American infantrymen of the 290th Regiment , during the Battle of the Bulge, January 1945
On December 16, 1944, Germany launched a massive surprise attack on American lines in the Ardennes (a forested area in Belgium and Luxembourg), breaking through to create a 45-mile salient in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge.
The goal behind the German offensive was to capture Antwerp, an important Allied port that had recently been reopened. By doing so, the Germans planned to split Allied forces in two and choke their supplies. But to get to Antwerp, the Germans needed to break through an 80-mile, thinly stretched American line that crossed through the Ardennes region.
At 5:30 a.m. on December 16th, with almost no warning, the Germans attacked, first with artillery and then a rush of infantry. In many places along the line, American troops were initially overwhelmed by the sheer number of German troops (who initially outnumbered the Americans roughly 2 to 1). Aided by artillery and armored vehicles, German forces were able to create a 45-mile salient into Allied territory, though they failed to reach Antwerp.
After a delay of more than a week due to poor weather, the Allies sent in powerful air support and air dropped supplies. Allied forces from the north and south also began to fight their way to the middle. The battle was considered over on 25 January, when the last of the German forces withdrew from the salient.
Aftermath & Casualties
The Battle of the Bulge was the biggest battle on the European western front and a costly loss for Germany. It’s estimated that more than a million men participated.
Casualty estimates vary, but American dead is usually placed at 20,000 with three or four times that wounded, captured, or missing. German casualties are generally placed at roughly equal to or greater than the Americans’. At least 2,500 civilians were also killed.
Learn more about the Battle of the Bulge through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about the Battle of the Bulge
The Germans launch an offensive in the Ardennes Forest, starting the Battle of the Bulge Sun, Dec 17, 1944 – 1 · The Marshall News Messenger (Marshall, Harrison, Texas, United States of America) · Newspapers.comSurvivor’s story of Americans being killed by German forces during the Malmedy Massacre in 1944 Mon, Dec 18, 1944 – Page 6 · Big Spring Daily Herald (Big Spring, Howard, Texas) · Newspapers.comNewspaper headline announces "Nazis are 35 miles inside Belgium" during Battle of the Bulge Thu, Dec 21, 1944 – Page 1 · The Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune (Muscatine, Muscatine, Iowa) · Newspapers.comColumnist believes Battle of the Bulge may turn into the decisive battle of Western Europe Wed, Dec 27, 1944 – Page 16 · The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America) · Newspapers.comThe influence of topography on the fighting in the Ardennes Forest during WWII Fri, Dec 29, 1944 – Page 2 · The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) · Newspapers.comDuring the Battle of the Bulge, the US 1st and 3rd Armies attack Germans in Belgium and Luxembourg Thu, Jan 4, 1945 – Page 1 · The Wilkes-Barre Record (Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comHeadlines in January 1945 announce the British army has joined the Battle of the Bulge Fri, Jan 5, 1945 – Page 1 · The Logan Daily News (Logan, Hocking, Ohio) · Newspapers.comThe Battle of the Bulge is turning into a costly conflict with high casualties Fri, Jan 5, 1945 – 11 · The Daily Times (Davenport, Scott, Iowa, United States of America) · Newspapers.comMap and images of the Battle of the Bulge Tue, Jan 9, 1945 – Page 18 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota, United States of America) · Newspapers.comBattle is looking like a victory for the Allies; May affect Germans' ability to prolong the war Thu, Jan 11, 1945 – Page 6 · The Times Herald (Port Huron, Saint Clair, Michigan, United States of America) · Newspapers.comGains and losses of the Allies and Germans after 4 weeks of the Battle of the Bulge Fri, Jan 12, 1945 – 4 · Edmonton Journal (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) · Newspapers.com"The ultimate cost of the Battle of the Bulge" for the Germans Sat, Jan 13, 1945 – 4 · The Montana Standard (Butte, Silver Bow, Montana, United States of America) · Newspapers.comOpinion: Stamina and courage, not weapons, win Battle of the Bulge due to terrain and weather Sun, Jan 14, 1945 – Page 2 · Asbury Park Press (Asbury Park, Monmouth, New Jersey, United States of America) · Newspapers.com“Nazi’s Bulge Base Cut Off; Foe Loses 204 Planes in Day Over Western Front, Reich” Mon, Jan 15, 1945 – 185 · Daily News (New York, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.com1945 political cartoon about the Battle of the Bulge Tue, Jan 16, 1945 – Page 12 · The Wilkes-Barre Record (Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comPhoto of American infantrymen of the 3rd Army dressed in white battling in the snow Wed, Jan 17, 1945 – 8 · Republican and Herald (Pottsville, Pennsylvania, United States of America) · Newspapers.comAs the Battle of the Bulge draws to a close in January 1945, which side will seize the initiative? Wed, Jan 17, 1945 – 1 · Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.comCasualty list of local soldiers increases with more missing and wounded from Battle of the Bulge Fri, Jan 19, 1945 – Page 4 · The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana, United States of America) · Newspapers.comBattle of the Bulge gives American 1st Army a negative view of the German army Sat, Jan 20, 1945 – 6 · The Billings Gazette (Billings, Yellowstone, Montana, United States of America) · Newspapers.comPhoto of the aftermath of Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, with German tank covered in snow Thu, Jan 25, 1945 – Page 2 · Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comWinston Churchill calls Battle of the Bulge "the greatest American battle of the war" Sun, Jan 28, 1945 – Page 20 · The San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California) · Newspapers.com4 artillerymen in African American big-gun battalion receive special mention from War Department Mon, Jan 29, 1945 – 148 · Daily News (New York, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.com