Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Visiting Bastogne – Battle of the Bulge

 

Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge.

In October of 2015 two of my brothers and I traveled through parts of Europe retracing WWI and WWII battlefields, including two nights in the Bastogne area. The following are some pictures from what we saw in that part of the trip.

The current downtown area, radiating off of McAuliffe Square.

 

Wandering the streets, you pass markers like this:

The highlight of the visit was the half-day spent touring the Barracks, and the multiple museum and artifact displays on the site.

 

The pictures (below) mounted on the walls of the buildings are mounted in the same windows shown in the background of each picture. While it doesn’t really show up in these photographs, you can identify bullets holes in the bricks and see the same bullet hole in the mounted picture.

 

Pictures of veterans of the 101st and other units, on returning visits a few years earlier. Several names you would recognize from Band of Brothers.

 

Compton and Marlarkey are the two lower pictures on the left side of this frame (the two not wearing hats):

 

The barracks has a very impressive collection/museum of restored armored vehicles, from both sides of the conflict. 

This is a partial view

 

The outskirts of the nearby town of Malmedy was the site of the Malmedy Massacre, where 84 American POWs were murdered by SS troops. 

This is a diorama from the museum across the street from the site.

And this is the field where it happened:

Across the other side of the street is a memorial.

 

The American Cemetery where many of those killed in the battle were buried is outside of Luxembourg City. Like all ABMC sites, it is a amazing place to visit. General Patton is buried there, “at the head of his troops”.

 

The chapel

Just a few minutes away from the Luxembourg cemetery is a German Military cemetery. The German cemeteries we visited have a very different feel from the American ones:

 

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There are 15 comments.

  1. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Thank you for allowing me a virtual tour of the site where that battle occurred.

    My father fought there, and survived. The war should have ended maybe eight to ten weeks later, but American troops were forced to wait for the Russian leaders to direct their troops to take over the parts of Berlin they wanted.

    One time, I asked him what parts of the battle were the worst for him, and he smiled and then answered “All of them.”

    Like many others who fought the battle, the unit he was assigned to prior to this was over in Paris having a bit of festive R & R when they were sent out there, “to handle a little bit of mopping up that is needed.” That “little bit” was apparently vastly understated.

    • #1
    • December 15, 2019, at 3:59 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  2. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My uncle was in the Battle of the Bulge and I didn’t learn that until about 3 years ago. He has never talked about it to me.

    • #2
    • December 15, 2019, at 4:00 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Product of Bastogne, I believe.

    Speranza found a working beer tap there [in a tavern across the road]. He filled his helmet — the same one he had used as a foxhole toilet — and made two trips to the wounded in the church. He was caught by an angry major and told he would be shot if he did not stop, for fear he would kill the wounded.

    Visiting Bastogne in 2009, Speranza found his foxhole still there, but Dutch and Belgian military officials told him that the legend of the soldier filling his helmet with beer for the wounded is still told — and had been immortalized on the label of Bastogne’s Airborne beer.

    • #3
    • December 15, 2019, at 4:00 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  4. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Very nice. I have not been there but have been to Omaha Beach and to WWI battle fields.

    http://abriefhistory.org/?p=7054 Omaha Beach

    http://abriefhistory.org/?p=5103 Normandy

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/49748.html Ypres WWI

     

     

    • #4
    • December 15, 2019, at 4:16 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Very nice. I have not been there but have been to Omaha Beach and to WWI battle fields.

    http://abriefhistory.org/?p=7054 Omaha Beach

    http://abriefhistory.org/?p=5103 Normandy

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/49748.html Ypres WWI

    Ours was a ten day trip. We spent about five days in the Normandy area, then through Verdun and Reims to Luxembourg and Bastogne, before heading to Dunkirk and back to London for the flight home. We only spent about 5 minutes in Germany. I very much want to go back and tour through Germany. I’d like to get to the site of Stalag Luft III (“The Great Escape”), and Berchtesgaden.

    my thirteen year old son wants to see Point Du Hoc.

    • #5
    • December 15, 2019, at 4:23 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Michael Collins Member

    A story of unusual valor: My uncle Tommie was killed in the Battle of the Bulge. He was a sergeant. Another sergeant was supposed to check on the troops posted in front, but was tired so Uncle Tom volunteered to go instead. It was night, and on the way back from the inspection he was shot by one of his own men. Valorous, but not the “unusual valor”, I want to tell you about. The man who killed my uncle had to be hospitalized. My grandfather visited that hospital to comfort the man who had killed his son. They don’t award medals for that kind of valor. Maybe we realize that any award would be hopelessly inadequate?

    • #6
    • December 15, 2019, at 4:54 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  7. PHCheese Member

    A good friend of mine was in the Battle of the Bulge, he died in November at 93. He originally joined the Army as a mule skinner in 1942. He was sent to Italy on a boat loaded with mules. The mules could go where motor vehicles couldn’t go in the mountains of Italy.He was a heck of a guy. Thanks for the tour.

