The Battle of the Ardennes, known to the United States as the Battle of the Bulge, was the greatest battle this country had or would participate in. At its height more than 500,000 American forces were engaged with nearly 600,000 German soldiers. The Americans were at times without proper winter combat gear, in what was the coldest and most treacherous winter in that area in the last forty years. In addition, the German army has nearly a four to one weapons advantage and had heavier weapons than did the Allies. From this the question arises, How were U.S. and Allied forces able to halt and reverse the German offensive outgunned, out manned, and out-strategized?.
By late 1944, Germany had been pushed back to its borders by the Soviets in the East, and the Western Allies in the West and South. The German military had taken heavy loses in France and Russia and was in full defense of the Fatherland. Hitler decided that his only option for saving Germany was a full scale do-or-die offensive to break through Allied lines and regain lost territory. He chose the Western front for this offensive and selected the lightly defended area of the Ardennes Forest of the German border with France, Luxembourg, and Belgium. His plan was to send two full German armies, twenty-nine divisions, against the five divisions of U.S. troops guarding the area. The attack would commence in late November; hopefully, Hitler thought, his armies could break through the lines in Belgium, retake the port of Antwerp, and cut the Allies in two. Nothing of its magnitude had ever been done before, and the attack depended on four critical factors (Battle).
The first of these factors was speed. Hitler needed his armies to move lightning-fast to break the Allied lines before they ever saw it coming. He needed them to be well past the Main Line of Resistance and into major crossroads cities before the Americans and their allies had a chance to reinforce and slow the attack.