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WWII self tour

new york
Level Contributor
135 posts
114 reviews
WWII self tour

We are in the middle of a self tour following fathers war footsteps.

We scheduled a guide for our visit to Bastogne and battle of the bulge sites in May. He emailed us this AM and canecelled. We have contacted all of the usual suspects: Reg, roby, Henri, etc. all are unavailable. "Our" guide is apologetic but has been unable to identify any alternatives. Asking for help and info on a o e day tour. We have our car and a gps.......any suggestions?....

5 replies to this topic
Champlon, Belgium
Level Contributor
9,092 posts
5 reviews
1. Re: WWII self tour

A visit to the (almost new) Bastogne War Museum is an absolute must although it is closed on Mondays. You won't be able to do it justice in under 3 hours, possible more if it is busy or if you want to visit the adjacent Mardasson memorial, because a visit includes three "animations" which firstly explain the context and then try (reasonably successfully) to give a feeling for life both on the front line and in the town during the siege of Bastogne. There are a fair number of "museums" dotted around the area of the Battle of the Ardennes, mostly collections of incomplete military hardware and uniforms, and none of them a patch on the BWM. The one other good museum is a small one in the Chateau of the Grand Duchy town of Clervaux (which is about 20 minutes signed drive from Bastogne). A great fuss is made about some preserved "fox holes" in a wood some way north of Bastogne which, based on my experience of the way the earth moves in the local forests, are in my opinion anything but genuine, although there would have been foxholes there briefly in 1944. There ARE some preserved foxholes at Schumann's Eck (where the Wiltz and Ettelbruck roads part company just beyond the Pommerloch shopping centre over the border in the Grand Duchy), together with explanatory panels, and these might be worth a visit - the fighting at Schumann's Eck lasted well over a month (most of the other fighting in the Battle of the Ardennes was very transitory), so troops had time to dig in well and this explains the preservation of the fox holes there.

Apart from those suggestions, I would say that the area of the Battle of the Ardennes was huge, there are few relics on the ground even if one knows where to look (apart from preserved armour in seemingly every other village and the totally rebuilt towns of Laroche and Houffalize, destroyed, along with much of their civilian population, by the USAF). If you know where your father fought, it would be possible to follow in his footsteps, but the countryside and villages bear little resemblance, particularly as the fighting took place during a particularly harsh winter and it all looks very different under snow.

Champlon, Belgium
Level Contributor
9,092 posts
5 reviews
2. Re: WWII self tour

I should have added that it has been very wet recently, and if you were to leave a vehicle and walk into the forests at all, you would definitely need suitable footwear. If there are high winds, don't enter the forests at all, and, if you should be walking on a path and come across a red sign headed "CHASSE" it indicates that the path is strictly closed and you must turn back (similar orange signs merely warn of forthcoming path closures and can be safely ignored).

Amsterdam, The...
Destination Expert
for Munich, Amsterdam, The Ardennes
Level Contributor
8,234 posts
3 reviews
3. Re: WWII self tour

I would also recommend the museums in Malmedy and La Gleize, very informative! And the Bastogne Barracks!

new york
Level Contributor
135 posts
114 reviews
4. Re: WWII self tour

Thank you both.

We just spent three hours at the museum and memorial. Awesome.

Unfortunately we somehow missed one of the three presentations 😳😳😳😳

Tomorrow we will visit two towns his father's unit went through then we plan to do the 2pm guided tour at the barracks.

We want to go to the Ardennes area but will probably just be ok with "paying homage".

Thanks for your quick response and help

Fredericksburg...
Level Contributor
1 post
23 reviews
5. Re: WWII self tour

Found this by accident when heading back into town one night. Went back the next day for guided (only) tour, 3 hours, given by member of Belgian military who is also a WW2 memorabilia collector. Wow, if you like places like Bovington or Samur don't miss this one. Two huge garages packed with a few hundred vehicles, all in pretty much nice shape. An armor lovers dream! Guide very informative. Be sure to check the schedule before visiting. Tour times change by season and the only way you can see it is with the guided tour.

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