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More Business. More Sci-Tech. More Environment. More Arts. More Sports. More Opinion. Warmed inadequately by a lone potbelly stove, the room was set up with large easels for displaying maps. Monty would not deign to travel to meet with lower ranks than his own. But the enemy must never be allowed to cross the Meuse. Eisenhower wanted the breakthrough blunted and narrowed.
Battle of the Bulge
It had already disrupted plans to strike into Germany. Containing the bulge between the Belgian crossroads towns of Bastogne and St. Vith would limit the few viable routes by which the Germans could move reinforcements and supplies toward the Meuse. V-2 supersonic rockets, first launched toward London in early September, were a frightening beginning.
However erratic the missiles might have been, there was no defense against them. The Luftwaffe was putting into production the first jet warplanes, which might dominate the skies. American troops, now bearing the brunt of the fighting, were stretched thin. When Patton took Metz on November 22, it was the first time it had fallen to an enemy since a. By December 5, he had four crossings of the Saar River in place.
After that, weather and weariness had bogged the Third Army down, while even German reinforcements from the rubbish heap of the last reserves were fighting hard. When can you start? Hobart Gay, in Nancy. All he had to do was telephone a code word to activate his troops. But he reminded Eisenhower that of the six divisions asked for, he had only three. He had only the reliable 4th Armored and the 26th and 80th Infantry divisions.
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Charles R. In some faces skepticism [showed]. But through the room a current of excitement leaped. Patton was confident he could do it. Others at the table raised worries. Patton spurned their concerns. He was taking the war directly to the enemy. He would have preferred to lure the Germans forty or fifty miles farther, then chop them off. You will start on the twenty-second, and I want your initial blow to be a strong one! In two hours the redispositions were settled. Eisenhower walked to the door with Patton.
Bradley, who had vaulted over his unpredictable partner, and Eisenhower, who held Patton back, continued to have mixed feelings about entrusting crucial operations to him. Yet both continued to demonstrate confidence in the overcautious Maj. Courtney Hodges, who had bollixed up the First Army situation on the northern flank of the Bulge. In effect, his shattered divisions were now going into receivership under the domineering Montgomery.
In the past, I have demonstrated my high opinion of him when it was not easy to do so. In certain situations both Bradley and I would select Patton to command above any general we have, but in other situations we would prefer Hodges.
Yet he assumed that it would take Patton at least four days to wheel his divisions about, and the terrible weather—rain, sleet and snow—would be an additional handicap. He felt that Bastogne was as good as lost if he could not get there by Christmas. The Germans had already taken St. Vith, on the northern shoulder. The st Airborne Division, surrounded and besieged, was holding the town precariously. Although the division and its supporting armored elements would be bottled up only for eight days, its airborne nature left it without heavy guns, and the tanks of Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division were a lightweight counterpart to the panzer divisions surrounding Bastogne.
Well, I mean the success of moving an unwieldy mass like that; to change your lines of supply, and everything, to turn that cumbersome, heavy-going outfit in the snow, in the fog and the rain, and turn them around so quickly as he did to get them going to the north, was really a remarkable task to accomplish.
Patton had already thought hard about the operation, for he saw no other avenue for the relief of Bastogne. More than breaking a siege, the risky turnaround was essential to reducing the burgeoning Bulge. Yet the town was difficult, wintry miles from the bulk of the Third Army. In two days and nights about a hundred thousand troops, with thousands of supply trucks, tanks, self-propelled guns, and other vehicles, had to slog over roads that barely existed beneath the mud, ice, and snow.
Since blackout restrictions meant nothing in the poor visibility and lack of enemy air traffic, drivers kept their lights on. In the miserable terrain, communications teams had to lay and network nearly twenty thousand miles of wire. When he was discovered dining in style and enjoying vintage wines in a hotel in Luxembourg City, it had no bearing on where he had already been or would be going.
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Patton is reported to have put in a counter attack. So I should be content which of course I am not…. We moved over a hundred miles [since] starting on the 19th.