On August 15 a second invasion, Operation Dragoon, succeeded in southern France. Everywhere within that country, German infantry and armored units were in retreat. The Allies’ greatest obstacle was logistics: keeping their mechanized and motorized divisions supplied with fuel, food, ammunition and other necessities. The Red Ball Express
, made up of nearly 6,000 trucks, rushed supplies forward. During the 81 days of its existence, the Red Ball transported over 800,000 gallons of fuel a day and a total of over 412,000 tons of other war supplies. The Allies enjoyed a enormous superiority in the number and quality of trucks during the war, an advantage that was as important as the fighting men and machines they kept supplied and mobile.
attempted to secure bridges across the Rhine in Holland, using three airborne divisions dropped near the town of Arnhem and an overland drive by 20,000 vehicles. It was a costly failure.
At almost the same time, the American 9th Infantry Division under Lieutenant General Manton Spraque Eddy attacked into the Hurtgen Forest, beginning a costly and poorly managed campaign that dragged on until the following February.
Battle of the Bulge
south of the Hurtgen Forest, German troops were secretly massing a quarter-million men, nearly 1,000 tanks and mechanized assault guns, and 1,900 artillery pieces for a major counteroffensive under command of Jochen Peiper, that was meant to drive a wedge between the American and British sectors and re-capture the port of Antwerp in the Netherlands. Concealed by the Ardennes Forest, through which they had successfully attacked France in May 1940, they launched a surprise attack in the early hours of December 16 against a lightly defended portion of the American line. Within three days they had destroyed the American 28th “Keystone” division and the 106th “Golden Lion” division—but those units had delayed the advance long enough to upset the tight German timetable and allow Ike Eisenhower time to order other units forward, including the 82nd “All American” division General James Gavin and 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” division . General Maxwell Taylor and Anthony McAuliffe and British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery deployed his XXX Corps on his own initiative to block the German drive to the north.
The onslaught forced a bulge 50 miles wide and 70 miles deep into the American lines, giving it the name Battle of the Bulge. Staunch defenses at St. Vith and Bastogne
caused the attack to grind to a halt, and by late January counterattacks had pushed the Germans back to their start line, minus 100,000 men and 700 fighting vehicles. Allied losses, primarily American, were 90,000 men and 300 fighting vehicles, but those losses could be replaced much more easily than the Germans could replace theirs. From autumn 1944 Germany lost 5000 soldiers every day.??
Casualties of the 28th Division, total battle casualties: 16,762, killed in action: 2,316, wounded in action: 9,609, m issing in action: 884 and prisoner of war: 3,953.
Casualties of the 106th Division, total battle casualties: 8,627, killed in action: 417, wounded in action: 1,278, missing in action: 235, prisoner of war: 6,697.
Casualties of the 101st Airborne Division, killed in action 2043, wounded 2782 and missed and captured in action 1590.
Casualties of the 82nd Airborne Division, total battle casualties: 9,073, killed in action: 1,619, wounded in action: 6,560, missing in action: 279, and prisoner of war: 615.
Casualties of the 9th Infantery Division, total battle casualties: 23,277, killed in action: 3,856, wounded in action: 17,416, missing in action: 357 and prisoner of war: 908.