Define and justify:
This paper seeks to identify and describe the events that led to the siege of Bastogne in Belgium in the year 1944 in the Second World War. The siege of Bastogne in Belgium involved the Germans and the American forces. The German forces were the aggressors in this event and they were mainly interested in the capturing the Antwerp harbor.
1. The paper aims at establishing some of the reasons that led to the siege of Bastogne town in Belgium by the Germans.
2. It also aims at establishing the strategies used by both sides during the war. Another aim of this paper is to establish if the Germans succeeded in taking the town of Bastogne under siege. 3. The strategies used by German will also be discussed in the paper.
4. Another aim of this paper is to discuss the reasons why the Germans failed capture the town Bastogne.
5. The types of weaponry used by sides as well as the weapons that each side possessed and the number of causalities on either side.
Before I embark on writing this paper I will have some of its sources derived from the internet owing to the fact that most of the information on the related title is found online. Other sources that I may use to get the necessary information include some of the history books with information relevant to the topic. These sources are essential in providing vital information that will aid in the writing of this particular paper.
I also intend to use the information from a video that depicts the battle between the Germans and the Americans. This movie with the title ‘The Siege of Bastogne’ will help me in drafting the events that took place in the war. I plan to write a short essay or paper on this by using some of the information that I will get from the sources. The paper will briefly highlight the events that took place before, during and after the war.
- “The Siege of Bastogne.” R.U.S.E. Wiki. Publisher, n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2017.
- Delaforce, Patrick. The Battle of the Bulge: Hitler’s Final Gamble. Harlow, England: Pearson Education, 2004. Print. Cole, Hugh M. The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge. Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, Dept. of the Army, 1965. Print.
Review of the sources
Source 1: ‘The siege of Bastogne’ is a movie that depicts how the Germans organized and ambushed the Americans only to be defeated in the end after British and other American forces intervene. One of the important scenes witnessed in this clip is that of General Von Luttwitz urging the Americans to surrender due to the fact that they had been surrounded. The commander in charge of the American forces declined to surrender. I decided to use this source despite the fact that its information on the war was limited.
Source 2: The battle of the Bulge is a book by Delaforce Patrick that highlights the downfall of Hitler in his subsequent attempt to seize the Bastogne town despite being warned by his army commanders. It highlights Hitler’s ingenious plan to capture Antwerp. The book also entails some of the events in which the British intervened in the war in aid of the American soldiers. I found this particular book important because it also featured recounts of events that occurred during the war by individuals.
Source 3: The Ardennes, Battle of The Bulge is also a book that I considered. This is a book by Hugh M. Cole relied on the information from this book due to the fact that the author of the book was experienced military personnel. The book more so highlighted important details with regard to the war. It provided information such as the logistics involved in both sides of the fighting elements.
The battle of Bastogne is one of the longest to ever be undertaken by the American forces. It signifies the achievements of the American military and has become one of the most important events in the history of the American war encounters. This was a heroic and symbolic battle that emphasized on the quality and resilience of the American soldiers. The siege of Bastogne took place in the year 1944 during the Second World War when the German soldiers conducted a surprise attack on the American soldiers. This surprise attack was the ingenious plan of Adolf Hitler. Bastogne is a town located in Belgium.
The main aim of the German carrying out the attack was so as to capture the harbor of Antwerp. The siege lasted for about one week. Another reason behind the attack by the Germans was so as to create a rift between the British and the American British troops. “This was apart from the fact that they wanted to regain control of the port of Antwerp.” (Cole, 115). This was so as to prevent the allied forces from using its facilities to unleash air strikes against the German troops. The German army consisted of around 200,000 troops. They also had assorted weaponry such as 1000 tanks and nearly 2000 artilleries. These were aside from the assault rifles and the strong support of military aircraft, about 2000 in number. The Germans were powerful both in weaponry and manpower compared to the less than 100,000 American troops who had only a mere 400 artilleries among other weapons. In other words, the American troops were outnumbered and their weaponry could not match that of the Germans. The Germans launched their first attack in December 1944. This indeed was a surprise attack and the allied forces were caught totally unaware. This can be attributed to the fact that they had poor aerial reconnaissance that failed to identify the advancement of the German troops. The allied forces were also overconfident and did not think that the Germans could launch such a large scale attack on their territory. The Germans on the other hand attacked the weakest defended area.
The German attacks were swift and effective owing to the fact that they had the numbers compared to the Americans who tried to defend their positions by use of ant-tank guns and mortars. While this was going on the German engineers were finalizing the construction of the bridges that will enable them move their hardware. They were greatly aided by the weather conditions which hindered the allied forces air forces from carrying out a counter offensive. The allied forces were consequently caught off guard by this offensive and as a result desperately fought back to defend their positions despite the fact that they were completely caught off guard. “Hitler emphasized on speed and rapidness of the attacks so as to ensure victory.” (Cole, 116). The Germans were however slowed down by a heavy resistance by the allied forces near Bastogne. This was a critical stage because the Germans wanted to access the roads that would enable them effectively move their military hardware. This together with the terrain that favored the allied forces worked against the German onslaught eventually slowing them down. Eventually the weather conditions improved and the allied air force bombarded the Germans forcing them to retreat to their defensive positions. This was a relief to the allied forces because it gave them the opportunity to add more troops to the section that its troops were overstretched. The Belgian town was protected and defended by the American air force battalion who relied on the reinforcement of ground troops who were already stretched.
