(Editor's Note: Read part two of this two-part series here.) The Battle of the Bulge, fought in Europe in the winter of 1944–45, was the largest fight ever undertaken by the United States Army. It marked the final offensive action of the German Army in the west, and the Allies eventual victory signaled the certainty of Germany’s eventual defeat. But for a relative few gallons of gas, however, the German armor might have been able to win the battle and turned the war into a bloody World War I-type stalemate.
World War II had begun in 1939 with Germany’s blitzkrieg victory over Poland. The next year saw them crush France in a matter of weeks, placing German army and air force units across the channel from the UK. But after Hitler’s dream of invading England had died at the Luftwaffe’s loss to the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, the Fuhrer realized his budding empire was itself vulnerable to enemy invasion. Beginning in 1942 he ordered the construction of fortifications along the French coast known as the Atlantic Wall.