Talk:Battle of the Bulge

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Siege of Bastogne section - General McAuliffe's name misspelled - result if photo file is changed?[edit]

General McAuliffe's name was spelled as "McAullife" and I changed the spelling in the caption of the photo of the letter.

What would happen if I changed the spelling in the area that links to the photo? I think the photo of the letter would not show up.

[[File:McAuliffeBastogneChristmasLetter101Airborne.jpg

Siege of Bastogne[edit]

U.S. POWs on 22 December 1944
Letter to 101st soldiers, containing Gen. McAuliffe's "Nuts!" response to the Germans

Please help with this. Starsmark (talk) 07:44, 19 March 2018 (UTC)

That's right. If you change the title of the .jpg file, Wikipedia would look for a file with that name and not find it. Clarityfiend (talk) 07:54, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
I thought so. I don't know how to change the jpg name. Perhaps it does not really need to be changed. But if you know how to do this, would you please let me know how it's done? Thanks! Starsmark (talk) 08:51, 19 March 2018 (UTC)

Allied supply issues[edit]

This section is long and mostly irrelevant as the supply issue had gone by 16 December 1944. Needs to be one short paragraph, no more. 90.198.216.240 (talk) 08:36, 12 July 2018 (UTC)

Allied casualty figures: discrepancy[edit]

In the lead, the number of Allied casualties is given as either 19,000 or 8,500. One source for 8,500 is a British source from 1944, which I consider doubtful, but there is also a 2015 publication by a popular military historian (Beevor) that repeats the figure.

While some sources report that up to 19,000 were killed,[1][2] Eisenhower's personnel chief put the number at about 8,600.[3]  British historian Antony Beevor reports the number killed as 8,407.[4]

In the body, the 8,500 figure is sourced to a preliminary account limited to only part of the forces involved. The 19,000 figure seems far more supported by these sources.

Casualty estimates for the battle vary widely. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, American forces suffered 89,500 casualties including 19,000 killed, 47,500 wounded and 23,000 missing.[1] An official report by the United States Department of the Army lists 105,102 casualties, including 19,246 killed, 62,489 wounded, and 26,612 captured or missing.[5]:92 A preliminary Army report restricted to the First and Third U.S. Armies listed 75,000 casualties (8,400 killed, 46,000 wounded and 21,000 missing).[6]  The Battle of the Bulge was the bloodiest battle for U.S. forces in World War II. British casualties totaled 1,400 with 200 deaths. 

I have provisionally edited the infobox on the side to read "8,000 to 19,246 killed," but what is the accurate figure? I suspect the lead and infobox should be revised upwards to 19000. Clean Copytalk 14:23, 28 July 2018 (UTC)

I don't understand why do we need to have detailed figures in the lead. They are duplicating what the infobox says, and usually we don't do that in articles about battles. I propose to move them to the infobox.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:51, 9 November 2018 (UTC)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Miles 2004.
  2. ^ MacDonald 1998, p. 618.
  3. ^ Dark December: The Full Account of the Battle of the Bulge (1st ed.). Westholme Publishing. 2011.
  4. ^ Beevor, Antony (2015). Ardennes 1944. Viking. p. 367.
  5. ^ "Army Battle Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths in World War II". Combined Arms Research Library, Department of the Army. 25 June 1953. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference Pogue1954 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

Calling out TiltuM[edit]

Over the past several months, this user, TiltuM, has persistently and deliberately edited this article (shown in his posts here, here, and here) to support a narrative of German military superiority and Allied inferiority. On every occasion his alterations invariably increase the losses incurred by the Allies while suppressing those of the Germans, even if it entailed deletion of reputable authors in the process. Mr. TiltuM is quick to hide behind Wikipedia guidelines (Reliable sources, Age Matters, and so forth) as grounds for justifying his revisions, but makes little attempt to hide their biased nature, as evidenced by this grossly partisan and unqualified assertion that "German combat performance in armored battles was colossally superior to U.S. armored units" and his description of the edit that contained it as "really satisfying." This has since been challenged and removed.

