Date: August 1998
Creator: Blanchette, C. Scott (Crispin Scott)
Description: The 1944 German Ardennes offensive failed. It was overly ambitious, built on erroneous assumptions, insufficiently supported by logistics, and depended on the weather for success. Yet, the offensive achieved more than it should have given the strength and combat experience of the Allied armies in Europe. Previous attempts to explain the limited success of the German offensive have emphasized the failure of Allied strategic intelligence - Ultra. Intelligence is an accurate, but incomplete explanation for initial German success in the Ardennes. Three conditions allowed the Wehrmacht, approaching its manpower and logistical end, to crush the US First Army. First, coalition warfare so weakened the First Army that it became vulnerable to attack. Second, the Allies failed to develop a unified intelligence network capable of assessing the information that indicated the timing and target of the German attack. Finally, a well-executed German security and deception plan surprised the Allies. The well-executed German offensive manipulated both Allied intelligence and the Anglo-American coalition.
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