As some of you are probably aware by now, we will very shortly be heading off to the Ardennes having teamed up with Whybelgium.co.uk to explore the history of the Battle of the Bulge. It is going to be another great trip into WW2 Europe and one we cannot wait to embark upon and to share with you!
Also a big thank you for all your suggestions of places to visit, we really appreciate your feedback.
Having been doing a lot of reading (which is still going on by-the-way, as we speak) and liaising with our guide for the trip, Mr Michel Baert, we are hoping to do and see some of the following places and things:
Bastogne & Foy –
Both Ross and I have grown up watching and are massive fans of the HBO mini-series the Band of Brothers. We cannot wait to visit Bastogne and Foy where the 101st Airborne Division as well as various other units were surrounded by Manteuffel’s 5th Panzer Army during the battle, fighting gallantly to hold out before eventually being relieved by elements of Patton’s 3rd Army which managed to break a way in through the siege of Bastogne on 26th December 1944.
We will be hoping to explore the town including the 101st Airborne Museum, the Bastogne War Museum, Heinz Barracks where General McAuliffe housed his HQ, the foxholes of Easy Company in the woods of Bois Jacques near Foy, the Mardasson Memorial and much more…
The North Shoulder: Hitler’s Spearhead –
We will also be exploring the North Shoulder, where Hitler pinned his main hopes on reaching the Meuse and eventually Antwerp by placing his strongest forces and main thrust under Dietrich’s 6th Panzer Army. We will be looking at how Kampfgruppe Peiper faired, eventually being surrounded, out of fuel and cut off at La Gleize by Gavin’s 82nd Airborne Division and the US 30th Infantry by the 23rd December. As well as hoping to see one of the King Tigers (No. 213) that was left behind by Peiper, we will be also be aiming to visit a part of the Westwall / Siegfried Line to see a section of where the offensive all began at 5.30 am on Saturday 16th December 1944.
The British Involvement –
We will also be spending a day exploring the British involvement during the battle as Lt General Sir Brian Horrock’s XXX Corps including the likes of the 6th Airborne Division, the 51st Highland Division, 53rd Welsh Division, 29th and 33rd Armoured Brigade all fought in the Ardennes assisting in helping to stop and then eventually defeat the German offensive.
As well as visiting Hotton Cemetery, we will be looking at the 6th Airborne’s incredibly tough 2-3 day fight for the village of Bure during the January counter-offensive, the 53rd Welsh Division and 51st Highland Division attack towards La Roche and the link up between the British and Americans here.
And there is plenty more still planned that I have not even mentioned yet, hopefully we will manage to fit most of this in as there is so much to see…stay tuned for more updates!