    • #7
    • December 15, 2019, at 4:55 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  8. OldPhil Coolidge

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    My uncle was in the Battle of the Bulge and I didn’t learn that until about 3 years ago. He has never talked about it to me.

    My Dad wasn’t in Bastogne, but he was a medic during the Bulge, mainly injecting wounded guys with morphine and loading them onto trucks. He didn’t talk about it much.

    • #8
    • December 15, 2019, at 8:08 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  9. ToryWarWriter Thatcher

    My grandfather landed on Juno beach on day 1 and fought in the Scheldte which its own brand of hell.

    My great uncle died three days after landing on Juno when he pulled over a dead german soldier and found a grenade. They were booby trapping there own dead.

    • #9
    • December 16, 2019, at 5:12 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My dad was with Patton’s army in the Battle of the Bulge. He had earlier landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Made it home and fathered six more children, of which I am the youngest (late Boomer). The only wound he received was to his hearing from blasting the hell out of German aircraft with his anti-aircraft battery. Didn’t talk about it much, but did come home with some, um, souvenirs, and some good friends. Thanks Dad! 

    • #10
    • December 16, 2019, at 7:09 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. Right Wing Teamster Lawyer Thatcher

    Thanks @miffedwhitemale for the pictures. The Plain Dealer published an article yesterday on the Battle of the Bulge and the memories of some Clevelanders. https://www.cleveland.com/news/g66l-2019/12/906989f0bf263/battle-of-the-bulge-75th-anniversary-outmanned-outgunned-clevelanders-among-troops-who-stood-their-ground-against-nazis-.html

    Cleveland Brown legend (back when we had legends playing for the Browns) and Hall of Famer Dante Lavelli fought in the Battle.

    Thanks again. I will probably never visit so your pictures mean a lot.

     

    Merry Christmas all.

    • #11
    • December 16, 2019, at 7:17 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  12. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    . I’d like to get to the site of Stalag Luft III (“The Great Escape”), and Berchtesgaden.

    my thirteen year old son wants to see Point Du Hoc.

    I’ve been to Berchtesgaden. It is a ruin as the villa was blown up right after the war but the view is spectacular.

    Pont du Hoc is still unchanged since the battle. Shell craters and wrecked bunkers. For example.

    The Ranger monument at Pont du Hoc

    A bunker still there.

    Shell crater.

    • #12
    • December 16, 2019, at 7:57 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. Retail Lawyer Member

    Thank you for this post. I would love to take such a trip someday. My father was part of the reinforcement forces that immediately started streaming in. He described the expression on the faces of the soldiers he joined as “with eyes that looked like two burnt holes in a blanket”. He was wounded by artillery fire and suffered frostbite. He was 19 and terrified. He said he came upon a wounded German soldier, just a boy, who could not move, as his leg was mangled and who’s pee was frozen to his leg. He was so happy to see my father, because that meant he was going to live, although without a leg. “He looked just like me”.

    • #13
    • December 16, 2019, at 10:01 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Retail Lawyer (View Comment):
    He said he came upon a wounded German soldier, just a boy, who could not move, as his leg was mangled and who’s pee was frozen to his leg. He was so happy to see my father, because that meant he was going to live, although without a leg. “He looked just like me”.

    A very interesting book is about D Day from the German side. The book was compiled by a grandfather (I think) of the writer. He was writing an article for “Signal” magazine, a magazine of the German Army. He interviewed soldiers stationed on the Normandy front. The grandson found it and traced some of those men who had been interviewed before D Day. He got their impressions of the battle. Pretty interesting. I have always been a bit suspicious of the mythology of French resistance. The book confirms that collaboration was the rule in Normandy.

    https://www.amazon.com/DAY-Through-Germa n-Eyes-Hidden/dp/1539586391/

     

     

    • #14
    • December 16, 2019, at 3:24 PM PST
    • 1 like
  15. PHCheese Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Retail Lawyer (View Comment):
    He said he came upon a wounded German soldier, just a boy, who could not move, as his leg was mangled and who’s pee was frozen to his leg. He was so happy to see my father, because that meant he was going to live, although without a leg. “He looked just like me”.

    A very interesting book is about D Day from the German side. The book was compiled by a grandfather (I think) of the writer. He was writing an article for “Signal” magazine, a magazine of the German Army. He interviewed soldiers stationed on the Normandy front. The grandson found it and traced some of those men who had been interviewed before D Day. He got their impressions of the battle. Pretty interesting. I have always been a bit suspicious of the mythology of French resistance. The book confirms that collaboration was the rule in Normandy.

    https://www.amazon.com/DAY-Through-Germa n-Eyes-Hidden/dp/1539586391/

     

     

    I read this and it was a very interesting different perspective. Worth the read.

    • #15
    • December 16, 2019, at 4:05 PM PST
    • Like