Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rare Images of the Battle of the Bulge - WWII

From December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945, American, British, Canadian, Belgian, and French forces fought to stop the final major German offensive of World War II, launched in the heavily forested Ardennes Mountains of Belgium. While Allied forces ultimately triumphed, it was a hard victory, leaving tens of thousands dead on both sides. Today, the conflict is known as the Battle of the Bulge.

Here, LIFE presents rare photos, as well as many images that were never published in the magazine, from one of the most brutal and pivotal battles of the Second World War.

American infrantry from the 290th Regiment crouch in snowy woods near Amonines, Belgium, January 1945.

American GIs help fleeing local residents to load themselves and their belongings onto a truck during a lull in the fighting during the last days of the Battle of the Bulge.

1st Army GIs search for German paratroopers during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944.

Perhaps the defining moment for all Allied forces fighting in the Battle of the Bulge came when the Germans demanded the surrender of American troops surrounded in the town of Bastogne.

Tending to the wounded in the Ardennes.

An American medic transports the wounded.

German losses were even higher, with estimates of at least 67,000 casualties, including this soldier, dead beside a flowing river somewhere in the Ardennes Forest.

A soldier shaves during a lull in battle in the Ardennes Forest in December 1944.

The body of an unknown Allied soldier awaits burial beside a road in the Ardennes in January 1945.

Soldiers dig foxholes in the frozen ground in the Battle of the Bulge.

The First Army deals with prisoners of war and the dead.

Hitler and his General Staff review plans in late 1944.

An exhausted American soldier just back from the front lines near the town of Murrigen during the Battle of the Bulge.

German POWs bundled against the extreme cold, Battle of the Bulge, January 1945.

Wreckage from a downed German plane, Battle of the Bulge.

A lace curtain shrouds the body of an American soldier awaiting burial in the Bastogne cemetery.

American soldiers in a snowy ditch in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge in 1945.

American troops man trenches along a snowy hedgerow in the northern Ardennes Forest during the Battle of the Bulge.

An American tank moves past another gun carriage which slid off an icy road in the Ardennes Forest, 1945.

Troops at the front in Belgium.

A German SS Panzer trooper geared up for winter during the Battle of the Bulge.

An aerial view of Ardennes in Belgium, showing Allied forces and artillery blast holes in a snowy field.

A Belgian woman surveys damage to her home caused by heavy fighting in the nearby Ardennes Forest.

1 comment:

  1. Some great photos of the Bulge. What is the source of the photos? Are they in the Public Domain

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