Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge known as the Ardennes Counteroffensive, took place from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945, was the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II. It was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in eastern Belgium, northeast France, Luxembourg, towards the end of the war in Europe; the offensive was intended to stop Allied use of the Belgian port of Antwerp and to split the Allied lines, allowing the Germans to encircle and destroy four Allied armies and force the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis powers' favor. The Germans achieved a total surprise attack on the morning of 16 December 1944, due to a combination of Allied overconfidence, preoccupation with Allied offensive plans, poor aerial reconnaissance. American forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties of any operation during the war; the battle severely depleted Germany's armored forces, they were unable to replace them.
German personnel and Luftwaffe aircraft sustained heavy losses. The Germans had attacked a weakly defended section of the Allied line, taking advantage of overcast weather conditions that grounded the Allies' overwhelmingly superior air forces. Fierce resistance on the northern shoulder of the offensive, around Elsenborn Ridge, in the south, around Bastogne, blocked German access to key roads to the northwest and west that they counted on for success. Columns of armor and infantry that were supposed to advance along parallel routes found themselves on the same roads. This, terrain that favored the defenders, threw the German advance behind schedule and allowed the Allies to reinforce the thinly placed troops; the furthest west the offensive reached was the village of Foy-Nôtre-Dame, south east of Dinant, being stopped by the British 21st Army Group on 24 December 1944. Improved weather conditions permitted air attacks on German forces and supply lines, which sealed the failure of the offensive.
In the wake of the defeat, many experienced German units were left depleted of men and equipment, as survivors retreated to the defenses of the Siegfried Line. The Germans' initial attack involved 410,000 men; these were reinforced a couple of weeks bringing the offensive's total strength to around 450,000 troops, 1,500 tanks and assault guns. Between 63,222 and 98,000 of these men were killed, wounded in action, or captured. For the Americans, out of a peak of 610,000 troops, 89,000 became casualties out of which some 19,000 were killed; the "Bulge" was the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by the United States in World War II and the second deadliest battle in American history. After the breakout from Normandy at the end of July 1944 and the Allied landings in southern France on 15 August 1944, the Allies advanced toward Germany more than anticipated; the Allies were faced with several military logistics issues: troops were fatigued by weeks of continuous combat supply lines were stretched thin supplies were dangerously depleted.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower and his staff chose to hold the Ardennes region, occupied by the U. S. First Army; the Allies chose to defend the Ardennes with as few troops as possible due to the favorable terrain and limited Allied operational objectives in the area. They had intelligence that the Wehrmacht was using the area across the German border as a rest-and-refit area for its troops; the speed of the Allied advance coupled with an initial lack of deep-water ports presented the Allies with enormous supply problems. Over-the-beach supply operations using the Normandy landing areas, direct landing ships on the beaches, were unable to meet operational needs; the only deep-water port the Allies had captured was Cherbourg on the northern shore of the Cotentin peninsula and west of the original invasion beaches, but the Germans had wrecked, mined, the harbor before it could be taken. It took many months to rebuild its cargo-handling capability; the Allies captured the port of Antwerp intact in the first days of September, but it was not operational until 28 November.
The estuary of the Schelde river, that controlled access to the port, had to be cleared of both German troops and naval mines. These limitations led to differences between General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, commander of the Anglo-Canadian 21st Army Group, over whether Montgomery or Lieutenant General Omar Bradley, commanding the U. S. 12th Army Group, in the south would get priority access to supplies. German forces remained in control of several major ports on the English Channel coast until the end of the war in May 1945; the Allies' efforts to destroy the French railway system prior to D-Day, were successful. This destruction hampered the German response to the invasion, but it proved hampering to the Allies, it took time to repair bridges. A trucking system nicknamed the Red Ball Express brought supplies to front-line troops, but used up five times as much fuel, to reach the front line near the Belgian border, as it delivered. By early October, the Allies had suspended major offensives to improve their supply lines and supply availability at the front.
