I was on the tracks of FJR 15 and the 5th FJD. The first pics is taken 07.30 A.M and shows one of the bridges (Steinbogenbrücke ) over the Our near Vianden. Here some boats of the paratroopers of Fallschirmpionier Btl 5 overturned due to flood and some troopers drawned. This was the crossing point mainly for 1st Btl / FJR 15 together with the bridge in the town itself.
The whole 15th Rgt crossed the river Our also on a damaged railroad bridge. Further down at Tot and der Our was a Poton-bridge which was buid by Fallschirm-Pioniere of the Fsch Pi. Btl 5. This bridge was called "The Gröschke Bridge".
Here is a pic of the Vianden castle. This was an observer post from the US troops during the attack and most of the opposing fire against the german paratroopers came from the smal US garrison of 36 soldiers. The garrison was wiped out around 11 A.M on December 16 1944 by the 4th Comp. of Fallschirmpionier Btl 5 under Lt. Hans Prigge (who later was K.I.A. through fighter-bomber near Livarchamps on December 25, 1944). The Fallschirmjaeger continued their advance.
As you can see in the first two pics of Vianden, it was quite fogy in the morning and the castle could not bee seen in the morning due to the fog. So I cam back in the late afternoon to take this shot. Long before the war and during the war the Vianden castle was in ruins. Restoration of the castle is still in progress.
Goebelsmühle / Sauer bridges
Goebelsmühle Then and Now
Now on December 17 1944, the 5th Comp., I./FJR 15 took a Raid into Goebelsmühle to seize the Sauer bridge for the tanks. This raid was qualified for the close combat clasp. There, the paratroopers have been engaged in a short but severe firefight against soldiers of the 35th US Engineer (Combat) Battalion. The paratroopers than seized a inn just near the Sauer river to take a rest. The former Inn can be seen in the middle photo above. A former member of the 35th US Engineer (Combat) Battalion - Leroy H. Regenauer - said, that he and his squad lived and slept in a hotel that was backed up against a high cliff. I believe that the inn is the "hotel" Leroy H. Regenauer is telling. Leroy got the Bronze Star medal for actions in Goebelsmühle.
Private First Class Leroy H. Regenauer, Corps of Engineers, 35th Engineer Combat Battalion
The action in Goebelsmühle as seen by Leroy in his own words during an interview together with my good friend Shawn Umbrell in January 2002:
As far as Goebelsmuhle, we lived in a hotel that was backed up against a high cliff. All the furniture was removed and we slept on the floor; generally a squad to a room. While we were there we repaired roads and did a lot of patrolling. We were told we would be there until at least April, but the Krauts changed our minds on that. This was December 16th, the day the Bulge started. I was on the opposite end of town from where the Krauts came in. I was covering a trail that led up through the hills to the German border. After my [recent] talk to Lt. Botdorf, there is some confusion as to what happened. As I remember it, Lt. Botdorf ordered me to go up a hill and set up my machine gun to stop an encirclement. In my recent talk with him he said he did not order me. He said I went up on my own. He also said he ordered a .50 caliber machine gun set up between me and the road the Krauts were coming into town on. The Lt. said he never heard the .50 caliber shoot, but he heard my .30 caliber from up on the hill. When I got up on the hill with my gun there was not time to dig in. I set the gun as low as I could. I set the sights for 150 yards which was the edge of the woods where the Krauts would come out. I sprayed the woods with about 100 rounds right away and then I waited. All of a sudden, from my right, I saw a German patrol of about ten men. They were apparently lost, as they were going in the wrong direction. The last time I saw the Battalion history book, they said six of this group were annihilated. With the confusion I can only refer you to the Battalion history book to see what happened that day. I do not know who put me in for the Bronze Star. Lt. Botdorf said he did not do it, but he thought Lt. Williams did. There was a Lt. about eight feet behind me during this action. This could have been Lt. Williams, a man I do not know. The Krauts did not surround us and I received the Bronze Star for the action I took.
