WEATHER WOES

History Revealed - - BATTLEFIELD THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE -

Be­cause the Ger­mans had waited un­til snow and thick fog had grounded the Al­lies’ air­craft be­fore launch­ing their at­tack, troops on both sides had to con­tend with near-Arc­tic con­di­tions as well as enemy gun­fire and shelling. Bliz­zards of­ten re­duced vis­i­bil­ity to al­most zero, dig­ging fox­holes in the rock-hard earth was an ex­haust­ing task, and tanks of­ten had to be chis­elled out of the ice af­ter freez­ing to the ground overnight. Many wounded sol­diers froze to death be­fore they could be res­cued, and thou­sands of Amer­i­can GIs had to be treated for cases of frost­bite and trench foot.

The Amer­i­can de­fend­ers of Bas­togne suf­fered par­tic­u­larly badly. Pri­or­ity had been given to the sup­ply of fuel and am­mu­ni­tion, with the re­sult that most of them were still in their sum­mer uni­forms. They could not light fires as that would give away their po­si­tion, and there was no op­por­tu­nity to wash, shave or put on dry socks.

Amer­i­can in­fantry­men of the 290th Reg­i­ment crouch in the snow near Amonines, Bel­gium

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