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Could Hitler of won the "Battle of the Bulge"?


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#1 Blue Lightning

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 03:48 AM

We all know that the BoB, or the "Ardennes offensive" (as it was known to the Germans), was Germanys last great offensive strike of WWII, taking place in December 1944. Hitler mustered up enough tanks and supplies to make one more good offensive hit, and again (like in 1940), he would use the Ardenne forest as the point of attack. His plan was to capture Bastone which was a key junction to an important road network, and then drive west to Antwerp and the sea and "split" the British and American forces, encircle them, forcing them to sue for peace. Then he could turn his armies to Russia.

As we all know it failed. Partly because the Americans held Bastone (fixed) by a General that told the Germans "nuts" when the town was surrounded and he was asked to surrender...and that same General and was able to hold while General Patton drove his 3rd army to releive the 101st Airborn trapped in the town. Another reason it failed is about the same time the air cleared and allied planes could fly again. The 3rd reason is that the German tanks failed to capture a key fuel depot, and thus ran out of fuel.

But, what would of happend if Germany didnt have those problems, and actually made it to the sea and split the allied forces? I dont see where it would of made any difference in the outcome. The allies would still keep landing more troops in France, and still attack the Germans wherever they were with fresh planes and troops. At that point, it was a war of attrition. So Im thinking the BoB was un-winable for Hitler. Am I wrong? What would of been Hitlers best outcome for the BoB? And what could he of done different to make it sucsessful?

Discuss :)

#2 Alvin Fuchs

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 08:09 AM

Note the "Nuts" reply was given to the German commander demanding the surrender of Bastogne, held by elements of the 101st.
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#3 Blue Lightning

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 12:14 PM

Quite right...fixed.

Ok, how could of Hitler won the BoB? If he waited a few more days he might of had more fuel for the attack and his tanks might not of had to capture the fuel depot that was so important to his tanks.

At Bastone, mabye the Germans should of built up more forces to the south in preperation of a possible Patton attack?

Mabye a westren offensive was a bad move for a depleted German army, which only served to weaken his forces on the eastren front?

#4 Cpl.Guillemette

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 12:48 PM

Mabye a westren offensive was a bad move for a depleted German army, which only served to weaken his forces on the eastren front?


Damn right, also he wanted to retry his 1941 coup, but the situation was quite different by then. Even the natural elements, summer to winter makes a big diffrerence for an armored attack on muddy tracks.
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#5 FuriousBystander

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 02:28 PM

We all know that the BoB, or the "Ardennes offensive" (as it was known to the Germans), was Germanys last great offensive strike of WWII, taking place in December 1944.


Last Major German Offensive of WWII


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#6 Alvin Fuchs

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 04:38 PM

Last Major German Offensive of WWII


Quick, Blue, edit "in the West" in there to save face.
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#7 Dreek

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 10:58 PM

Quick, Blue, edit "in the West" in there to save face.


The last GREAT offensive might suffice.

As for Bastogne one of the major German tactical blunders was they never attacked from multiple directions on different lines. This allowed the Allies to concentrate what little artillery they had on each assault as it came rather than being overrun from a neglected sector.
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#8 Homuth

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 12:45 AM

It was a last hope of victory on the West, Germans realised that, if they would've held their forces back they would've soon lost all their main cities and industrial centres, which would have the same results as the failure of the attack, so for Hitler it mattered little I guess. Time was ticking with the Ruskies closing in, forcing the Western Allies to peace was in my opinion the best option in order to turn the tide on the Eastern front.

It is debatable if the Allies would sue for peace if the offensive indeed reached to Antwerpen and encircled the American/British armies in the north. What do you think?
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#9 Blue Lightning

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 01:15 AM

I too doubt the allies would fo sued for peace. It was December, 1944. All was quiet on the Westren front, and the eastren front was quiet too as the Russian offensive "ran out of gas" and had wound down. It was like both fronts were taking a break...quiet for the winter.

In December Hitler abruptly disturbed the quiet with an attack through the Ardenne. For the first time since 1940, German tanks were again rolling westward. But unlike 1940, the Germans were not as well equipped, and the allies were much better equipped than the French had been in 1940. And if the fog would clear (which it finally did later), the allies would have complete air supremecy...something that Hitler had in 1940.

