National Interest Magazine: Why the Battle of the Bulge Still Matters

National Interest Magazine: Why the Battle of the Bulge Still Matters

From National Interest:

The attack began with a barrage from 1,600 guns and rocket launchers that pounded trenches and command posts. Then came waves of tanks and infantry that surged out of the winter mist and slammed into the stunned and bewildered defenders.

It was a perfect example of shock and awe. Except that in December 1944, it was Americans who were on the receiving end.

This month marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, perhaps the greatest battle ever fought by the U.S. Army. A few tired or inexperienced U.S. divisions, assigned to what was supposed to be a quiet sector in the Ardennes region of Belgium, were assaulted by thirty German panzer and infantry divisions and 600 tanks in a massive surprise offensive.

Thousands of American troops surrendered, to be marched off to prison camps. Others fled for their lives, while still others, desperate and outgunned, made last stands against Nazi tanks.

What a different time it seems. In today’s era of small wars, American soldiers fear IEDs or snipers more than enemy tank blitzkriegs. It says volumes that a single U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan draws headlines. At the Bulge, 6,000 soldiers of the encircled U.S. 106th Infantry Division raised the white flag.

Yet the Battle of the Bulge is more than history. It is a primer of valuable lessons that still apply today.

Read the rest of the article at National Interest.