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Transcript
SE
THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE
(THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA'S BLOODIEST EUROPEAN BATTLE)
World War 2
December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945
-
t
Tiger Ausf. B
I
M
O
LI
Panzerkampfwagen
Tiger Il preserved at Bovington Tank Museum
The Tiger II or King Tiger of World War II was a German heavy tank:. The Tiger II combined the thick
armor of the Tiger I with the sloped armor of the Panther medium tank:. The tank: weighed almost 70 met-
di
ric tons (154,000 lbs.), was protected by 100 to 180 mm (3.9 to 7.1 inches) of armor to the front and was
armed with a long-barrelled 88 mm gun (3.46 inches). It was first used during the Normandy Campaign
on July 11, 1944 by the Waffen-SS and at The Battle of the Bulge in limited numbers.
An Illustrated Philatelic Exhibit
By
Antonio di Molise
The Battle of the Bulge
Offensive
or Von Runstedt Offensive-December
1944 to January 25, 1945)
16,
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..........•.....•....................•..........
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MARSHALL ISLANDS
: MARSHALL ISLANDS
:
BattIeoflbeBulgel944
•.
•
BattIeofthcBulgeJ944
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This Battle was the Americans' largest and bloodiest
battle of World War n. The US First Army bore the
brunt of the first winter offensive in the history of the
German army in their desperate attempt to secure oil
supplies and the port of Antwerp. The most famous battle of the engagement was the defense of the City of Bastogne, Belgium.
E
(Also known as the Ardennes
The presentation begins by examining the state of
World War Il in each of the four theatres of World War
Il, follows with the major persons, places and events of
the battle and ends with the Counter-Offensive by British and American forces.
Maps show a clearer picture to follow the status of the
battle before, during and in the final stages of the counter-offensive.
Top left to lower right-Infantry,
Armor, Aviation
and Bastogne relieved.
··
M
,;'e1'· ILA.i""J :•
This detailed battle is presented
under
the
following
subheadings:
di
Events Prior
The German Plan
German Offensives/ Allied Resistance
Allied Offensive/German Counter-Offensive
Results and Consequences
Events Prior to December 16, 1944
The Western Europe Theatre
E
After D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allies had moved through France, Belgium and into the Netherlands. Canada led by Lt. General GUY S1MONDS (HARRY CRERAR was ill) retook Dieppe and Dunkirk,
cleared the Scheldt estuary and taken the fortified island of Walcheren
and regained the deep-water port of Antwerp that was operational by
November 28 of 1944. However, the Allies had outstretched their supply lines and were covering too wide an area.
......•....•.........•.........
la Deuxiilme Guarre Mondiole
Vicloirebl'holizOA
O
LI
S
The Eastern Soviet Theatre
6
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The Soviets had liberated their territory and had moved into
parts of Finland in the North; Estonia, moved into Latvia and
Lithuania; and were pressing into parts of Poland, as Warsaw
had fallen. Hungary had negotiated a secret treaty with the
Soviets. Romania and Bulgaria joined the Allies.
Japan and ChinalBurmalIndia
After conquering the Axis in North Africa the Allies had
moved up the Italian Peninsula, had taken Rome by June
4, 1944 and by December had breached the FlorenceBologna line known as the Gothic Line and had trapped
the Germans in the Northwest of Italy. The Germans were
in retreat in Romania (they had joined the Allies in Aug.
1944 and cut oil supplies to Germany), Bulgaria (had
joined the Allies in Sep. 1944) Yugoslavia and Albania.
After the Battles of the Philippine Sea and
Leyte Gulf the US had virtually destroyed
the Japanese Navy and had invaded Mindoro
in the Philippines. The Allies were moving
up the coast and Japanese had been retreating from Burma.
di
M
The Italian and Balkan Theatres
1944
Theatres
22ndJANUARYAlliedlandingsbElginat Anzto
27th·JANUARYRussiansretakeLenibgrad .