TiltuM's argument seems to be based almost entirely on a single source: Christer Bergström's 2014 book, "The Ardennes, 1944-1945." He describes this book as "cutting-edge, specialized scholarship" and uses it as a trump against other sources that run contrary to his slant. However, it turns out that Bergström's book is anything but. Bergström cites American historian Richard C. Anderson as the source material for his figures about the supposed enormous losses of US armor previously shown in the infobox and main body of this article. But, try as I might, the only major work by that writer I could find was my own copy of "Hitler's Last Gamble," in which he served as a co-author to Trevor N. Dupuy.

As it turns out, Mr. Anderson, who is a regular poster on the Axis History Forum, offers up the explanation himself: Some time before the publication of Ardennes, Bergström reached out to Mr. Anderson for information about US AFV losses during the Battle of the Bulge and was given a set of figures from the U.S. Army's ETO. Bergström went on to not only conflate "knocked out" (i.e, disabled or otherwise made in-operational) tanks with those that were "written off" (burnt down or thoroughly destroyed), but also took the entire set of data for all of North-Western Europe - i.e, the knocked out tanks and AFVs of the First, Third, Seventh, and Ninth Armies - and ascribed it all solely to the Ardennes and German military activities there. This data set appears on page 425 of his book, here. To make matters worse, Bergström mixes and matches documents, each with different numbers and meanings from the other. Quoting Anderson:

"The "monthly" data (actually from the 21st to the 20th of each month) compiled by the AFV&W Section is very different from unit reports. Units only reported vehicles as operational or operational in less than 6 hours, non-operational, but repairable in less than 24 hours, or non-operational and not repairable in less than 24 hours (including vehicles MIA). Units were only concerned with operational status. Worse, the 10th Armored Division was split into two separate halves where the fate of the parts trapped in Bastogne were not well known until after the relief. The data for the 9th Armored Division is even more problematic, since it was split into three widely separated parts.
However, that doesn't matter, since you are talking about two very different data sets with different objectives; comparing one to the other or drawing conclusions about one from the other is insane. "

Bergström claims on page 320 of Ardennes that the 'American military archives' have been "culled" with regard to this topic; but far from being in a position to make such a claim, Bergström never communicated with Anderson after their initial correspondence and did exactly zero research into such 'archives.'

The inescapable conclusion is that Bergström and his book are not reliable sources on US losses during the Battle of the Bulge, and cannot be considered acceptable for the purpose of this article. I have, therefore, taken the liberty of removing and replacing them with citations from superior scholarship.

In light of all this, I call on Mr. TiltuM to cease immediately his ridiculous and belittling narrative, and to make any further contributions to this article constructive in nature.

Sincerely, The Pittsburgher (talk) 06:32, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

Without prejudice as to the merit of your point, the tone of the beginning and especially the last sentence steps over the line into personal attack. Please edit it to tone it down. Clean Copytalk 10:47, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, "The Pittsburgher", but reliable sources printed by respected publishers don't get taken down with impunity because of forum posts on a random site. I'm afraid only a published, peer-reviewed, scholarly critique of Bergström will allow you to do that. Without such means, will you abandon your "persistent" and "deliberate" claims of "German claims" for the 1,500 US armored losses? The source makes it quite clear they're not. I may have been overzealous in simply removing U.S. (that is, foreign) claims for German casualties, and they have been given a status separate from German data instead. The Kursk article doesn't give Soviet data for German losses even the light of day, so as mentioned, I used that as a template. As for the rest of your post, kindly direct your accusations of bias to the source and its publisher.

