Sunday, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, author and historian Patrick O’Donnell praised the efforts of the U.S. First Army and the 101st Airborne in holding off the Germans in the Ardennes Forest during WW II.
Appearing on Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot radio channel 125, O’Donnell was asked by Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon how the First Army was caught so “flat-footed ” by the German Army at the onset of the Battle of the Bulge. O’Donnell replied that, for some unknown reason, the commander of the First Army by December of 1944 decided that he no longer needed the office of Strategic Services (OSS).
The OSS was formed during the war as the intelligence agency for the Allied forces and is the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“The eyes and ears of the First Army was gone by the time the Battle of the Bulge took place,” O’Donnell stated. He explained that the OSS were “line crossers.” Agents would disguise themselves as civilians and cross into German territory for five or six miles, gather information, and then cross back over and relay the intel to their superiors.
Had those units been in place, O’Donnell told Bannon, “the surprise” of the advancing German army with its vast amount of artillery probably would not have happened.
O’Donnell also explained that thanks to the valiant efforts of Dog Company, Allied forces had secured Hill 400 in a heroic battle a week before the Battle of the Bulge. O’Donnell wrote a book about the soldiers’ valor in Dog Company: The Boys of Pointe du Hoc.
After capturing the hill, from the elevated perch, they were able to see that there was plenty of activity on the German side. They could see that they were mounting a huge counteroffensive. Unfortunately, somehow “the information was reported back, but nobody connected the dots,” O’Donnell lamented.
According to the author, December 16, 1944, is the true beginning of the famous battle. “On that day, nearly 2000 artillery units opened up on the Allies,” O’Donnell recounted. “It was a massive plastering.”
O’Donnell said that he interviewed 5000 veterans, and many of the men were German soldiers. He recalled one of the soldiers was a member of the toughest branch of the German Army, the Waffen-SS. The author said he will never forget how excited the soldier got when he reminisced about the awesome German advance. “We were back!” he exalted. “We were back!”
O’Donnell related that he wears a St. Christopher medal he received from a soldier who fought in the battle. He belonged to a unit that lost over 850 of the 900 men that were in it.
At one point, the German Army offered to accept the Allied forces’ surrender after shelling them with heavy artillery. However, one general responded by shouting, “Nuts!” to their offer, O’Donnell recalls in his book Beyond Valor. The Germans were perplexed by the word. O’Donnell clarified that it meant “F-U.”
Fortunately, with the support of General Patton and the Third Army, the Allies went on to win the battle after holding the town of Bastogne, where soldiers of the 101st Airborne held out, despite being cut off and surrounded.
To learn more about Patrick K. O’Donnell and his new book, First SEALs, click here.