On the 16th of December 1944, Adolf Hitler launched his last desperate offensive, to try and win the war in the West – codenamed “Wacht am Rhein” (Watch on the Rhine). This later became widely known as “The Battle of the Bulge”
Therefore -yet another German lightning strike, through the rugged and seemingly impenetrable, heavily forested Belgian Ardennes, during the coldest winter since records began, against ill-prepared, battle weary, resting American troops, who held a very thin defensive line, on the Belgian/German border…….
December 2019 is the 75th anniversary of the “Battle of the Bulge”
After a massive artillery barrage at 5.30 a.m, the huge German armoured columns, with supporting Grenadiers (Infantry), pressed forward and attacked, therefore rapidly overwhelming shocked American Infantry in their foxholes.
Later, this became widely and famously known as “The Battle of the Bulge”, because of the “bulge” it caused on the situation map
FOR THE ULTIMATE WW2 GUIDED BATTLEFIELD TOUR EXPERIENCE !
Please note: The “Battle of the Bulge” was not just about Bastogne ! Many many more Belgian towns and villages, were fought over and devastated and were just as important ! Thousands of soldiers lost their lives, fighting in Belgian & Luxembourg towns such as -Honsfeld, La Roche, Wiltz, Echternach, Clervaux, Diekirch, Malmedy, Stavelot, Stoumont, Grandmenil, Manhay, Marvie, Wereth, Hotton, Longchamps, Mageret, Longvilly, Nouville, Foy, Losheimergraben, Rochelinval, Rahier, Cheneux, Bullingen & Bucholz, Elsenborn, Houfallize, St Vith, Vielsalm, Sadzot, La Fosse, Krinkelt & Rocherath, Erezee, Trois Ponts etc.
WHITECROSS BATTLEFIELD TOURS – I will show you the evidence of this extreme carnage, still evident, on the forest floors and deep valleys of the now tranquil and beautiful Ardennes region.
FOXHOLES – Hundreds of foxholes lay empty and long lines of trenches still exist – most untouched and undiscovered, for over 74 years. (because thousands of unexploded mines, grenades and shells, still lie beneath the surface)
CLOSE COMBAT – Locations where hand-to-hand combat and house-to-house fighting, was a daily occurrence, during the Battle of the Bulge !
SHELL CRATORS – In addition to this, hundreds of shell crators can be observed on the forest floor.
MINEFIELDS – A place where tens of thousands of mines exploded. Places where thousands of young American soldiers lost their lives, having being shelled mercifully by German artillery, enduring tree-bursts amongst the freezing, fog drenched, dripping pines.
However – tragically, hundreds of young soldiers still lay here, in unknown graves (Missing in action).
Furthermore, for an added thrill, we can metal-detect for a very short time, if you desire (under my supervision), on American or German positions. (with a pin-pointer only)
VETERAN’S FAMILIES TOURS
STOUMONT – Below- recent tour customer’s of a veteran: David Fleming & his sister Sherry, standing outside the St Edouard Sanitorium, Stoumont, in May 2018.
Their uncle – Staff Sergeant Alton “Buster” Fleming, was one of just 4 American Sherman tanks from the 740th Tank Battalion, that assaulted the German S.S held building, in Stoumont-
during fierce battles in late December 1944, whilst hundreds of Belgian civilians, sheltered terrified in the building’s basement.
SPECIALIZING IN PRIVATE, GUIDED WW2 TOURS, FOR VETERAN’S FAMILIES
PEIPER – We follow the narrow route through the Ardennes, taken by fanatical S.S Colonel Joachim Peiper’s massive 25km long armoured column, (Kampfgruppe Peiper), at the beginning of the “Battle of the Bulge”.
All the way from the Northern shoulder, near Losheim in Germany, to the Ardennes villages of Cheneux, Stoumont and La Gleize, in Belgium
where the advance was dramatically halted by U.S forces. (An original and very impressive, restored, 68 ton King Tiger Tank from the battle is studied here) (Dollinger’s Tiger)
SIEGFRIED LINE – A fine example of “Dragon’s Teeth” of the Westwall (Siegfried Line), on the Belgian/German border, bomb crators from the initial German heavy artillery barrage and a large quantity of untouched foxholes.
