Elijah Bohman Blog Post 3 5/21/23
Comparing Battle of the Bulge to Omaha Beach:
The battle on Omaha Beach was brutal, violent, and notorious as one of the bloodiest in American history. The Battle of the Bulge is one of the few battles in history that can claim to have been bloodier and more ferocious. As the Allies approached Germany from the West, Hitler launched a surprise counterattack against the Allied forces in Belgium. The German Army was ruthless and efficient in the move, killing many and pushing into Allied lines. While in the end a failure, the German counterattack was savage, causing over 76,000 Allied casualties and making the Battle of the Bulge the fiercest battle America fought in World War II.
While I was on Omaha beach, I was surprised at the size of the beach, the distance men had to cross to reach their enemies. The sheer width as well shocked me, as the soldiers were deployed along six miles of flat beach while being shot at constantly. That situation, however, pales in comparison to the Battle of the Bulge. The latter engagement was fought over an entire countryside, stretching across Belgium and the Ardennes Forest. We visited Bastogne, at the center of the expanse where the Battle of the Bulge took place. We then drove an hour to Baugnez and were still in an area where the battle was fought. We drove through the battlegrounds, where thousands of men on both sides fought and died, struggling to push past the other. Even now, after driving through it, it is difficult to think of the immense size of the battle that spread over an entire front. Omaha Beach was very deadly, with over 2,400 Americans killed there on D-Day . The Battle of the Bulge was somehow even more chaotic in the beginning. Surprising the Allies initially, the Germans killed an estimated 8,100 U.S. soldiers. Total casualties were around 76,000, as seen in this remembrance plaque at the Mardasson Memorial:
During the Battle of the Bulge, the Waffen SS massacred over 70 American prisoners of war in a field by the Baugnez Crossroads, a site that we visited. It was very quiet there, and standing next to the field where so many Americans prisoners were murdered generated the sad thought that those men could and should have lived and seen a full life after the war–but for the brutality of the Nazis.
Picture of field: