Le Mémorial du Mardasson north east of Bastogne

Because the town of Bastogne is the best known name people associate with the ‘Battle of the Bulge’, our tour will start here. Bastogne is complete rebuild after the heavy fighting of December 1944. But there are plenty points of interest to visit that reminds us of the fighting for this town. First thing you may notice, from every direction, is the almost complete absence of directions to the most important museum and monument of Bastogne, Memorial de Mardasson. Follow this route: Go from Bastogne and head for Clervaux (N 874). North of Bastogne on a hill you will find the monument. It consists of great pillars in the shape of a star. In between are large sheets with text concerning the battle (in English).

De introductie tot het 'Bastogne War Museum', een M4 105mm

Het The 'Bastogne War Museum' is has opened her doors again after a big refurbishment. All the objects are shown in new settings. The visitor is given a headphone so it wont miss a thing. To attract the young visitor, a child’s voice, ‘Emiel’, tells tales of his youth during the battle. There are three virtual rooms in the museum. The first one is a 3D movie, the second a scene in the dark woods around Bastogne. The third one is the most spectacular. This consists of a bar scene, which moves into the basement.

The nicely restored Kubelwagen

Combining element is the voice of ‘Emiel, who fled from Noville to Bastogn, an American paratrooper and his German prisoner, and some other persons from December 1944. The objects are of great interest, such as M4 105mm Sherman tank, a 'Hetzer' armored vehicle, and a nicely restored Kubelwagen. But there are some point of criticism, the text with the pictures are sometimes not corresponding with the truth (below an example)

These paratroopers point, according to the description to a sign in Périers ,…
But this picture was taken in Caretan (it shows on the original picture,
below the hand of the left paratrooper)
Also the dates are not correct,… is it June 27 or July 27 1944?

But these are minor details, and the museum is one of the high lights of Bastogne. The entry fee is steep, 12 € fora n adult. In the past, there were also vehicles outside the museum, but they have moved indoors, or other locations, such as the Bastogne Barracks (see later on these pages).

After this visit follow the N 874 heading for Clervaux.


Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces was notified in his headquarters at Versailles during December 16 of the German attack. He did realise at once, this was some local fighting. The 7th Armored Division, which lay in reserve in the north, was sent at once to St. Vith. In the south, Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division, part of Patton's 3rd Army, was sent to Bastogne.

Bastogne was a large junction of roads. If the German new Blitzkrieg could be slowed down or even stopped here, then the change of a fast Allied counter attack could be made. December 17 the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions were sent to Bastogne. Because the 82nd made a faster progress, the were sent to the north of the Ardennes, towards Werbomont to secure the roads leading to Luik. Was this a smart move? If the 82nd had dug themselves in around Bastogne, then there was more time to make strongpoint’s. The 101st came into Bastogne when the Germans were almost on top of them, so there was little time for the men to chose a good position and to dig in.

Easy Company, 501st PIR, 101st Airborne mount up for Bastogne

During a radio broadcast it was announced that the 101st was heading for Bastogne. General von Lüttwitz, commander of the 47ste Panzer Corps was delighted with this news, the 101st Division was at least 160 kilometres from their destination. And the Panzer Lehr's 26ste Volksgrenadiers had only 40 kilometres to go before they reached Bastogne. Von Lüttwitz was certain who was first in Bastogne. But he never thought of the combat groups which were laying around Bastogne, such as Combat Command B, 10th Armored Division. Three units had road barriers facing northeast and east. One team, Team Desobry, went to Noville after the order by Colonel Roberts. Team O'Hara headed east towards Wardin and Team Cherry was in between in the area of Longvilly. Every team was named after their commander. Lt-Colonel Henry Cherry positioned his unit a kilometre west of Longvilly, near a handcrafted cave beside the road (N 874), which honoured Sint Michael. Further east Task Force Rose and Harper tried to stop the Germans, but they had to withdraw to Longvilly. The roads were full of clogged up American vehicles.

The cave west of Longvilly (N 874) in honour of Sint Michael

Monday afternoon it became obvious that Task Force Rose and Harper were put out of action by the 2nd Panzer Division, and this unit headed now for Noville. It was only 23 kilometres for the Germans before reaching Bastogne. But the roads were full of vehicles and Major-General Fritz Bayerlein, commander of Panzer Lehr, decided to take an alternative route from Nieder-Wampach and Longvilly and bypass Mageret. He run stuck in the narrow farmer tracks and was forced to head for Mageret, were he arrived after midnight. Here he was told that a convoy of American vehicles was seen near Longville and he decided to attack it from the rear. And so a capital mistake was made, they lost valuable time in attacking and destroying Team Cherry.

This tank turret can be found in Champs,
the village where the 506th PIR, 101st Airborne disembarked

Because the 101st Airborne Division had a great part in defending Bastogne, and was the main ‘character’ in the TV series 'Band of Brothers', a lot of questions are by visitors where these men, and particular Easy Company van de 506th PIR had their positions. To make it ‘easy’, I show some of these positions for the reader. During the night of December 18 and 19, 1944, and later during the day, the 101st Airborne Division arrived near Bastogne. The 506th PIR disembarked their trucks near Champs, a couple of kilometers west of Bastogne. To remember the fighting in this sector, there is a large explanation on a board, at the crossroads heading for Mande St.Étienne. Next to the board is a Sherman tank turret to be found.

Major-General Fritz Bayerlein, commander Panzer Lehr Division

Meanwhile Combat Command B was ordered to fall back on Bastogne. But because of the mess on the road, they could only start in the early morning. Around 14.00 hours on the Tuesday Panzer Lehr opened fire on Team Cherry. By coincidence 2. Panzer Division was also thrown into action against Team Cherry. General von Lauchert was annoyed that Team Cherry was firing back at them and decided to send one unit back to Longville. Von Lüttwitz of the 26 Volksgrenadiers was also annoyed of the situation. It was hell on earth near Longvilly. The retreating men of the Task Force abandoned their vehicles, they were to tired to fight. Team Cherry defended themselves bravely, but in one and a half hour it was over. Near the cave of Sint Michael lay around 200 American soldiers dead beside their vehicles. But the Germans had paid a costly price also, the delay mend they lost Bastogne. The delay gave the 101st Airborne Division just enough time to enter Bastogne.

Paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division march of to their positions
to keep the Germans out of Bastogne

Head for Longvilly and go towards Wiltz in Luxembourg. Wiltz is somewhat a bit crazy. To find the small museum in the castle is more closed then open (at the info they told me that it was open in July and August). The castle is uptown Wiltz. Drive a bit further up the road (from Bastogne), take notice on the left side in the bend of a large parking lot, stands a nice preserved M4 Sherman tank.

The Sherman tank in Wiltz

Go further towards Diekirch to visit the Musée National d’Histoire Militaire. This museum has a large collection reminding of the Battle of the Bulge. Just before you enter Diekirch lays Ettelbruck. Here the General Patton Memorial Museum is to be found and a small park to commemorate this General.

Ettelbruck and Diekirch

A fantastic museum with more on the later part of the Battle of the Bulge is to be found in Diekirch, Luxembourg. From Bastogne, Belgium, head for Wiltz, take the N15 towards Ettelbruck and follow the signes to Diekirch. When driving through Ettelbruck, make a short stop in the small park dedicated to General Patton and the liberation by his troops on December 27, 1944. It is to be found just beside the train station on the left side of the road, just before crossing the viaduct.

The Memorial park for Patton in Ettelbruck

In the town of Ettelbruck, a couple of streets before you reach the train station, is a museum dedicated to Patton. Take notice: the museum is open from July 1st until September 15 (from 10-12 and from 13-17 hours). Between September 16 and June 30, only on Sunday, from 14.00 until 17.00 hours. The visitor can find here pictures, documents and uniforms and weapons. Also on show are artefacts found in the former fields of the Battle of the Bulge.

Musée National d'Histoire Militaire

The gate guard of the Musée National d'Histoire Militaire, Diekirch

Near the church of Diekirch is a good place to park your car. Walk left around the church and after a hundred metres you come across the entrance of the museum. It is simple to find, at the gate stands a M4A1E8 with a 76mm gun. It is well maintained and still bears it’s .50 machinegun. Walk inside and turn right towards the new buildings. Here you are welcomed by very friendly employees and for a meagre 5 Euros you’ll find a very crowed museum. Crowded that is from the enormous collection of workshop material of the American army.

The magnificent diorama of the crossing of the river Auer

Some very good diorama’s are to be found in the museum. Especially the one depicting the crossing of the river Sauer on January 1945, by units of the 5th Infantry Division is very impressive. In the same room there is a display mentioning the crossing of the 4th Medical Battalion on January 21 to collect medicine in Eppeldorf.

The 4th Medical Battalion on it’s way, right; a surrender leaflet for the Germans

The second part of the museum consists of how the Luxembourg army came about and how it transformed into a modern army. Further more are displays how the Luxembourg army fought alongside Allied army’s in the First- and Second World War, Korea and their participation in UN missions.

The openinghours::
January 1 to March 31, daily form 14-18 hours
April 1 to November 1, daily from 10-18 hours
November 2 to December 31, daily 14-18 hours
(17.15 hours final ticketsale)

The remebrance plaquette on the wall of the church in Diekirch

Return to Bastogne on the N 15 (heading Heiderscheid). After the border with Belgium the N 15 becomes the N 84. Just before reaching Bastogne is the village of Marvie located on the left. This is a place which suffered big time and was a breaking point during the battle for Bastogne.

For the siege on Bastogne,