A full-sized, fully operational 1944 M24 Chaffee Light Tank is on display at the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL. The M24 Chaffee saw action in the Battle of the Bulge.
A Brief Look at the Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge was the last WWII move of the German offensive in an effort to destroy the Allies. The German’s planned this top secret offensive with limited radio contact and moved troops and equipment only at night. However, Hitler underestimated the power of the Allied forces of Britain, France and the United States.
The Battle of the Bulge took place during the winter months of late 1944 and early 1945 in the dense forests of the Ardennes Mountains in Belgium. The intent of the Nazi offensive was to force the Allies into two groups as they continued their march towards Germany. The German’s believed this would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the Allies to supply themselves.
Even on paper, the plan was meek at best. Despite depletion of their war supplies, Hitler ordered the attack. Taking the Allies off guard only gave Germany a two day advantage. This advantage was possible as a result of the weather conditions, which grounded the Allies fighters and bombers. Once weather conditions cleared, planes were able to successfully destroy a vast number of German sites, including those supplying fuel. Thus, the German offensive, which was relying on a fuel-powered, heavy armour attack, began to lose ground.
Despite the Allied victory, the Battle of the Bulge came with a heavy price tag. The Americans alone had over 600,000 men involved, with close to 89,000 casualties reported. Among those casualties, approximately 19,000 were killed. The Battle of the Bulge became the largest, as well as the bloodiest battle of World War II.