••
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i '"
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18tQ,. _., onte Cassinofalls to the.Allies
• Kuts~
5th JU~E Alliesenter Rome
6th JUNE ID-DAYlANDINGS
•. .Kiev.•• ~~
_ ~~""3rd.JlJL~~Belorussian-tr06ps Gom~lete-the-Ga~ture-of
Minsk·
• Dnepropefrovsk
15thAUGUSTAlliedforces land in SouthernFrance
.
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25th AUGUSTGeneralLeclerc's4th ArmouredDivisionenters Paris
Stalingrad 31st AUGUST Russianstake Bucharest
r-'~DECEMB;~e
Germanarmy beg.~ffens·
rdennesUBatlle
of the Bulge" V
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High Commanders
and The German Plan
OKW
(Hitler)
The Plan adopted by the German High Command was a blitzkrieg drive to take the important port of Antwerp and on the way to seize
Allied supplies especially oil and gasoline. If
successful the Germans would trap the 1st Canadian, Second British, US First and US Ninth
Armies, cut off their supply lines, and annihilate
them if they refused a peace. They could then
concentrate on the Soviets in the East.
I
I
C in C, \Y/est
(van Runsredt)
~I""_••..••
Army Group H
(Student)
Army Group Oberrhein
(Himmler)
SE
Army Group B
(Model)
I
Fifteenth Army
(Zangen)
-I
Sixth SS Panzer
Army
(Dietrich)
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Fifth Panzer
~
(Manteuffel)
Seventh Army
(Brandcnbergcr)
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In order for the plan to succeed the attack had to be a surprise
(the Germans had never launched a winter campaign); it required unfavourable weather to neutralize the Allied air superiority (since the German Luftwaffe had been effectively
grounded) and prevent the Allies from knowing their movements. It would have been best if launched in mid-November
before the expected Soviet winter offensive in the East. They
had to reach the Meuse River, half-way to Antwerp by day 4
and capture Allied fuel as they only had 113to Yz the fuel needed and move on to Antwerp by Day 8.
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BASTOGNE
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rDINANT
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16th December
1944
Allied
Supreme Commander
(Eisenhower)
-
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21st Army Group
(Montgomery)
1
12th Army Group
(Bradley)
6th Army Group
(Devers)
1-
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US Ninth
Army
(Simpson)
I
V Corps
(Gerow)
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US First Army
(Hodges)
~
VIII Corps
(Middleton)
I
US Third Army
(Patron)
I
VII Corps
(Call ins)
Surprise was increased because the Germans
could now use the home telephone and teleprinter systems for communication rather than radio
transmissions that could be intercepted by the
Allies. EISENHOWER and the top Allied command anticipated no German winter offensive
despite the fact the British Intelligence ULTRA
as well as the US Third Army (PATTON) and
Belgian Intelligence had noticed increased activity and uniforms that suggested a winter offensive but these factors were dismissed.
German Offensive---Allied
Resistance---North
December 16-20, 1944
E
At 5:30 on December 16 SEPP DIETRICHs Sixth Panzer Army in the
North (OTTO SKORZENY's paratroopers dressed in British and American
uniforms were dropped behind enemy lines to disrupt communication and
take important bridges and crossroads). The defense at Elsenborn Ridge
slowed the German Army in the North. It dominated two roads feeding the
route to the Meuse River via Malmedy. It was defended by the US 99th Division (of inexperienced recruits) and the US 12th Division that had been
sent there for rest and refit, both part of the US 1st Amiy.
O
LI
S
Near Malmedy General LEONARD GEROW's US 5th
Corps stopped the enemy advance toward Liege, Belgium, the large supply depot of the Allies. (It was near
Malmedy on December 17 that 84 of 150 American prisoners were massacred in a 'take no prisoners' order.)
On December 17 a retreating US patrol reached a bridge guarded by Germans.
The patrol lined up in formation and with their sergeant shouting commands in
German, marched safely across in the dark under the noses of the guards.
On the 18th Douglas C-47 Skytrains escorted by Republic P-47 Thunderbolts
take the US 82nd Airborne under Major General
this front.
