bigpigeon.us webpage WWII - Germany > ETO > Enemy Counteroffensives > The Southern Bulge, updated by RAC 23 Jul 2022. Incomplete.
Topics to include:
- The Siege of Bastogne.
- The Defense of Dinant.
The Siege of Bastogne
US opposition in the south was centered on the road junction of Bastogne, which was encircled on 21 December.
The Drive to the Meuse
The Meuse River
The Meuse River enters Belgium from the south and flows in a northerly direction through Dinant, Namur, Huy and Liege.
If German armored units had managed to cross the Meuse River and then capture adequate supplies of gasoline, they might have managed to advance through central Belgium to Antwerp, seizing the Allies' major port and splitting Allied forces.
Fortunately the Wehrmacht never reached the Meuse.
Their closest approach was at Foy-Nôtre-Dame a few kilometers east of Dinant where Wehrmacht's 2nd Panzer Division advance was stopped by the US 2nd Armored Division.
As German forces approached the Meuse in the Dinant area, many refuges took to the road and headed west.
Among the refugees was an eight year old German Jewish girl, being sheltered by a Belgium Catholic family east of Dinant, which is south of Namur on the above map. This Belgian family fled with her for safety west of the Meuse River, but took shelter before reaching the bridge shown to the right. The German army never reached Dinant and the Belgian family and their little Jewish charge survived. Many years later, the little girl became the grandmother of two of my beloved grandchildren.
Sources for the WWII Enemy Counteroffensives > The Southern Bulge webpage:
- Bastogne, the Story of the First Eight Days (from the US Army in Action Series, S. L. A. Marshall, 1946) - https://history.army.mil/html/books/022/22-2-1/CMH_Pub_22-2-1.pdf. Note: Many historians now feel that Colonel Marshall, the ETO Theater Historian, was more a storyteller rather than a historian. As such, his works often contain factual errors.