Montgomery and Bradley both pressed for priority delivery of supplies to their respective armies so they could continue their individual lines of advance and maintain
Combat Mission is the name of a successful series of computer games simulating tactical battles. The series has progressed through two distinct game engines; the original game engine, referred to as'CMx1' by the developer, Battlefront.com, powered a trio of games set in the Second World War. Combat Mission: Shock Force was released in July 2007 as the debut of the'CMx2' game engine; the Combat Mission games are a mixture of simultaneous real-time execution. The game environment is three-dimensional, with a "Wego" style of play wherein each player enters their orders into the computer during pauses in the action, are powerless to intervene during the action phase. More familiar turn-based games use an "I-go/You-go" system of play. Charles Moylan worked on several of Avalon Hill's computer projects, including Flight Commander 2, Achtung Spitfire, Over the Reich. In 1997 he was unofficially working on a computer adaptation of the famous Advanced Squad Leader board game. Moylan came to realize, that the game would be difficult or impossible to adapt to a computerized version.
Atomic Games had attempted to produce a "Computer Squad Leader" game, but abandoned the tie-in to ASL and marketed the game as Close Combat. In the beginning of 1998 Avalon Hill was in turmoil and unstable to work for, Moylan decided to go his own way, as Big Time Software, shortly before Avalon Hill was purchased by Hasbro; the move from Avalon Hill meant severing ties to ASL. Moylan offered the Alpha build to publishers before teaming up with Steve Grammont, forming what became Battlefront.com and re-christening the new game Combat Mission. Battlefront produced the first game in the Combat Mission series, Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord, in 2000; the game was successful and spawned two additional titles, as well as a second generation game engine with plans for many new titles and modules bearing the Combat Mission name. Big Time Software became known as Battlefront.com, with additional members being hired, including Martin van Balkom, Dan Olding, Fernando Julio Carrera Buil and Matt Faller, who handle the company website and sound design, organizing beta testing of new products.
Combat Mission remains the flagship series of the Battlefront.com line. In July 2010 it was announced that a second programmer was hired by BFC to assist with the production of Combat Mission games. Three titles using the original game engine were released by battlefront.com: Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord 2000 Combat Mission II: Barbarossa to Berlin 2002 Combat Mission 3: Afrika Korps 2004These three games are said to belong to the'CMx1' engine. An operational layer was planned for Barbarossa to Berlin with the announcement of Combat Mission: Campaign, to allow players to order maneuver elements from platoon to battalion size on an operational grid and generate realistic battles to be fought out in Barbarossa to Berlin, it was expected to be released in 2006. This game languished in development hell and was cancelled on February 26, 2009 due to lack of funding and irresolvable bugs. In the meantime, production shifted to a new game engine, described as the'CMx2' engine. New games, to consist of Titles, outlining a particular era, with Modules providing extra nationalities and equipment types for each Title, were planned.
The initial release was set as a near-future game. Combat Mission: Shock Force 2007This title depicts combat in a fictional US invasion of Syria, focusing on US Stryker brigades and Syrian regular and irregular forces and was released on July 27, 2007. Three modules have since appeared: Marines 2008 British Forces 2009 NATO 2010Russian developer Snowball announced that it had obtained a license from Battlefront.com to create a product titled Combat Mission: Afghanistan depicting combat set in the Soviet–Afghan War. The game will not be compatible with other versions and units will not have the ability to be ported from one game in the series to Afghanistan or vice versa. Turn-based/simultaneous executionAll three games share the same concept. While the planning phase can, in single player mode, last as long as the player needs to give orders to all their units, the executing phase always lasts 60 seconds of real-time. Both sides, either computer or another human, enter their orders before the execution phase takes place.
This is known as the Wego system. During the execution phase, units carry out their orders, but the player cannot influence the result and is limited to watch and move the camera. All games offer to play individual operations, linking a series of battles. See Scenarios below for more information. EditorThe games offer an editor to create battles; the editor is a simple, top-down, tile-based affair that allows mappers to place any of the game's terrain tiles anywhere on a square grid representing the map and change the elevation of each tile individually. Buildings, forests, fields and water can be placed, in addition to the forces that will be disposed to each side, if the map is designed as a scenario with fixed forces. In creating custom scenarios, players can write their own text introductions to the scenario. Players can write their own victory/loss texts
Guadalcanal is the principal island in Guadalcanal Province of the nation of Solomon Islands, located in the south-western Pacific, northeast of Australia. The island is covered in dense tropical rainforest and has a mountainous interior. Guadalcanal's discovery by westerners was under the Spanish expedition of Álvaro de Mendaña in 1568; the name comes from the village of Guadalcanal, in the province of Seville, in Andalusia, birthplace of Pedro de Ortega Valencia, a member of Mendaña's expedition. During 1942–43, it was the scene of the Guadalcanal Campaign and saw bitter fighting between Japanese and US troops; the Americans were victorious. At the end of World War II, Honiara, on the north coast of Guadalcanal, became the new capital of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. A Spanish expedition from Peru under the command of Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira discovered the island in the year 1568. Mendaña's subordinate, Pedro de Ortega Valencia, named the island after his home town Guadalcanal in Andalusia, Spain.
