A story of courage, suffering and triumph
Charles Ashbacher | Marion, Iowa United States(email@example.com) | 06/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"During World War II, there were two times when the armed forces of the United States were caught completely unawares. The first, the Japanese attacks at Pearl Harbor, began United States involvement. The second, the German attacks in the Ardennes forest in late 1944, actually served to shorten the war in Europe.
There is no doubt that Adolph Hitler was a master at strategic thinking. Before the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, he was able to take control of vast amounts of European territory without firing a shot. Had he stopped there, Germany would have been a superpower, most likely the most powerful nation on Earth. Fortunately for those who opposed him, he was a tactical dunderhead, and he made no mistake bigger than when he launched the counterattack that is now known as the Battle of the Bulge. As the forces allied against him pushed to the edges of German territory, he decided to launch a counterattack against the thinly held American lines. The goal was to seize the port at Antwerp and foment divisions between the British and Americans.
This was of course the thought of a delusional mind. After fighting together for three years, the alliance between Great Britain and the United States would not crack so easily. Also, the overwhelming air power of the United States would allow them to chew up the extended German forces once the weather permitted it. The best tactics would have been to place all forces on the defensive, concentrate them as much as possible in the East, which would force the allies, especially the Soviets, to fight for every foot of German territory.
While the Battle of the Bulge caused more American combat casualties than any other battle in history, it eliminated all German reserves and quite likely shortened the war in Europe by months. Had it not taken place, it is very possible that the first use of atomic weapons in war would have been against Germany rather than Japan.
This video provides the entire historical context, but the emphasis is on the actions and experiences of the American soldiers in the rifle companies. After the initial German impetus was blunted, the allied commanders made the decision to push the Germans back on all fronts rather than engage in a dramatic pincer movement. This meant that men on foot did nearly all the fighting with rifles in the worst winter weather that Europe had seen in decades. The soldiers were always cold, and frostbite was a constant problem. With their years of experience in the colder weather of the Soviet Union, the troops of the Wehrmacht were better able to deal with it.
So many American soldiers were killed or wounded that a shortage developed. Men were patched together physically and mentally and sent back up to the front. Companies were nearly wiped out, yet green, untrained men were sent as replacements rather than pull the company out of the line. Essentially, the decision was made to simply grind the Germans down at whatever the cost. Several of the survivors are interviewed and they tell a tale of their survival while many of their comrades did not. The most telling moment in the tape is when the French civilian said it was two years after the end of the war before all of the hastily and partly buried bodies were finally dealt with.
It will always be a point of debate as to whether the final fate of Germany had been decided by late 1944, which would mean that the Battle of the Bulge was irrelevant to the final outcome. Whatever it meant to the end result, it was the deadliest battle in American military history and this tape is an excellent description of the history, courage and suffering that made it an American victory."
JR | Houston | 05/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary gives outstanding perspective from men who actually participated in the battle, along with riveting film footage and photography."
Very well done
Charles Interrante | USA | 08/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If your into World War Two i highly recommend this.I have allot of dvd's and VHS tapes that i bought and taped off the TV and this is second to none.I don't think the Germans would have been able to get a peace or cease fire even if they would have gotten everything they set out to do, they didn't have the planes or oil to carry on the war.Otherwise this is an excellent dvd buy it."