After nearly 6 months of fighting from the beaches of Normandy, by early December 1944 the Allies’ front line stretched for 600 miles from the North Sea coast to the borders of Switzerland. The Scheldt estuary had finally been cleared, allowing the port of Antwerp to be opened and to start to ease their supply problems.
With one of the coldest winters on record taking hold and Christmas approaching many of the front line troops probably expected a respite for at least a few weeks. What they didn’t expect was for more than 400,000 German troops to come smashing through the Ardennes on a mission to recapture Antwerp and split the Allied forces in two.
Why was the Battle of the Bulge such a surprise? Was it Allied complacency or German ingenuity? In this “It Happened Here” episode, using contemporary archival documents, Bletchley Park’s Research Officer Dr Thomas Cheetham, will try to answer those questions.
Special thanks to Mr Ben Thomson for playing the role of our Intelligence Officer.
In memoriam, Eileen Younghusband BEM (1921-2016) WAAF Section Officer
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