The Battle of the Bulge: The Photographic History of an American Triumph

The Battle of the Bulge: The Photographic History of an American Triumph

by John Bruning


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The Battle of the Bulge: The Photographic History of an American Triumph by John Bruning

Fought 65 years ago this December, the Battle of the Bulge still ranks as the single largest battle ever fought by the United States Army. More men, vehicles, supplies, equipment, aircraft, and effort went into this thirty-day battle than into any other in American history. It was larger than Gettysburg, larger than the Gulf War, larger than the landings in Normandy that ignited the fuse that carried the army halfway across Europe to the blood-stained snow of the Ardennes.  

Thirty-one American divisions—fully a third of the U.S. Army raised during World War II—saw action in this battle. As a result, it was a quintessentially American moment. It was also a test: could this conscript army from a pacifistic democracy defeat the best remaining men and machines a totalitarian government could produce?  

The story of the Bulge is the story of panic, fear, and physical misery. It is the story of how a generation of draftees, National Guardsmen, and a small core of regular officers and NCOs faced those three elements as snow piled around their foxholes and the incessant drumming of artillery splintered the woods that gave them shelter. It is the story of men, frozen and hurting, far from home with little hope of seeing it again until the killing finally ended.

The most complete and awe-inspiring illustrated history on the infamous battle, The Battle of the Bulge: The Photographic History of an American Triumph places readers in the frozen foxholes, haunting forests, and devastated villages of the Ardennes during the winter of 1944/1945. Making use of over 500 gripping photographs, many never before published, author John Bruning tells the story of the Bulge with insightful detail, replaying the thrusts and volleys of both the Allied and German forces during the tumultuous battle.

The Battle of the Bulge is a fitting tribute to the men who braved the weather, and the odds, in order to stem the tide of the German war machine.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780760341261
Publisher: Zenith Press
Publication date: 10/02/2011
Edition description: First
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 780,351
Product dimensions: 9.60(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

John R. Bruning has been a professional military historian and writer since 1990. He is the author of Crimson Sky: The Air Battle for Korea, Jungle Ace, Elusive Glory, Ship Strike Pacific, Luck of the DrawThe Devil's Sandbox: With the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry at War in Iraq. He served as an embedded civilian historian with the 2/162 during Operation Southern Comfort, the post–Hurricane Katrina relief operation in New Orleans. Bruning also has numerous articles, documentaries, multimedia CD-ROM programs, flight simulators, and museum displays to his credit. He lives in Independence, Oregon.

Table of Contents




Part I—The Reich’s Last Hope

Chapter One—Hitler’s Deadly Gamble

Chapter Two—Shoestrings and Bootstraps

Chapter Three—Mud and Pillboxes

Chapter Four—Watch on the Rhine

Part II—The North Shoulder

Chapter Five—John Buford’s Ghost

Chapter Six—The Checkerboards’ Stand

Chapter Seven—North Shoulder Blues

Chapter Eight—Where Medals of Honor Grew

Chapter Nine—The Panther Killers

Chapter Ten—Blue Spaders at the Hot Corner

Part III—The Center Fails

Chapter Eleven—A Noose for a War Criminal

Chapter Twelve—The Guardsmen and the SS

Part IV—Breakthrough

Chapter Thirteen—The Roads to Shönberg

Chapter Fourteen—Incident at Poteau

Chapter Fifteen—The Lucky Seventh

Chapter Sixteen—The Keystone of Skyline Drive

Chapter Seventeen—When the Odds Were Fifteen to One

Chapter Eighteen—Old Crock and Fritz

Chapter Nineteen—Roosevelt’s Highest-paid Butchers

Chapter Twenty—The Price of Over-caution



What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Army Magazine
“Military historian and author John R. Bruning wanted to tell the story of this battle ‘through the photographs taken by brave and dedicated combat cameramen,’ and he does so in The Battle of the Bulge. The text is accompanied by more than 400 photographs, some never before published. The majority of them are black and white, with a few color photographs interspersed. They portray not only American troops, but Germans as well, with snowy forest expanses and decimated urban ruins serving as backdrops. Some photos were taken in the heat of battle; others in the sad aftermath….Along with the photographs, Bruning provides a detailed account of the battle, beginning with background discussion of the race to the Seigfried Line and analysis of Hitler’s plan. He then gives a detailed play-by-play of the action—the moves and countermoves on various sections of the battlefield….The images in The Battle of the Bulge convey with stark honesty the brutality of war, along with the fraternity and solidarity it inspires. Sixty-five years after the largest land battle in U.S. Army history, those American soldiers who ‘played a vital role in defeating the Third Reich’s last offensive and turned it into a death spasm instead of a victory march’ still stand as the ‘ultimate symbol of who Americans are as a nation and a people.’”

The Free Lance-Star
“The body of work dealing with the 1944-45 Battle of the Bulge is extensive, yet in his photographic history, John R. Bruning adds to it by providing further understanding of its importance and, more impressively, what participants went through. The 300-page book is made up of several hundred photographs, many of which have never been published. These photos draw you into the world of the soldiers. Frigid conditions, exhaustion, victory, defeat and death are all conveyed through the lenses of combat photographers from both sides of the battle….In addition to being an excellent addition to any military history buff's collection, this book will serve as a reminder of the overwhelming hardships faced by American soldiers one cold and dangerous winter 65 years ago.”

"Battle of the Bulge commemorates one of the pivotal events in World War II that marks the largest battle ever fought by the U.S. Army...Along with John Bruning's insightful and gripping text, twelve maps and over 416 black and white photos relive this decisive battle that took place over 65 years ago."

"In The Battle of the Bulge, John R. Bruning pays  wonderful tribute to the American soldiers who fought and suffered and died during those fateful days in late 1944 and early 1945. Although Bruning tells the stories that compliment the photos, and while his writing could certainly stand alone, he places far greater emphasis on the images captured by combat photographers, often at  great risk to their lives. That is as it should be . . . And the images that Bruning assembled in this coffee table book, more than 500 of them culled from the official US archives and the author’s personal collection, will not soon leave anyone who sees them. Many of the photographs are horrific. Others are inspiring. All of them are gripping . . . The Battle of the Bulge, however, is much more than a photo essay. It is a stunning reminder of the strength of spirit in the warrior and a tribute to soldiers everywhere who have faced terrible odds and prevailed."

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