If Germany won the Battle of the Bulge would it have made any difference?

Feb 2016
3,956
Japan
#21
Agree with everyone else.
It doesn’t help them in the East.
America can sustain the material and manpower loss ... even a German victory can hurt Germany if they lose to many men/machines.
The Western allies can regroup and counter again quite easily.
 
Jun 2017
2,372
Connecticut
#24
I have been thinking about the 1965 film "The Battle of the Bulge"( starring Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan, Telly Savalas of "Kojak" fame). If Germany had won the battle would it have made any difference to the eventual outcome?
My guess is NO- it would have simply have meant that WWII in Europe ended in August or July rather than May.


Terry
PS the late Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower( who was theatre commander in real life- Ryan played him) reportedly disliked the film or the way his character was portrayed.
Only in the borders of post war Europe. The Soviets would have taken most if not all of Germany and this would be the main impact. Hitler's aim of repeating 1940 and driving the Allies out of the West was a pipe dream.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,058
Dispargum
#25
From the German perspective, the best that the Battle of the Bulge could have accomplished was the destruction of US 1st Army and the cutting off of US 9th Army and British 21st Army Group. British 21st and US 9th could have been starved into surrender or forced to undergo another Dunkirk with massive losses of troops and equipment. Even if they had fought their way out by recapturing Antwerp, it would still have involved significant losses of supplies, equipment, troops, and time. The battle could have easily created a shortage of Allied troops on the Western Front - too few for the Americans and British to resume the offensive for several months. There would have been a major Allied push to reinforce the Western Front - US 5th Army might be withdrawn from Italy and moved to France leaving British 8th Army to stand on defense in Italy. Slim's offensive in Burma might be delayed as some of those forces were transferred to Europe. Some American divisions destined for the Pacific might be diverted to Europe. US operations in the Philipines might be cut back (these surplus ops were largely a waste, however, so no major loss there. After Leyte and Luzon the rest of the archipelago could have been left in Japanese hands.). The British and Americans might have had to delay their invasion of Germany until the spring or early summer by which point the Soviets would have already overrun most of Germany anyway, maybe all the way to the Rhine.

As Emperor W mentioned, the major difference caused by a German victory at The Bulge would be the improved post-war position of the Soviets. If Roosevelt and Churchill had gone into the Yalta Conference coming off a major defeat like The Bulge it would have weakened their negotiating position. Post war West Germany would be much smaller. East Germany would be much larger. Austria might be Communist. Italy might be divided between a southern zone occupied by the British and Americans while Northern Italy was occupied by the Soviets. Germany would have still surrendered in May '45 but the Soviets would be much better positioned.
 
Jun 2017
2,372
Connecticut
#26
The overall position of the Allies vis a vis the Axis in late 1944 was thus:

- better morale
- more troops
- more materiel
- better and more weapons
- more industry
- better technology, intelligence, and supplies
- bigger economies and populations
- new allies entering on their side (Brazil, to name one of a few)
- air supremacy
- naval supremacy

The picture for Germany at this point was WAY out of their favour.

Hitler privately knew this, and most of the German top brass knew this. The Allies knew it was a matter of when, not if.

The Ardennes Offensive was about splitting the British, Canadians,and Americans, and trying to get them into a separate peace. Hitler thought that the Allies were an unnatural alliance, which in some part was true since the Western Allies were capitalists, and the Soviets were communists. But he misjudged this - they were allied due to HIM and his regime. He was a threat to their mutual interests. The British didn't want a power of different political ideologies on their doorstep. America didn't want a powerful and aggressive country of diametric values to them in the world. The Soviets were fighting for the lives, in more ways than one, since Hitler wanted to kill them all and use the USSR as farmland and breathing room. So the likelihood fo the Allies splitting was slim. The Western Allies had some disputes, but by 1945 they realised that they hd nothing to gain from splitting. The British resented the Americans' insistence to run the war effort, adn the Americans didn't like the British desire to remain in control of strategy. But the Allies needed each other, and relied for a large part on each other's technology and resources - the Manhattan Project had vital British input, and most of Operation Overlord had British tehnological ideas.

