The Battle of the Bulge

The Allies had greatly weakened the Luftwaffe and dominated the skies over Europe in the later part of 1944 and 1945. Hitler decided to make one last-ditch offensive effort to reverse the Allied momentum. Shortly before Christmas 1944, the Germans massed 250,000 men at the Allied lines in the Belgian forest of the Ardennes. They hoped to split the allied forces and gain the Belgian port city of Antwerp.

Caught off-guard by over confidence and extended supply lines due to the rapid advance after D-Day, the area was lightly defended by only two inexperienced and two battered American divisions. However, after the Germans drove the Allies back 50 miles, Allied units fought desperate battles to stem the German advance at St. Vith, Elsenborn Ridge, Houffalize and Bastogne. The Allied line took on the appearance of a large bulge, giving rise to the battle’s name: The Battle of the Bulge.

Bastogne was the location where, with the American forces surrounded by Germans, General Anthony McAuliffe replied to a German surrender demand with the famous retort “Nuts.” General George S. Patton’s successful maneuvering of the Third Army to Bastogne proved vital to the Allied defense, leading to the neutralization of the German counteroffensive despite heavy Allied casualties. The Battle of the Bulge was the bloodiest single campaign Americans had been involved in since the battle of Gettysburg. It exhausted the German capacity for any further counterattacks.

“The Siege of Bastogne, was written and performed here by Joe Bonamassa. (2013) (

Crops shall be full, in Belgium next year
Soil should be fertile, but the price has been dear
Wheat will be red, on the hills of Bastogne
For it’s roots have been drenched, with the blood of our own

Battered and reeling, we stand in their way
It’s here we are, and here we’ll stay
Embittered, wrathful, we watch our friends die
Where is the end, the end of it all
In Bastogne
No one comes home

Confident and powerful they strike at our lines
Beating them back, fighting for time
Blinded with fury, they are hitting us now
Flesh against steel, we’ll hold, but how?

Each day we stay, mother’s will grieve
Each hill we hold, more men must leave
Honor the dead, that gave their souls
But pray for us now
It’s the Siege of Bastogne
No one comes home
In the Siege of Bastogne
No one comes home

Sounds of panzers in the wind
It’s the longest winter, will it ever end
In Bastogne?

After the Battle of the Bulge, the push toward Berlin continued. Americans learned the extent of Hitler’s atrocities during the last stages of the war when they freed the concentration camps after the Germans retreated. On May 8, 1945, with the Americans, British and French on the western outskirts of Berlin and the Russians on the eastern fringes of the city, with Hitler having committed suicide on April 30, 1945, German military leaders surrendered to the Allies, ending the war in Europe. Victory in Europe, V-E Day, had occurred.