Now Playing: "Swan Swan H" by R.E.M.
One of my Daddy's favorite movies about the Second World War was The Battle of the Bulge (1965) with Henry Fonda and Telly Savalas and a whole bunch of other big names. Daddy knew a man from work who had been in the actual Battle of the Bulge and he always found that very impressive, as did I.
Today, let us remember the 60th anniversary of this massive battle ---one of the true turning points in the history of the Twentieth Century--- and read Paul Greenberg's excellent column marking the day.
According to the German battle plan, Bastogne was to be overrun on the second day of the operation; it never was. General Anthony McAuliffe's one-word response to the German commander's surrender terms would become a classic summation of American defiance: "Nuts!"Reading such figures should bring to mind the absolute importance of remembering just how massive our military's sacrifices have always been.
Forced to split up and go around isolated pockets of American resistance, the German advance slowed. Unlike 1940, there was no breakout. Methodically, the Allied command drew up new defensive lines, then held. And to the South, Patton was turning the whole Third Army on a dime and hurtling to the rescue . . . .
Before it was over, the Battle of the Bulge would involve three German armies, the equivalent of 29 divisions; three American armies, or 31 divisions; and three British divisions augmented by Belgian, Canadian and French troops.
More than a million men would be drawn into the battle. The Germans would lose an estimated 100,000 irreplaceable troops, counting their killed, wounded and captured; the Americans would suffer some 80,000 casualties, including 19,000 killed - that's a rate of 500 a day - and 23,554 captured.
Sixty-three divisions going at it in one of the harshest European winters in living memory. Jesus Christ!
Posted by Toby Petzold at 10:53 PM CST | Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink