On 26 December 1944, the 3rd American Army of General Patton entered the besieged city of Bastogne. In order to break the encirclement, the 26th “Yankee” Infantry Division was sent to make a breakthrough at the Schumannseck crossroads and take the German troops from the rear to the east of Bastogne.
But the fighting was laborious, and the American soldiers only reached Schumannseck on 30 December 1944. The advance was again stopped by the tenacious defense of the German soldiers entrenched in the woods.
The front was frozen, and, for more than three weeks, the fighting raged on. American attacks and German counter-attacks followed one another in the snowy Ardennes forest. Thousands died as a result of hand-to-hand combat, machine-gun fire, and artillery fire.
Afterward, the liquidation of the Harlange pocket led to the surrender of almost the entire 5th German Parachute Division. However, it was not until 21 January 1945, with the liberation of Wiltz, that the fighting at Schumannseck was finally over.
These battles were the deadliest on Luxembourg soil, reminiscent of the tactics and casualties of the war of attrition of 1914-1918.