The allies had an infinite supply of resources to draw from, since nobody could attack American factories, an advantage Germany enjoyed in 1940. In fact Germany was in a completley different situation in 1944 than she had been in 1940, in almost every way.

So, it seems to me that the Ardennes offensive was doomed to failure before it ever began.

But if I was commanding the German army, I probebly would of hit a very narrow area with full force, heavy tanks in the front, rather than spread out as was mentioned by Dreek. I would of pushed that spearhead as fast as possible in one direction, blitzkrieg style, and made Antwerp in just a few days before the fog would clear. At the very least, this would of caused mass confusion to the allies, and if they didnt sue for peace, they at least would be retreating in several areas.

But the problem is this: Even if Germany accomplished what I just painted, the fog would of still lifted sooner or later, and the allies could of just sent waves of bombers to hit the German lines, and that would of been that. Germanys Luftwaffe was all but gone, that was the real problem.

#10 Crawler

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 12:30 AM

The allies would never of sued for peace had antwerp been taken. It was very clear no matter what setbacks, that the only thing on the table was a german unconditional surrender.

The Ardennes offensive could never of succeded. Most German generals knew this but Hitler was adament about launching the offensive, and was very unwilling to listen to anyone elses advice by this point. Simply put, the forces against the axis were too great, the speed at which the allies could redeply units to face the attack suprised the germans as well. Factor in that the German army was a shadow of its 1940 self, if not in equipment then certainly in training and combat effectivenes. Even the WSS by late 44 was starting to experience the creep of untrained, overage, underage and injured soldiers into thier ranks that had been the norm in Heer units for over a year. Although the motivation and morale of these SS units was still strong. Add to that a lack of fuel and munitions (Despite the allied bombing campaign, production of weapons never really dipped for the germans, munitions production however did not keep up).

Given all this The German army did very well in the Bulge, Driving on further than they should have really, and then fighting a tenacious rearguard action when the offensive inevitably stalled. The only real tactical error I think is that Kampfgruppe Pieper should of perhaps hooked north and helped break through at Elsenborn which would have created a big gap at the only place where the terrain really favoured a breakthrough (the germans never took the Elsenborn ridge which was a key objective for them, and a massive setback). Instead they went on a bloodsoaked and pretty pointless joyride to stoumont and back.

#11 Jörg Biermann

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 08:23 PM

I would say that if the Germans won the Ardennes it would have only prolonged the inevitable. I don't know much about the allied side but I think that without Antwerp it would of been a lot harder for them to get fuel and ammo to the front like it was when they first got into Normandy. They would have to rely the other Ports which were a lot further away from the front so what i think would of happened is stopped the western forces for a long time but eventually they would of make some big operation to take back Antwerp.

I don't really know much info so this is all kinda from my own opinion.
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#12 Blue Lightning

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 12:58 AM

Well here is a look at the battle map.

Note the long front (about 60 miles wide) with several different areas of attack by the Germans, instead of a single (but powerful) armored thrust (about 15 or 20 miles wide). And the area to the south...Luxembourg...no real defense in-case Pattons 3rd army comes north.

If it were me commanding the German army, the whole front would of been narrow, about a 20 miles wide instead of 60. I would of had 3 armies...I would of sent a strong armored unit with heavy tanks (like Tigers and King Tigers) to Bastone, and a light army flanking to the right to protect it. I would of sent a very heavy army to the left (where Hitler sent the 5th paratroop division) incase Patton comes north (I would of feared Patton the most even though he was 100 miles away), and would of lined the left flank with Stugs in defensive positions along with Marders and Hetzers and had the army dig in on that line. I would of put all my forces in that narrow area. I would of be worried about Pattons army the most and been prepared for it. Then the main army at Bastone could of dashed to Antwerp. Of course hine sight is 20/20...

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#13 Alvin Fuchs

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 05:13 PM

Right I've been meaning to chime in on this.

But, what would of happened if Germany didnt have those problems, and actually made it to the sea and split the allied forces? I dont see where it would of made any difference in the outcome. The allies would still keep landing more troops in France, and still attack the Germans wherever they were with fresh planes and troops. At that point, it was a war of attrition. So I'm thinking the BoB was un-winable for Hitler. Am I wrong? What would of been Hitlers best outcome for the BoB?



