Monday, December 21, 2009

An overlooked Anniversary

Dec. 16th is Beethoven's birthday, and this year, the 65th Anniversary of the barrage that opened the Battle of the Bulge, "Hitler's Last Gamble"
Today, when you feel cold, remember the summer uniforms many of our soldiers still wore while defeating four SS Panzer Divisions, and all the Wehrmacht reserves that the Nazis could hide west of the front line in the Ardennes.
Dec. 21st saw the supposedly weak, undisciplined children of democracy (U.S.Army V Corps) holding the Elsenborn Ridge against fierce and determined assault by Hitler's 12th SS Panzer Division. While the SS is often remembered for their consummate ability to kill unarmed prisoners, this was the Waffen (armed) SS, still composed mostly of volunteers, armed with automatic weapons and backed by dozens of the dreaded Tiger tanks, probably the best heavy tank of the war. Their 55 ton weight limited their range and mobility, and the German factories, though highly productive, couldn't build them fast enough to make a difference. I suspect this was of no comfort to your average 19-year-old draftee, shivering in a foxhole.

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