Thanks for the extended info on German personnel casualties, that was good and informative. The figures of 100,000 and 125,000 remain U.S. claims utterly divorced from German casualty reports, however, and that has been made clear in the article. We don't give foreign claims equal status with proper loss reports for opposing force casualties, unless there is truly nothing better available. TiltuM (talk) 11:32, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

The post in question comes directly from Bergstöm's source. Earlier you told me that I 'should argue with Anderson;' well, here he is, so now it's your turn to argue. At this point, trying to uphold conclusions that have been so blatantly discredited based solely on Bergström's ethos is both fallacious reasoning and shifting the goalposts.
When it comes to casualties on the German side, moreover, further questions still remain. Firstly, at the bottom of the article in its current state it's said that 324 German tanks were lost in combat. Such a figure, interestingly enough, is repeated in Parker's account as well: on page 293 he states that "German tank and assault gun losses were 600-800, close to half of the number employed in the Ardennes and nearly one-fourth of Hitler's remaining panzer force. Again, [Magna E.] Bauer's careful study ["The Cost of the Ardennes Offensive"] reveals that 324 of the losses occurred in December with the larger balance in January. The OKW War Diary records the loss of 222 tanks (77 Mk IV, 132 Mk V, 13 Mk VI) and 102 assault guns for 16 through 31 December." Is this a coincidence, or does Bergström's number only cover the period to 31 December as well? I don't have his book, so I can't know.
Secondly, figures of 100,000 to 125,000 human losses for Model's Army Group are reasonable even based on German data. Aside from the OB West upper estimate and page 424 of Bergström's own book we have the numbers from Dupuy, which show over 74,000 casualties among the assault divisions alone until 16 January. This is without factoring in the casualties incurred by troops attached to those divisions or by troops directly attached to the German Corps and Army HQs, which made up a third of Army Group B's personnel strength. As noted in the article, if these were attritted at only half the rate of the line divisions then actual losses to 16 January would have been 93,500; if attrition took place at the same rate (22.5%), losses through that date would have been 112,000.
But, the Ardennes campaign did not end on January 16th; during the [German] defensive and withdrawal phases of the battle, both sides continued to accumulate damage. We return to Dupuy:
From 16 December to 23 December the line divisions suffered a combined total of 21,041 casualties (2,630/day), from 24 December to 1 January - 23,695 (2,633/day), and from 2 January to 16 January - 29,723 (1,982/day). Plugging in this data, a regression line f(x) = -30.3206x + 2827.38 (r = -0.8636 and r^2 = 0.7458) is created, where x-values 1 through 32 represent days from 16 December 1944 to 16 January 1945. Based on the above model, it follows that German losses among the line divisions for the period from 17 to 25 January (x-values 33 through 41) amounted to approximately 15,351 (standard error 3.23 or +/- about 496 casualties). Add that to the above 74,459 already incurred through January 16th and we've arrived at an estimate of between 88,818 and 90,802 - allowing for 2 standard errors - for losses incurred by the divisions alone, exclusive of attachments and corps/army troops. Apply this same concept to the latter and we've got another roughly 7,396 to 7,908 casualties to account for (or 3,698 to 3,954 with halved attrition rates). The final estimate, ergo, from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945 is between 111,500 (lower figures and halved attrition for 2nd-line) and 136,000 (high figures with same attrition for 2nd-line). These High-School level calculations don't necessarily constitute an "academic source" or even something that I intend on putting in the main text, but they do demonstrate - based on German data - that casualty totals of over 100,000 men are not at all 'divorced from reality' and do belong in the article. I would go so far as to say that it was far more likely Army Group B suffered 110 to 120 thousand casualties rather than 80 to 90 thousand, and that incomplete field data failed to grasp the full scale of the fighting.
The Pittsburgher (talk) 18:37, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
Frankly, I'm not reading your drawn-out comments, nor is anyone else. Wikipedia is not a debate forum. The keystone of this topic is that if you don't have a reliable, published source that dispels the figure 1,500 U.S. armor losses, you're wasting everyone else's time with your attempt to "call out" me by referencing categorically unreliable forum posts. If you have a proper reference, it's a simple matter of citing it, correcting the text and leaving everyone else in peace and quiet. Until you or someone else finds such means, every editor has a flawless case to revert your attempts to delete Bergström. I'm ending my involvement with this topic here. I have no intention of monitoring this article or getting suckered into the dead-end of rabbit-hole forum talks, that, by Wiki guidelines, can result only in nothing. Write down your stats at that website of yours instead. TiltuM (talk) 20:01, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
Wriggle wriggle. That's your author debunking Bergström, not mine. You asked me to put up, so I did; that he posted it on a forum is irrelevant and your refusal to follow through only highlights your own biases. The Pittsburgher (talk) 20:34, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
You yourself have been very biased with this article, Pittsburgher. When you used Clodfelters higher estimate on German aircraft losses, you also didn’t bother to add his lower estimate on German manpower strength for the Ardennes, apparently cherry picking only data that makes the US victory over that force more impressive. It’s also telling that when TiltuM added those American armor loss estimates from Bergström, you simply said they were absurd German claims, even though they were supplied by Richard C. Anderson and were not from “German claims” at all, indicating you had no actual knowledge of the credibility of the source. It seems that US losses that exceed what you want them to be are automatically propaganda.
As for German manpower losses, TiltuM‘s statement was that the higher US estimates on German casualties are divorced from German casualty reports, which you then claim is wrong through your calculations. The problem is that the only German casualty reports that have been supplied so far are the Heeresarzt 10-Day Casualty Reports; which state casualties for the involved armies were 63,222 from 10 December 1944 to 31 January 1945. The only other figure given that comes directly from the Germans, an estimate from OB West rather than actual casaulty reports, ranges from 81,000 to 98,000 for the entire battle, still under the 100,000-125,000 claims he was talking about. Also, when Bergström mentioned the 125,000, he was referring to where the estimates range from all sources, not the casualties reported.
As for the Richard Anderson forum posts, I haven’t finished reading them, I’ll chime back in when I get more info. Roddy the roadkill (talk) 23:52, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
The explanation is very simple: I didn't use Clodfelter's numbers because we have precise figures from Dupuy; I kept Bergström's statistics for German AFV losses for the same reason. As for German claims, when the original version of the article with the Bergström citations contained quotes like the following
"The 2nd SS Panzer Division knocked out 228 American tanks for the loss of 28 Panthers and 34 Panzer IV. The XLVII Panzer Corps knocked out ten U.S. tanks and destroyers for each of their own. The Führer Begleit Brigade destroyed U.S. tanks at a rate of 15–1, destroying 178 U.S. tanks during the battle, while losing only 10–12 tanks to U.S. tank gun or anti-tank gunfire and 5 to mines. Stürmgeschutz-Brigade 244 knocked out American tanks at a rate of 27–1, destroying 54 enemy tanks for the loss of 2 of its own."
with links to the same pages as the new numbers in the infobox (which were fully double the previous ones), you better believe I'm calling propaganda. As it was, the origins of the infobox statistics turned out to be more nuanced but just as farcical. Regarding casualties, the 100,000+ numbers above are, as you can see, extrapolated from Dupuy, who uses exclusively German sources. Rather than repeat any one record verbatim, his numbers are the results of careful study of multiple reports from various organizational levels and sometimes use mathematical approximation to bridge gaps in documentation, of which there are many when it comes to the 6th Panzer Army, 7th Army, and non-SS units in general. The limitations of this are, as noted, that he only produced figures for the line divisions and not the entire Army Group B, and only for the period up to 16 January 1945. (Dupuy's corresponding figure for the Anglo-American side is 63,901, of which 62,439 were American.) The Pittsburgher (talk) 14:38, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
Your calculations can't stand up to scrutiny because of the amount of false assumptions you make; all of them having to do with losses the non-Divisional German personnel might or might not have taken. Dupuy's own Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base actually gives a 0.2% daily average for non-Divisional German unit casualties, based on units where records are available, on page 402. That daily average is far lower than even half of the daily loss rate for the Divisions. This isn't even considering that all the non-Divisional units taken into account to reach that average are combat forces. The majority of non-Divisional forces in Army Group B were non-combat, mostly logistics. To suggest they would have taken losses anywhere near those of non-Divisional combat units, let alone the much higher loss rate of Divisions at the frontlines as you do, is ridiculous. The Ardennes wasn't like the breakout from Normandy; the US reduction of the salient was very gradual, you didn't have US forces roaming around far in the rear of German lines overrunning HQ and Signals battalions, and there was no major encirclement of German forces that would have lead to the sort of losses to non-combat personnel necessary to reach your approximations.
Another false assumption you make is that all non-Divisional manpower in Army Group B participated in the battle by applying those loss rates to all of them. You do know that Army Group B's own 15th Army wasn't involved in the Ardennes battle right? That formation contained at least a significant portion of them. Roddy the roadkill (talk) 05:35, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
On doing further inspection, none of the currently cited sources for German casualties in both the infobox and casualties section even mentions a 125,000 figure, except for Bergström who includes it in a range of loss estimates that includes those from other authors. In searching for where the 125,000 casualty figure might have originated, I found its first ever use was in 1954 by the Department of the Army’s “The Supreme Command”, Volume 3, Part 4. There was later an illustrated edition. In it, it’s stated to have actually been a German estimate on Allied losses that proved to be exaggerated. 103,000 is the highest figure the Allies themselves estimated the Germans suffered in casualties according to both the department of the Army and Cirillo. There are still some authors that put the estimate of German losses up to 125,000, but these are outliers who provide no primary sources or breakdowns of how they reached that number. Given that the only mention of this figure by either records or the U.S. Army or the Wehrmacht is referring to German claims that U.S. losses were that high, it is a strong possibility the number got mistaken for German losses and then became circulated by authors citing each other. Even labeling this number as a U.S. estimate on German losses wouldn’t apply as the U.S. Military never made such claims.
The number must be removed from the infobox altogether, and then in the casualties sections it will be included with it being stated that some authors have believed the German’s losses to be as high as 125,000. An example that TiltuM noted where high estimates considered to be in contradiction to primary sources are not used in the infobox is Battle of Kursk. So that leaves us with either 98,000 or 103,000 for the high German casualty estimate for the infobox. I’m going to use the 98,000 figure from OB West because that’s the losses the Germans themselves estimated. It’s worth noting that the number’s don’t hugely contradict each other though. Roddy the roadkill (talk) 22:36, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
The German rear area and Corps/Army troops did suffer heavily in the Ardennes, particularly to Allied air power after the weather cleared - their logistics were shot to pieces and in many cases their field organization virtually collapsed. Furthermore neither myself nor Dupuy includes either the Fifteenth Army or irrelevant parts of Army Group B; the former's statistics in appendix E of "Hitler's Last Gamble" are as follows:
Unit, Initial Strength (Strength 16 January 1945)
5th Panzer Army HQ and attached troops, 13,153 (14,414)
6th Panzer Army ", 31,370 (28,196)
7th Army ", 22,151 (19,954)
I SS Panzer Corps HQ and attached troops, 13,570 (6,749)
II SS Panzer Corps ", 2,517 (2,824)
XIII Korps Felber ", 1,179 (12,109)
XXXIX Panzer Corps ", 4,817 (1,524)
XLVII Panzer Corps ", 10,674 (7,089)
LIII Corps ", 2,963 (6,812)
LVIII Panzer Corps ", 13,816 (16,615)
LXVI Corps ", 7,133 (8,417)
LXVII Corps ", 13,232 (11,930)
LXXX Corps ", 8,707 (8,803)
LXXXV Corps ", 6,478 (1,702)
Total: 151,760 (147,138)