So Hitler's plan from the get-go was false. And even if it worked, then he would still have lost to the Soviets.

By late 1944, Germany's options were to:

- Surrender to all of the Allies
- Surrender to the Western Allies and fight to the death with the USSR (and lose badly...)
- Fight to the last man
- Fight and then surrender when there is no other option - which is what they did in real life

Or another option was to secure a favourable peace with the Allies, and then they could focus on Japan. This would be stabbing Japan in the back, but it would keep Germany intact. The Allies said they wanted unconditional surrender, but then if Hitler made the peace deal sweet (possibly he would step down and be in secret confinement, or Germany paid reparations to the Allies) then maybe Stalin/FDR/Churchill would be receptive.
Don't think option 2 was on the table, Germans probably were going to take it.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,829
Sydney
#27
Chlodio is right , even the full success of "Watch on the Rhine" would have been an operational delay for the Western front
getting supplies from the stocks seized at Antwerp would have been a drop in the ocean.
the Hungarian offensive Spring awakening required the 6th panzer army to be relocated ( through Dresden )
so no chance to expand the West advantage , even chasing the Brits from the Nederland would have been hard going
all possible air supplies would have been to feed the Allied soldiers , more dutch and Flemish civilians would have starved to death
 
Jul 2016
7,353
USA
#28
The Allies were all too over confident. They thought the war would be over by Christmas and even their intel didn't recognise the German offensive would happen.
The "war would be over by Xmas" excitement was squashed in October, after the Army Group B Germans were able to reorganize following the rout in France and staunch Allied penetration of the German border. The Allies actually did get intelligence that a German offensive was being prepared. A few were very accurate, but bits and pieces came in that pointed that the Germans were prepping for a big offensive and that it looked like it was going to hit in the Ardennes. The problem was the intelligence was discounted, specifically by Bradley. He and his staff read it/heard it, and ignored it. Part of the problem was the belief that the Germans had committed their reserve and couldn't muster the strength for a large offensive force. Partly because there was nothing in the crypto intelligence gathering Ultra intercepts (which the Allies had become dangerously reliant on).

What is interesting is that Hitler barely communicated the offensive to anyone, Watch on the Rhine was highly compartmentalized. Not because he or anyone else at OKW thought the Allies had compromised German signals, but because after the July 20 Plot Hitler didn't trust his generals anymore. OB West, Army Group commanders and only a few of their key staffers (chiefs of staff and operations officers) were told about the operation, in person by Hitler and the OKW staff. Subordinate command and staff, even as high as field army commanders, were not told anymore then to prepare for offensive combat operations and to move their forces from A to B; most of them weren't actually briefed on the plan until a day or so before kick off. That was actually one of the problems as to why the operation failed, the Germans weren't prepared properly. When even army commanders, let alone corps, division, regimental, battalion, company, platoon sized units have no clue what is about to happen inside a couple days of H hour, no time to prep for an actual mission, things are probably not going to go smoothly.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,829
Sydney
#29
.
that the Allied got surprised is undeniable , there was the feeling that the German effort had been in the Huertgen forest ,
one of the US division which had been mauled there was relocated in the Ardennes , a quiet front ( !!??)
unfortunately they were smack bang into the path of the offensive ,
they shattered on contact even though a few could brace themselves in scratch units and provide some stubborn defense
this was enough to throw the tight schedule of the offensive and make it fail
there is something admirable at a looser which still hold out changing a tactical defeat in a strategic success
 
Oct 2018
53
Minneapolis, MN
#30
It wouldn't have changed the outcome. Even if they managed to win the battle, they had depleted their armor, air support, everything in getting there. The hope of the win (that the US/Britian would negotiate a peace treaty and leave them alone) was never happening whether they were victorious in that battle or not. Allied forces would have suffered a LOT more casualties, but I don't think would have negotiated at that point, just brought in more reserves that Germany didn't have for the next fight.