The lightning advances made by the Allies after D-Day during 'Operation Cobra' and the breakout from Normandy, came to a grinding halt as supply lines stretched and German entrenchment solidified. Through the fall and into the winter, the lines of battle faltered to a stalemate, allowing the Allies to regroup and rest. Or so they thought.
Hitler had other ideas, and although cautioned to the contrary by his military advisers, designed a battle plan based on surprise and secrecy. Code named 'Autumn Mist,' the plan was to quietly amass men, tanks and planes in the Ardennes for a 'blitzkrieg' thrust to the Meuse River and on to Antwerp, in the hopes of literally dividing the Allies and repeating another 'Dunkirk.' He chose a spot on the American lines that was thinly defended.
The Allies were confident that the Germans were not capable of such an action, and were thrown into chaos when the Germans smashed through the American lines, spear-headed by two Panzer Divisions on the morning of December 16, 1944. For ten days the Germans benefited immensely from the foul weather which grounded the Allied air forces. The German advances became known as the 'Battle of the Bulge.'
With the weather finally improving on the morning of December 24, the German advance had run its course, literally running out of gas. Allied planes poured into the battle front by the hundreds, destroying everything in front of them.
In Robert Bailey's painting, TYPHOON TARGET, a King (Royal) Tiger, low on gas and nakedly exposed to air attack, runs for the cover of trees, pursued by two Typhoons of 440 Squadron, 143 Wing (RCAF), 2nd Tactical Air Force. Like 600 other units of German armor, it will not likely find a place to hide in the face of Allied counter attacks.
By: Robert Bailey