Photo Gallery: The Battle of the Bulge

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During the winter of 1944-45, more than 500,000 troops were deployed in the Ardennes. An astonishing number -- 76,000 -- would be wounded or killed. The troops were young men -- some of them barely out of high school.

Freezing cold, frostbite, death -- these were everyday facts for the soldiers at the Bulge. Browse this gallery of photos from the Battle of the Bulge to see what it was like. (To see another side of life for American foot soldiers, look at our gallery of World War II cartoons by Bill Mauldin.)

 

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Allied soldiers gather around a Nazi flag. During the battle, 30 German divisions would attack the Allied front with almost a quarter of a million troops.

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Most of the small towns of the Ardennes region were destroyed during the battle, including the town of Bastogne, where American forces were besieged for a week before General Patton's Third Army came with relief. 

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Upon their retreat, German troops were known to murder American prisoners of war as well as any women, children and elderly citizens remaining in the towns.

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Because of an unforeseen loss of Allied soldiers, young men were brought directly from training to the front lines. Many of these inexperienced men would lose their lives. 

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Soldiers grabbed meager rations when they could between breaks in the inclement weather and the pressing German army. 

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Freezing temperatures caused extensive frostbite in many soldiers, who wore uniforms intended for warmer weather. Here, Allied soldiers sort through a pile for warmer boots. 

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The Allies suffered more than 77,000 casualties during the battle. The freezing temperatures and dense fog caused thousands of bodies to freeze to the ground. 

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A soldier puts on a makeshift "snowboot" to protect his feet from the icy snow.

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The German offensive occurred during the coldest, snowiest winter in memory.

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An improvement in the weather after December 24th helped the Allied counterattacks, and the Allies began regaining ground the day after Christmas. American troops finally fought their way back to their original position in mid-January, 1945, ending the Battle of the Bulge.

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Over the course of the month-long battle, 16,000 Americans were killed. 

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A frostbitten victim recovers in an army hospital. One third of the casualties during the Battle of the Bulge resulted form frostbite of the feet and hands. 

|West Point

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