The duration of this itinerary is estimated at 3 days.
The Battle of the Bulge was one of the most important events of the Second World War. Six months after Normandy, Hitler struck again in the Belgian and Grand Ducal Ardennes for the last time. On December 16, 1944, in foggy weather, Nazi Germany gathered its last remaining forces. Hitler wanted to wage a ruthless war to reach Antwerp in seven days. This period left a deep impression on people’s psyche because of the cruelty of the massacres and the violence of the fighting that took place. Still today, these emotions are present in the region. Naturally, we want to honor the soldiers but also the civilians who went through this ordeal.
The itinerary is dedicated to remembering this terrible battle and the Siege of Bastogne, located in the Land of Memory territory. You can follow an itinerary with different visits and activities that retrace the events of the time. You will learn about the true facts, the portraits of heroes, the memories of civilians, and poignant testimonies that will touch your heart. It is the ideal opportunity to dive directly into the places where tragic events took place. We feel the emotion, we live it, and we honor the participants of this terrible battle.
Our itinerary starts in Luxembourg and the American Cemetery of Hamm and continues in Wiltz, where we can visit the Battle of the Bulge Museum. Depending on your preferences, you can book an audio guide or a guided tour. Next, we can continue to Schumann’s Eck, a place of remembrance that mixes conservation of the historical site of brutal battles and stories leading to current themes to educate new generations. We can then cross the Belgian border to continue learning more about the Battle of the Bulge.
Bastogne was a critical location and a symbol for the Nazis, it was a road junction that had to be won at all costs. On December 17th, the American 101st Airborne was sent from Reims to the theater of operations in Bastogne. With General McAuliffe at the helm, the American units resisted the German assaults. He achieved this feat despite lacking materials, ammunition, food, and medical equipment. But after being surrounded on December 21st, a German delegation demanded the American surrender. “Nuts,” an American expletive that McAuliffe was used to using, was the only answer the general gave to the enemy emissaries. Luckily for the Allies, the sky finally cleared, and the city could be resupplied from the air. But there was also a tragedy when planes bombed the town, killing soldiers and civilians. The population had to take refuge in cellars and shelters. Symbols of the trauma still mark the city today. Sadly, St-Vith, Malmedy, La Roche, and Houffalize suffered the same tragic fate. Finally, on December 26, the fiery General Patton broke the encirclement of Bastogne. Out of gratitude, Belgium erected the Mardasson Memorial in homage to the liberators on the Bastogne Hill. Next to it, the recently built Bastogne War Museum welcomes the public and soon will host citizenship classes. The 101st Airborne Museum, a few steps from the McAuliffe Square, retraces the Battle of Bastogne with very realistic dioramas. In La Roche, the less-known role played by the British troops is evoked.
In the Province of Liège, the December 44 Historical Museum will amaze you with its atmosphere and the Baugnez 44 with its modern scenography and its explanations of one of the most terrible massacres committed that winter, which were numerous in this province. Period films are waiting for you as well as a perfectly restored Tiger tank. Next, in the town of Malmedy, discover the US War Memorial as well as the five dramatic steles dedicated to the civilian victims of the bombings of December 1944. Then continue to the US Wereth Memorial, which is on your way and reminds us of the too-often forgotten massacre of which 11 African-American soldiers were victims. Finally, pass by the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, where you can book a free guided tour! Then finish your tour three kilometers further, at the Remember Museum 39-45. There, Marcel’s memories await you, and he can share them with you himself. Through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy, learn his perspective during the war. Tears of laughter and sadness are guaranteed.
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