99TH INFANTRY AGAINST THE 12TH SS PANZER DIVISION
Furthermore, I will show you the exact location, where a huge German armoured column, with infantry support, left the road and entered the forest, (ROLLBAHN A), together with 272nd Volksgrenadier infantry -towards the American held twin villages of Krinkelt & Rocherath.
American 99th Infantry foxholes are here in the forest (K company), near Rocherath
Then the 12th S.S Panzer Division attacked in force !
GREAT PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES !
99th Infantry – Below: Michael & Sandra Brown, from Arlington, Texas, on tour with me in December 2018. Here they are standing in an American G.I’s foxhole (99th Infantry Division). Sandra is a very successful author and Michael is a former T.V presenter
FOXHOLES & TRENCHES
LOSHEIMERGRABEN – The brave Battle for the strategic and vital Losheimergraben Crossroads, featuring an outline of the battle and a look at a temporary American command post and mortar positions in the forest .
VITAL CROSSROADS BATTLE – Plus the original customs houses where 99th Infantry American soldiers, took up their positions and bravely held back the initial German advance. A nice memorial can be seen here
ROLLBAHN B – A look at a Corduroy Road (American constructed supply road from Murringen) & “Creepy Corner” -a section of the dense and dark forest, that claimed many lives, on the Belgian/German border and where missing in action’s -Alphonse Sito’s body was discovered, decades later
10th ARMORED – BASTOGNE – Photo below, shows me guiding the family of a 10th Armored veteran, (CCB tanker) around Bastogne and showing them U.S foxholes, in late early November 2018.
It was a very satisfying moment, when I found this fired M1 garand rifle bullet, on the edge of a G.I’s foxhole, near Marvie, as I was looking for a piece of shrapnel for them.
This bullet popped out of the ground 74 years after it was fired here. Therefore -a great piece of history for the family, to take back to the United States!
LANZERATH – The peaceful little village of Lanzerath, on the Belgian/German border and the heroic story about the young American officer – Lt Lyle Bouck and how he and a handful of soldiers, from the “Schirmbusch” forest, halted Peiper’s advance for almost 18 hours –
before being overwhelmed and captured, after their positions were finally over-ran, by fanatical Falschirmjaeger German infantry
BUCHOLZ – A brave and bitter battle at the former Bucholz Bahnhof (Railway station), against the advancing German troops along the former railway line
HONSFELD – The capture and subsequent Waffen S.S execution of unarmed American G.I’s at Honsfeld and the memorial to the victims. Besides the random executions.
ATROCITIES – The S.S even stole the boots from the corpses. The German armour crushed the bodies, as they turned the corner and headed towards Bullingen. Civilians were also murdered here
BULLINGEN – The location on the outskirts of Bullingen, where a handful of U.S soldiers fought heroically to halt the lead vehicles of Peiper’s column. German half-tracks were sprayed with bullets here, from the occupied houses, in the main street
AMBLEVE – A town and bridge where some of Otto Skorzeny’s Commando’s were captured, posing as American’s in a captured Jeep (Operation Greif)
LA FOSSE – Crash site location of missing American B24 Liberator “KING SIZE” and a look at hundreds of the artefacts, that our team has very recently discovered, over a 4 year period and on the site in March 2018 (photos below) A brand new memorial is now at this location
Battle of the Bulge Tour (Ardennes)
Restored Bullingen Church and the location in Bullingen of the former American fuel dump, captured by Peiper’s men, during his push through the Ardennes. Bullingen Church was heavily damaged during the battle and their was fierce combat between the gravestones, hand to hand combat in the houses and running battles in and around the church
BAUGNEZ – he infamous “Malmedy Massacre” near the Baugnez Crossroads, by members of the Waffen SS -including the actual location of the field, great monument & excellent museum. I will tell you all about the terrible atrocity that occurred here on December the 17th, 1944, that resulted in the execution of 84 unarmed American soldiers
WERETH – The Wereth massacre Memorial (11 American coloured soldiers captured and murdered by the WAFFEN S.S here)
ORIGINAL TANKS & HALF-TRACKS !
