Veteran’s Day 2013 Profile: Martin Huschka
Martin Huschka makes surviving the Battle of the Bulge sound like another day at the office in his matter of fact tone. But, the fight that began December 16, 1944, was an all-out gamble by Hitler to push the Allies to ask for peace according to History.com.
The goal was to split the Allied armies with a surprise blitzkrieg through the Ardennes to Antwerp. It had worked three times before. The Allies miscalculated and left the Ardennes lightly defended by two inexperienced and battered American divisions.
December 16, three German armies of more than a quarter-million troops launched the deadliest and most desperate battle of the war. The region had poor roads. It was rugged, and heavily forested. The quiet area was turned to bedlam and American troops were, in Martin’s words, “run over.”
American units fought to stop the German advance at St-Eith, Elsenbom Ridge, Houffalize, and later Bastogne, which was defended by the 101st Airborne Division. The inexperienced U.S. 106th Division was nearly annihilated, but even in defeat helped buy time for Brigadier General Bruce C. Clarke's brilliant defense of St.-Vith. As the German armies drove deeper into the Ardennes in an attempt to secure vital bridgeheads west of the River Meuse quickly, the line defining the Allied front took on the appearance of a large protrusion or bulge, the name by which the battle would forever be known.
The German shortage of fuel and the gallantry of American troops fighting in the frozen forests of the Ardennes was a fatal blow to Hitler’s effort.
Lieutenant General George S. Patton's remarkable feat of turning the Third Army ninety degrees from Lorraine to relieve the besieged town of Bastogne was the key to thwarting the German counteroffensive.
The Battle of the Bulge was the costliest action ever fought by the U.S. Army, which suffered over 100,000 casualties. Martin Huschka was there with Patton. He lived to tell the story.