The name comes from the Arabic Wādī l-Khānāt, which means "Valley of the Stalls" or "River of Stalls", referring to the refreshment stalls which were set up there during Muslim rule in Andalusia. In the years that followed the discovery, the island was variously referred to as Guadarcana, Guarcana and Guadalcanar, which reflected different pronunciations of its name in Andalusian Spanish. European settlers and missionaries began to arrive in the 18th and 19th centuries, in the year 1893, the British Solomon Islands Protectorate was proclaimed which included the island of Guadalcanal. In 1932, the British confirmed the name Guadalcanal in line with the town in Spain. In the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Japanese drove the Americans out of the Philippines, the British out of British Malaya, the Dutch out of the East Indies; the Japanese began to expand into the Western Pacific, occupying many islands in an attempt to build a defensive ring around their conquests and threaten the lines of communication from the United States to Australia and New Zealand.
The Japanese reached Guadalcanal in May 1942. When an American reconnaissance mission spotted construction of a Japanese airfield at Lunga Point on the north coast of Guadalcanal, the situation became critical; this new Japanese airfield represented a threat to Australia itself, so the United States as a matter of urgency, despite not being adequately prepared, conducted its first amphibious landing of the war. The initial landings of US Marines on 7 August 1942 secured the airfield without too much difficulty, but holding the airfield for the next six months was one of the most hotly contested campaigns in the entire war for the control of ground and skies. Guadalcanal became a major turning point in the war. After six months of fighting, the Japanese ceased contesting the control of the island, they evacuated the island at Cape Esperance on the north west coast in February 1943. After landing on the island, the US Navy Seabees began finishing the airfield begun by the Japanese, it was named Henderson Field after a Marine aviator killed in combat during the Battle of Midway.
Aircraft operating from Henderson Field during the campaign were a hodgepodge of Marine, Army and allied aircraft that became known as the Cactus Air Force. They defended the airfield and threatened any Japanese ships that ventured into the vicinity during daylight hours. However, at night, Japanese naval forces were able to shell the airfield and deliver troops with supplies, retiring before daylight; the Japanese used fast ships to make these runs, this became known as the Tokyo Express. So many ships from both sides were sunk in the many engagements in and around the Solomon Island chain that the nearby waters were referred to as Ironbottom Sound; the Battle of Cape Esperance was fought on 11 October 1942 off the northwest coast of Guadalcanal. In the battle, United States Navy ships intercepted and defeated a Japanese formation of ships on their way down'the Slot' to reinforce and resupply troops on the island, but suffered losses as well; the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in November marked the turning point in which Allied Naval forces took on the experienced Japanese surface forces at night and forced them to withdraw after sharp action.
Some Japanese viewpoints consider these engagements, the improving Allied surface capability to challenge their surface ships at night, to be just as significant as the Battle of Midway in turning the tide against them. After six months of hard combat in and around Guadalcanal and dealing with jungle diseases that took a heavy toll of troops on both sides, Allied forces managed to halt the Japanese advance and dissuade them from contesting the control of the island by driving the last of the Japanese troops into the sea on 15 January 1943. American authorities declared Guadalcanal secure on 9 February 1943. Two US Navy ships have been named for the battle: USS Guadalcanal, a World War II escort carrier. USS Guadalcanal, an amphibious assault ship. To date, the only Coast Guardsman recipient of the Medal of Honor is Signalman 1st Class Douglas Albert Munro, awarded posthumously for his extraordinary heroism on 27 September 1942 at Point Cruz, Guadalcanal. Munro provided a shield and covering fire, helped evacuate 500 besieged Marines from a beach at Point Cruz.
