Battle of Mergentheim, 2 May 1645

Battle of Mergentheim, 2 May 1645


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The Thirty Years War , C.V.Wedgewood. Despite its age (first published in 1938), this is still one of the best english language narratives of this most complex of wars, tracing the intricate dance of diplomacy and combat that involved all of Europe in the fate of Germany.


Geography

The village of Herbsthausen is the only place in the district. It stands a little over ten kilometers south-southeast of the town center of Mergentheim on a ridge with heights of 424 m above sea level. NHN , which drops to the southwest to the hollow of the Wachbach and to the southeast to that of the Aschbach , while the Lochbach begins its northern course on the northern edge of the village .

From a natural point of view, the place and the greater part of the district are in the sub-area of ​​the Middle Kocher-Jagst Plains of the Kocher-Jagst Plains , the northern area in the Umpfer-Wachbach-Riedel sub -area of the Tauberland .

Near to the northwest there is a water tower on the edge of the chamber forest, the parts of which are located on the boundary are the only forest areas on it. The open corridor around the village, which partly shows a soft image of orchards, is mostly under the plow.

Herbsthausen is a clustered village that is crossed by the B 290, also known as Kaiserstrasse , in a north-westerly direction. In the village, the K 2851 to the village of Apfelbach goes four and a half kilometers in the north, the K 2887 to the village of Rot over one kilometer in the southwest and a local road to the hamlet of Schönbühl under two kilometers in the northeast (both as the crow flies).


The Battles of Herbsthausen and Allerheim

The capture of Philippsburg and Mainz had given France secure access over the Rhine, but the Lower Palatinate was too devastated to provide an adequate base for them inside Germany. The local truce ruled out use of the Franche-Comté to the south, heightening the importance of securing Swabian territory east of the Black Forest to sustain French forces in the Empire. News of Jankau emboldened Mazarin to believe there was a real chance of knocking Bavaria out of the war and Turenne was ordered to achieve this.

Both sides spent the opening months of 1645 raiding each other across the Black Forest. Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, Viscount of Turenne was delayed by the need to rebuild his infantry shattered at Freiburg, while Franz von Mercy had detached Johann von Werth and most of the cavalry to Bohemia. Only 1,500 troopers returned in April. Turenne was able to attack first, crossing the Rhine with 11,000 men near Speyer on 26 March and advancing up the Neckar into Württemberg, which he thoroughly plundered. He then moved north-east, taking Rothenburg on the Tauber to open the way into Franconia. Mercy deliberately feigned defeatism, keeping to the south while he collected his forces. Turenne remained cautious, but was unable to sustain even his relatively small army in the Tauber valley. He moved to Mergentheim, billeting his cavalry in the surrounding villages in April.

Having received Maximilian’s permission to risk battle, Mercy planned to repeat his success at Tuttlingen. Werth’s arrival gave him 9,650 men and 9 guns at Feuchtwangen. He force-marched his troops 60km to approach Mergentheim from the south-east on 5 May. Turenne had been alerted by one of Rosen’s patrols at 2 a.m., but there was little time to collect his troops at Herbsthausen, just south-east of the town. He knew he could not trust his largely untried infantry in the open, so posted them along the edge of a wood on a rise overlooking the main road. Most of the cavalry were massed to the left ready to charge the Bavarians as they emerged from a large wood to the south. He had only 3,000 troopers and a similar number of infantry, though not all were present at the start of the battle and another 3,000 billeted in the surrounding area never made it at all.

Werth appeared first at the head of half the Bavarian cavalry to cover the deployment of the rest of the army on the other side of the narrow valley opposite the French. Mercy used his artillery to pound the wood, increasing the casualties as the shot sent branches flying through the air, just as the Swedes had done to the Bavarians at Wolfenbüttel. None of the six French cannon had arrived. Their infantry fired an ineffective salvo at long range and fell back as the Bavarians began a general advance. Turenne charged down the valley, routing the Bavarian cavalry on the left that included the units beaten at Jankau. However, a regiment held in reserve stemmed the attack, while the few French cavalry posted on Turenne’s extreme right were swept away by Werth’s charge. The French army dissolved in panic, many of the infantry being trapped around Herbsthausen. Turenne cut his way through almost alone to join three fresh cavalry regiments that arrived just in time to cover the retreat. The subsequent surrender of Mergentheim and other garrisons brought the total French losses up to 4,400, compared to 600 Bavarians.

