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Bulge Weather

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by denny, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. denny

    denny Member

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    Did Hitler get "lucky" with bad weather lasting so long...or did he have some pretty competent advice; that if they started December 16, there would be cloud cover for several days.?
    Thank You
     
  2. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    I think it was the weather station at Spitzbergen wasn't it?
     
  3. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    In the movie they said the weather report was from Spitzbergen.
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Peter Caddick-Adams in 'Snow & Steel : Battle Of The Bulge 1944-45'( Preface Publishing, 2014 ) devotes a chapter to this subject ( pp. 257-261 ). Briefly, the most important element of the Germans' short-term forecasting by this stage of the war ( after the loss of nearly all their weatherships ) were U-Boats operating in the North Atlantic. The book focuses on the efforts of U-1232 operating out of Horten in Norway. The chapter is supported by several sources, all of which are detailed in the notes.
     
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  5. denny

    denny Member

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    OK.....i see, very interesting indeed.
    Thanks Again
     
  6. harolds

    harolds Member

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    It might be that the plans were built around the fact that the weather in northern Europe at that time of year was normally stormy. Once the build up of the forces was complete, any delay in attacking would have risked compromising the surprise element of the attack. Therefore, any weather report could only have influenced the start of the operation by a day or two at most.
     
  7. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Perhaps Skipper will comment, since he lives right in the area..? It's a wetter winter than we get in most of the US, so you don't have to get "lucky" to experience bad weather at that time of year in NW Europe. You get low pressure fronts coming in off the North Atlantic every few days, with rain, snow, fog. You may get a break between them, but even so a lot of low clouds are hanging around. It's dreary, most of the time. And another storm front is coming tomorrow or the next day.

    And remember, it isn't like today where you have advanced aircraft electronics to make up for some of the lack of visibility, they were truly flying on Visual Flight Rules. They had radio beams to triangulate a rough position, but finding a specific locale where an enemy formation was reported, and then staging an attack was impossible most of the time.

    Read up on the US and British bombings of Malmedy. Heavy bombers hit that unlucky city on three separate occasions, mistaking it for the German staging area across the border in Germany.
     
  8. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    You get lousy weather in the Ardennes in June, let alone December ! Wanne, just up the hill from Stavelot, is actually a 'ski resort' complete with ski-lift. You are almost guaranteed to experience very poor weather conditions in the area from October to April, but of course, it can be cold and clear whereas the Germans needed cloud-cover and mist. Which is how the Battle commenced, but then the famous 'Russian High' nudged its' way westward, the skies cleared and the temperature fell ( the famous incident of Bruce Clarke testing the ground at Commanster with his boot heel, finding it frozen, and realizing his tanks could move ).....
     
  9. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Yeah, Martin. I just wanted to paint that picture for my fellow yanks who may think it's like the NE or Midwest US. Nearly all of the northern US has a very different winter; colder, more clear 'bluebird' weather between the occasional dumps of snow. My memory of Europe in winter is a wet wind, slate sky, cold rain, snow, icy roads, slush, and oh, attractive girls in the bars, which is where you should be in weather like that.
     
  10. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    Where is that in Europe?

    I spent my time as a soldier in the german "Highlands", more in the south of Germany, but weather conditions are not very different to those in the Ardennes. Late Autumn/Winter there is ghastly most of the time. And not to forget the aspect of short days in late december, so even if the mist disappears around noon, there are only a few hours left with a clear sky when it is a nice day.
    Usually temperatures are slightly above the freezing point at day and slightly below at night. "Schmuddelwetter" = dirty weather is normal most of the time.

    Racing fans know the Ardennes from the Belgium Grand Prix in Spa and it is famous for the difficult weather conditions even in september. The famous Nurburgring is not far away too. An example:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o02s_g5AUUE

    The Nazis were able to build automatic weather stations late in the war, which only submerged for minutes.
     
  11. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Northern Germany and Holland. I haven't been to Belgium or Luxembourg, but that whole northern/western coastal plain is dominated by weather coming in from the Atlantic much of the year. It's wet.
     
  12. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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  13. SDP

    SDP recruit

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    My late father fought in the so-called Battle of the Bulge (he was a Sherman tank driver with the 3rd Battalion Royal Tank Regiment, 29th Armoured Brigade, British 11th Armoured Division) to the east of one of the River Meuse bridges near Dinant. I also met his Troop Sergeant (Harry Dews) a number of years ago. Harry said the Bulge weather was exceptionally cold, with ice sheets coating the old Citadel at Dinant, and I have a digital copy of a photo taken of a Sherman tank plus a number of crew, which includes my father, on Christmas Day 1944 showing a near whiteout of snow.
     
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  14. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Your late Father's recollections are absolutely correct. There were three reasonably distinct weather phases during the Ardennes battle : from 16-20 December the weather was generally damp and misty. This was followed from 21-22 December by much colder conditions ( freezing higher ground but leaving the valleys muddy ). Finally, the period from 23-27 December saw high pressure, with very low temperatures and clearer skies followed by heavy snow.

    Again, Caddick-Adams is very detailed on this point and discusses it fully, with recorded temperatures, on pp. 629-632 of his book.
     
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  15. SDP

    SDP recruit

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    This is the photo taken on Christmas Day 1944

    View attachment 25084

    My father is third from left on the back row.
     

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  16. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    What a great photo ! :salute:

    And yes - it does look rather chilly......

    Thanks indeed for sharing it with us !
     
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