Army, Lt. General COURTNEY HODGES bears the assault"
M
US First
JAMES GA VIN to assist on
FIRST
DAY
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Battle of the Bulge
December 16, 1944
--
Spear Header of the Attack
In a desperate attempt to defeat the Allies on the Western Front,
the German armies were to break through the US lines in the Ardennes, to cross the River Meuse and take Antwerp, cutting the
Allied forces in two. The main role in the breakthrough was de-
Aachen and the Schnee Eifel and seize bridges on the Meuse on
both sides of Liege. Within the 6th Panzer Army a mobile strik-
O
LI
S
ing role was assigned to the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS
Adolf Hitler (LSSAH) under the command of SS-Oberfiihrer
Wilhelm Mohnke. The division was split into four Kampfgruppe
E
voted to the 6th Panzer Army under the command of SEPP DlETRICH. He would have to pierce the American lines between
Joachim Peiper
with JOACHlM PElPER commanding the most substantial
which included all the armored sections of the division.
PElP ER was given the use of the newest tank, the 70-ton Tiger 11or
King Tiger, which this battle would be its 3rd on the western front
since its introduction, and with its 7 inches of armor made it impervious to allied anti-tank weapons. However, the King Tiger had a
high consumption of fuel (112 mile to the gallon) along with mechanical defects (mainly the tank's suspension system), which
would continuously hinder PElPER's ability to reach his assigned
M
objectives in Operation Wacht am Rhein.
PElPER's assigned route, or Rollbahn, had many hairpin turns and
traversed steep hillsides that would delay his already slow-moving
towed artillery and bridging trains. PElP ER's unit had only onequarter the fuel they needed. Their plan counted on the capturing Allied
di
fuel depots and keeping to an ambitious timetable. They did capture
some fuel but not enough. The route had to be changed because some
roads were impassable and resistance intensified. The Americans blasted the bridges on the Ambleve and Salm Rivers he needed to cross. On
the 18th several squadrons of Republic P-47 Thunderbolts attacked this
column. He fought on but on December 24 he left his vehicles and
marched 800 men through the woods and 770 back to Germany.
PElPER's unit became infamous for the murder of U.S. prisoners of
war at the crossroads in what became known as the Malmedy massacre.
German Offensive--AlIied
Resistance--Centre
December 16-20, 1944
LI
SE
HASSO von MANTEUFFEL 5th Panzer Army pushed into the
centre with the objective being St. Vith with its six paved crossroads by December 17. Major General BRUCE C. CLARKE
successfully defended the area despite several retreat actions. By
the 23rd BERNARD MONTGOMERY, now in command of the
US 1st and 9th Armies north of the Bulge because communications
with US HQ were severed, ordered a full retreat and CLARKE
was able to sleep for the first time in a week.
MANTEUFFEL continued north against the US 1st Army led by
General COURTNEY HODGES and reached as far north as
Manhay.
MONTGOMERY moved all available forces, mostly
British XXX Corps to guard the Meuse River bridges on
December 19.
di
M
O
The German Fifteenth Infantry Army led by GUSTAVADOLF von ZANGEN was held in reserve located in the
Netherlands.
Ofiensive in the Ardennes
_-\ccorm.-,g to Hitler's plan, the German Fifth
and Sixth Panzer and Seventh Armies would
tim-e through the Ardennes forests and swcep
on to Antwerp. In fact, they did not even succeed
in crossing the Meuse and only caused a short
interruption in the Allied advance.
BATILE OFTHE BULGE
DEC 16-26. 1944
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German Offensive--Allied
Resistance--South-Bastogne
December 16-26,1944
O
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S
E
ERICH BRANDENBERGER's 7th Army quickly advanced toward Bastogne.
Bastogne was critical because of its eleven (or seven) hard topped crossroads. On December 19th the US ioi- Airborne led by Brigadier General
ANTHONY C. McAULIFFE with parts of the 9th and 10th armored Divisions arrive to defend Bastogne "at all costs". By the 20th the Germans
sieged Bastogne but continued northward with most of the Army. By the
25th it had made the furthest advance near Celles but failed to reach the
Meuse River by its objective of 4 days.
