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Saturday, 10 December 2022 00:00

Today December 10, "battling" the freezing cold, EPA member Thierry L. trudged through snow and slush during 44th "Marche du Périmètre", the Bastogne Historical Walk in Belgium as they commemorated the hardships endured by World War II soldiers.

This year the Perimeter March marked the 78th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Offensive (Ardennenoffensive in German). The battle lasted from 16 December 1944 to 28 January 1945, towards the end of the war in Europe, it was the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II. Ultimately unsuccessful, it was their last ditch effort to slow the Allies’ progress across Europe.

Hitler believed that if the Allies could only be slowed, then perhaps Germany would have time to finish work on some new weapons they were developing. He decided that if the Germans could retake or destroy Antwerp, then the Allies would be denied resources and be incapable of progress for the time being. The Germans forces achieved a succesfully surprise attack on the morning of 16 December 1944. After a day of hard fighting, the Germans broke through the American front, surrounding most of an infantry division, seizing key crossroads, and advancing their spearheads toward the Meuse River, creating the projection that gave the battle its name.

The formidable SS armored units with supporting Wehrmacht divisions initially achieved dramatic success making full use of the harsh winter conditions and terrain. Gradually the Allies regained the upper hand on the attackers who were increasingly suffering from lack of reinforcements and resupplies. After defeat at the pivotal battle of Bastonge, remaining German units withdrew and most were transferred back to the Eastern Front.

The offensive involved a total of around 450,000 troops, 1,500 tanks, tank destroyers, and assault guns, 2,600 artillery pieces and over 1,000 combat aircraft, as well as large numbers of other armored fighting vehicles (AFVs). Between 63,222 and 98,000 of these men were killed, missing, wounded in action, or captured. From among the Americans' peak strength of 610,000 troops, there were 89,000 casualties, including about 19,000 killed. The "Bulge" was the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by the United States in World War II and the third-deadliest campaign in American history.


Job well done brother! AIRBORNE!!!.

Thierry Bastogne2