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The Battle of the Bulge: Hitler's last stand

From mid-December 1944 through the end of January 1945, in the heavily forested Ardennes Mountains of Belgium, thousands of American, British, Canadian, Belgian and French forces struggled to turn back the final major German offensive of World War II. While Allied forces ultimately triumphed, it was a vicious six weeks of fighting, with tens of thousands dead on both sides. Today, the conflict is known as the Battle of the Bulge. See the entire photo gallery at Life.com.

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American troops man trenches along a snowy hedgerow in the northern Ardennes Forest during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944.
George SilkTime & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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American GI, Battle of the Bulge.
George SilkTime & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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German POWs, Battle of the Bulge, January 1945.
George SilkTime & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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Soldiers explore a frozen tank during the Battle of the Bulge.
John FloreaTime & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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A blindfolded prisoner is securely bound, hand and foot, to a stake in front of a concrete wall. A large white paper target is pinned over his heart. American MPs stand at attention until the firing squad's commanding officer inspects the final arrangements. Belgium, 1944.
John FloreaTime & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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Some of the 115 Americans who, LIFE reported, were "massacred at point-blank range" in a field after being captured by Germans in the early days of the Battle of the Bulge, 1944. The soldiers were herded into a field and machine-gunned; when found, many of the frozen bodies still had their hands above their heads.
John FloreaTime & Life Pictures/Getty Images

The Battle of the Bulge: Hitler's last stand

From mid-December 1944 through the end of January 1945, in the heavily forested Ardennes Mountains of Belgium, thousands of American, British, Canadian, Belgian and French forces struggled to turn back the final major German offensive of World War II. While Allied forces ultimately triumphed, it was a vicious six weeks of fighting, with tens of thousands dead on both sides. Today, the conflict is known as the Battle of the Bulge. See the entire photo gallery at Life.com.

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