Private First Class Leroy H. Regenauer, Corps of Engineers, 35th Engineer Combat Battalion, United States Army, for meritorious achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy on 17 December 1944 in Luxembourg. The commanding officer of Company B received orders to undertake a new mission. While the company moved from its bivouac area, approaching enemy forces opened fire and attacked. In the face of heavy enemy machine gun and small arms fire, Private First Class Regenauer, a member of a machine gun crew, immediately set up a machine gun to cover the movements of his company. The withering machine gun fire laid down by Private First Class Regenauer held back enemy advances and made it possible for his company to move out intact. The unselfish actions and ardent devotion to duty displayed by Private First Class Regenauer constitute the highest traditions of the Armed Forces and reflect great credit upon himself. Entered military service from Wisconsin. (Text courtesy Shawn Umbrell)
Schumanns Eck Crossroad and Monument
The fighting around the Schumann crossroad was one of the bloodiest sites of the Battle of the Bulge. Here the following allied units fought a severe battle against the German paratroopers.
Schumanns Eck on December 18, 1944 around 11 P.M. as well as on December 19 1944 at dawn around 5 P.M., US troops of the 28th US Inf Div under Norman Cota, tried to escape to Bastogne coming from
Wiltz. The US troops went into hell! Soldiers of 1st Comp. Fallschirm Btl 5 under Lt Sander already seized the place and shot the Americans with MG42 and Panzerfausts to pieces.
The memorial as well as the memorial trail leads along the foxeholes in the woods around the Schumanns Eck where numerous American and German soldiers fought and died during the battle of Wiltz and the battle of the Bulge 1944 - 1945
After the paratroopers moved on, soldiers of the 9th Volksgrenadier Div. dug themself in. On December 30, the 26th US Inf. Div came to the Schumann crossroad and found severe resistance from the Volksgrenadiers. The place turned into a trench war and there was severe fighting in some cases hand to hand combat. Due to this decision to attach the 9 VGD to the 7th German Army for actions against Wiltz, the area around Café Schumann and the crossroad became the bloodiest fighting place of the Battle of the Bulge on Luxembourg soil.
The 9th VGD had also fire support from Hetzer tanks of the Panzerjäger Abt 9 of the 9th VGD. Every attemp made by the US to get the Schumann failed and the US troops suffered severe casualties. But also the germans had severe casualties. I. Btl. 36th Gren, Rgt of the 9th VGD lost 40% alreaday after the first engagement.
The town of
Wiltz was a tiny one and was the place where the US 28th Inf Div under N. Cota had a rest after the severe fightings in the Huertgen forest. Here is nice museum located in the castle of
Wiltz. Wiltz was liberated only on January 21, 1945 from the 26th US Inf Div and the US 6th Cav.
Wiltz was mostly destroyed and Cota had the order to defend Wiltz. The most severe fighting took place from December 17 to December 19.
This nice example of the German Stgw 44 was found in the woods around Wiltz in 2004. The solider in the middle is Sgt Joseph Holmes of the 35th Infantry Division in December 1944 near Wiltz. He shows a fine example of how a Grunt looked like during the Battle of the Bulge. The photo on the right shows Wiltz in ruins.
This is a 8.8 cm Pak 43/41 L anti tank gun and is situated just outside Noertrange.
The "Bazooka Boogie" Memorial of the 28th Infantry Division Band who helped to defend Wiltz. Also outside Noertrange and just next to the Pak 43 is this 10.5 cm light FH18/40.
It is the only one to be seen today in the Ardennes.
The only artillery pieces to be seen in the Bulge today are German.
December 16, 1944, Hosingen was attacked but US control of this village was impeding the German march westward. In fact, the Americans entrenched in Hosingen were in a position to block all
approaches to the locality from the east, north and south through well-directed antitank gun and mortar fire. As early as noon on December 16, US resistance by the 10.5 cm howitzers of
Battery C, 109th Field Artillery and the tank platoon in the area between Hosingen and Bockholz had temporarily thwarted Grenadier Rgt. 77 drive to the Clerf River. And now the US attacks
from the front, right flank and the rear were all taking their toll on the Germans.
