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Battlefield: Bulge

The German attack in the Ardennes in December 1944 caught the Americans by surprise and caused a major ‘bulge’ in the front line. Julian Humphrys tells the story
The Battle of the Bulge was Germany’s last great tank offensive in World War II. Despite an Allied victory, it incurred the largest number of American casualties of any other WWII operation


American C-47 transport planes deliver much-needed supplies to their hard-pressed comrades in Bastogne.



Ardennes Forest, Belgium and Luxembourg


16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945


Germans (von Rundstedt, von Manteu Manteuffel, Dietrich) 250,000 men rising to 400,000 Allies (Eisenhower, Montgomery, Bradley, Patton) 85,000 men rising to 600,000


German attempt to break through to the Channel ports


Allied victory

Troy Middleton, the American commander in the Ardennes in late 1944, was worried. He only had four divisions to hold an 88-mile front and of these, two had been sent there for a rest after some heavy fighting and two more were completely inexperienced. But when he shared his concerns with Omar Bradley, his army commander, Bradley brushed them aside. Even though the Germans had attacked through the Ardennes in 1940, he was confident that the Germans were far too weak to mount a major offensive there now. “Don’t worry, Troy,” he said, “they won’t come through here.” But Hitler had other ideas.

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

"From raiders to invades: Medievalist Dr Ryan Lavelle tells the story of how the Vikings dropped their hit-and-run tactics and instead banded together to form a Great Heathen Army, eventually conquering a large part of Britain. Also in the issue, find out how a Lancastrian widow came to marry a Yorkist king during the Wars of the Roses, and what happened when a German monk dared to take on the Pope with a 500-anniversary feature on Martin Luther's Reformation. Plus, inside Hitler's last gamble at the Battle of the Bulge, the spy who tried to kill Lenin and the Atomic Age in pictures."