Supplies and ammunition were running very low (medical supplies
had been captured and the only pain killer left was brandy) when on
the 22th the Germans asked the Americans to surrender.
McAULIFFE muttered, "Aw, NUTS", and later sent that message to
the Germans who spent time deciphering what it meant. Fortunately
on December 23 the weather cleared and 241 C-4 7s dropped 140 tons
of supplies into Bastogne.
On December 24 Armored Divisions of PATTON' s Third Army advance
and relieve Bastogne on the 26th but fighting continues until January 4.
"MCAULIFFE greets Lt. Colonel CREIGHTON W. ABRAMS of PATTON's 4th Armored Division on December 26, 1944"
~--"- --~ - --- - -- - --- -- ' ...•.- -- -- - _-_."" - - '_-_Po
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Battle of the Bulge
M
or \
Allied Offensives-German
Counter-offensives
December 23,1944 to January
25,1945 and to February
7,1945
SE
On January 1, HERMANN GOERING ordered a massive air strike against Allied airfields in Holland, Belgium and northern France. He destroyed or damaged 465 Allied aircraft but while Allies quickly replaced these the Luftwaffe
lost 277 planes and 253 pilots that could not easily be replaced.
LI
On the same day further south near Strasbourg Army Group G and Army
Group Upper Rhine attacked the weakened US Seventh Army that had sent
reinforcements to the Ardennes and First French Armies known as the Sixth
Army Group led by Lt. General JACOB L. DEVERS. They had advanced from
the second landings in southern France and advanced to Strasbourg. However,
this Group also held, with serious casualties to the German Armies.
General Jacob "Jake" Loucks Devers
O
MONTGOMERY
delayed a counter-attack until January 3 in the
North and allowed many German soldiers to escape but much of the
armor and equipment was left behind.
HITLER had refused MANTEUFFEL's request to retreat on December 24, ordered it on January 7 but fighting continued until January
25.
M
"Map of Allied counter-offensive as of February 7, 1945"
FRONT LINES
__
26DECEMBER
__
i ::---
i
• VERVIERS
1944
U
2 JANUARY1945
16JANUARy
7 F.E~RUARY
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Seventh
Army
VII!
ALLIED CORPS
LXVI
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MILES
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KILOMETERS
f
20
f!
30
Allied aircraft of the Battle of the Bulge
By December 23 the weather
began to improve and Allied
air forces attacked German columns and supply lines with as
many as 5,000 aircraft. Piper
Cubs were use for reconnaissance since they were unarmed
and Germans did not want to
disclose their positions.
Aircraft used included Boeing B 17' s
Flying Fortress,
Martin
B-26 Ma-
SE
rauder, Republic P-47 Thunderbolts,
Northrop P-61 Black Widows, Spitfires, Mustangs and British Hawker
LI
Typhoons. Supplies were brought in
by Douglas C-47 Skytrain and others.
6-26 Marauder
O
By the 24th (the 8th day) the German advance was stalled near the
town of Celles just four miles from
the Meuse River then held by the
British 29th Armoured and the US
2nd Armored Division.
~rlUTAN
di
M
The Canadian First Army would
have had to defend the port of Antwerp had the Germans reached it
and did not participate in the Battle
. of the Bulge although the Air
Force and Navy did.
2NU
,""'"
45~lit
t r-
Sir Winston
Churchill
~<:fl
December 23 sent 28 Avro Lancasters to bomb the marshaling
yards at Cologne that destroyed
much of the materiel being
amassed to support the Battle.
Further bombings were on St.
Vith December 26 and Houffalize
on December 30/31 as well as
many German airfields in the area.
Typhoons equipped with
rockets attacked the 57-ton Tiger
tanks impervious to Allied tanks
and anti-tank guns.
Allied Offensives-German
Counter-offensives
Flight Sergeant Terrance Anthony Casey-December
31, 1944
~,~J;' , ','
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On June 6, 1944 the Allies invaded France at the Normandy Beaches.
The Allies broke away from the Normandy area around August 25 after
the Battle at Falaise.