The success was not on the scale of Tuttlingen, but it was sufficient to lift the despondency in Munich and Vienna after Jankau. The sequence of these actions underscores the general point about the interrelationship between war and diplomacy, as each change of military fortune raised the hopes in one party of achieving their diplomatic objectives, while hardening the determination of the other to continue resisting until the situation improved. In this case, Mercy was too weak to exploit his victory beyond securing the area south of the Main. Mazarin moved swiftly to restore French prestige before negotiations moved further in Westphalia. Louis II de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, D’Enghien was directed to take another 7,000 reinforcements across the Rhine at Speyer, and in a new show of common resolve Sweden agreed to despatch Königsmarck from Bremen to join the French. Having reinforced the garrisons in Meissen and Leipzig, Königsmarck arrived on the Main with 4,000 men. The return of the war to the Main area allowed Amalie Elisabeth to revive Hessian plans to attack Darmstadt under cover of the general war. She agreed to provide 6,000 men under their new commander, Geyso, who assembled at Hanau to invade Darmstadt in June.

The Battle of Allerheim [Battle of Nördlingen (1645)]

Ferdinand of Cologne sent Gottfried Huyn von Geleen and 4,500 Westphalians south past the allies to join Mercy on 4 July, to give him about 16,000 men against the enemy’s 23,000. Mercy then retired south to Heilbronn, blocking the way into Swabia. The allied troop concentration soon broke up. One commonly cited reason was that d’Enghien had managed to insult both Johann von Geyso and Hans Christoff von Königsmarck. However, the real cause of the latter’s departure in mid-July was an order from Lennart Torstensson to knock out Saxony. The instructions, dated 10 May (Old Style), were later copied and sent to Johann Georg to put pressure on him to negotiate. Given Torstensson’s inability to take Brünn, there was only a limited period of time in which to intimidate Saxony before the Imperialists recovered sufficiently to send assistance. D’Enghien meanwhile resumed Turenne’s earlier plan and marched east through southern Franconia heading for Bavaria. The division of military labour evolving since 1642 was now complete. Sweden would eliminate Saxony and attack the emperor while France knocked Bavaria out of the war.

Mercy deftly checked the French advance by taking up a series of near impregnable positions, obliging d’Enghien to waste time outflanking him. The game ended at Allerheim near the confluence of the Wörnitz and Eger rivers on 3 August. Though it is also known as the second battle of Nördlingen, the action was fought on the opposite side of the Eger to the events of 1634. Mercy had deployed with his back to the Wörnitz between two steep hills on which he entrenched some of his 28 cannon. The infantry, who comprised less than half his army, were positioned behind Allerheim in the centre. The cemetery, the church and a few solid houses were filled with musketeers, while others held entrenchments around the front and sides of the village. The cavalry were massed either side, with Geleen and the Imperialists on the right (north) as far as the Wenneberg, and Werth with the Bavarians on the left next to the Schloßberg hill, named after the ruined castle on the top.

D’Enghien had not expected to find the enemy, but seized the opportunity for battle despite his subordinates’ reservations. Königsmarck’s departure had left him with 6,000 French troops, plus 5,000 more under Turenne and the 6,000 Hessians, with 27 guns. He placed most of the French infantry and 800 cavalry in the centre opposite Allerheim, while Turenne stood on the left with the Hessians and his own cavalry. The rest of the French were deployed on the right (south) under Antoine III de Gramont opposite the Schloßberg.

It was already 4 p.m. by the time they were ready, but d’Enghien knew from Freiburg how quickly the Bavarians could dig in and did not want to give them the night to complete their works. The French guns could not compete with the Bavarians’ that were protected by earthworks, so d’Enghien ordered a frontal assault at 5 p.m. He was soon fully occupied with the fight for Allerheim, leading successive waves of infantry over the entrenchments, only to be hurled back again by fresh Bavarian units fed by Mercy from the centre. The thatched roofs of the village soon caught fire, forcing the defenders into the stone buildings. The French commander had two horses shot under him and was himself saved by his breastplate deflecting a musket ball. Mercy was not so fortunate as he entered the burning village around 6 p.m. to rally the flagging defence. He was shot in the head and died instantly. Johann von Ruischenberg assumed command and repulsed the French.

