By 20 December, the town was completely surrounded. The Siege of Bastogne had begun.
Low lying fog kept Allied aircraft grounded until 23 December. Meanwhile, the outnumbered Americans fought off assaults by Germany’s elite SS panzer divisions.The siege lasted through Christmas and the town was not fully secured until the US 3rd Army’s counteroffensive on 14 January 1945.
The German army’s Ardennes offensive, known as the Battle of the Bulge, was meant to push through the Allied lines and reach Antwerp. Hitler’s intention was to prevent the Allies from using the port for landing supplies to support their armies that were poised to advance into Germany.
On 15 January 1945, it was clear that Hitler’s plan had failed and the Fuehrer left his headquarters on the Western Front and returned by train to Berlin.