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
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
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
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
The Memorial park for Patton in
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.
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.
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
(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