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10 of the Bloodiest Battles of World War II


8
Battle of the Bulge
Troops of the 82nd Airborne Division travel a snow-covered fire break in the woods as they move forward in the Ardennes region in Belgium, on Jan. 28, 1945.
Troops of the 82nd Airborne Division travel a snow-covered fire break in the woods as they move forward in the Ardennes region in Belgium, on Jan. 28, 1945.
AP Photo/U.S. Signal Corp

After the invasion of Normandy, things were looking up for the Allied troops as they marched into Belgium. They hoped to find a significantly weakened Nazi defense. Unexpectedly, however, the Axis forces launched a huge counteroffensive on the Allies as they were making their way through the thick Belgian forest in the bitterly cold winter of 1944.

In December 1944, Allied air support was grounded as a result of the bad weather, and Hitler's forces seized the opportunity to strike. For a few weeks, the Nazi troops and their tiger tanks prevailed, having pushed Allied forces back several miles. However, by Christmas, the tide had turned, and by mid-January, the Allies had fought their way back to their original position in the Ardennes Forest. The battle turned out to be a failed last-ditch effort on Hitler's part to regain an upper hand in the war.

Some have called this battle the bloodiest for Americans, as 19,000 U.S. soldiers lost their lives and more than 70,000 were wounded or went missing. For comparison, of the 12,000 British casualties, 200 were killed [source: Goldstein]. The Germans likewise suffered heavily with about 100,000 casualties [source: Miles].


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