Trivia: Robert Shaw's character is based on Kampfgruppe Jochim Peiper of 1st SS Leibstandart Adolph Hitler, Panzer Division. Peiper was a ruthless but extremely effective officer who had learnt his trade in death on the Russian front. Peiper survived the battle and the war and although he was initially sentenced to death for his part in the Malmedy massacre his sentence was commuted. He was killed in France in 1976 when his house was firebombed in a revenge attack.
Trivia: The American uniform-disguised German troop is inspired by the actual operation "Greif" led by Otto Skorzeny. It did however not happen as in the movie; they where not dropped in parachutes but used captured jeeps. Only very few came through and even fewer had any success. Skorzeny had very little time for preparations, The shortage of men with language skills at the desired level was severe and he considered aborting the operation because several conditions of the plan had not been met. Rumours about the target of the task force were encouraged, one being that their target was Eisenhower's HQ in Paris.
Trivia: In the film, the German commander, played by Robert Shaw, is ecstatic about using the new Tiger tanks in the attack. However, Jochen Peiper, the real commander Shaw is based on, did not want to use Tigers as they were too slow and used up huge amounts of fuel. Peiper preferred to use Panthers and MK IV tanks, but was pressured to use the Tigers for political, propaganda and morale purposes.
Trivia: The tank models used by the German commanders at their headquarters look just like the actual King Tiger and Sherman tanks used by both sides during the late part of the war, whereas the tanks used in the film look nowhere near like actual German and American tanks used during the battle.
Trivia: The "Malmedy Massacre" actually occurred in the small hamlet of Baugnez at the crossroads where highway N62 leads to Malmedy and is 4 kilometers southeast of Malmedy proper. The massacre is called the "Malmedy Massacre" because Malmedy was the closest large village in the area and on a major road.