LIGNEUVILLE – The Battle at Ligneuville and yet another S.S atrocity. The execution of 8 more unarmed captured American soldiers, behind the Hotel Du Moulin, by Peiper’s fanatical S.S soldiers
STAVELOT – The heavy battles for the vital town of Stavelot and the Ambleve bridge. The 3 blown bridges at Trois Ponts, plus a look at The Petit Spai Bridge over the Ambleve River, which collapsed, as the first German armoured vehicle attempted to cross it
KAMPGRUPPE KNITTEL & STAVELOT CIVILIAN MASSACRES
COMMAND POST – Plus – S.S commander Gustav Knittel’s temporary Command post, on the western edge of Stavelot, as his Kampfgruppe attacked the eastern side of Stavelot, to try and dislodge American troops in all the houses, cross the Ambleve and reach and re-inforce a stranded Kampfgruppe Peiper.
Schnelle Gruppe Knittel – Gustav Knittel’s Kampfgruppe S.S, committed atrocious executions, of 138 innocent civilians, (men, women and children were randomly massacred by angry young S.S troopers) on this side of Stavelot (In Renardmont, Parfondruy and Ster) and in the town of Stavelot itself
LEGAYE HOUSE MASSACRE – The tragic civilian massacre at the Legaye House, by the S.S
STOUMONT – The Battles for Stoumont, Rahier and Cheneux & the halting of a column of 3 Panther Tanks, near Stoumont Station, including a look at Joachim Peiper’s command posts.
SANITORIUM – A visit to the restored St Edouard Sanitorium where a hugely important and decisive battle occurred (740th Tank Batallion against Peiper’s S.S)
TROIS PONTS – The S.S massacre of Belgian civilians at Trois Ponts
LA GLEIZE – An American artillery observation post near La Gleize
TIGER TANK – The huge, battle damaged, 68 ton King Tiger Tank at La Gleize and the museum full of artefacts, found on the Battlefield
TRAGEDY – Below: The Legaye House, Stavelot – Tragic scene of just one of the cruel civilian massacres by the S.S in and around Stavelot
KRINKELT & ROCHERATH – The ferocious 3 day battle for the twin villages of Krinkelt and Rocherath. Lots of battle evidence here, including shell crators, German & American (99th Infantry) trenches, foxholes, command posts, aid-station.
FIELD GRAVES – Locations of field graves and memorials, where American & German soldiers have been found, decades after the war.
HASSELPATH Memorial, The Krinkelterwald & Rupenvenn
Superb memorials and restored churches. Chunks of rusting steel and shrapnel still litter the forest floor !
CELLES – The damaged German Panther tank and the story of it’s demise at Celles, near Dinant- one of the last actions of The Battle of The Bulge.
DINANT – We can go for lunch nearby, in the beautiful little town of Dinant on the river Meuse, with it’s ancient hilltop castle, beautiful river and stunning panoramic views
Ardennes American Cemetery, with it’s immaculately tended graves and memorials
LA ROCHE & THE BRITISH INVOLVEMENT
La Roche – The beautiful little town of La Roche, deep down in the valley and sitting astride the Ourthe River. La Roche saw heavy fighting and there are many foxholes, in the forests, surrounding this charming, scenic Belgian town. A Sherman Tank, museum & Memorials can be seen here, as well as an “ACHILLES” Tank. In addition to this, La Roche has a beautiful ancient castle to explore
L51st Highland Division – La Roche is where the British (51st Highland Division), were involved and fought incredibly hard, against the fanatical German attackers
Battles for Wanne, Werbomont, Rahier & Rochelinval
BEFFE – The battle damaged Sherman Tank at Beffe (Task force Hogan)
BASTOGNE & EASY COMPANY
HEINTZ BARRACKS (Bastogne Barracks & Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe’s Headquarters during the siege) & the excellent 101st Airborne Museum nearby
ENCIRCLEMENT – The German encirclement of Bastogne and the Sherman tank turret memorials, on all the major approach roads, marking the defensive positions
TASK FORCES – Locations of the 3 Task Forces defensive/blocking positions, of the 10th Armored Division. (Task Force Cherry, Task Force Desobry & Task Force O’Hara)
German General -Fritz Bayerlein’s route into Bastogne