They moved quickly through the balance of
France, Belgium and into the Netherlands by the end of November.
The Canadian Army became the left flank of the Allies advancing
along the coast taking Dieppe, Dunkirk, Walcheren Island and the
Schedt estuary and the important port of Antwerp that became operational on November 28.
The Germans were desperate to acquire a port for supplies. On Decem-
ber 16, 1944 they launched the first winter offensive in their history
with three Panzer Armies in an attempt to take Antwerp in 8 days.
LI
They made significant advances, bypassed Bastogne, but failed to reach
the four-day objective of the Meuse River. On December 23 the
weather allowed the Allied aircraft to deliver supplies and relive Bastogne and quickly stopped the Nazi advances. The Allies continued
their bombing raids on German supply lines as well as the major supply
O
depot at the City of Cologne (Koln).
In late December 31 the Avro Lancasters were on a bombing run on
the Belgian City of Houffalize that lies about 10 miles (16 kilometres)
M
north of Bastogne. In early January 1 the Germans launched massive
air strikes on the airfields in Holland, Belgium and Northern France
and destroyed 465 Allied aircraft that were quickly replaced but they
loss 277 aircraft and 253 pilots that could not be replaced. Since Terry
.•
••
Casey IS burIed at Hotton, Belgium about 16 miles to the northwest of
Houffalize this is likely where he was forced to bailout of his crippled
Lancaster where he was the turret gunner.
di
...-=~~~~~=============================1
FLT.LT. T~A.CA.SEY
Flt.Sgt., Terrence (TerrY) A. Oasey, '
reported missing in action last January
6,now is reported killed tnaction.
He
was the brother of FIt. Lt. Bria.n A.
Casey who was killed in action in
May, 1943.
FIt. Sgt. Casey attended Ste. Clare,
st.
Francis
Separate
Schools
and
Assumption College, graduating
from
the college in 1942.
He enlisted with the Royal Canadian
Air Force
on July 15, 1943, and
graduated as a~ air gunner from Mont
JoIl, Que., in January
of the same
year.
He went overseas after graduating.
He is survlved by his father, Fred
Casey of River Front road; one sister,
Mrs. EileenWood,
and a brother, Cpl.
:Wilfred Casey,stationedwith
the
R.e.A.F. at Trebton.
A high mass will be sung for 'Pit.
Sgt. Casey at, Assumption Church on
December 3, at ~rl:).!n~:
Battle of the Bulge-- What went wrong?
The Allies:
SE
Belgian intelligence, British ULTRA and PATTON's Third Army Intelligence (Colonel OSCAR KOCH) indicated that a winter offensive was
coming but it dismissed as unlikely by 12 Army Group ( OMAR BRADLEY) as Germany did not have the men and materiel to launch a winter
offensive and that they had never done one before.
Several inexperienced divisions such as the 99th were
brought into the area and were spread too thinly
across an 85-mile front. However, they distinguished
themselves well.
Bad weather prevented both reconnaissance and attack
by Allied air superiority
LI
The Germans:
The German did achieve surprise because warnings were ignored. In France the underground was very
active in providing intelligence but as the Germans retreated into Holland and Germany communication was more by telephone and teleprinter rather than radio signals that were intercepted and deciphered by Enigma machines.
O
Originally the offensive was scheduled to begin about November 20 that would have given Germans almost four weeks of bad weather instead of one week. Part of the delay was caused by available manpower and equipment that was reduced from 55 to 45 divisions down to 30 divisions. Of these recruits many were those previously thought to be too old or too young to fight. Once the weather
cleared on December 23 Allied air superiority wrought havoc on attacking forces and supply lines.
di
M
A IS-year-old German soldier bursts into tears after being taken
prisoner near Giessen, southeast of Paderborn. Though many
youngsters, hastily recruited as Germany scraped the bottom of
its manpower barrel, lost their boyish bravery after firing a few
shots, others fought doggedly until disabled or killed.
,..
Despite the thinly spread American defenders they
provided stiff resistance especially at Elsenbom
Ridge, St. Vith and Bastogne that prevented the
goal of reaching the Meuse River by day 4 and
Antwerp by day 8.