During the Battle for Guadalcanal, the Medal of Honor was awarded to John Basilone who died on Iwo Jima. After the Second World War, the capital of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate was moved to Honiara on Guadalcanal from its previous location
The Waffen-SS was the armed wing of the Nazi Party's SS organisation. Its formations included men from Nazi Germany, along with volunteers and conscripts from both occupied and un-occupied lands; the Waffen-SS grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions during World War II, served alongside the Heer and other security units. It was under the control of the SS Führungshauptamt beneath Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. With the start of World War II, tactical control was exercised by the High Command of the Armed Forces, with some units being subordinated to Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS directly under Himmler's control. In keeping with the racial policy of Nazi Germany, membership was open only to people of Germanic origin; the rules were relaxed in 1940, the formation of units composed or of foreign volunteers and conscripts was authorised. These SS units were made up of men from among the nationals of Nazi-occupied Europe. Despite relaxation of the rules, the Waffen-SS was still based on the racist ideology of Nazism, ethnic Poles were barred from the formations.
Members of the Waffen-SS were involved in numerous atrocities. At the post-war Nuremberg trials, the Waffen-SS was judged to be a criminal organisation due to its connection to the Nazi Party and direct involvement in numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity. Former Waffen-SS members, with the exception of conscripts, who comprised about one third of the membership, were denied many of the rights afforded to military veterans; the origins of the Waffen-SS can be traced back to the selection of a group of 120 SS men on 17 March 1933 by Sepp Dietrich to form the Sonderkommando Berlin. By November 1933 the formation had 800 men, at a commemorative ceremony in Munich for the tenth anniversary of the failed Munich Putsch the regiment swore allegiance to Adolf Hitler; the oaths pledged were "Pledging loyalty to him alone" and "Obedience unto death". The formation was given the title Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. On 13 April 1934, by order of Himmler, the regiment became known as the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler.
The Leibstandarte demonstrated their loyalty to Hitler in 1934 during the "Night of the Long Knives", when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political killings and the purge of the Sturmabteilung. Led by one of Hitler's oldest comrades, Ernst Röhm, the SA was seen as a threat by Hitler to his newly gained political power. Hitler wanted to conciliate leaders of the Reichswehr and conservatives of the country, people whose support Hitler needed to solidify his position; when Hitler decided to act against the SA, the SS was put in charge of eliminating Röhm and the other high-ranking SA officers. The Night of the Long Knives occurred between 30 June and 2 July 1934 and saw the killing of up to 200 people; this included the entire SA leadership ending its power. This action was carried out by SS personnel, the Gestapo. In September 1934, Hitler authorised the formation of the military wing of the Nazi Party and approved the formation of the SS-Verfügungstruppe, a special service troop under Hitler's overall command.
The SS-VT had to depend on the German Army for its supply of weapons and military training, they had control of the recruiting system through local draft boards responsible for assigning conscripts to the different branches of the Wehrmacht to meet quotas set by the German High Command. The SS was given the lowest priority for recruits. With the difficulties presented by the quota system, Heinrich Himmler formed two new SS regiments, the SS Germania and SS Deutschland, which together with the Leibstandarte and a communications unit made up the SS-VT. At the same time Himmler established the SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz and SS-Junkerschule Braunschweig for military training of SS officers. Both schools used regular army training methods and used former army officers as instructors. In 1934, Himmler set stringent requirements for recruits, they were to be German nationals who could prove their Aryan ancestry back to 1800, without a criminal record. A four-year commitment was required for the SS-VT and LSSAH.
Recruits had to be between the ages of 23, at least 1.74 metres tall. Concentration camp guards had to make a one-year commitment, be between the ages of 16 and 23, at least 1.72 metres tall. All recruits were required to have 20/20 eyesight, no dental fillings, to provide a medical certificate. By 1938, the height restrictions were relaxed, up to six dental fillings were permitted, eyeglasses for astigmatism and mild vision correction were allowed. Once the war commenced, the physical requirements were no longer enforced, any recruit who could pass a basic medical exam was considered for service. Members of the SS could be of any religion except Judaism, but atheists were not allowed according to Himmler in 1937. Historian Bernd Wegner found in his study of officers that a large majority of the senior officers corps of the Waffen-SS were from an upper-middle-class background and would have been considered for commissioning by traditional standards. Among Waffen-SS generals six out of ten had a "university entrance qualification, no less than one-fifth a university degree".
