The Battle of the Bulge was a major engagement of World War II, extending from mid-December 1944 to late January 1945. It represented the last significant attempt by the German Army to push back the Allied offensive that began with D-Day landings at Normandy in June 1944.
As U.S. and British forces advanced eastward from the coasts of northern France, they were surprised by the scale and ferocity of a German counter-offensive in the heavily forested region of Ardennes, a territory covering sections of France, Belgium and Luxembourg. The German armored formations that spearheaded the offensive pushed far into Allied lines, creating a "bulge" in those lines that would cost the U.S. and Britain tens ouf thousands of lives to reverse.
One of the more significant encounters during the Battle of the Bulge was German seige of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne, a Belgian town situation on a key crossroads for the German advance. The seige posed a grave threat to the survival of the paratroopers of the 101st, but their commanding officer rejected German offers to accept an American surrender. Eventually, General George Patton's Third Army arrived and succeeded in lifting the seige.
By late January 1945, Allied forces had pushed German forces out of the "bulge," taking thousands of German prisoners in the process.
The Battle of the Bulge was enormously costly in American and British lives and was an important reminder to Allied commanders not to get overconfident before they reached Berlin.