British and Canadian Troops in the Battle of the Bulge | HistoryNet MENU

British and Canadian Troops in the Battle of the Bulge

Summary: The Battle of the Bulge (December 16, 1944–January 16, 1945) was fought primarily between the forces of Nazi Germany and the United States Army. However, approximately 55,000 troops of the British Army, including the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, also participated in the struggle.

On December 19, American general Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, temporarily placed all units north of a line between the towns of Givet and Prum under the command of British field marshal Bernard Montgomery. The field marshal ordered British XXX Corps, led by Lieutenant General Sir Brian Gwynne Horrocks, from Holland to block the advancing Germans from crossing the Meuse River. On December 24, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment joined American tanks, crossed the Meuse and, with support from the Royal Air Force (RAF) halted the advance of the 2nd Panzer Division.

A general counterattack by all Allied forces began January 3. Battalions from Britain’s 6th Airborne Division (including 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion), the 23rd Hussars, and tanks from the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry Regiment began three days and nights of fighting, taking heavy casualties. Other British counterattacks by additional units began on January 4.

By January 8, the German High Command, realizing their attack had failed and assailed by Allied counterattacks ordered their commanders to retreat toward Germany, but fighting continued against their rearguard. Eight days later, Field Marshal Montgomery ordered XXX Corps back to The Netherlands. British and Canadian casualties were approximately 1,400 killed, wounded and missing.

Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery

Bernard Montgomery had led the 3rd Division capably during the battles in France in May 1940, but his star rose to its zenith in 1942 when he was given command of British Eighth Army in North Africa and dealt "the Desert Fox" Field Marshal Erwin Rommel a defeat in the Second Battle of El Alamein.

Unfortunately, Montgomery tended to be overly cautious and was generally contemptuous toward American troops and especially American commanders. Eisenhower’s plan for the Allied counterattack was to strike with Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s Third Army from the south and Montgomery’s mixed British-American force from the north, cut off the Germans within the salient they had pushed into the American lines, and destroy them. Montgomery kept delaying his attacks, which Eisenhower wanted to begin on December 27. "Monty" insisted Eisenhower should turn complete command of Allied forces over to him, a demand Eisenhower bluntly refused. The supercilious Montgomery dealt Anglo-American relations a further blow when he declared that American troops made great fighting men when given proper leadership.

He later exaggerated the British Army’s contributions to the Battle of the Bulge—only about 55,000 men from that army were involved compared to 600,000 Americans—but their contributions to defending the northern flank should not be forgotten.
 

12 Responses to British and Canadian Troops in the Battle of the Bulge

  1. hellcatdwe says:

    Montgomery emphatically did not exaggerate the contribution of British and Canadian troops to the battle, and 55,000 is a gross understatement – it was actually in excess of 90,000. American commanders, including Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton, believed the war was all but won by December 1944, and underestimated the ability of the Wermacht to strike back. Montgomery, on the other hand, with far greater experience of fighting the Germans, had asked his staff to prepare plans for just such a contingency but, to save American embarrassment at their lack of planning, confusion and delay in reaction to the attack, the British contribution in taking pre-emptive action to cross the Meuse and turn back the German armoured spearhead was suppressed. Like Patton, Monty may have been an egotist, but US General Bruce Clarke, commander of the 7th Armoured, remained grateful to Montgomery for the rest of his life, for saving the 20,000 men in St Vith, when Patton and others had written them off. As Churchill said, ‘There is only thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them’.

    • WomenAreMoreOpressedthanNegros says:

      I know you’re probably retarded but the allied lines during and before the battle of the bulge were far beyond the river Meuse. I suppose if you count reserves miles behind the frontlines the british may have had 90,000 men

      • hellcatdwe says:

        Whatever the World is short of, it never seems to be people like you and Chuck Yeager. I’m not going to rise to your anti-British bait – go back to getting your history from Hollywood.

      • WomenAreMoreOpressedthanNegros says:

        Hollywood is telling us that the British are heroic for dooming mainland europe to years of Nazi control with Dunkirk. Maybe you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you.

      • J Jimmy Kennedy says:

        Ah yes, the British are cowards for retreating from France whilst the US forces were….oh…they were hiding in isolationism scared. The British got involved in a war that didn’t directly threaten them to save Europe, if it wasn’t for Britain staying on alone against the Nazis in 1940, America would have never gotten involved. Either way, the yanks came in late, grossly overstated their contribution (only 20% of all allied forces) and then claimed to have won the war single handedly, when in reality it was the Russians, the US didn’t even start lend lease until Britain had saved itself after the Battle of Britain. When it comes to cowardice, I don’t think the Americans who waited for several years to come and help can talk. Lol

      • WomenAreMoreOpressedthanNegros says:

        LMFAO you mean like the cowardice that the British showed when they refused to intervene when the Nazis started rearming, Or annexing Austria and Czechslovakia. The US never had an interest in Europe’s war and Unlike Britain and the Soviet Union never actively worked with or appeased Nazi aggression. America joined WW2 as an act of self defense. Luckily for the Britbong the US managed to carry your shithole commonwealth through the next few decades after you managed to get your butthole bored out by the Axis powers. (Also there were only 7 million British servicemen during Britains involvement in ww2 compared to 16 million American servicemen)

      • WomenAreMoreOpressedthanNegros says:

        What’s the Matter? You made your account just to reply to me. I suppose it’s more likely that with how much i taught you in 2 paragraphs compared to what you learned in your school’s propaganda class. I ended up blue screening you?

      • Paul Greenwood says:

        USA declared NEUTRALITY Sept 1939

      • WomenAreMoreOpressedthanNegros says:

        Lol and? It was Britain who allowed Germany to be taken over by Nazis, Build up their military, Invade the Rhineland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Memel and then allowed the Nazis to dominate mainland Europe. The US joined ww2 because The Nazis declared war on us. Quite simply because the British were incapable. Big daddy America had to come in and take charge because your “leaders” were a fat fuck running what was left of your country into the ground, A guy who managed to get more bomber crewman killed than enemy civilians while pelting them with napalm and A dude who couldn’t get over his oedipus complex because his mom beat him.

      • Paul Greenwood says:

        USSR did the job not USA

      • WomenAreMoreOpressedthanNegros says:

        They sure did when they were sending resources to the Nazis that were essential to their war effort. And helping them invade Poland.

  2. Kevin Hiatt says:

    My late father was in a HAA Unit Royal Artillary and was cut off in that battle, they were using their Anti Aircrraft guns as field guns as no aircraft flying.

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