Oryon ORY3004 WWII Historic Battles 4-Figure Set - "Ardennes", Bastogne, December 1944 (1:35 Scale)
"If the tank succeeds, then victory follows."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
The Ardennes Offensive, called Unternehmen: Wacht am Rhein (Undertaking: Watch on the Rhine) by the German military (Heeresgruppe B), officially named the Battle of the Ardennes by the U.S. Army, and known to the general public as the Battle of the Bulge), started on December 16th, 1944. Wacht am Rhein was supported by subordinate operations known as Bodenplatte, Greif, and Wahrung. Germany's planned goal for these operations was to split the British and American Allied line in half, capturing Antwerp, Belgium, and then proceeding to encircle and destroy four Allied armies, forcing the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis Powers' favor.
The Ardennes attack was planned in total secrecy, in almost total radio silence. Even Ultra, the Allies' reading of secret German radio messages, revealed nothing about the upcoming buildup and offensive. Moreover, the degree of surprise achieved was compounded by the Allies' overconfidence, their preoccupation with their own offensive plans, poor aerial reconnaissance, and the relative lack of combat contact by the U.S. 1st Army. Allied intelligence failed completely to detect the upcoming offensive; almost complete surprise against a weak section of the Allies' line was achieved during heavy overcast, when the Allies' strong air forces would be grounded. The 'bulge' was the salient that the Germans initially put into the Allies' line of advance, as seen in maps presented in contemporary newspapers.
Most of the American casualties occurred within the first three days of battle, when two of the U.S. 106th Infantry Division's three regiments were forced to surrender. In its entirety, the Battle of the Bulge was the bloodiest of the battles that American forces experienced in WWII, the 19,000 American dead unsurpassed by those of any other engagement. For the U.S. Army, the Battle of the Ardennes incorporated more American troops and engaged more enemy troops than any American conflict before WWII. Although the German objective ultimately was unrealized, the Allies' own offensive timetable was set back by months. In the wake of the defeat, many experienced German units were left severely depleted of men and equipment, as German survivors retreated to the defenses of the Siegfried Line.
This 4-piece figure set consists of two German grenadiers from the 26.Volksgrenadier Division and two US Army parachutists from the 101st Division "Screaming Eagles".
Height: 2 inches
Release Date: February 2007
Historical Account: "Nuts!" - In December 1944, after Bastogne had already been liberated, and as a last-ditch effort to avoid complete defeat, Hitler's troops attacked again in the Ardennes, just as they did in 1914 and 1940. The goal was to advance to Antwerp, to cut off supply and separate British from American troops. On December 16, taking advantage of the cold and the fog, the German artillery started the so-called Battle of the Bulge by attacking the sparsely deployed American troops around Bastogne. A few days later, General McAuliffe and the 101st Airborne Division arrived to counter-attack but, after heavy fighting, got encircled in the city.
On December 22nd, German emissaries asked for the American surrender, to which the General's answer was quite brief: 'Nuts!' The next day, the weather cleared up, allowing air retaliation and the parachuting of much needed food, medicine, and weaponry. On December 26th, the troops of General Patton broke the deadlock. No member of the 101st Airborne Division has ever said that they needed Patton's assistance.
The official end of the Battle of Bastogne occurred three weeks later, when all fighting finally stopped. By that time, the city was completely destroyed and more than 25,000 people had been killed, not counting the more than 50,000 who were never found.