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The Allied leaders all believed that all that the enemy could do at the time had been to wait for them to come. Montgomery and Eisenhower had been positive that the Nazis lacked both the petrol and the men to lead an offensive campaign.
Anyone else could agree with them at the time as it had been known that Hitler had lost most of his resources along with the loss of his allies. Furthermore, the world had been aware that Hitler had lost influence in Germany and that the bombing attempt had also crushed his confidence in his own men.
Nevertheless, Hitler managed to get together an impressive number of soldiers and resources. During the last months of 1944, his army seemed to have recovered and it appeared to be ready to lead an offensive. The Fuhrer knew that this had been his last chance of winning the war because there would be no more men to recruit or resources to use in case if he lost his men and his supplies.
Hitler's plan had been to use all of the military power available for "Operation Autumn Fog." The operation involved having the troops sent to the Black Forest and Ardennes hills where they would catch the enemy by surprise. Later on, Hitler's troops would head to the north of Belgium to Antwerp where they would break vital Allied lines.
The plan had been devised alone without any advice from his military staff. In fact, his military advisors all rejected the plan claiming that it would be useless to lead such a campaign instead of defending Germany. Hitler didn't listen to those that had been more experienced in such matters and decided to do as he planned. At the time the Fuhrer had been convinced that he had been the only person in his staff that had been thinking straight. One additional reason for why Hitler insisted that a counter-offensive would be launched had been that he only had two options: victory or death.
The chance that Hitler got to raise his army had been owed to the difficult terrain that the Allies had to use and to the success that Rundstedt and Model had had. In spite of Rundstedt's achievements, he did not believe in a German victory. Hitler believed that Germany's losses had been partly owed to the fact that some of his military leaders didn't believe in victory.
The Fuhrer did not want to think about a defensive plan, nor did he want to enforce his positions on the eastern front. He believed that his offensive would bring him back on the right track. He expected that the Allies to break up after his operation in Antwerp would be successful. A great mistake from behalf of Hitler was that he underestimated the English and the American forces. He thought that both armies would quickly leave the war after the Germans would push them back. In his mind, the Russians had been much more experienced in the military than the Allies.
Hitler's plan made some sense at the time because everybody knew that a defensive campaign would only postpone the outcome of the war. In addition to that, Antwerp had been one of the perfect places weak enough for one to attack to capture. The Allies did not expect any offensive, and, if Hitler managed to capture the port of Antwerp, they would have received a major blow at their supply lines.
Conversely, in case Hitler would have eventually take-over the port of Antwerp, the victory would be short-lived. The Allies would have been affected by the occurrence, but their military power had been too big to be seriously influenced by such an incident. Hitler's generals had lost any determination to intervene and advise their Fuhrer by the time. They only acted because of the respect that they had for their leader and because they feared that they would not be murdered just as the others that disobeyed Hitler's orders.
By the beginning of December Hitler had collected twentyeight divisions for the Ardennes attack and another six for the thrust into Alsace which was to follow. The main brunt of the offensive was to be carried by two panzer armies, the Sixth S.S. Panzer Army under Sepp Dietrich and the Fifth Panzer Army under Manteuffel, which between them disposed of some ten armoured divisions."
The German offensive was to be lead by Field Marshal Rundstedt who received the planning with great secrecy and with the order that he should not intervene in any way with the schedule. Hitler wanted full control of the situation, and, therefore, he moved his HQ to Bad Nauheim just behind the Western Front. The Autumn Fog Operation is an example of how a dying nation can rise and strike with great force against some of the most powerful states in the world without anyone expecting it to do so.
Hitler raised some of the men that were part of his last army with the help of Goebbels and Himmler, that both used psychological methods to convince the German people to join the military.
The Germans had been aware that a campaign of such proportions could not be kept from the enemy intelligence. Consequently, Hitler created a distraction, the 25th Panzer Army, which had been intended to fool enemy forces into thinking that the Germans had had other plans. Part of Hitler's plan to confuse the enemy had been the English-speaking German soldiers dressed as American soldiers sent on enemy territory with the purpose of spreading misinformation.
The Waffen-SS had been designated by Hitler to be in front of the offensive with SS-Obergruppen fuhrer Joseph "Sepp" Dietrich, Field Marshal Hasso von Manteufel, and General Erich Branderberger being in charge of the troops.
The operation had also been code-named Wacht am Rein (Watch on the Rhine) in order to confuse spirits in the enemy camp. Hitler officially launched the attack on the 16th of December 1944 after giving a speech intended to boost the morale among his subordinates.
During its first hours, the operation went according to plan and Hitler had succeeded in taking the Allied forces by surprise. At the beginning, the German forces advanced rapidly and made substantial achievements. The German media took advantage of the situation and the whole country could hear from their radios how the military had been victorious. Another reason for the Nazi success from the early days of the battle had been that the weather had been just as Hitler expected it to be.
The "Battle of the Bulge," as the Anglo-Saxon world named it, had been the biggest battle fought by the American forces during World War Two. The battle had actually been one of the most savage and bloodiest battles that the Allies had been involved in since the beginning of the war.
The battle started with the 6th SS Panzer Army assaulting 106th and 99th U.S. Divisions in the north. The 5th Panzer Army hit the Allies in the middle with the intention of overrunning the U.S. 28th Division. The German 7th Army had come from the south, most probably with the purpose of protecting the backs of the 6th and 5th armies. Until Christmas the Germans managed to penetrate the Allied lines approximately 65 miles deep and 45 miles wide.
The 6th SS Panzer Army had the 1st SS Ranger Regiment, commanded by SS Colonel Jocken Piper as a center. Piper's regiment moved with amazing speed, making it almost impossible for the rest of the 6th Army to keep up with it. Piper's regiment is also known for having murdered hundreds of captured soldiers. The 1st SS Ranger Regiment didn't stop until they'd finished all the resources and the fuel they had.
The 5th Army was also doing well in Bastogne as it smashed the 28th U.S. Division. The 7th Army did not handle the situation, as it became surrounded by several U.S. Armies.
To Hitler's surprise, the weather got better on the 22nd of December and the Allied air force got involved in the fight. General Montgomery provided the American military with vital instructions on how to handle the situation. General Patton also helped by sending his 3rd U.S. army corps to save Bastogne. On the 29th of December, Patton's armies had managed to liberate Bastogne. General Patton's third army had been joined by the 17th Airborne Division and all received the orders to save the 28th U.S. Division. Strong SS units had been assigned to close the Bastogne corridor and the Allied Divisions in charge of defending the city had had a hard time withstanding the heavy attacks. The Allies had registered serious casualties, and the soldiers found it hard to fight in such atmospheric conditions.
The 17th Airborne Division had managed to chase the Germans out of several Belgian towns. From there on, the Germans had been constantly retreating, but their devotement made the process slower. Finally, Hitler ordered the remnants of those that took part in…[continue]
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