In 1936, Himmler selected former Lieutenant General Paul Hausser to
Pavlov's House was a fortified apartment building which Red Army defenders held for 60 days against a heavy Wehrmacht offensive during the Battle of Stalingrad. The siege lasted from 27 September to 25 November 1942 and the Red Army managed to relieve it from the siege, it gained its popular name from Sergeant Yakov Pavlov, who commanded the platoon that seized the building and defended it during the long battle. The house was a four-story building in the center of Stalingrad, built perpendicular to the embankment of the river Volga and overseeing the "9th January Square", a large square named for Bloody Sunday. In late September 1942, between 30 and 50 soldiers of the 42nd Guards Regiment, 13th Guards Division secured the large apartment blocks from German control, following its reconnoiter by four soldiers four days prior which Yakov Pavlov himself led; the position was fortified under the command of Lieutenant Ivan F. Afanasiev, who ordered the men to lay land mines in all approaches to the square, barbed wire around the perimeter of the apartment block, to position multiple machine guns in the windows as well as a PTRS anti tank rifle.
The Soviets had large amounts of artillery support from the opposite side of the Volga. Supply and communication trenches were created leading from the rear of Pavlov’s House to the river bank of the Volga, which would receive supply from supply vessels which were barraged by German artillery when crossing the river; the strategic benefit of the house was. The tactical benefit of the house was its position on a cross-street, giving the defenders a 1 km line of sight to the north and west. After several days and resupply arrived for Pavlov's men, bringing the unit up to a 25-man understrength platoon and equipping the defenders with machine guns, anti-tank rifles, mortars. In keeping with Stalin's Order No. 227—"not one step back"—Sergeant Pavlov was ordered to fortify the building and defend it to the last bullet and the last man. Taking this advice to heart, Pavlov ordered the building to be surrounded with four layers of barbed wire and minefields, set up machine-gun posts in every available window facing the square.
In the early stages of the defense, Pavlov discovered that an anti-tank rifle—a PTRS-41—he had mounted on the roof was effective when used to ambush unsuspecting German tanks. For better internal communication, Pavlov's soldiers breached the walls in the basement and upper floors, dug a communications trench to Soviet positions outside. Supplies were brought in via the trench or by boats crossing the river, defying German air raids and shelling. Food and water was in short supply. Lacking beds, the soldiers tried to sleep on insulation wool torn off pipes but were subjected to harassing fire every night in order to try to break their resistance; the Germans attacked the building several times a day. Each time German infantry or tanks tried to cross the square and to close in on the house, Pavlov's men laid down a withering barrage of machine gun and AT rifle fire from the basement, the windows and the roof; the defenders—as well as civilians hiding in the basement—had held out during intensive fighting from 27 September to 25 November 1942, were relieved by counter-attacking Soviet forces.
Sources conflict on the date at which the siege began, the date at which the Soviet reinforcements reached the building and lifted the siege. "On September 27, a 30-man Russian platoon was ordered to retake a four-story apartment building the Germans had just captured..... until November 25, 1942" "the defenders of Pavlov's House who participated in it's defense from 26 September 1942 till 25 November 1942." "The defense of the house lasted for 58 days and nights." Pavlov's House became a symbol of the stubborn and dogged resistance of the Russian forces during the Battle of Stalingrad, which ended in a decisive victory for the Soviet forces after months of massive casualties on both sides. The inability of the German blitzkrieg to make headway against such grinding and self-sacrificial attrition warfare made the failure to capture Pavlov's House stand out as a symbol of resistance against a vastly superior force. Vasily Chuikov, commanding general of the Soviet forces in Stalingrad joked that the Germans lost more men trying to take Pavlov's House than they did taking Paris.
Pavlov's "House" is still used as an apartment building today. There is an attached memorial constructed from bricks picked up after the battle on the East side facing the Volga. Pavlov was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union for his actions. A Russian TV documentary in 2009, Legendary Redoubt, on the Russian Channel One reported on Pavlov's House. According to the documentary, the house's defense was in fact led by Lieutenant Ivan F. Afanasiev; this report does not discount Pavlov's efforts, which led to his earning the Hero of the Soviet Union and those soldiers who took part in the defense, earning numerous decorations of their own. The last member of Pavlov's group, Kamoljon Turgunov from Turakurgan District, Namangan Province, Uzbekistan died on 16 March 2015, aged 93. Sihang Warehouse Pavlov's House - Stalingrad, September-November 1942 Map of Pavlov's House and the defenders of the house
The Longest Day (film)
The Longest Day is a 1962 epic war film based on Cornelius Ryan's 1959 book The Longest Day about the D-Day landings at Normandy on June 6, 1944, during World War II. The film was produced by Darryl F. Zanuck; the screenplay was by Ryan, with additional material written by Romain Gary, James Jones, David Pursall, Jack Seddon. It was directed by Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki; the Longest Day was made in black and white and features a large ensemble cast including John Wayne, Kenneth More, Richard Todd, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, Steve Forrest, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, Red Buttons, Peter Lawford, Eddie Albert, Jeffrey Hunter, Stuart Whitman, Tom Tryon, Rod Steiger, Leo Genn, Gert Fröbe, Irina Demick, Curt Jürgens, George Segal, Robert Wagner, Paul Anka, Arletty. Many of these actors played roles that were cameo appearances. In addition, several cast members had seen action as servicemen during the war, including Fonda, More and Todd; the film employed several Axis and Allied military consultants, actual participants on D-Day, many had their roles re-enacted in the film.
