Battlefield Tours

Three countries in one day!

Three countries in one day!

This year I’m expanding my work area a bit to include the Hurtgenwald and the Battle of the Bulge. After reading and studying for months it’s time to leave the safety of the office and go out and see the battlefields in real life. Boots on the ground is always very important to figure out exactly where to park the coach or minivan, how to walk to the monument or battlefield and to get a better idea of the terrain.

Armed with a to-do list which should fit in a single day we (me and my son) set out from the Netherlands to visit locations in the Hürtgenwald in Germany and the Ardennes in Belgium.

The first stop was Simonskall where we visited the bunker that overlooks the town. This is a great example that still has the original paint on the walls. Unfortunatly it’s not accesible as it’s now a home for bats.

The Simonkall bunker

Next up was”Der Buhlert”, as the crow flies only a short distance from Simonskall but as the car drives it took us more than 20 minutes. There we found the remains of the RAD camp with many foxholes and dugouts in the area, some of which date back to World War II.

A hole that appears to have been a dugout, possibly from WWII.

We then visted the Schwamenauel dam where I took no pictures before driving on to Paustenbach where we visted the Eifelkreuz at hill 554 and the nearby dragons teeth.

The Eiffelkreuz, there used to be a bunker here too but not a trace remains. This hill marked the end of the gains by the allies in the Hurtgenwald in late September 1944.

The iconic dragons teeth of which there still are many miles in existance, and the battlefield-van breaking through them (sort of).

Then it was time to leave Germany behind and visit the Hasselpath memorial trail where many foxholes, trenchlines and recreated dugouts give you and idea of the what it was like for the soldiers there.

A repaired dugout at the Hasselpath trail.

Next stop was Krinkelt-Rocherath where the 99th and 2nd Infantry Divison blunted the German onslaught on the northern shoulder of the Bulge. After days of intense combat the Americans finally withdrew to the Elsenborn ridge from where they would not be dislodged.

The 99th Infantry memorial in Krinkelt

We continued our trek along the northern shoulder and visited the Malmedy Massacre site. Here men from Kampfgruppe Peiper murdered over 80 prisoners of war in most infamous moments of the Battle of the Bulge.

The Malmedy Massacre Memorial

Our last stops of the day were Stavelot and La Gleize, both tied to Kampfgruppe Peipers advance towards the Meuse, a river he would never see.

The Half Track memorial near the bridge in Stavelot. After the Americans destroyed the bridge across the Ambleve river Kampfgruppe Peiper was cut off and their fate sealed.

The Tiger II at La Gleize was a fitting end to a very full day!

After La Gleize it was time to head home, with a full head and an emtpy stomach for there was no time for extended lunches, we needed to make the most of the daylight that was available to us.

By Joris

My name is Joris Nieuwint and I will be your tour guide! Please allow me to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about what I've been doing over the past years. For the past 10 years I've been living in Veghel, and before that, I've lived in Arnhem for almost two decades. Living so close to the battlefields meant that Operation Market Garden always had my interest and I've been studying the battles for all those years. Sharing what I've learned over the years has been my passion and becoming a tour guide was one of my dreams. Keeping the sacrifices of these men alive by telling their stories and showing the locations where it happened is my greatest passion.

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