Werth meanwhile routed Gramont who thought a ditch in front of his position was impassable and allowed the Bavarians to approach within 100 metres. The French cavalry offered brief resistance before fleeing, leaving Gramont to fight on with two infantry brigades until he was forced to surrender. Werth’s cavalry dispersed in pursuit and it is possible that the smoke from Allerheim obscured the battlefield. Either way, he discovered that the rest of the army was on the point of collapse only when he returned to his start position around 8 p.m. Turenne had saved the day for the French with a desperate assault on the Wenneberg that allowed the Hessians, the last fresh troops, to overrun the Bavarian artillery and hit Allerheim in the flank. Parties of Bavarian infantry were cut off in the confusion and surrendered. Werth assumed command, collected the army at the Schloßberg and retreated around 1 a.m. in good order to the Schellenberg hill above Donauwörth.

Werth attracted considerable blame, especially from later commentators like Napoleon, for failing to exploit his initial success by sweeping round behind the French centre to smash Turenne as d’Enghien had done with the Spanish at Rocroi. Werth defended himself by pointing out the difficulties of communicating along the length of the Bavarian army that probably measured 2,500 metres. His troopers were also short of ammunition and it was getting dark by the time they reassembled. Indeed, the late hour probably proved decisive, limiting what Werth could see. His withdrawal was prudent under the circumstances, depriving the Bavarians of a chance for victory, but at least avoiding a worse defeat that would have wrecked the army.

D’Enghien had been fortunate to escape with victory, losing at least 4,000 dead and wounded. The infantry in the centre had been almost wiped out and the French court was aghast at the extent of casualties that included several senior officers. Like Freiburg, it was the Bavarian retreat that transformed the action into a strategic success, partly because at least 1,500 men were captured as Werth pulled out of Allerheim in addition to the 2,500 killed or wounded. Retreat after another hard-fought battle eroded morale. The Bavarians vented their fury on the unfortunate captive Gramont, who narrowly escaped being murdered by Mercy’s servant and was grateful to be exchanged for Geleen the next month.

The Kötzschenbroda Armistice

The immediate repercussions were soon redressed. The French captured Nördlingen and Dinkelsbühl, but got stuck at Heilbronn where d’Enghien fell ill. Mazarin refused to send reinforcements to replace the casualties, leaving Turenne outnumbered as Leopold Wilhelm and 5,300 Imperialists arrived from Bohemia in early October. By December, Turenne was back in Alsace having lost all the towns captured that year.

The stabilization of southern Germany was offset by a major blow in the north-east that indicated that the new allied strategy was working. Though the French had been unable to knock out Bavaria, their campaign in Franconia prevented relief reaching Saxony, which had been left isolated after Jankau. Königsmarck had force-marched the Swedish forces up the Main and burst into the electorate early in August. Johann Georg appealed to Ferdinand, protesting that the Swedes were deliberately ravaging his land. The emperor replied on 25 August that he had just made peace with Georg I. Rákóczi and help was on its way. It was too late. Before the letter arrived, the elector had already given up hope he concluded an armistice at Kötzschenbroda on 6 September.

Saxony secured a six-month ceasefire on relatively favourable terms. The Swedes accepted the electorate’s neutrality, but allowed it to continue discharging its obligations to the emperor by leaving three cavalry regiments with the imperial army. In return, Saxony had to pay 11,000 talers a month to maintain the Swedish garrison in Leipzig, the only town Königsmarck insisted on retaining in the electorate. The Swedes were allowed to cross the electorate, but they also agreed to lift their blockade of the Saxon garrison in Magdeburg.


Several weeks before the battle, a perhaps overly confident Charles had split his army. He sent 3,000 members of the cavalry to the West Country, where he believed the New Model Army was headed, and took the rest of his troops north to relieve garrisons and gather reinforcements.

When it came to the Battle of Naseby, Charles forces’ numbered just 8,000 compared to the New Model Army’s 13,500. But Charles was nonetheless convinced that his veteran force could see off the untested Parliamentarian force.


Winston Churchill

Meanwhile, in London, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had resigned under pressure on May 13, making way for a new wartime coalition government headed by Winston Churchill. At first, British command opposed evacuation, and French forces wanted to hold out as well.

