Early on the misty winter morning of 16 December 1944, over 200,000 German troops and nearly 1,000 tanks launched Adolf Hitler’s last bid to reverse the ebb in his fortunes that had begun when Allied troops landed in France on D-day. Seeking to drive to the English Channel coast and split the Allied armies as they had done in May 1940, the Germans struck in the Ardennes Forest, a seventy-five-mile stretch of the front characterized by dense woods and few roads, held by four inexperienced and battle-worn American divisions stationed there for rest and seasoning
Today marks the 66th anniversary of the beginning of the largest battle in the US Army’s history.
In the Ardennes sector, units badly understrength and battered by battle, side by side with green units fresh off the boat, were directly in the path of a juggernaught of nearly unprecedented strength. They gave ground so grudgingly that by the end of the first day, the German’s timetable was hopelessly disrupted, dooming the offensive from meeting any of its strategic objectives, let alone rupturing the Allied front. They paid a ghastly price to buy precious time.
All hail the Heroes of the Ardennes.