Friday, December 17, 2004

 

The Sixtieth Anniversary Of The Battle Of The Bulge.

December 2004 represents the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, the last major Nazi offensive in Western Europe.

The Bulge is also recognized as the largest single battle ever fought by the United States Army.

December 17th is, in fact, the anniversary of one of the more notorious war crimes of the Second World War, the Malmedy massacre.

CNN has a small human-interest story concerning one American soldier.

For a good overview book on the battle, I'd recommend Battle: The Story of the Bulge, by John Toland.

If you are a glutton for detail-- and I mean *detail*-- there's Trevor Dupuy's book Hitler's Last Gamble. Definitely only for the advanced student of World War II, and a patient one at that, but it *is* comprehensive.

Personally, my favorite Bulge book (and one of my favorite books, period) is focused on only one particular unit in the battle. Messengers of the Lost Battalion was written by the son of a paratrooper in the 551st Parachute Battalion, a unit that got stuck in one of the worst possible places during the battle. It's a wonderfully written account, and I found it impossible to put down.

As for movies about the battle, skip the Henry Fonda movie Battle of the Bulge and rent the superior Battleground instead. Or, if you don't like the older films, just watch the episode "Bastogne" in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.

I'd also recommend A Midnight Clear, a rather small movie that never really found an audience when it was released, but is a good yarn.

So, during this holiday season, while you think of our men and women fighting in the Middle Eastern heat, also take a moment to remember the sacrifice of the Americans who braved the winter of 1944-1945.


Comments:
My grandfather, Capt. Vincent J. Cavaliere, MD, was a field surgeon in the Army Medical Corps, 90th Division,during the Battle of the Bulge. He was later wounded in action and recieved the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

- Lori
 
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