The plan required the Germans to capture oil supplies to continue
the advance especially the large supply depot at Liege; the Allies soon realized that oil supplies had to be destroyed on retreating.
Paratroops were dropped behind American lines were scattered
and failed to take the major road and bridges near Malmedy to
prevent American reinforcements but OTTO SKORZENY's
men, dressed in American and British uniforms, played a major
role in cutting communication lines and changing road signs
and spinning many ruse tales were considered very successful
but were unable to secure the bridges over the Meuse.
Battle of the Bulge--Results
and Consequences
The German Army attacked with 250,000 men on December
16 with another 250,000 in the salient, 1800 tanks including
42 new 57-ton Tiger tanks, 45-ton Panther tanks and 1900
artillery guns.
"Surcharged/or
SE
The Allies had about 83,000 troops 1300 tanks including 40
-ton Shermans and 394 artillery guns but a much superior
air force along the 85-mile Ardennes front while in the
France and Belgium area a total 840,000 men.
the Bastogne Memorial, July 16, 1950"
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Casualties on both sides were about 80,000+-20,000. It was considered the biggest American battle of the war in Europe. The cold weather accounted for
about 17,000 of the American casualties despite heating pebbles and dropping
them in their boots to dry their socks and shoes. Black soldiers who had heretofore served as truck drivers and stevedores on the 'Red Ball Express' bringing
supplies from Normandy to the front were finally allowed arms and allowed to
fight. The defense of Bastogne by the 101st Airborne, "Screaming Eagles", contributed greatly to the success of the defense.
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The Germans introduced the first "assault rifle", the Heer StG 44-it varies from
the submachine or tommy gun in that it fires the larger rifle cartridge, with a 30cartridge detachable magazine, instead of the smaller pistol cartridge. For the
German Army the desperate battle to obtain oil supplies and a port predicted the
course of the war. It depleted its reserves of men and materielleft much armory
behind including the loss of 600 tanks and artillery guns.
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The Allies learned the risk of stretching their resources over too large an area and ignoring available intelligence. It was also one of the few battles
in which planes did not lead the attack due to
weather but the Allies' air superiority quickly decided the ultimate course of the battle.
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StG44
The Allies quickly replaced the 465 planes that were destroyed or
damaged; the loss of as many as 1600 German planes could not be
replaced and made the German air war in the West ineffective. The
Allies changed their plans from mostly "Tactical Bombing" of cities
-to induce fear to more "Strategic Bombing" especially of oil resources.
The Canadian First Army would have had to defend the port of Antwerp had the Germans reached it and did not participate in the Battle
of the Bulge. However, they were given the task of clearing the
west bank of the Rhine River prior to the Allied invasion of Germany in the West in early 1945.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
The Battle of the Bulge
The Aerospace Chronology, Michael J. H. Taylor, Tri-Service Press Limited, 1989
2.
Wikipedia and numerous websites of specific items
3.
Eyewitness Flight by Andrew Nahum, DK Publishing, 2011
4.
Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogues, Volumes 1 to 6, Scott Publishing, 2009
5.
The Penguin Atlas History of the World, Penguin Books, 1980
6.
Battle of the Bulge, John Pimlott, Bison Books, 1982
7.
History of the Second World War, Time •..
Life Books, Prentice Hall Press, 1989
8.
Atlas of World War 11,Richard Natkiel, Bison Books, 1985
9.
World War 11,H. P. Willmott, Robin Cross, Charles Messenger, DK Publishing, 2004
10.
Aircraft of World War 11,Amber Books, Aerospace Publishing, 2004
11.
Visits to and literature from various war museums, airports and air museums
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Please accept my apology to anyone that I may have left out unintentionally.
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WARNING:
Much of the material is subject to copyright protection.
ENJOY:
This exhibit has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable. Please recognize that different authors especially those from both sides of a conflict may present a different reason for the causes and consequences of a conflict. It is intended to present highlights, to entertain, and to inspire further study of this
period and not intended to be totally comprehensive.