Apart from Normandy, the areas of France most bitterly defended by the Germans were Alsace and Lorraine. This occurred in part because the Allied surge across France in 1944 was slowed down by logistical difficulties as the Allies reached the easternmost extent of France, but the primary reason for the stout German defenses of these regions is that Alsace and Lorraine were claimed as part of Germany and would be defended as strongly as any other German soil. This perception informed Hitler's decisions of 24 November and 27 November 1944, that committed General Siegfried Rasp's 19th Army to a do-or-die defense of the region around Colmar. On 26 November the Germans formed Heeresgruppe Oberrhein under the command of Heinrich Himmlerand tasked his command with the defense of the front between the Bienwald and the Swiss border. Of prime importance to the German defense around Colmar were the bridges over the Rhine at and Chalampé, since it was over these bridges that supplies were delivered.

A bridgehead forty miles (65 km) long and thirty miles (50 km) deep on the west bank of the Rhine was formed in November 1944 when the German defenses in the Vosges Mountains collapsed under the pressure of an offensive by the U.S. 6th Army Group. General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny's French First Army forced the Belfort Gap and destroyed the German IV Luftwaffe Korps near the town of Burnhaupt in the southern Vosges Mountains. Soon thereafter, French forces reached the Rhine in the region north of the Swiss border between Mulhouse and Basel. Likewise, in the northern Vosges Mountains, the French 2nd Armored Division spearheaded a U.S. Seventh Army advance, forced the Saverne Gap, and drove to the Rhine, liberating Strasbourg on 23 November 1944. The effect of these two advances was to collapse the German presence in southern Alsace west of the Rhine to a semi-circular-shaped bridgehead centered on the town of Colmar that came to be known as the Colmar Pocket.

The Citiy of Turckheim

Turckheim was liberated by the 112th Infantry Regiment of the 28th Infantry Division on February 4, 1945 while pushing south and clearing Ingersheim afterwards.

Musee Memorial des Combats de La Poche de Colmar, Turckheim

Not easy to find and tucked away from Turckheim’s nice and picturesque town center, this tiny museum is packed with uniforms, artillery pieces and photos of this campaign. The Museum is located in the heart of the medieval city of Turckheim in a small cellar of the 18th century. The Memorial Museum gives an account of the bitter fighting in the sector of Colmar in the winter of 1944/45.

In 1988, the ""Souvenirs et Respect des Combats pour la Liberté - Poche de Colmar - Hiver 44/45" non-profit association was founded by Gérard Terni and Christian Burgert to pursue the unique project to set up a Memorial Museum aiming to honour all the veterans and victims, be they civilians or soldiers, who wrote the painful history of our region during the terrible winter of 1944/45. With the help of some history buffs and the support of the municipal team and the mayor M. Fuchs, the work and total dedication of the two founders permitted the inauguration of the museum on November 11th 1993. The governor of the district attended the ceremony with numerous civilian and military authorities in Turckheim (Haut-Rhin district). Ever since that day, the museum has relentlessly endeavoured to keep alive a historical heritage dedicated to all those who, through their courage and patriotism, have allowed us to remain free.

The work of the volunteers and successive chairmen helped the memorial museum become famous not only within France, but also beyond our borders, all through Europe, in the USA and maybe one day in the whole world.

The extension that had been scheduled for a long time by the two founders could only be achieved and inaugurated on February the 24th 2001. Today the memorial museum consists in two showrooms covering an area of roughly 250 m².

German Anti-Tank Weapons

German Infantry Weapons

German Headgear/Helmets


The Helmet of General de Vernejoul


Allied stuff

Various German Items

Small Items

Battle damaged

I would like to say thank you very much to Laurent and Jean-Marc for your outstanding guided tour you gave us. I can highly recommend this museum for a visit. It’s worth any second you will be there. Thanks a lot my friends!


(Some text taken from the website above)