Recently declassified interviews shed fresh light on Hitler’s last great gamble with the Ardennes Offensive. The Battle of the Bulge has attracted considerable attention from historians but fresh insight is provided by the first-hand accounts of the commanders who fought it out in the snow – Highly Recommended
NAME: The Americans and Germans at Bastogne. First-Hand Accounts Of The Commanders Who Fought FILE: R3244 AUTHOR: Gary Sterne PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, European liberation, Allied advance, logistics, Ardennes forest, Antwerp, raw troops, winter, air power, war crimes ISBN: 1-52677-077-6 PAGES: 291 IMAGE: B3244.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y48s7yuq LINKS: DESCRIPTION: Recently declassified interviews shed fresh light on Hitler's last great gamble with the Ardennes Offensive. The Battle of the Bulge has attracted considerable attention from historians but fresh insight is provided by the first-hand accounts of the commanders who fought it out in the snow – Highly Recommended
The Ardennes Offensive was a gamble, and with very poor odds. The Germans were facing a host of problems as their ability to fight was collapsing. Hitler had placed himself in a position where immense forces faced him on two fronts. At that stage he was probably in a state of delusion, still spending time with Speer gazing at the models of his new Germania, moving long-destroyed divisions around the large battle maps, and with Allied air power pounding German cities into rubble. Those Germans who recognized that defeat was inevitable were mostly in their own delusion that they could persuade the Western Allies to join them in an assault on the Soviets. In that environment military commanders had to try to decide how to attempt to carry out the instructions pouring out of Hitler’s headquarters.
The idea of a strike to Antwerp had some military merit. If the Germans could deny the port to the Allies, they would effectively starve the thrusts towards Germany. That would allow more resources to be directed to the Eastern Front to slow the Soviets and perhaps buy the time for the new weapons, particularly the V2 mobile launchers, to change the balance of power. To stand any chance of success, the Germans had to assemble their best surviving units without the Allies realizing and then strike fast and hard for Antwerp with the Waffen SS providing most of the armoured spearheads and the Special Forces deception units. Ideally they would strike in bad weather when the Allied air power was at its weakest and hope to seize Allied fuel dumps because the Germans were already desperately short of fuel.
When the strike came, it was against relatively inexperienced American troops, achieved complete surprise, advanced fast and savagely, the SS committing a string of atrocities which they regarded as good military housekeeping. Prisoners were massacred because they would have required too many German guards and supplies of food and water that was already in very short supply.
The Germans failed to reach the main Allied fuel dumps and their Panzers depleted as they ran out of fuel. The weather improved and rocket firing ground attack fighters infested the skies, taking out many of the vehicles that still had fuel.
There will probably long be controversy amongst historians as to whether the German attack could ever have succeeded. This book provides the views of the commanders who were there, dispelling some of the myths that have developed.