German “Elefant” tank destroyers on the assembly line.

German “Elefant” tank destroyers on the assembly line.

These Schwerer Panzerjäger (“heavy tank-hunter”) of the Wehrmacht during World War II, built in small numbers in 1943 under the name “Ferdinand” after its designer, Ferdinand Porsche, using tank hulls that had been produced for the Tiger I tank requirement, but which were rejected in favor of the competing Henschel design.

German Troops Enjoying Their Fire – Ardennes Forest 44/45

German Troops Enjoying Their Fire – Ardennes Forest 44/45

Deep in the Ardennes forest a Panther crew and some German infantry enjoy the warmth of their fire during “Operation Watch on the Rhine” – Hitler’s last gamble to halt the Allies in the west, hoping to force them to the negotiating table.

Despite early successes, the battle of the bulge failed in almost all of its objectives.  Running out of fuel a kilometer before the largest fuel dump in Europe, not being able to dislodge the US troops at Bastogne – all of these small failures compounded and ended up costing the German’s deeply, by the time the bulge was squeezed out many precious tanks and vehicles had been abandoned, countless lives had been wasted and nothing had been gained.