On February 28, the SaddleBrooke World War II Roundtable presented a talk by Leo Barron, an instructor of military intelligence at Ft. Huachuca, on the Battle of the Bulge. Leo was able to take a complicated chapter of the war and break it down so the audience, many of whom had no military experience, could easily grasp the significance and importance of the Battle of the Bulge.
In December 1944, Hitler made a desperate attempt to break through the American lines in an area known as the Ardennes Forest in Belgium which Gen. Eisenhower decided didn’t need many defenders given that the thick forest heavily restricted movement by the enemy. Seizing on that weakness, German forces broke through creating a “bulge” in the American lines. Had the Germans succeeded they may have reached the strategically important port of Antwerp and delayed the ending of the war many months. However, thanks to the valor of the defenders, particularly the 101st Airborne Division and Gen. Patton’s charge through the enemy’s lines, victory was secured.
But secured at a very high price. The Americans sustained over 75,000 casualties making it the costliest battle for the U.S. in WWII.
The audience responded to Leo’s talk with lots of questions and enthusiastic applause. Later, when asked if he would return in the future, he said, “I’d love to.”