«BATTLEBOOK Commanding General, United States Army, Europe Senior Leader Staff Ride The Battle of the Bulge Contents The Am erican Soldier SSG Joseph ...»
“All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well-known American humanity.
The German Commander”
Allied Troops are counterattacking in force. We continue to hold Bastogne. By holding Bastogne we assure the success of the Allied Armies. We know that our Division Commander, General Taylor, will say: “Well Done!” We are giving our country and our loved ones at home a worthy Christmas present and being privileged to take part in this gallant feat of arms are truly making for ourselves a Merry Christmas.
Sherm an – W ibrin, Belgium, August 2001 Casualties “Some thirty-two U.S. divisions fought in the Ardennes, where the daily battle strength of U.S. Army forces averaged twenty-six divisions and 610,000 men... (T)he cost of victory was staggering. The final tally for the Ardennes totaled 41,315 casualties in December to bring the offensive to a halt and an additional 39,672 casualties in January to retake lost ground.
The SHAEF casualty estimate presented to Eisenhower in February 1945 listed casualties for the First Army at 39,957; for the Third Army at 35,525;
and for the British XXX Corps, which helped at the end, at 1,408… Sickness and cold weather also ravaged the fighting lines, with the First, Third, and Seventh (in Alsace) Armies having cold injury hospital admissions of more than 17,000 during the entire campaign. No official German losses for the Ardennes have been computed, but they have been estimated at between 81,000 and 103,000.” (from “Ardennes-Alsace”, CMH Pub 72-26. Figures below are from Weigley, “Eisenhower’s Lieutenants”).
Suggestions for Further Reading The “R ed Ball Highw ay” w as the US response to keeping the rapidly advancing Allied arm ies sufficiently supplied w ith the “sinew s of w ar” as ever-lengthening lines of com m unication put increasing strains on the over-burdened logistics system.
Truck convoys rolled over this highw ay day and night, m oving supplies from the beachheads to the fighting front.
(from Morelock, Generals of the Ardennes, NDU Press, 1994) General Histories Ambrose, Stephen E. Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944 – May 7, 1945. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.
This book reflects Ambrose’s two great strengths as a chronicler of front-line combat told in the words of the men who fought it and as Eisenhower’s biographer. The work is broader than the Ardennes, but Ambrose’s coverage of this campaign alternates between gripping tales of desperate men heroically holding on to obscure crossroads and generally perceptive accounts of decision making at the theater level. By leaving out the middle, however, Ambrose at times seems to give Eisenhower sole credit for actions that were actually taken by subordinate commanders. (Hal Winton) Cole, Hugh. The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge. Washington, D. C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1965.
Begin any study of the Battle of the Bulge with this book, one of the very few that offers professional soldiers the opportunity to study tactical operations in coherent detail. Cole discusses the strategic backgrounds of the battle; Hitler's rationale and operational planning for the offensive;
troops and terrain; why commanders made the decisions they made; and the development of the battle in great detail and in orderly chronological and geographical sequence. The book includes good maps in text and a supplement of ten detailed fold-out maps at the back -- the only really useful maps of the battle that are in print. The author knows what he is talking about. A graduate of the Command and General Staff School, he served during World War II as an intelligence officer on Third Army staff. After the war, he was Deputy Theater Historian in Europe and thereafter worked at the Army's Center of Military History, where he also wrote another volume in the series, The Lorraine Campaign. This book is based on original documentation and interviews with participants and commanders at all levels. Most newer books really only sift through the information that older books present and do not offer original research, basic research and analysis that Cole and his fellow Army historians did after World War II. (Charles Kirkpatrick) Dupuy, Ernest. St. Vith: Lion in the Way: The 106th Infantry Division in World War II.
Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1949, and subsequently reprinted.
This book, which Russell Weigley considers one of the better divisional histories, details the fate of the 106th Infantry Division, two regiments of which eventually surrendered in the Battle of the Bulge -- a battle that began for the division some six days after it arrived in Europe. (CK)
Dupuy, Trevor N., David L. Bongard, and Richard C. Anderson Jr. Hitler’s Last Gamble:
The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945. New York: Harper Collins, 1994.
The operational-level assessments in this work are at times questionable, but they are offset by its excellent and quite detailed tactical analyses. Succinct unit histories of engaged divisions on both sides, informative personality sketches of German and American division and corps commanders, excellent maps, and pithy summaries of major and minor engagements make this one of the most appealing and useful tactical studies of the Bulge in the last twenty years. (HW) Graham, Cosmas and Albert Cowdrey. The Medical Service in the European Theater of Operations. Washington, D. C., CMH, 1992.
This is the official history of the medical services in the European theater. It is also one of the best sources available for use in staff rides devoted to operations in the Ardennes or the Huertgen. The hospital and evacuation crisis of late 1944 affected operations, morale, and manpower.
Unanticipated high casualties in October and December swamped the system and required tremendous ingenuity to solve. The chapters about the evacuation system and the medics in retreat (December) and in the attack are also quite interesting and useful to a staff ride. (Scott Wheeler) Hogan, David. Command Post at War: First Army Headquarters in Europe, 1943-1945.
Washington, D. C.: CMH, 2000.
Hodge’s First Army played a central role in the battles from Normandy to the Rhine. Hogan’s account of the operation of the First Army command post is invaluable to anyone trying to understand how an army headquarters functions in wartime. The maps are excellent, and the discussions about the various functional and special staff sections are very interesting. Hogan also provides good analyses of the primary staff officers who served in the First Army HQ. (SW) Lewin, Ronald. Ultra Goes to War. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978.
