December 16, 1944 – Battle of the Bulge begins

December 16, 1944 – Battle of the Bulge begins

Nazi leader Adolf Hitler orders a surprise attack on the Allied forces closing in along the Western Front. The German counteroffensive out of the densely wooded Ardennes region took the Allies by surprise and created a bulge 60 miles deep into the front. Weather prevented the unleashing of the Allies’ air superiority, and for several days Hitler’s desperate gamble seemed to be paying off. However, the Americans kept up a fierce resistance, and on December 23 the skies cleared over the bulge. By January 21, the Germans had been pushed back to their original line, having lost some 120,000 men in the offensive. The Allies suffered 81,000 casualties, all but 4,000 of whom were Americans.