Ardennes, Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge


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Europe » Belgium » Luxembourg » Bastogne
September 30th 2014
Published: June 25th 2022
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Château de MontjardinChâteau de MontjardinChâteau de Montjardin

Château de Montjardin in the Ardennes. The castle dates from the 16th century and was enlarged in the 19th century. The railway viaduct crosses the Amblève River. DSC_0217p1
Between Maastricht and Bastogne, we traveled through the Ardennes region of Belgium. The Ardennes is a hilly region of thick forests and was the scene of heavy fighting in World War I and World War II. In August 1914, the German army advanced into Belgium though the Ardennes--an unexpected move owing to the forests and that Belgium was officially a neutral nation. In December 1944-January 1945, the Battle of the Bulge was a surprise German counteroffensive through the forests in winter weather. Today the forests remain in this rural part of Belgium, often obscuring views from the A26 Autoroute.

Bastogne, Belgium, is a quiet town today. Historically, it has been a prosperous market town deriving its income from dairy and forest products from the Ardennes. But it has been the nexus of conflict in both World War I and World War II. In World War I, it lay directly in the path of the German attack though Belgium at the onset of the war. Bastogne was occupied again from 1940 to 1944 during World War II. Liberated in September 1944, it was once more attacked in December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge. The town was under siege as
Voie de la LibertéVoie de la LibertéVoie de la Liberté

Voie de la Liberté. Marker (borne) at Bastogne, km 1147. Bastogne is the terminus of the Liberty Road (Voie de la Liberté) markers commemorating the Allied advance from the Normandy beaches to the Rhine. Bornes are placed each kilometer. DSC_0245
Germany attempted a surprise winter counteroffensive. The counteroffensive, known as the Battle of the Bulge, saw the town once again caught up in conflict. The US 101st Airborne was stationed in Bastogne and defended the town during the December siege. The arrival of the US Third Army at the end of December countered the German advance.Numerous memorials are seen in Bastogne today, reminders of the conflicts. Bastogne is the terminus of the Liberty Road (Voie de la Liberté) markers commemorating the Allied advance from the Normandy beaches to the Rhine. Bastogne is the location of the Mardasson Memorial to American soldiers killed during the Battle of the Bulge. The Bastogne War Museum has recently opened adjacent to the memorial. The museum and memorial were places we wanted to stop to see. (My father served in the US Army's 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment during the Battle of the Bulge.)

The Bastogne War Museum opened in 2014. It is an interpretive center that tells the story of World War II and the Battle of the Bulge (16 Dec 1944 to 25 Jan 1945) from the point of view of both soldiers and civilians. it is more than a military museum. Events
Bastogne War MuseumBastogne War MuseumBastogne War Museum

Bastogne War Museum. Opened in 2014. Colline du Mardasson 5. DSC_0247
leading to World War II are examined. Once war began, the impact of conflict on the daily lives of Belgians is recounted. Some fled. Some joined the Resistance. Others collaborated or just tried to get by as best they could. The museum is very well done with many interactive exhibits. Visitors may follow the path of an American soldier, a German soldier, a Belgian teacher or a Belgian school student through the conflict.

The road leading from town to the museum and Mardasson Memorial is lined with both Voie de la Liberté bornes and Belgian war memorials.


Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


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Sherman TankSherman Tank
Sherman Tank

American M4 Sherman tank. Bastogne War Museum. DSC_0250
Belgian Army UniformBelgian Army Uniform
Belgian Army Uniform

Belgian Army Uniform, World War II. DSC_0253
Belgian ResistanceBelgian Resistance
Belgian Resistance

Belgian Resistance plans for sabotaging infrastructure. DSC_0254
101st Airborne101st Airborne
101st Airborne

US Army 101st Airborne uniform. DSC_0256
Civilian EvacuationCivilian Evacuation
Civilian Evacuation

Evacuation of Belgian civilians. DSC_0257
KübelwagenKübelwagen
Kübelwagen

Bastogne War Museum. Volkswagen Type 82 Kübelwagen. German scout car. DSC_0259
US Army Winter GearUS Army Winter Gear
US Army Winter Gear

US Army Winter Gear. The Battle of the Bulge occurred in December 1944-January 1945 Bastogne War Museum. DSC_0260
Voie de la Liberté MarkerVoie de la Liberté Marker
Voie de la Liberté Marker

Bastogne War Museum. Voie de la Liberté marker (borne). The route follows the 1944 route of liberation from Normandy to Bastogne. Bornes are placed each kilometer. DSC_0261
Mardasson MemorialMardasson Memorial
Mardasson Memorial

Mardasson Memorial. The Mardasson Memorial honors the memory of American soldiers wounded or killed during the Battle of the Bulge, December 16, 1944-January 25, 1945. Dedicated July 16, 1950. DSC_0264p1
Monument aux Morts des Deux GuerresMonument aux Morts des Deux Guerres
Monument aux Morts des Deux Guerres

Monument aux morts des deux guerres. Bastogne World War I and World War II memorial. DSC_0268
Monument CadyMonument Cady
Monument Cady

Monument Cady. The memorial commemorates Corporal Emile Cady, the first Belgian soldier to fall in defense of Bastogne, 10 May 1940. DSC_0266p1
Porte de TrèvesPorte de Trèves
Porte de Trèves

Porte de Trèves (Porte Basse) - Trier Gate (Lower Gate). The 14th century gate is a remnant of Bastogne's city walls. DSC_0244p1
Église Saint-Pierre de BastogneÉglise Saint-Pierre de Bastogne
Église Saint-Pierre de Bastogne

Église Saint-Pierre de Bastogne - St. Peter's Church. Begun in the 9th century, the church was remodeled to a Gothic style in the 16th century. The Romanesque bell tower remains. "The interesting church, with a Romanesque tower and aisles of unequal length, was added to in the 15th cent.; it contains some curious vaulting, ancient mural paintings, and a statue of St. Christopher (1520)".--Baedeker 1910. DSC_0243p1
Gare du NordGare du Nord
Gare du Nord

La Gare du Nord, Bastogne. In operation from 1884 to 1993. Adaptive reuse as L'Ancien Gare restaurant. The railway right-of-way has been converted to a bike path. DSC_0242p1
Forests of the ArdennesForests of the Ardennes
Forests of the Ardennes

Forests of the Ardennes. Between Maastricht and Bastogne, we traveled through the Ardennes region of Belgium. The Ardennes is a hilly region of thick forests and was the scene of heavy fighting in World War I and World War II. In August 1914, the German army advanced into Belgium though the Ardennes--an unexpected move owing to the forests and that Belgium was officially a neutral nation. In December 1944-January 1945, the Battle of the Bulge was a surprise German counteroffensive through the forests in winter weather. Today the forests remain in this rural part of Belgium, often obscuring views from the A26 Autoroute. "...the Forest of Ardennes, a wild, mountainous district, affording many picturesque views".--Baedeker 1910. DSC_0220p1
ArdennesArdennes
Ardennes

Landscape in the Ardennes region of Belgium. "...the Forest of Ardennes, a wild, mountainous district, affording many picturesque views".--Baedeker 1910. DSC_0229
Château de MontjardinChâteau de Montjardin
Château de Montjardin

Château de Montjardin in the Ardennes. The castle dates from the 16th century and was enlarged in the mid-19th century. DSC_0210p1


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