The ground-breaking book that finally explained the Allies' great advantage in being able to decipher much of the German operational radio traffic, Lewin's book gives some of the basis for Eisenhower's and Bradley's assurance about German intentions and their well-conceived countermeasures. (CK) MacDonald, Charles. A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.
A long-time colleague of Hugh Cole at the Center of Military History, and himself the author of a number of volumes in the official history series and an unacknowledged co-author of a number of books credited to other historians, MacDonald brought a different approach to his book about the Battle of the Bulge. In 1944, at 22 years of age, MacDonald was a rifle company commander in the 2nd Infantry Division. He led the fight in a crucial V Corps battle in front of the towns of Krinkelt and Rocherath, a desperate battle in which he won a Silver Star and one of his soldiers a Medal of Honor. While his book is a careful and responsible tactical analysis of the fighting, MacDonald focused on two other factors that were crucial in the eventual American victory: the fighting quality of the individual American soldier and the character of American command and leadership at all levels. Because MacDonald was a gifted writer, his book is very readable. Because he fought in this battle, his wrote with great understanding of the conditions. Nonetheless, his analysis of the fighting was dispassionate and measured. A superb book about the Battle of the Bulge, A Time for Trumpets is the ideal companion volume to Cole's official history. While Cole analyzed the tactics in unmatched detail, MacDonald gives the reader a clear picture -- a soldier's picture -- of the intangibles of leadership and courage that made all the difference in those small unit actions. Those who wish more detail on the company-level battle should refer to MacDonald's classic memoir, Company Commander (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1947, and reprinted many times subsequently). (CK) This book remains the best book for staff rides focusing on the tactical and operational levels of War during the Battle of the Bulge. MacDonald was a company commander in the 2d Infantry Division and his experiences illuminate his analysis and conclusions. MacDonald sets the strategic and operational stage before he describes and analyzes the tactical level. The book is especially good in its coverage of the North Shoulder, which MacDonald argues was the critical sector of the battle operationally. This book gives a superb account of the tactical operations, especially in the first seven days of the battle. (SW) MacLean, French. Quiet Flows the Rhine: German General Officer Casualties in World War Two. Winnipeg, Ont.: J. J. Fedorowicz, 1996.
This is a masterful study of the German Army’s senior officer casualties in the war. There is nothing like it for our army since we suffered so few general officer casualties. Not surprisingly, most general officer deaths occurred on the Eastern Front, where most of the German generals served. (SW) Mansoor, Peter. The GI Offensive in Europe: The Triumph of American Infantry Divisions, 1941-45. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 1999.
This is one of the best accounts of how the United States Army mobilized, trained, fielded, and commanded infantry divisions in the Second World War. Mansoor’s point is that American infantry divisions performed magnificently against the more experienced, and often better armed, German divisions in Italy, France, Belgium, and Germany. The American divisions learned from their mistakes and corrected a remarkable number of problems in the field. He also points out the numerous weaknesses in the training and personnel systems of the US Army during the war. This section is very good food for thought about how to mobilize a large army for an emergency such as World War Two. Finally, Mansoor provides excellent biographical discussions of a number of infantry divisions and the generals who commanded them. (SW) Morelock J.D. Generals of the Ardennes: American Leadership in the Battle of the Bulge.
Washington: National Defense University Press, 1994.
Written while Morelock was an Army Colonel on active duty, this account fills in the gaps left in other works by explicitly examining one commander at each echelon from theater to combat command. The resulting protagonists are Dwight Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander, Omar Bradley as commander of Twelfth Army Group, William Simpson as commander of Ninth Army, Troy Middleton as commander of VIII Corps, Alan Jones as commander of the ill-fated 106th Infantry Division, and Bruce Clarke as commander of Combat Command B, 7th Armored Division. Although one could perhaps take issue with several of these choices, the book’s real credibility derives from the judiciousness of Morelock’s assessments as he parcels out praise and blame to his subjects. (HW) Ruppenthal, Roland. Logistical Support of the Armies. 2 Volumes. Washington, D. C.: CMH, 1995.
This two-volume work is the best account of the history of logistical operations in Europe in World War Two. The old saying that ‘professionals do logistics and amateurs do tactics’ makes sense when one reads these volumes. As Eisenhower’s memos to Marshall and the Combined Chiefs of Staff indicate, the logistical situation and requirements drove much of the strategic and operational thinking and decisions of the campaign. There probably would not have been a Huertgen Forest campaign in 1944-45 had the US Army not literally run out of supplies in September 1944. Ruppenthal explains why the corps’ and divisions were running on empty at the end of the rapid pursuit of the Germans across France, and he tells the very interesting story of how the logistical troops and their commanders rectified that situation in a remarkably short time. Alas, there is too little about coal here. (SW) Votaw, John. Blue Spaders, The 26th Infantry Regiment, 1917-1967. Wheaton, Ill.: Cantigny First Division Foundation, 1996.
The First Infantry Division Museum and association published this interesting account of the 26th Infantry in the two world wars. The Blue Spaders were in the thick of the fighting to take Aachen and the Stolberg Corridor. Later they helped turn the Huertgen Forest from the north.
Finally, they destroyed the 12th SS Panzer Division in the Battle of the Bulge. Anyone in the First Infantry Division doing a staff ride of the Huertgen or of the Ardennes ought to use this book along with MacDonald’s books. (SW) Weigley, Russell. Eisenhower's Lieutenants: The Campaign of France and Germany 1944-1945. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981.