These included Günther Blumentritt, James M. Gavin, Frederick Morgan, John Howard, Lord Lovat, Philippe Kieffer, Marie-Pierre Kœnig, Max Pemsel, Werner Pluskat, Josef "Pips" Priller, Lucie Rommel; the film was nominated for three others. A colorized version of this film was released on VHS in the 50th anniversary of the invasion; the film is shot beginning in the days leading up to D-Day. It concentrates on events on both sides of the channel, such as the Allies waiting for a break in the poor weather and anticipating the reaction of the Axis forces defending northern France; the film pays particular attention to Gen. Eisenhower's decision to go, as Supreme Commander of SHAEF, after reviewing the initial reports of bad weather and reports about the divisions within the German High Command as to where an invasion might happen or what their response should be. Numerous scenes document the early hours of June 6 when Allied airborne troops were sent in to take key locations inland from the beaches.
The French resistance is shown reacting to the news that an invasion has started. The Longest Day chronicles most of the important events surrounding D-Day, including the British glider missions to secure Pegasus Bridge, the counterattacks launched by American paratroopers scattered around Sainte-Mère-Église, the infiltration and sabotage work conducted by the French resistance and SOE agents, the response by the Wehrmacht to the invasion and the uncertainty of German commanders as to whether it was a feint in preparation for crossings at the Pas de Calais, where the senior German staff had always assumed that it would be. Set-piece scenes include the parachute drop into Sainte-Mère-Église, the advance inshore from the Normandy beaches, the U. S. Ranger Assault Group's assault on the Pointe du Hoc, the attack on Ouistreham by Free French Forces, the strafing of the beaches by two lone Luftwaffe pilots; the film concludes with a montage showing various Allied units consolidating their beachheads before they advance inland to reach Germany by crossing France.
French producer Raoul Lévy signed a deal with Simon & Schuster to purchase the filming rights to Cornelius Ryan's book The Longest Day: June 6, 1944 D-Day on March 23, 1960. After finishing The Truth, Lévy set up a deal with the Associated British Picture Corporation and got director Michael Anderson attached. Ryan would receive $35,000 to write the adaptation's screenplay. Lévy intended to start production in March 1961, filming at Elstree Studios and the English and French coasts, but the project went into a halt. Former 20th Century Fox mogul Darryl F. Zanuck learned about the book while producing The Big Gamble, in December purchased Lévy's option for $175,000. Zanuck's editor friend Elmo Williams wrote a film treatment, which piqued the producer's interest and made him attach Williams to The Longest Day as associate producer and coordinator of battle episodes. Ryan had conflicts with Zanuck as soon as the two met. Williams was forced to act as a mediator. While Ryan developed the script, Zanuck brought in other writers for cleanups, including James Jones and Romain Gary.
As their contributions to the finished screenplay were minor, Ryan managed to get the screenplay credit after an appeal to the Writers Guild arbitration, but the four other writers are credited for "additional scenes" in the closing credits. During pre-production, producer Frank McCarthy, who had worked for the United States Department of War during World War II, arranged for military collaboration with the governments of France, the United Kingdom and the United States. Zanuck realized that with eight battle scenes, shooting woul
The Malmedy massacre was a war crime committed by members of Kampfgruppe Peiper, a German combat unit led by Joachim Peiper, at Baugnez crossroads near Malmedy, Belgium, on December 17, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge. According to numerous eyewitness accounts, 84 American prisoners of war were massacred by their German captors: the prisoners were assembled in a field and shot with machine guns; the term Malmedy massacre applies to the series of massacres committed by the same unit on the same day and following days, which were the subject of the Malmedy massacre trial, part of the Dachau Trials of 1946. The trials were the focus of some controversy. Hitler's main objective for the Battle of the Bulge was for the 6th SS Panzer Army commanded by General Sepp Dietrich to break through the Allied front between Monschau and Losheimergraben, cross the Meuse River, capture Antwerp. Kampfgruppe Peiper, named after and under the command of SS-Obersturmbannführer Joachim Peiper, was composed of armoured and motorised elements and was the spearhead of the left wing of the 6th SS Panzer Army.