But with the BEF and its allies forced back on the French port of Dunkirk, located on the shores of the North Sea just 10 km (6.2 miles) from the Belgian border, Churchill soon became convinced evacuation was the only option.


Background and early military successes

Henri was a son of the Protestant Henri, duc de Bouillon, by his second wife, Elizabeth of Nassau, daughter of William the Silent, the stadholder of the Netherlands. When his father died in 1623, Turenne was sent to learn soldiering with his mother’s brothers, Maurice and Frederick Henry, the princes of Orange who were leading the Dutch against the Spaniards in the Netherlands. Though he was given command of an infantry regiment in the French service for the campaign of 1630, he was back with Frederick Henry in 1632.

In 1635, however, when Louis XIII’s minister Cardinal de Richelieu brought France into open war against the Habsburgs (later called the Thirty Years’ War), Turenne, with the rank of maréchal de camp, or brigadier, went to serve under Cardinal de La Valette (Louis de Nogaret) on the Rhine. He was a hero of a retreat from Mainz to Metz and was wounded in the assault on Saverne in July 1636. After a mission to Liège to hire troops for the French, he was sent to the Rhine again in 1638 to reinforce Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar at the siege of Breisach he conducted the assault and won the respect of Bernhard’s German troops. Two campaigns fought in Italy, culminating in the capture of Turin on Sept. 17, 1640, confirmed his reputation.

In 1642, when the French army was besieging Spanish-held Perpignan, Turenne was second in command. The conspiracy of the King’s favourite, the Marquis de Cinq-Mars, against Richelieu was then brought to light, and the Duc de Bouillon was arrested. Turenne remained loyal to Louis XIII and to Richelieu but Bouillon had to surrender Sedan in order to obtain his freedom. When Louis XIII died in 1643, the queen, Anne of Austria, became regent for her infant son Louis XIV. She gave Turenne a command in Italy in the same year, but his brother’s conduct made him suspect to Richelieu’s successor, Cardinal Mazarin, and no fresh troops were sent to him. Anne made Turenne a marshal of France, however, on May 16, 1643.


Union Attacks at Second Bull Run (Manassas)

Though Pope then turned his army to confront Jackson’s assault, they could not locate the rebels, who had left Manassas Junction and taken up positions in the woods and hills a couple of miles from the site of the war’s first major engagement, the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) in July 1861. McClellan continued to resist sending troops forward to Pope’s aid, arguing that they were necessary to defend Washington.

Meanwhile, Lee remained in contact with Jackson via cavalry troops led by Jeb Stuart. The Union Army passed across Jackson’s front on the Warrenton Turnpike, leading to a firefight between Jackson’s men and one of Pope’s divisions at dusk on August 28 near Brawner Farm. When it ended in a stalemate, Pope prepared his army overnight to mount an attack against the Confederates. Believing that Jackson was preparing to retreat in order to join the rest of the rebel army (and not realizing that in fact, Longstreet was advancing to join Jackson), Pope did not wait to assemble a large force, but sent divisions in smaller assaults on the Confederate positions on the morning of August 29. Jackson’s men managed to hold their ground, turning back the Federal assault with heavy casualties on both sides.


Battle [ edit | edit source ]

The cousins, Ferdinand and Ferdinand, prepared for battle, ignoring the advice of the more experienced generals, such as the Imperial general Matthias Gallas. Most of the generals felt a full engagement against two of the most experienced Protestant commanders was reckless and unlikely to have a positive outcome. However the cousins were supported by the Count of Leganés, the Spanish deputy commander. He appreciated that the Catholic army was significantly superior in numbers and had at its core the highly trained professional Spanish Infantry who had not been present at previous Swedish victories over the Imperials.

Bernhard and Horn also prepared for battle, although this may not have been a mutual decision. Bernhard felt that whatever the odds an attempt must be made to relieve Nordlingen. Horn seems to have been reluctant to do so given the ragged state of the Protestant armies. Both commanders seem to have underestimated the numerically superior enemy forces. Ζ] This may have been due to incorrect reports, or disbelieving those they had received. Whatever the reason Horn and Bernhard estimated that the Spanish reinforcements numbered only 7,000 and not 21,000 in addition to the 12,000 Imperials, this gave the Habsburgs a considerable superiority over the 26,000 Protestants.

