Please register for Total War Access to use the forums. If you're an existing user, your forum details will be merged with Total War Access if you register with the same email or username. For more information please read our FAQ’s here.


The Battle of the Bulge: What could Germany have achieved?

Half_Life_Expert#4276Half_Life_Expert#4276 Registered Users Posts: 4,686
Last thread was in the ancient world to mix things up a bit, but as it is the anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, I decided to do this one next.

In December 1944, with the exception of the Hurtgen Forest, the Western Front of WWII was pretty quiet. The Western Allies were at the borders with Germany and had almost all of France and Belgium liberated.

Monty's 21st Army Group was in the northern areas (Northern Belgium and the Parts of the Netherlands that had been liberated). Bradley's 21st Army Group was responsible for almost everything south of Monty. In the Ardennes forest, along an 88 mile section of the Frontline, were a few relatively weak US divisions that were really just expected to hold that area so that it would not be defenseless. The Ardennes was deemed highly unlikely to be the location of any major action. It's amazing how the Western Allies forgot the 1940 drive through the Ardennes, as that is almost exactly what Germany was going to try and match.....

Hitler decided to throw everything he had into one last offensive in the west that, according to him, stood a good chance of improving Germany's situation in the West. Probably not winning the war, but forcing an armistice or at least delaying the Allies for a few extra months so that Germany could more effectively hold off the Red Army in the East.

Most of us here probably know how the Battle of the Bulge played out, so ill just provide a wiki link and a map showing how the battle played out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Bulge


This offensive was inherently a very risky one and was unavoidably a gamble, that being said:

In my personal opinion, despite the huge risk in the offensive anyway, the decisive operational and tactical factor that led to the Ardennes offensive failing was the Massacre at Malemedy, where 120 or so US POWs were murdered by SS troops at the head of the advance. When this got out very quickly, the shattered and routing US troops were suddenly filled with resolve and revenge and stopped their retreat.

So the question I pose to you is:

Assuming that for whatever reason the US Rout did not end or took longer to stop, how far could the Wehrmacht have gone with this offensive? The strategic objective was Antwerp, and it's loss would have been crippling to the Allies at least for a while. Could the Panzers have gone farther? If so, could Germany's situation in the west have been improved?
"we have officially entered into pre-whinning about our games."- Cogre

I will always respect differing opinions on here, so long as they are presented maturely and in a civil manner

"No Battleplan ever survives contact with the enemy"- Helmuth Von Moltke the Elder

The WWI Thread: https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/30914/why-a-world-war-i-themed-total-war/p1

I'm skipping TW: Warhammer
Post edited by Half_Life_Expert#4276 on


  • Tyer032392Tyer032392 Registered Users Posts: 4,787
    edited December 2013
    The Wehrmacht would not have gotten very far with the fact that their fuel reserves were empty and that their massive tanks were nearly depleted of fuel. The whole plan of the Bulge for Germany was to try and reach the allied fuel dumps which were behind their lines far enough that the vehicles were not able to reach it. So, in all, I don't personally think the Wehrmacht could have gotten very far without the much needed fuel.

    Edit: With the massive allied bombing raids over Germany, their situation by this time was helpless and nothing they could do would of helped them any. In fact, that whole battle probably shortened the war by a few months. If the German high command were smart enough, they would of preposition those Panzer units inside of Berlin to help with the siege that would start a few months from the battle.
    Ready for Three Kingdom's TW: I5-6600k, EVGA Geforce GTX 1070SC, 16Gigs RAM, WD Blue PC SSD @ 500GB
  • daelin4#9896daelin4#9896 Registered Users Posts: 16,526
    edited December 2013
    The Bulge was really just Hitler's last gasp for dashing out of the Sarlacc pit. He hardly had anything going on in the strange event that the German forces succeeded. Everything that allowed them to have some success during that time, weather, was only for a short time. Once the skies were clear, supplies and ground attack planes came swooping in. Even if for some even stranger reason the foul weather lasted much longer the Germans would merely have exhausted themselves anyhow. Hitler was trying to replay the Battle of France back in 1940, but without the Luftwaffe and with the Red Army pressing from the east. The whole act was a ploy to convince the Allies that negotiations or withdrawal was more suitable than continuing hostilities, which is silly given the Alies' overall strategic position being far more advantageous.

    Even if for some extremely rare event that the Allies were so badly beaten by the German forces, the best they can do is provide a stop-gap against the Allied advance. I doubt that the Allies would run so far away that Hitler could afford to bring up more forces eastwards.

    Note that the particularities of the Bulge, including Bastogne and weather, all exemplify the risks of blitzkrieg: success was rooted very firmly on either perfection of all preparations or luck, to which the Germans had both back in 1940 but neither by 1944. The manouvres by the Germans indicate however were not the classic pincer attacks, but rather a punch out of the enemy's lines. This already made the odds of success for the Germans that much lower; what can they do if they penetrated the front and even reached the supply depots in the rear?
    Bastogne also shows the Germans' inability to follow up on their successes: pockets of remaining forces would be huge drain on manpower reserves that would be needed elsewhere, and the Germans would need to acquire free reign in manoeuvre and supply between themselves in that event, while also prohibiting these from reaching the enemy. Neither occurred, and Bastogne thus became more a liability in the Germans' efforts to an advantage.

    Corrected action is the most sincere form of apology.

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file