OTHER IMPORTANT VILLAGES – The villages of Bizory, Bourcy, Champs, Foy, Neffe, Noville, Longvilly, Longchamps, Mageret, Marvie, Mont, Wardin etc (These strategic villages all encountered heavy fighting & shelling)
Several superb monuments to the 101st Airborne – Bastogne
McCauliffe Square and the battle scarred Sherman Tank -Bastogne
HOTEL LEBRUN -Location of the former Hotel Lebrun (10th Armored)
10th ARMORED – Bastogne Church and the location of the former aid-station, for the 10th Armored (where Belgian nurse – Renee Lemaire was tragically killed by a direct hit on the building) & 101st Airborne Airborne’s aid station, in the Seminary
ASSENOIS – The battle scarred Belgian Pillbox on the Assenois road -Bastogne, where the encirclement was broken
Parachute re-supply drop-zone location, outside Bastogne (C 47 drop zones)
Belgian Nurse -Renee Lemaire’s grave and the Bastogne Civillian Cemetery, where so many American soldiers were temporarily buried
RECOGNE – The Recogne German Military Cemetery & former site and memorial of the American Cemetery nearby
Castle Rolley -where LTC Steve Chappuis (silent Steve) was decorated with the D.F.C
FOY – Easy Company’s (101st Airborne- “Screaming Eagles” foxholes in the Bois Jaques woods, near the village of Foy & German foxholes)
SCHUMAN’S ECK – An Abundance of untouched foxholes, shell crators and trenches, outside Bastogne, where a fierce battle occurred at Schuman’s Eck.
1st Museum in Bastogne – full to the brim with superb artefacts from the surrounding Battlefields
MARDASSON – The huge and impressive Mardasson Memorial, situated on the former Battlefield, with it’s new addition nearby – the famous “Kiss” statue
POTEAU -VIELSALM – The Battles for Vielsalm, St Vith & the Poteau Crossroads near Recht
WAHLERSCHEID – The terrible Wahlerscheid Crossroads Battle “Heartbreak Crossroads” (99th Infantry and U.S 2nd Division). Lots of trenches and battlefield evidence can be seen here, from the fierce fighting here in 1944
WILTZ – The Luxembourg town of Wiltz and Sherman Tank Memorial
Henri-Chappelle American Military Cemetery – with it’s immaculately tended graves of the fallen, including Medal of Honour recipients and the grave of Brigadier General Frederick W Castle. 7,992 American soldiers are buried here, who fell in Europe during WW2. The rows and rows of beautiful white headstones stretch out over 57 acres, in this beautiful and peaceful location.
Lommel German Military Cemetery, with over 38,000 graves – a silent sleeping army of young boys and men. Some who even fell fighting on Christmas Day! Some infamous burials here also, including S.S, Kreigsmarine & Wehrmacht officer’s and soldiers
HOUFALLIZE – The Houffalize Panther Tank (currently under restoration)
CAULDRON OF LA GLEIZE – For the more adventurous, we can hike the first part of S.S Colonel -Joachim Peiper and his 800 men’s arduous escape route, from the cauldron of the besieged village of La Gleize, during Christmas 1944. (3 hour duration approx.) A very tough hike, because of the steep terrain, but well worth the effort !
Rick & Rachel from near Perth, Australia – standing next to “Dragon’s Teeth” of “The Westwall”, on the Belgian/German border, during a recent July 2017 tour…..
HOTTON, GRANDMENIL & MANHAY
HOTTON – The Hotton British Military Cemetery – a very tranquil location. Very moving !
MANHAY & GRANDMENIL -The story of the fierce Battle Of the little villages of Manhay & Grandmenil over the freezing Christmas of 1944 – a beautiful location, with it’s tranquil ambience – once devastated by war.
TROU de LOUP – A heroic and incredibly brave story of American Corporal Richard Wiegand and how he single handedly stopped a column of Panther Tanks, on Christmas Eve 1944. Nice memorial here
BARAQUE De FRATUIRE – “Parker’s Crossroads” and the story of what happened here against an overwhelming German counter-attack. An original German Panther Tank, that fought in the battle of Manhay and Grandmenil can be seen near here in Grandmenil. Great for photos !
MALEMPRE – Malempre village and much much more……