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National Days

TODAY’S NATIONAL DAY, 12/16/19 – BATTLE OF THE BULGE DAY!

battle_of_the_bulge_684x280_final75 years ago today, December 16, 1944, Allied troops were settling in for the winter, having successfully invaded and liberated Nazi-occupied France and Belgium, forcing the mighty Wehrmacht into retreat and disarray. The war in Europe was widely considered all but won. By the Allies, anyway, but Germany had one more major offensive up its sleeve, and today we celebrate

NATIONAL BATTLE OF THE BULGE DAY!

The Allies, lightly guarding the frontier with green troops to give combat-weary front line troops a rest, were caught completely by surprise by the size and ferocity of the attack, and the timing, occurring in severe winter conditions that at first grounded most aircraft, negating the Allies’ critical air-superiority. The “Bulge” was the hundred-mile breach in Allied lines made by German shock troops and armor. They were eventually pushed back to the original front lines, but not before over 19,000 American soldiers lost their lives, and another 200 British troops, with 66,000 more Allied troops wounded, captured or missing. The Germans suffered over 80,000 casualties, and 3,000 French civilians also died in the hellish fighting. “Operation Watch on the Rhine” (the German name for the offensive) lasted 40 days, and marked the last time the Wehrmacht would go on the offensive. Less than 5 months later the Nazis surrendered their Thousand Year Reich to the Allies, 988 years shy of their goal.

•Suggested Activities: Declaring Peace.

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