Battle of the Bulge in Numbers

The Battle of the Bulge was the largest single battle on the Western Front. It became a struggle of attrition, characterised by poor weather and boggy underfoot conditions. Both sides sustained high casualties, with the Americans taking more during this encounter than in any other during the war.

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31 Facts About the Battle of the Bulge

  1. An 80-mile front line
  2. 50 miles: the extent of the bulge
  3. Eve of battle: over 200,000 German troops (followed by about 100,000 reinforecements); 400 tanks; 1,900 guns (American artillery shot only 2,500 total rounds on 16 December)
  4. Eve of battle: around 83,000 American troops (rising to 610,000 over the course of battle); 242 Sherman tanks; 182 tank destroyers; 394 pieces of artillery
  5. 11,500 defensive artillery rounds fired at Elsenborn Ridge 17 December
  6. 1,255,000 American artillery rounds fired over the battle by 4,155 guns brought into the action
  7. 1,800 total Panzers used by the Germans, including approx. 125 Panthers and 125 Tigers
  8. 1,138 tactical sorties (of which 734 were ground support missions in the battle zone) and 2,442 bomber sorties flown by the USAAF on 24 December, together with 1,243 RAF sorties ; 413 German armoured vehicles immobilised by air attacks
  9. 2,277 newly produced armoured vehicles sent to the western front by Germany in November and December 1944, whilst only 919 sent to the east
  10. 1,200 German shells fired per day from 20 December onwards
  11. 48,000 vehicles moved into battle by the US First Army 17-26 December
  12. Bastogne: approx. 23,000 Americans (about half made up from 101st US Airborne) vs. approx. 54,000 Germans
  13. Elsenborn Ridge: 28,000 Americans vs. approx. 56,000 Germans
  14. 100,000 gallons of American POL seized
  15. 3,000,000 gallons of American POL evacuated from Spa-Stavelot 17-19 December
  16. 400,000 gallons of petrol lost when a V-1 missile hit Liege, 17 December
  17. 31,505 American reinforcements arrived 16 December – 2 January
  18. 416,713 German troops under OB West command 1 December – a month later this was 1,322,561
  19. 48-hour news blackout imposed on Paris from 18 December as rumours about the attack spread
  20. 121 V-1 missiles fired at Liege each week during the battle and 235 each week fired at Antwerp 236 British soldiers killed and 194 wounded at a cinema on 16 December)
  21. 362 American POWs massacred by the Germans
  22. 111 civilians massacred by the Germans
  23. Around 60 Germans killed in retaliatory massacre at Chenogne, 1 January
  24. 782 German bodies found after the defence of Elsenborn Ridge, 20-21 December
  25. 900 Luftwaffe sorties on 25 December, reduced to 200 within a week
  26. 800 Luftwaffe fighters mobilised from across Germany on 1 January – almost 300 shot down that day, with 214 pilots killed or taken as POWs; around half as many Allied aircraft lost
  27. German casualties: 12,652 killed, 38,600 wounded, 30,000 missing
  28. American casualties: 10,276 killed, 47,493 wounded, 23,218 missing
  29. British casualties: 200 killed, 969 wounded, 239 missing
  30. Approx. 3,000 civilians killed during the Battle of the Bulge
  31. 37 American soldiers and 202 civilians killed at Malmedy as a result of friendly fire

History graduate (and enthusiast) with postgraduate degrees in environmental history and heritage science.