Pictures of Battle of the Bulge


Breathtaking new photographs, including several vivid full-color images, offer a never-before-seen look at the war-weary soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge who fought through the frozen Ardennes Forest in a mountainous region of Belgium in the dead of winter.

They show soldiers on both sides battling the frigid weather as they fought each other during Nazi Germany's last-ditch effort to drive back Allied forces between December 1944 and January 1945.

The pictures were released by Life Magazine on the 67th anniversary of the start of the grueling battle.

Sherman Tank

Icy: An American Sherman M4 tank moves past another gun carriage that slid off icy road in the Ardennes Forest during push to halt advancing German troops.

At the end of the of the 41-day offensive, 19,000 American soldiers were dead. The British Army lost 1,400 lives. Total allied casualties are estimated at 110,000 - making it the bloodiest battle for American troops in all of World War II.

German casualties were lower at about 85,000. But the Wehrmacht - Germany's unified military command - ultimately lost their gambit to break through the Allied lines and capture key supplies -- especially fuel for tanks and aircraft.

 

Under-manned and not prepared to camp out in temperatures that dropped to four degrees below zero Fahrenheit, American forces held out against German tanks and troops until reinforcements, including General George S. Patton's Third Army arrived and beat back the Nazi offensive.

The German surprise attack came after Allied forces liberated France and were beginning to look forward to surging into Nazi Germany. Some historians say complacency among Allied commanders left troops totally unprepared for the German counterattack that sparked the Battle of the Bulge.

Perhaps the most famous story of the bloody battle came during the German siege of the Belgian town of Bastogne. Surrounded, American units were running out of ammunition and food. Medical supplies were scarce.

When the Nazi commander demanded the surrender of the Americans, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, the commander of the 101st Airborne Division responded with a one word answer: 'NUTS!'

Hitler

Development phase: Here, German Fuhrer and Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler and members of his General Staff review plans for 'Operation Bodenplatte,' an airstrike in support of the Ardennes offensive.

Troops in a tench

Holding out: American troops man the trenches along a snowy hedgerow in the northern Ardennes Forest during the Battle of the Bulge

7th Armored Division

Braving the cold: Soldiers with the Seventh Armored Division trudge through snow in a bombed-out Belgian village in 1945

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Beaten: A fifteen year old German soldier, Hans-Georg Henke, cries being captured by the US 9th Army in Germany on April 3, 1945.

German POWs

Surrender: Nazi prisoners of war hold up their arms as Allied soldiers round up captives January 20, 1945 near the French-German border

Civilians flee

Fleeing the fight: American GI's helped local residents to load themselves and their belongings onto US trucks so they could escape the fight

German wreckage

Wreckage: This German plane was shot down by Allied guns and was found lying in snowy field in the Ardennes Forest

GI shaving

Daily life: This American soldier shaves in the cold during a lull in the fighting in the Battle of the Bulge

Weary soldier

Exhausted: An American soldier, just back from the front lines near the town of Murrigen, shows signs of fatigue January 1, 1945

American soldiers of the 1st Army huddle around campfire in the snowy countryside of northern Ardennes Forest during lull in the Battle of the Bulge

American soldiers of the 1st Army huddle around campfire in the snowy countryside of northern Ardennes Forest during lull in the Battle of the Bulge

January 1945: Hard going for US tanks at Amonines, Belgium, on the northern flank of the 'battle of the bulge'.

January 1945: Hard going for US tanks at Amonines, Belgium, on the northern flank of the 'battle of the bulge'.

German POWs carrying body of American soldier killed in Battle of Bulge through snowy Ardennes field

German POWs carrying body of American soldier killed in Battle of Bulge through snowy Ardennes field

View of German soldiers aboard a Jagdpanzer IV/70 tank destroyer from the 12th SS Panzer Division during the Battle of the Bulge

View of German soldiers aboard a Jagdpanzer IV/70 tank destroyer from the 12th SS Panzer Division during the Battle of the Bulge

Soldiers of US 1st Army hacking at frozen ground to dig foxholes near their machine gun position during a lull
Allied aircraft vapor trails in skies above US soldier unloading a jeep outside (prob.) farmhouse in the Ardennes Forest

Tough going: Soldiers of US 1st Army hacking at frozen ground to dig foxholes near their machine gun position during a lull, left, and Allied aircraft vapor trails in skies above US soldier unloading a jeep outside a farmhouse in the Ardennes Forest





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