During World War II, Paderborn was bombed by Allied aircraft in 1944 and 1945, resulting in 85% destruction, including many of the historic buildings. It was seized by the US 3rd Armored Division after a pitched battle 31 March – 1 April 1945, in which tanks and flamethrowers were used during combined mechanized-infantry assaults against the city’s southwestern, southern and southeastern approaches
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.