December 16th – On This Day In History
A week before Christmas history records two seminal incidents of war for America.
One started with a splash in Boston Harbor, the other with the roar of a 75 mm cannon from a German Panzer tank.
The year was 1773 and American colonists protesting British tea taxes and monopoly of the tea trade, snuck onto British ships docked in Boston Harbor disguised as Indians and dumped more than 300 chests of English tea overboard.
With a cry of "No taxation without representation" the Boston Tea Party was an act of defiance that helped trigger the Revolutionary War for America's Independence.
Wikipedia says, "Parliament responded in 1774 with the Intolerable Acts or Coercive Acts, which, among other provisions, ended local self-government in Massachusetts and closed Boston's commerce.
Colonists up and down the Thirteen Colonies in turn responded to the Intolerable Acts with additional acts of protest, and by convening the First Continental Congress...the crisis escalated, and the American Revolutionary War began near Boston in 1775.
169 years later, the United States of America, born in part from the rebellion in Boston Harbor, was about to face one of its greatest military tests in a joint allied effort to free the world from the brutal aggression of Nazi Germany.
According to Britanica.com , "the Battle of the Bulge, also called Battle of the Ardennes, (December 16, 1944–January 16, 1945), the last major German offensive on the Western Front during World War II—raged for a month in an unsuccessful attempt to push the Allies back from German home territory."
"The aims of the German counteroffensive were far-reaching: to break through to Antwerp, Belgium, by an indirect move, to cut off the British army group from American forces as well as from its supplies, and then to crush the isolated British".
The surprise attack was helped by bad weather which kept allied planes on the ground for the first few days and the Germans made enough gains to cause some panic. But the weather broke unleashing America's superior air power and the Germans supply lines broke as the Panzers outran their fuel supplies.
On January 3, 1945,Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army and the U.S. First Army began a counteroffensive. The results of the next 2 weeks stopped the German advance and signaled the beginning of the end for Germany. A terrible price was paid on both sides. "While the Allies suffered some 75,000 casualties, Germany lost 120,000 men and stores of material that it could ill afford to replace. Germany had thus forfeited the chance of maintaining any prolonged resistance to a resumed Allied offensive. It brought home to the German troops their incapacity to turn the scales and thereby undermined such hopes as they had retained."