was essentially over.  Only General Patton had suspected a German attack.  The Allies lack of preparedness had cost 80,000 American lives.  The Germans lost 100,000.

The Battle of the Bulge was the costliest battle of WWII.

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  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Herbstnebel

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Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” at Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

26 thoughts on “Battle of the Bulge

  1. Guns are Us

    Great article, please, Gen. Satterfield, keep these type of historical articles on your website. It gives me an opportunity to learn more and be entertained along the way.

    Reply
  2. MrJohn22

    The Battle of the Bulge is much more important than just a big battle that took place in WWIi. It represents to us, as we look back, what man can do when committed to a moral goal. In this case eliminating fascism. Merry Christmas to all.

    Reply
    1. Roger Yellowmule

      Mr John, yes, and the battle took place in the worst weather (that was the point of the German attack to overcome Allied air superiority). Let’s not forget ever!

      Reply
  3. American Girl

    The Battle of the Bulge remains among the most important battles of the war, along with Stalingrad, D-Day, Monte Cassino, and Midway. It marked the last major offensive attempted by the Axis Powers on the Western front. After their defeat, Germany would retreat for the remainder of the war. A big gamble, and a big loss by Hitler.

    Reply
    1. Chuck USA

      The Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Counteroffensive, was a major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II which took place from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945. Appreciate your sentiment, Linus Man, I was thinking the same.

      Reply
      1. Willie Strumburger

        Good point Chuck and thanks for the info. Sadly, our schools no longer teach this kind of history.

        Reply
  4. Doug Smith

    It’s not long now before Christmas and let’s not forget to put Christ in Christmas this year. No, I’m not preaching. I’m not trying to convert anybody. That’s what Christianity does, it brings people in thru love and the chance to have peace. My uncle was at the Battle of the Bulge with the Army (I don’t know the unit). He never talked about it much. But, he told me that what saved him was being a good Christian man.

    Reply
  5. Wild Bill

    For those looking for a great Christmas present for up and coming junior leaders or young folks, don’t forget to buy a copy of Gen. Doug Satterfield’s new book, ‘Our Longest Year in Iraq.’ The longest year is about a behind the scenes look at what happened during the early part of the war. It was the buildup that allowed our fighters to take the fight to the enemy, yet remain safe and comfortable between missions. If you don’t have a copy for yourself, then buy one!!! You won’t regret it. Our Longest Year in Iraq

    Reply
    1. Valkerie

      You got that right Wild Bill and, by the way, welcome to Generak Satterfield’s leadership blog … the very best. And, thanks for helping put in a plug for his book.

      Reply
    2. Dead Pool Guy

      Right, and let’s not forget to send extra copies to your friends. Why? Because this is a rare chance to read about what really happened before the government takes away our right to read the truth. The War in Iraq was a loser but only because our senior political leaders lacked the will to win.

      Reply
      1. Wendy Holmes

        Great comment and the truth, Wild Bill. The truth always comes out. 👍👍👍👍👍

        Reply
    3. Mr. T.J. Asper

      Yes, I bought my copy in hardcopy form. I love reading the real thing. That way I can underline and make notes in the margins. This book gives you room to do that. Thanks. I only wish I had an autographed copy from Gen. Satterfield.

      Reply
  6. Greg Heyman

    Thanks to Gen. Satterfield we get a bit of history and a lesson or two about what happened in WW2. Thanks Gen. Satterfield for sticking with these history tidbits, and the WW2 ones are always the best and most interesting. Keep up the great work you are doing with your website.

    Reply
  7. DesertCactus

    Excellent choice of topics. I’m afraid, however, that most people will just pass this article by without reading it. We’ve been told that history is unimportant because we today are “morally superior” to those in the past. Move along, they say, nothing to see here. 😊

    Reply
    1. Oakie from OK

      Yes, and I’d like to read more about this battle and others but only if Gen. Satterfield extracts some important lessons from them.

      Reply
  8. Mikka Solarno

    I heard a teacher in High School, locally for me in Chicago, tell her class one day (reading from the prepared lesson plan) that World War Eleven ended in 1945. At least she got the year correct that WWII ended. Clueless? Yep. Or, can we expect those steeped in ignorance to actually help our country? That is the 1 million dollar question.

    Reply
    1. Max Foster

      Imagine what our students are learning today. Just learn the dates and names, forget there are lessons you can glean from history. I think teachers purposefully make history boring and stultifying. That way, they will drive people away from the topic and in the long-run hate history and never know about America. That way, and only that way, will they force us to forget or never learn important events and what we still get from those times today.

      Reply
    2. Rowen Tabernackle

      Shameful the way our kids are being taught. One unexpected outcome of the shutdown of schools and doing “on-line” school lessons, is that parents finally got to see the indoctrination of our kids. Sad, Sad, Sad.

      Reply
  9. Eduardo Sanchez

    Great battle. I didn’t realize that it was the costliest battle of the war.

    Reply
  10. Rev. Michael Cain

    Gen. Satterfield, it has been a long time since you gave us info on a famous battle (or not so famous). My grandfather was at the Battle of the Bulge as part of Gen. Patton’s Third Army. The stories he told me were what makes me so respectful of our veterans.

    Reply
    1. Dale Paul Fox

      Well said, Rev Cain. We should respect our vets and also their families. Their families are also making a great sacrifice.

      Reply

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