These, of course, exclude divisional attachments which together add up to another 14,000 to 17,000 personnel (roughly 16,702 on 16 December 1944 and 13,946 on 16 January 1945, respectively). More pertinent to casualty discussion, while the rates in the Ardennes Campaign Database are certainly more realistic than anything I could come up with, the units you linked on p. 402 only amount to an authorized strength of around 30,000 men, which is less than a fifth of what we're talking about. I can't speak on values for the others, but their losses must have been substantial - and even 0.2% of 165,000 people, compounded daily for 41 days, equates to another 13,500 casualties to be added to those among the divisions (estimated 89,000 to 91,000) - still well over 100,000. Where the 125,000 number is concerned, my original link was to Gerald Astor's "Blood Dimmed Tide" (1992), where it's flatly stated "When it was all over, the Allies had suffered 81,000 casualties; the Germans, 125,000." If you think you've identified the first appearance of that number and can demonstrate its context to be erroneous, then I'll support its deletion. I won't mess with the infobox in the meantime but have a number of period AARs than can be searched.The Pittsburgher (talk) 08:15, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
I was wrong about you applying those loss rates to all of Army Group B. However, dubious at best assumptions remain. 30,000 is a decent sample size given Dupuy had no alternative to reach those loss rates, but the units looked at are solely Combat-related. I’m not saying losses to German non-Combat personnel weren’t significant, but given that most were just under allied air attacks (and not even for the whole duration of the battle as you note), as opposed to being both under Allied air attacks and constantly engaged in attritional fighting with Allied ground units like the non-Divisional combat forces were, their losses could not have been comparable. If there is an issue with the data Dupuy analyzed being limited as far as Combat forces are concerned, I would say it has more to do with a higher proportion of non-Divisional “Combat” units being Anti-Air and Artillery than the units examined implies; who occasionally engaged in direct-fire roles against Allied ground forces and also incurred counter-battery fire, but wouldn’t engage in the sort of high-attrition frontline combat that a Panzerjager Battalion would.
Now, even if we just go with the highly unlikely assumption that non-Divisional non-Combat German units suffered a 0.2% daily loss date, that’s still as you stated 102,500 to 104,500 German casualties total; in line with the Department of the Army and to a lesser extent OB West’s high estimate, but far short of 125,000.
About Gerald Astor’s book; I own a 2015 edition of “Blood Dimmed Tide” on Ebooks and can’t find the 125,000 figure anywhere. I don’t think the figure should be removed from the article altogether and it remains in the casualties section, but not the infobox. Roddy the roadkill (talk) 23:57, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
Well, if comments on the internet are fair game, the 733 Tanks and TDs lost in the infobox can also be discredited. — 76.164.107.75 (talk) 00:16, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
This guy's first sentence says he's using Bergström as his source, which is what the past few days' commotion have been about. Bergström has been shown to misinterpret data and is not a reliable authority on US tank losses. The Pittsburgher (talk) 03:39, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
No. He merely says he’s cited it before, and then brings it up a couple more times as examples of someone who’s number is much higher than 733. Please read the entire post before commenting on it prematurely. Bergström’s book isn’t what he uses to discredit it. — 76.164.107.75 (talk) 05:10, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
I've read the post in its entirety, and it just comes off as incoherent. Firstly, who is ChristianMunich? Is he an author like Richard Anderson? Secondly, where is this "link" to the other forum post he referenced but seemingly didn't provide? Thirdly, in the above Axis History discussion (re-linked here: https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=225202&start=15), Anderson provides a rough estimate of ~850 tanks and TDs lost in the Ardennes, which depending on a variety of factors is more in less in line with the original 733. I'll search Dupuy's archives and other sources for more detailed breakdowns (his database has individual unit records but it looks like you need to actually feed alpha-numeric codes into a program to retrieve them), but I don't think this is enough to discredit the existing figures. The Pittsburgher (talk) 08:15, 5 August 2018 (UTC)

Did this take place in France?[edit]

The very beginning of the article mentions that the battle “was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in eastern Belgium, northeast France, and Luxembourg”. Looking at the map, it doesn’t look like any of the fighting took place in France. If that is correct, then I think that the article needs to be revised. 83.217.150.236 (talk) 21:17, 12 September 2018 (UTC)