Battle Analysis: The Battle Of The Bulge

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The purpose of this paper is to apply the four steps of battle analysis to the Battle of the Bulge and provide an alternate outcome of the battle given a different use of intelligence assets at that time. The Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Counteroffensive or Operation Watch on the Rhine is one of the most critical and bloody battles of WWII. Additionally, it was a battle in which the outcome was heavily dependent on the element of surprise as well as on Allied intelligence capabilities. My analysis of the Battle of the Bulge will demonstrate that a different analytic approach to the intelligence leading up to the battle could have significantly altered the length and outcome of the battle in favor of Allied objectives.…show more content…
I relied primarily on the following three historical accounts: The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge (Cole, 1965), Ardennes-Alsace: The U.S. Army Campaigns of World War II (Cirillio, n.d.), and Patton’s Oracle: Gen. Oscar Koch, as I Knew Him (Hays, 2013). These three historical accounts are well researched, but also represent the American perspective of the battle and may not fully take into account the British or German perspectives, although the British had substantially less involvement in the battle. Regarding Hays book, he was a good friend of Oscar Koch and potentially biased in favor of Koch and General Patton’s account of the Battle of the Bulge. Having said that, Hays also presents physical evidence and firsthand accounts in his book to support Koch’s explanation of the intelligence available prior to the…show more content…
Thanks to the 101st Airborne Division’s ability to hold the key crossroads at Bastogne as well as many other units’ dogged determination to hold their ground, the German armies were unable to move rapidly enough to seize much of the planned key terrain during this first phase of the battle. This delaying phase was followed by a phase of large Allied reinforcements and blocking actions. Patton’s Third Army was one of the first armored reinforcements as the result of a remarkably fast 100-mile northern maneuver to relieve the surrounded 101st Airborne Division on 26 December. The weather conditions also contributed to this reinforcement phase when the Air Force was able to resume operations on 23 December. By 28 December the Germans realized their initial objective at Antwerp could not be achieved. The last phase of the battle began on 3 January as the Allied forces initiated their own offensive—slowly returning the “bulge” to the original front line by the end of the month (Blockmans, n.d.). The outcome of the Battle of the Bulge was ultimately a critical German defeat that led to the collapse of German defenses on the Western front, but it was also a very costly win for the Allies. The U.S. First Army suffered roughly 40,000 casualties while the Third Army had over 35,000

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