Once the infantry had breached the American lines, Peiper's role was to advance via Ligneuville, Trois-Ponts, Werbomont and seize and secure the Meuse bridges around Huy. The best roads were reserved for the bulk of the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler. Peiper was to use secondary roads, but these proved unsuitable for heavy armoured vehicles the Tiger II tanks attached to the Kampfgruppe; the success of the operation depended on the swift capture of the bridges over the Meuse. This required a rapid advance through US positions, circumventing any points of resistance whenever possible. Another factor Peiper had to consider was the shortage of fuel: the fuel resources of the Reich had been reduced since the fall of Romania. Hitler ordered the battle to be carried out with a brutality more common on the Eastern Front, in order to frighten the enemy. Sepp Dietrich confirmed this during the war crimes trial. According to one source, during the briefings before the operation, Peiper stated that no quarter was to be granted, no prisoners taken, no pity shown towards Belgian civilians.
The Germans' initial position was east of the German-Belgium border and the Siegfried Line near Losheim. SS-Oberstgruppenführer Sepp Dietrich's plan was for the Sixth Panzer to advance northwest through Losheimergraben and Bucholz Station and drive 72 miles through Honsfeld, Büllingen, a group of villages named Trois-Ponts, to connect to Belgian Route Nationale N23, cross the River Meuse. Peiper had planned to use the Lanzerath-Losheimergraben road to advance on Losheimergraben following the infantry, who were tasked with capturing the villages and towns west of the International Highway. For the Germans, during their retreat earlier in the year they had destroyed the Losheim-Losheimergraben road-bridge over the railway, which prevented their use of this route. A rail overpass they had planned to use could not bear the weight of the German armour, German engineers were slow to repair the Losheim-Losheimergraben road, forcing Peiper's vehicles to take the road through Lanzerath to Bucholz Station.
Peiper's forces were delayed by massive traffic jams behind the front. But German military operations on the northern front, the key route for the entire Battle of the Bulge, was troubled by unexpectedly obstinate resistance from American troops. A single platoon of 18 men belonging to an American reconnaissance platoon and four US Forward Artillery Observers held up a battalion of about 500 German paratroopers in the village of Lanzerath, Belgium for an entire day. Peiper's entire timetable for his advance towards the River Meuse and Antwerp was slowed, allowing the Americans precious hours to move in reinforcements; the German 9th Fallschirmjäger Regiment, 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division flanked and captured the American platoon at dusk, when they ran low on ammunition and were planning to withdraw. Only one American, a forward artillery observer, was killed, while 14 were wounded: German casualties totalled 92; the Germans paused, believing the woods were filled with more tanks. Only when Peiper and his tanks arrived at midnight, twelve hours behind schedule, did the Germans learn the woods were empty.
At 4:30 on December 17, more than 16 hours behind schedule, the 1st SS Panzer Division rolled out of Lanzerath and headed east for Honsfeld. After capturing Honsfeld, Peiper left his assigned route for several kilometres to seize a small fuel depot in Büllingen, where members of his force killed several dozen American POWs. Unknown to Peiper, he was in a position to flank the 2nd and the 99th Infantry Divisions: had his troops advanced north from Büllingen towards Elsenborn, they may have been able to flank and trap the American units, but Peiper followed orders. He was more determined to advance west and he stuck to his Rollbahn towards the Meuse River and captured Ligneuville, bypassing Mödersheid, Schoppen and Thirimont; the terrain and poor quality of the roads made his advance difficult. At the exit of the small village of Thirimont, the spearhead was unable to take the direct road toward Ligneuville. Peiper again deviated from his planned route. Rather than turn left, the spearhead veered right and advanced towards the crossroads of Baugnez, equidistant from Malmedy and Waimes.
Between noon and 1 pm, the German spearhead approached the Baugnez crossroads, two miles south-east of Malmedy. An American convoy of about thirty vehicles elements of B Battery of the American 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, was negotiating the crossroads and tur