The fact that the American troops were few led to the creation of a bulge that was almost 50 miles wide and nearly70 miles deep. This battle later on came to be known as the battle of the bulge. During this war which almost lasted a month the Germans encountered close to 100,000 soldiers either being killed while others wounded and. The Americans and the allied force encountered heavy causalities. The battle of the bulge came about as a result of the American troops entering the German territory. Hitler was the mastermind of this battle and his aim was to launch a surprise attack against the allied forces. His main objective was so as to split the allied forces into two though the use of a blitzkrieg attacks. This was to take place in the region of Ardennes towards Antwerp. This was through the use of the dense forest of Ardennes. The aim was so as to conceal the advancement of the German troops in order to launch a surprise attack. This was idea was however played down by some of the German army officials. The German had three striking armies that were to partake in the war.
The first striking army was led by a man referred to as General De Panzertruppen Erich Brandenburger. His troops were mainly to station and offer protection of the southern part of the town. The second striking army was led by another general referred to as General Oberst Dietrich whose platoon was tasked with carrying out the attack. This platoon was regarded as the most advanced and most equipped of the three troops. The third this platoon was to be given reinforcement from the south by the third striking army that was led by Panzertruppen Hosso-eccard. “Hitler emphasized on attacking from the west so as to keep the allied forces air force at a distance.” (Cole, 14). Before the attack the allied forces were defending the area. These forces were few in number and this meant that they could not maintain a solid battle line in the event of an attack. The routes in Ardennes consisted of rough terrain which was also narrow. This gave the allied forces the upper hand to use their tank destroyers to slow down the advancement of the German troops.
The American troops on the other hand did not think of the possibility of a German ambush and this they attributed to the fact that the Germans had been weakened. The use of the Ardennes forest to launch an ambush was also downplayed by the allied forces owing to its bad terrain which could not allow the Germans to carry out a large scale attack. The different roads leading in and out of Bastogne were critical and important to the Germans troops’ movement and transportation of their weaponries and other military ware. However, during the German attack there was heavy downpour that led to only one route that was considered to be in good condition to enable the German troops to cross over. Immediately the German troops had crossed over and assembled their weapons and artillery they started bombing the American positions. These bombings led to the destruction of important structures that hampered the American troop’s efforts. The bombings furthermore destroyed the telephone post and lines. The German troops’ advantage in number ensured that they had an upper hand over the American troops. The American troops nevertheless managed to hold them off by use of anti-gun tanks. They further managed to defend the town for two more days thereby ensuring that the Germans were unable to cross the river Clerf as early as they had planned.
In Bastogne particularly on the west and south there was intense fighting. The allied defenses constituted of the 10th armored division, the 9th armored division, the 7th armored division as well as the ground troops. The advancing enemy on the other end had the 101st Airborne and the 705 tank battalion that surrounded the town of Bastogne. The Germans then went ahead to give the allied forces an ultimatum to surrender or else have their positions bombarded. Anthony McAuliffe who was the General and Brigadier of the allied forces declined to surrender. This led to bombings by the Germans. The Americans finally got a reprieve after George Patton’s troops managed to reach Bastogne which led to the pushing back of the Germans advance. The ring that the enemy troops had formed around Bastogne was eventually broken. The Germans began running out of fuel affecting their movements to confront the Americans. This gave the Americans the opportunity to regroup and effectively face the Germans who retreated.
The siege of the Bastogne and the consequent war that took place was the longest that the American troops had ever encountered. The end result of the war was both sides having causalities and destruction of their weapon systems and hardware such as tanks and war planes. Civilians were also affected by this war and this was evident by the number of civilian deaths in the towns that the German and the Americans fought.
Review of the paper and research
The paper has effectively discussed the siege of Bastogne with regards to the reasons that inspired the Germans to launch a surprise attack against the Americans so as to capture the town. The sources I used were mainly online. This is because a lot of information on the war is available on a number of articles. The fact that these sources had consistent information on the war made it easier for me to combine the important details that were useful in writing this paper. The information I obtained made it possible to establish the dates of the events that took place and the number of troops involved in the war as well as the causalities on both sides. I was also able to identify the military hardware used by the Germans and the Americans during the war. However, some of the sources I used such as the book by Hugh M. Cole had too much information and therefore I had to only choose the relevant ones. I also mainly wrote a brief paper on the important events that occurred during the war.