Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Battle of the Bulge: 75 years ago this month. What can we learn?

In PJ Media, Victor Davis Hanson writes in part,
Seventy-five years ago, at the Battle of the Bulge (fought from Dec. 16, 1944, to Jan. 25, 1945), the United States suffered more casualties than in any other battle in its history. Some 19,000 Americans were killed, 47,500 wounded and 23,000 reported missing.

...the losing side is often the most dangerous just before its collapse.

...Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, commander of Allied Forces in Western Europe, never expected that a tottering Germany could muster 400,000 attackers with roughly 600 tanks and massive artillery support -- all secretly massed just a few miles beyond Allied lines.

Yet by the second week in January, the month-long offensive had largely failed. The Germans were in retreat. They had lost almost as many men and machines as the Americans but lacked a commensurate ability to replace them.

What can we learn from our bloodiest battle on the 75th anniversary of it?

The deadliest periods of a war are often near its end. The losing side puts up a desperate resistance that is often unexpected by the overconfident, winning opponents. One of the most lethal American battles in the Pacific Theater was fought at Okinawa, costing 50,000 casualties and ending just weeks before Japan surrendered.

...Had the American command followed the rambunctious Patton's recommendation to cut off the overexposed German bulge at its base, rather than conservatively try to push it back at the nose, the campaign would have ended even sooner, with far fewer lost American lives.

...The Battle of the Bulge reminds us that when deadly enemies prove unpredictable, it is sometimes wise to have an even more unpredictable leader on our side.
Read more here.

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