During the battle, almost anything that could go wrong went wrong for the Protestant forces. This was due to the strong defensive efforts of the Spanish infantry, the feared "Tercios Viejos" (Old Tercios), mainly those commanded by Fuenclara, Idiáquez, and Toralto. Fifteen Swedish assaults by Horn's right wing, consisting of the brigades Vitzthum, Pfuel and one of the Scots Brigades (Colonel William Gunn), supported by the brigade of Count Thurn (Black and Yellow Regiment) on the hill of Albuch, were repulsed by the Spaniards with the decisive support of Ottavio Piccolomini's Italian cavalry squadrons, under direct orders of another Italian commander, the loyal servant to the Spanish Crown, Gerardo di Gambacorta di Linata. On the left of the Protestant line the left Swedish wing under Bernhard of Weimar and the Imperial-Bavarian troops had avoided closing with each other, until late in the battle.

The Battle of Nördlingen by Jacques Courtois.

The Imperial commanders observed the weakened condition of Bernhard's troops, who had been sending large numbers of reinforcements to assist the Swedish troops. They ordered an advance by the Imperial troops which resulted in the quick collapse and rout of the weakened Swedish left wing infantry brigades. Pursuit of Bernhard's troops threatened to cut off any escape route of the Swedish units, who also promptly broke, turning into a panic stricken mob and leaving their side of the field to the Spanish troops of the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand.

Gustav Horn af Björneborg was captured, his army was destroyed, and the remainder of the Protestants who successfully fled to Heilbronn were only a remnant of those engaged.


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8 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of the Bulge

1. Hitler’s generals advised against the attack.
Many historians have argued that the Nazi attack on the Ardennes was doomed before it started, and it appears that several of Adolf Hitler’s most trusted lieutenants would have agreed. Hitler’s proposed plan (dubbed “Operation Watch on the Rhine”) hinged on an ambitious schedule that required his commanders to thrust through the Allies lines and cross the Meuse River in the span of only a few days before seizing the vital deep water port at Antwerp. German Field Marshals Gerd von Rundstedt and Walther Model both cautioned against such an unreasonable timetable, and the pair later offered several written protests and alternative strategies, to no avail. Shortly before the attack began, Model confided to subordinates that Hitler’s plan “hasn’t got a damned leg to stand on” and “has no more than a ten percent chance of success.”

2. The Allies missed several early warning signs of an offensive.
Early German gains in the Battle of the Bulge were largely due to the attack catching the Allies completely by surprise. Allied commanders often moved on intelligence gleaned by “Ultra,” a British unit that decrypted Nazi radio transmissions, but the Germans operated under a veil of secrecy and typically communicated by phone when within their own borders. Some American commanders also dismissed reports of increased German activity near the Ardennes, while others brushed off enemy prisoners who claimed that a major attack was in the offing. Many have since claimed the Allies were blinded by their recent battlefield successes—they𠆝 had the Germans on the defensive since D-Day𠅋ut the American high command also considered the inhospitable terrain of the Ardennes an unlikely site for a counterattack. As a result, when the German offensive finally began, the region was thinly defended by only a few exhausted and green U.S. divisions.

3. A bad phone connection helped lead to catastrophe for one U.S. division.
Few American units at the Battle of the Bulge felt the force of the German advance more severely than the 106th Golden Lions Division. The largely inexperienced outfit arrived in the Ardennes on December 11 and was ordered to cover a large section of the U.S. line in a rugged area known as Schnee Eifel. Shortly after the German attack began, the 106th’s commander, Major General Alan W. Jones, grew worried that the flanks of his 422nd and 423rd regiments were too exposed. He phoned Lieutenant General Troy Middleton to request that they be withdrawn, but the line was bad and Jones came away from the call incorrectly believing that Middleton had ordered him to keep his troops in position. German attackers soon encircled the 422nd and 423rd and cut them off from any support. Low on ammunition and under heavy artillery fire, some 6,500 G.I.s were forced to capitulate in one of largest mass surrenders of U.S. troops during World War II. In the aftermath of the defeat, a distraught General Jones exclaimed, “I’ve lost a division faster than any other commander in the U.S. Army.”

