Sunday, December 17, 2017

And The Snow Fell

Seventy-three years ago yesterday, the Ardennes offensive began as the last major German offensive of WW2. The Germans poured men an material into Belgium and Luxembourg in attempt stop the Allied invasion  forces and to capture the port of Antwerp which was vital to the Allied supply system. While this ferocious battle was taking place during the "coldest winter on record" in Europe. German soldiers had  been retreating since their defeat by the Soviets at Stalingrad in February 1943 and for sure after the Battle of Kursk. The losses for both armies was staggering as was civilian loss of life. It is estimated that thirty million Soviet civilians died during the war. Many civilians died at the hands of the Stalin regime from starvation and by execution for various "crimes". As an example of the harshness of the Soviet rule, app. 7,700 Soviet soldiers were executed by Communist political officers at Stalingrad alone and for minor offenses such as "drunkeness" and not "fighting hard enough". It was a very brutal war with horrible winter conditions that both sides had to endure. I came across this video of Germans in the snow and thought I would share. 



2 comments:

  1. My father was part of 26th Div. aka Yankee Div. and 1st generation Austrian-American.
    His group was moved into the battle in mid Dec.1944. While he never deeply spoke of his WWII actions or this Battle, (Battle of the Bulge) other than his group was there for Bastogne. But when we were stationed at Prüm Eiffel in 1965 on the Belgium Border for 2 years he took us on a tour of The Battle area. Even then 20 years later, the area had US Army battle damaged battle vehicles in every little town. All set up a memorials honoring the US Army Soldiers and Gen. Patton that liberated them.

    Jeff
    I have his Yankee Div Member Alumni book 1946-7 which is full of pictures of this and will send a few later today. NOC

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing Anon. I look forward to hearing the rest of the story.

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