Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Ardennes - Man's Failure to Learn from His Own History

The Ardennes - a hilly, rather heavily forested area in both Luxembourg and Belgium; as militarists have constantly called it; impassable, militarily.
In 1914, however, the Germans poured through it to score a grievous defeat upon the Allies, and it was a factor in the ultimate prolongation of the bloody "War to End All Wars."
In 194o, with most of the British and French troops positioned north of the Ardennes. as it was thought that the Germans would attack the West in that area, a magnificent feint was put into motion, with the then unprecedented and frightening operation called Blitzkrieg (lightning war),which went through the "impassable" Ardennes with both tanks (thought to be absolutely impossible to do) and infantry, routing the British and French forces, resulting in hastening the tragedy at Dunkirk, when the Allies were expelled from the Continent.
In 1944, with only inexperienced American troops thinly spread along the Ardennes sector, the Germans, in their final effort to alter the course of the war in order to force the Allies to sue for peace, surged through the Ardennes with tanks and infantry in massive numbers and created what is known as the Battle of the Bulge. It was, even at that late date in the war (Dec.16, 1944), and with Germany surrounded, the largest land battle of the war in the west. In the six weeks it took to ultimately drive the Nazi back to the Ardennes sector, about 1600 Americans died daily; all in all, America lost approximately 19,000 young men in this battle.
I've wondered, from time to time, about this place called Ardennes - seems that no lesson concerning this place was ever learned.

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