4. German troops used stolen U.S. Army uniforms to wreak havoc behind Allied lines.
During the early stages of the Battle of the Bulge, Hitler ordered Austrian SS commando Otto Skorzeny to assemble an army of impostors for a top-secret mission known as Operation Greif. In a now-famous ruse, Skorzeny outfitted English speaking German soldiers with captured American weapons, jeeps and uniforms and had the men slip behind the U.S. lines and pose as G.I.s. The German pretenders cut communication lines, switched road signs and committed other small acts of sabotage, but they were most successful at spreading confusion and terror. When word got out that German commandos were masquerading as Americans, G.I.s set up checkpoints and began grilling passersby on baseball and American pop culture to confirm their identities. While they succeeded in capturing a few of the Germans, the roadblocks often produced farcical results. Overzealous American soldiers shot out the tires on British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s jeep, and one G.I. even briefly detained General Omar Bradley after he answered that the capital of Illinois was Springfield (the soldier incorrectly believed it was Chicago).

5. U.S. troops mounted a famous defense of the town of Bastogne.
The German push toward the Meuse River partially hinged on the capture of Bastogne, a small Belgian town that served as a vital road junction. The area was the scene of frantic fighting during the first few days of the battle, and by December 21, German forces had encircled town and pinned the U.S. 101st Airborne Division and others inside. Despite being heavily outnumbered, the town’s defenders responded to the siege with cheery defiance. “They’ve got us surrounded—the poor bastards!” became a refrain among the town’s G.I.s, and when the Germans later demanded commanding General Anthony McAuliffe surrender, he offered a one-word response: “Nuts!” The 101st Airborne would continue to hold Bastogne through Christmas, suffering heavy losses. The siege finally ended on December 26, when General George S. Patton’s 3rd Army punched through the German lines and relieved the city.

6. It marked the first time the U.S. Army desegregated during WWII.
The U.S. military didn’t officially desegregate its ranks until 1948, but the Allies’ desperate situation during the Battle of the Bulge inspired them to turn to African American G.I.s on more than one occasion. Some 2,500 black troops participated in the engagement, with many fighting side by side with their white counterparts. The all black 333rd and 969th Field Artillery Battalions both sustained heavy casualties assisting the 101st Airborne in the defense of Bastogne, and the 969th was later awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation—the first ever presented to a black outfit. Elsewhere on the battlefield, troops from the segregated 578th Field Artillery picked up rifles to support the 106th Golden Lions Division, and an outfit called the 761st 𠇋lack Panthers” became the first black tank unit to roll into combat under the command of General George S. Patton. As the battle wore on, Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and John C.H. Lee called on black troops to cover the Allied losses at the front. Several thousand had volunteered by the time the engagement ended.

7. Weather patterns played a major role in the battle’s outcome.
Along with facing down enemy gunfire and shelling, troops at the Battle of the Bulge also had to contend with the punishing climate of the Ardennes. The Nazis held off on their offensive until dense fog and snow arrived and grounded the Allies’ superior air support, leaving both sides to grapple with near-Arctic conditions. “Weather was a weapon the German army used with success,” Field Marshal Von Rundstedt later noted. As the battle raged, blizzards and freezing rain often reduced visibility to almost zero. Frost covered much of the soldiers’ equipment, and tanks had to be chiseled out of ice after they froze to the ground overnight. Many wounded soldiers froze to death before they were rescued, and thousands of American G.I.s were eventually treated for cases of frostbite and trench foot. The skies finally shifted in the Allies’ favor on December 23, when clearing conditions allowed aircraft to take flight. The subsequent aerial barrage wreaked havoc on the German advance.

8. Fuel shortages helped doom the German offensive.
The Third Reich’s much-feared Panzer and Tiger tanks drank gas, and by late-1944, the flagging German war machine was having difficulties scrounging enough fuel to keep them running. The Nazis set aside nearly 5 million gallons for the Battle of the Bulge, yet once combat operations began, poor road conditions and logistical missteps ensured that much of the fuel never reached those who needed it. German infantry divisions resorted to using some 50,000 horses for transport in the Ardennes, and the Nazi high command built their battle plans around capturing American fuel depots during their advance. Allied forces evacuated or burned millions of gallons of gas to prevent it falling into enemy hands, however, and by Christmas many German tank units were running on fumes. With no way to continue the advance across the Meuse River, the counterattack soon crumbled. By mid-January 1945, their Allies had successfully erased the 𠇋ulge” in their lines and pushed the Germans back to their original positions.


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