The Battle of the Bulge began on December 16, 1944, when two Panzer armies, comprising most of the German armored reserve, crashed into a lightly defended sector of the American lines in the Ardennes Forest. 

The overly ambitious plan by Adolf Hitler was to split the American and British armies in two and race to the port of Antwerp. Hitler’s generals knew the plan had zero chance of ever succeeding. While the Germans made big gains in the opening days, punching a “bulge” deep into the American lines, tremendous resistance at the Elsenborn Ridge in the north and Bastogne in the south slowed the advance to a crawl. 

One of the other ambitious parts of the German plan was “Operation Greif.” It is a German special operation designed to seize bridges over the Meuse River, destroy American ammunition and fuel dumps, and reroute Allied units by having German soldiers posing as American troops while wearing American uniforms.

Operation Greif was commanded by SS Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) Otto Skorzeny, who was already known as “the most dangerous man in Europe.” The actual accomplishments of Operation Greif were few. However, the panic that Skorzeny caused among the Allies on the Western Front was vast and continued for several months afterward.