Because the meat and potatoes of the entire OP was this, I'll just skip all of the various arguments based around the actual battle itself. If the Meuse was reached in 3 days, as per German operational plans, and then a thrust successfully smashing into Antwerp... it's something to think about. If such an encirclement had been pulled off, one third of all Western Allied ground forces would have been "in the bag" (the British 21st AG, US 1st and 4th Armies). That would be a devastating blow.

If such a miraculous success had been achieved, Germany would have been quite well off in the West. While it's true the Allied equipment losses could've been replaced entirely within several months, the American and especially English manpower pools would've have taken severe blows. Were there any British land formations outside of the Low Countries? A few in Italy (along with ANZAC), but that's about it. Of course, looking at pure population totals the US Army surely would have been capable of raising many fresh divisions, but I doubt they would've been close to the quality of the experienced units destroyed in the hypothetical Antwerp pocket.

If such a German-favorable outcome had actually been the case, I can see the Western Allies potentially contemplating some sort of diplomatic settlement, but the pressure from the USSR would make any real ceasefire or peace attempts doubtful.

HOWEVER. I seriously doubt such an "Antwerp Pocket" could've have been held shut by the German forces available. Imagine the powerful encircled forces making a dedicated breakout in conjunction with a major attack from the outside (possibly south, obviously with Patton filling the latter role). The German ring would've been shattered, there's no denying it. Allied casualties would be moderately high, but they would be free of encirclement, and only be set back a few hundred kilometers.

IMO.
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#14 Masterson

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 07:53 PM

HOWEVER. I seriously doubt such an "Antwerp Pocket" could've have been held shut by the German forces available. Imagine the powerful encircled forces making a dedicated breakout in conjunction with a major attack from the outside (possibly south, obviously with Patton filling the latter role). The German ring would've been shattered, there's no denying it. Allied casualties would be moderately high, but they would be free of encirclement, and only be set back a few hundred kilometers.

IMO.


If that happened then there is a very good chance the Germans that thrusted forward would find themselves trapped in a pocket.
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#15 LSchroll

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 11:24 AM

I don't know if this has already been mentioned, but I read that during it's frantic advance, Kampfgruppe Peiper drove directly past at least one American fuel dump which could've provided enough fuel for the entire drive west to Antwerp without any knowledge of it being there. Apparently the Americans were in such a hurry to leave they were forced to abandon it completely intact. I wonder how differently the battle would've unfolded had they discovered it?
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#16 Jörg Biermann

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 12:23 PM

I don't know if this has already been mentioned, but I read that during it's frantic advance, Kampfgruppe Peiper drove directly past at least one American fuel dump which could've provided enough fuel for the entire drive west to Antwerp without any knowledge of it being there. Apparently the Americans were in such a hurry to leave they were forced to abandon it completely intact. I wonder how differently the battle would've unfolded had they discovered it?


They must of been having too much fun charging through the lines to notice them :/
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#17 LSchroll

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 01:33 PM

I don't know if this has already been mentioned, but I read that during it's frantic advance, Kampfgruppe Peiper drove directly past at least one American fuel dump which could've provided enough fuel for the entire drive west to Antwerp without any knowledge of it being there. Apparently the Americans were in such a hurry to leave they were forced to abandon it completely intact. I wonder how differently the battle would've unfolded had they discovered it?


They must of been having too much fun charging through the lines to notice them :/


I think the real reason was no aerial reconnoissance, due to the weather of course.
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#18 Masterson

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 03:43 PM

I don't know if this has already been mentioned, but I read that during it's frantic advance, Kampfgruppe Peiper drove directly past at least one American fuel dump which could've provided enough fuel for the entire drive west to Antwerp without any knowledge of it being there. Apparently the Americans were in such a hurry to leave they were forced to abandon it completely intact. I wonder how differently the battle would've unfolded had they discovered it?


They must of been having too much fun charging through the lines to notice them :/


I think the real reason was no aerial reconnoissance, due to the weather of course.


It would have been very hard for them to do ariel recon in clear weather because the Allies would have their planes up aswell...
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#19 LSchroll

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 10:14 PM

It would have been very hard for them to do ariel recon in clear weather because the Allies would have their planes up aswell...


That they would've.
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#20 Kashash

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 12:23 AM

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