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Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge

Battle of the Bulge
Available from Amazon.com

On December 16, 1944, Hitler launched his ‘last gamble’ in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes in Belgium, believing he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp and forcing the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back.

The allies, taken by surprise, found themselves fighting two panzer armies. Belgian civilians abandoned their homes, justifiably afraid of German revenge. Panic spread even to Paris. While some American soldiers, overwhelmed by the German onslaught, fled or surrendered, others held on heroically, creating breakwaters which slowed the German advance.

The harsh winter conditions and the savagery of the battle became comparable to the Eastern Front. In fact the Ardennes became the Western Front’s counterpart to Stalingrad. There was terrible ferocity on both sides, driven by desperation and revenge, in which the normal rules of combat were breached. The Ardennes—involving more than a million men—would prove to be the battle which finally broke the back of the Wehrmacht.

In this deeply researched work, with striking insights into the major players on both sides, Antony Beevor gives us the definitive account of the Ardennes offensive which was to become the greatest battle of World War II.

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Earl Pochert's Last Letters Before His Death at the Battle of the Bulge

Earl Pochert - Port Hope, MichiganDuring a very complicated battle near the end of World War II, American forces advanced toward Germany in a very intense war called the Battle of the Bulge.  The lives lost were many and included my uncle, Earl Pochert.

In a letter written to his brother and sister-in-law (my parents), Earl wrote about the “hell” of war.

Earl Pochert died on January 3, 1945, (the actual date is a bit uncertain because of the nature of the deaths and the ability to identify the bodies).  The following letter was written on December 27, 1944.  This was just a few days before he died.

To my understanding, the letter took some time to arrive in the United States most likely well after the notification of his death to his parents (my grandparents) .  You can image the emotion of the readers.

The letter was talked about before my enlistment in the Air Force.  My parents stressed the importance of the pledge that I made when enlisting.  I'm sure this letter and the fact that myself and my brother, Kurt Pochert, who entered the Navy, made a big impact on their concern for their sons.

Earl Pochert Letter - Battle of the Bulge
Copyright 2016 - Connert Media, Inc.

Earl Pochert - Battle of the Bulge
Copyright 2016 - Connert Media, Inc.

Earl Pochert - Battle of the Bulge
Copyright 2016 - Connert Media, Inc.


Earl Pochert Grave Marker - Port Hope, Michigan


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Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge

Battle of the BulgeOn December 16, 1944, Hitler launched his ‘last gamble’ in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes in Belgium, believing he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp and forcing the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back.

The allies, taken by surprise, found themselves fighting two panzer armies. Belgian civilians abandoned their homes, justifiably afraid of German revenge. Panic spread even to Paris. While some American soldiers, overwhelmed by the German onslaught, fled or surrendered, others held on heroically, creating breakwaters which slowed the German advance.

The harsh winter conditions and the savagery of the battle became comparable to the Eastern Front. In fact the Ardennes became the Western Front’s counterpart to Stalingrad. There was terrible ferocity on both sides, driven by desperation and revenge, in which the normal rules of combat were breached. The Ardennes—involving more than a million men—would prove to be the battle which finally broke the back of the Wehrmacht.

In this deeply researched work, with striking insights into the major players on both sides, Antony Beevor gives us the definitive account of the Ardennes offensive which was to become the greatest battle of World War II.

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