Taking advantage of the poor weather conditions, that normally existed in France during the month of December Hitler, who had secretly assembled 25 divisions attacked on the 16th in the Ardennes region with over 200,000 men. The Germans quickly advanced, hoping to take the port city of Antwerp. The capture of Antwerp would effectively cut off the Allied supply line. Hitler hoped this would change the tide of the war. Leaving a meeting on the 19th with his generals, after discussing the fast changes being made by the German attack General Dwight Eisenhower, who had just been promoted to the new five star rank, mumbled “Why is it every time I get a new star I get attacked.” To which General G. S. Patton said “And every time you get attacked I pull you out.” The Ardennes campaign, better known as the Battle of the Bulge, was to be Patton’s greatest opportunity for personal and professional achievement.
Patton already a proven leader through battles in North Africa, Tunisia, Sicily, was now in Europe with the Third Army and facing what could be his finest hour. The Battle of the Bulge saw Patton do the impossible. Patton while planning for this new attack, in 48 hours was able to turn his entire army 90 degrees to the left so that he might engage the Germans and come to aid of the all important town of Bastogne. Patton’s planning and efforts came together and on December 22 the Third Army began to push back the Seventh German Army, four days later elements of the Third Army punched into the besieged town of Bastogne. The German attacked was as good as contained.
The smashing defeat that was handed the German Armies during the Ardennes campaign ended any hope of a German victory in Europe.
The Battle of the Bulge started December 17 1944; by January 16, 1945 the Germans were on the run again. Less than four months later the war in Europe was over. One can only image the loss of life, time, and material if it was not for General G. S. Patton, the right person in the right spot at the right time to stop the last great offensive of the last great war * * *
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