"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Americans and Belgians mark 70th anniversary of Battle of the Bulge

Standing Against Fascism
  • The U.S. lost 10,000 dead in a few weeks and 23,218 are still listed as "missing" in repelling the German Ardennes winter offensive.

(The Guardian)  -  Braving snowy weather, Americans and Belgians gathered in the Ardennes on Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of one of the biggest and bloodiest US battles of the second world war, the Battle of the Bulge.

Jean-Claude Klepper, 62, of Virton, Belgium, and his 15-year-old daughter Aurélie dressed up like US GIs to mark the occasion.

“We must never forget what happened in 1944,” the elder Klepper said. “Many American soldiers came here to defend Europe. We must honour them for what they did.”

Stephen Sams, 41, a US soldier based in Germany, said for him the battle waged in the dense forests and narrow valleys of Belgium and neighbouring Luxembourg epitomised “the unwillingness of American forces to give up in the face of adversity”.

Starting on 16 December 1944, and for nearly six weeks, more than 600,000 American soldiers, fighting in freezing conditions and often hungry and dog-tired, took part in desperate efforts to contain, then throw back, a surprise German counteroffensive masterminded by Adolf Hitler himself.

The British prime minister, Winston Churchill, hailed the ultimate result as “an ever-famous American victory”. But it came at a high cost: 80,987 US casualties, including 10,276 dead, 47,493 wounded and 23,218 missing, according to the US army’s official history.

Total German casualties are estimated at 81,834, including 12,652 dead and 30,582 missing.

After the end of the battle, on 28 January 1945, Allied forces attacked Germany in unison, eventually leading to the Nazi surrender and the end of the war in Europe.

In the town of Bastogne, where soldiers of the 101st Airborne held out despite being cut off and surrounded, shops and windows were decorated Saturday with American and Belgian flags. One local restaurant posted a drawing of an American flag and the message “thank you”.

(The Guardian.com)

Doomed From Day One
By December, 1944 the war was already over. Germany was only able to mount the Battle of the Bulge by stripping all the other fronts of combat divisions and armor.
Far more interesting was yet another total failure of military intelligence as glaring as Pearl Harbor.  The Germans were able to gather a large offensive force right under the noses of U.S. and British military "intelligence".  American troops were caught literally with their pants down and overrun by German Panzer divisions.
After Pearl Harbor and the Bulge our military "intelligence" agencies proved their worth again and again by being caught by surprise with the Communist invasion of South Korea, 9-11 and ISIS.

Belgium’s King Philippe, right, and Queen Mathilde throw nuts to
the public, during the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge,
in Bastogne, Belgium, on Saturday. The tradition dates from when
the Germans asked for the US surrender in Bastogne, to which
General Anthony McAuliffe answered: ‘Nuts!’

Photograph: Yves Logghe/AP

Americans forget the Eastern Front
Western history books and movies might make the casual student believe that General George Patton almost won the war by himself.  That was far from the case.  Before a single allied soldier set foot on the beaches of Normandy World War II was effectively over.  Russia had beaten Germany.
The Soviet Union had won the war at the Battles of Stalingrad (1942), Kursk, Dnieper and Smolensk (all 1943). 
Stalingrad still ranks as the greatest battle in history dwarfing the modest Battle of the Bulge.  At Stalingrad Nazi Germany was gutted in a contest pitting armies numbering 2.2 million troops.  The Axis forces alone lost 850,000 casualties and the Russians 1,129,000 casualties.
From October,1943 on it was simply a foot race to see how fast the Germans could run away from the Russians.  The only real challenge for the Russians was being able to move troops West as fast as the Germans could retreat.

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