Adolf Hitler, after an unprecedented campaign of deception and secrecy, launches an overwhelming force against the Allies in the sparsely-defended forest region of Belgium called the Ardennes.
Hitler chose this area because it is a "ghost front", where the Allied high command does not expect there to be any fighting. As such, it is sparsely defended, and manned primarily by green soldiers fresh from basic training.
Under the cover of snow and fog, Hitler amassed his forces. He had been waiting for the proper weather conditions, using the emerging science of meteorology, for a moment when the American air superiority would be neutralized. This, combined with clever ruses such as calling his plans "Watch on the Rhine" to throw off the true intent of his plan, allowed him to mobilize 200,000 soldiers in secret.
He announces his gambit with a thundering barrage of artillery early one December morning. His goal is to deliver a crushing blow, shaking the resolve of the American/British alliance, and clearing a corridor through the forest to sieze the strategically crucial city of Antwerp.
But Hitler's hopes of a glorious victory were dashed. Though they were outnumbered four to one, outgunned with superior weaponry, and facing veteran soldiers who had been fighting all across Europe, the young American soldiers who bore the brunt of the terrifying assault held the line and denied Hitler his prize.
It was a victory that came at great cost. All told, over 160,000 men were killed or wounded, a horrific waste of life, and one of the bloodiest battles ever fought.
Relevance to the Game
No Soldier Left Behind does not attempt to recreate the story of the Battle of the Bulge across the entire theater, as a traditional wargame might.
Instead, it focuses on asking us to imagine what it must have been like for the individual soldiers who suddenly found themselves in a terrifying, chaotic, and deadly situation with little hope of victory.
The scenarios in the game span the ten days between December 15th to December 25th, 1944. This represents the pivotal time starting during the hours just before the attack, when the Allies could have discovered the enemy's plans, through the siege of Bastogne which seized the attention of the entire American populace, and ending with a horrifying war crime on Christmas Eve in the village of Bande which made clear the monstrous intent of the enemy.