Stavelot and surrounding

kampfgruppe-peiper

During Peipers advance through the Bulge the Kampfgruppe of Peiper had to take several detours becaus of blow bridges of traffic jams. One of the famous pictures of the battle of the Bulge was taken at the crossroads at Kaiserbaracke. We see Peiper himself reading the map and looking at the road signs. He eventually took the road to Malmedy  

Today this intersection is no longer recognizable as such. An industry terrain next to the motorway, has swallowed the forest and the intersection. Now days this intersection has become a roundabout. The only thing left are the signs with the correct distances which indicate the routes the Kampfgruppe took.

kaiserbrackencrossing

Finally Peiper arrived in the evening at Stavelot where he was forced to withdraw till the dawn the next day. After heavy fighting they succeeded into crossing the bridge. What they did not know was that north of Stavelot a gasoline storage was placed. The American’s eventually set fire to the petrol dump to avoid it should fall in hands of the Germans. This event is to be seen in the movie ‘Patton’ which, following the story of the movie was the beginning of the end.

stavelot_petroldump
Kampf Gruppe Kiefer

Malmedy massacre

Malmedy_massacre_monument

The Malmedy massacre was a war crime in which 84 American prisoners of war were murdered by their German captors during World War II. The massacre was committed on December 17, 1944, by members of Kampfgruppe Peiper (part of the 1st SS Panzer Division), a German combat unit, during the Battle of the Bulge.

 The massacre, as well as others committed by the same unit on the same day and following days, was the subject of the Malmedy massacre trial, part of the Dachau Trials of 1946. The trials were the focus of some controversy.

Malmedy_massacre04

Malmedy railwaybridge

Malmedy

On December 21 Malmedy was attacked by the Germans. Under command of Skorenzy the objective was to capture the River Meuse bridges. During the battle for Malmedy the railway viaduct was to be blown by the Americans. Problem was that it was an immense stone arched construction. Eventually at 2.00 p.m. on December 22 the bridge was blown with 1,800 lbs of TNT, completely blocking the road.

On December 21 Malmedy was attacked by the Germans. Under command of Skorenzy the objective was to capture the River Meuse bridges. During the battle for Malmedy the railway viaduct was to be blown by the Americans. Problem was that it was an immense stone arched construction. Eventually at 2.00 p.m. on December 22 the bridge was blown with 1,800 lbs of TNT, completely blocking the road.

Malmedy_viaduct
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Utah beach (La Madeleine)

This pole marks the landing area of Utah beach. It is the start of the Liberty Road with milestones through France. It is here that Theodore Roosevelt comes to shore with his men. The planned landings should take place at 2km higher at ‘La Grande Dune’ but he ended up at La Madeleine, where there is little resistance. 

Utah Beach Milestone Km 00

From 1942 to June 1944, the old fisherman’s hut sheltered by dunes, what is now Roosevelt Café was used for the German Todt organization.  Right next to the house was a bunker found by the Germans was used as a communication post. A nice comparison photo is to be made of a former bunker now a restaurant.

The main building became immediately after D-Day the U.S. Army 1st Engineer Special Brigade Communications Group accommodations. Between June and November 1944 the bunker was used as a communications center for the U.S. Navy, who oversaw the traffic between the fleet and the front. The 39 radio operators of the Command Task Group supported the NOIC (Naval Officer In Charge).

Utah Beach blockhouse

From the bunker, which is part of the Restaurant section are dated WW2 photos to find. The side view of the bunker still has two black / white painted windows as on the pictures to see that just after D-Day were taken. Mr. Methivier has made to his life’s work to identify veterans who during WW2 where living in his building . Behind large plexiglass sheets are handwritten messages to see soldiers who left behind their traces here just after D-Day.

Today behind the bunker a restaurant is situated: www.leroosevelt.fr

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Sainte-Mère-Église

sainte_mere_eglise_parachutiste

The town’s main claim to fame is that it played a significant part in the World War II Normandy landings because this village stood right in the middle of route N13, which the Germans would have most likely used on any significant counterattack on the troops landing on Utah and Omaha Beaches. In the early morning of 6 June 1944 mixed units of the U.S. 82nd Airborne and U.S. 101st Airborne Divisions occupied the town in Operation Boston, giving it the claim to be one of the first towns liberated in the invasion.

Later that morning, about 0500, a force led by Lt. Colonel Edward C. Krause of the 505th PIR took the town with little resistance. Apparently the German garrison was confused and had retired for the rest of the night. However, heavy German counterattacks began later in the day and into the next. The lightly-armed troops held the town until reinforced by tanks from nearby Utah Beach in the afternoon of June 7

Church of Sainte-Mère-Église
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