Grenadier Rgt. 77 decided it needed Hosingen badly. Earlier German attempts to break US resistance at Hosingen had managed to get a toehold in the southern edge of the village, but so far had made no further progress. But that was not enough. Hosingen must be taken and taken quickly. The German command realized that the western exit road from the Gmünd bridgehead was the main divisional supply route to the Clerf River, and it was hopelessly blocked unless the Americans could be driven from Hosingen.
The hope of a quick breakthrough of the 26th VGD or the 5th FJD in the 110th Infantry Rgt. Sector had proven illusory. The German Infantry would have to fight for every yard they gained and pay a high price in casualties for each and every one of those yards. Hosingen only fell on December 18, 1944 after bitter fighting.
At the junction of "Skyline Drive", the main route from Diekirch to the Belgian border, and the road from Hosingen to Bockholtz, over which the attacks of 27 January, 1945 jumped off, is the Memorial of the men of the 702nd "Red Devils" Tank Battalion. Ralph R. Wardle And John W. Kelly. K.I.A. when their tank plunged off of an ice-covered cliff during the Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg. Erected by their comrades and Platoon Leader, Lieutenant Milton Still.
The German 2nd Panzer Division drives for Clervaux
This was a main objective of von Manteuffel’s tank drive on Bastogne because of its strategic location on the main highway leading to Bastogne. So Colonel von Lauchert,
commander of 2nd Panzer, was concerned about the division’s slow rate of advance. Clervaux should have fallen before noon on the 16th according to the original German timetable. Instead, it was
still holding on the morning of the 17th, with no indications as to how soon German forces would be able to secure it.
Clervaux fell on December 18, 1944. The 2nd Panzer Divisions timetable was so badly disrupted at Clervaux that there was no longer a question of who would win the race to Bastogne. That the race to secure Bastogne as quickly as possible was ultimately lost by the Germans was primary the result of the desperate holding action by the US 110th Infantry and its supporting units in front of and at the Clerf River crossings.
Next to the tank is a German Pak 43/41 L 8.8 cm anti tank gun shown below.
The museum is in the castle and is run by Mr Kiefer who was 9 when the Germans attacked Clervaux. There are true treasures to explore and any visitor is advised to have at least 1 hour to spend.
On December 13, 1944, about 250-300 american soldiers lived in the village. They were on a rest to pass the winter in Bigonville. US Engineer units are working in the area (1128th Engineer Combat Group, 299th Engineer Combat Battalion, 1278th Engineer Combat Battalion) On December 21, 1944, elements of the 5th FJD attack Bigonville from the North. December 23, 1944: The Combat Command Reserve, 4th Armored Division and supporting units (578th FA Btl., 188th Engr. C. Btl.,145th Engr. C. Btl., 249 Engr. Btl..) are engaging the German Fallschirmjaeger outside the village, to the South. On December 24, 1944 after 3 days of bitter fighting, CCR and supporting units capture Bigonville. Men of the 5th Fallschirmjaeger like Horst Lange surrender in the morning around 9 A.M to men of the US 37th Tank Btl. and 53rd Armored Infantry, Combat Command Reserve, 4th Armored Div. On December 25, 1944, The sector turns under control of the 26th Infantry Division. The sector is used as rear combat zone. Artillery batteries are set up and a Field Hospital is opened in Perle.
Poteau de Harlange - Battle at the crossroad Café
Battle at the crossroads Café in Poteau de Harlange was an Alamo stand by ragtag remnants of the US 687th Field Artillery Battalion which helped slow the Wehrmacht juggernaut at the Battle of the
Retreating from Wiltz and en route to Bastogne, the US 687th Field Artillery Battalion endured a night its men would never forget in tiny Poteau de Harlange. The country crossroads was the site of the chaotic firefight on December 19, 1944, between the US 687th and the German paratroopers of the 5th Fallschirmjaeger Division.
The precise location of the brief battle was a longstanding source of confusion until a GI-turned-amateur historical sleuth set the record straight. Many veterans and bookwrites placed the battle at Café Schumann. Bob Phillips, a veteran of the 28th Infantry Division's 110th Regiment wrote "To Save Bastogne" and also placed the battle at the Schumann crossroad. Les Eames,who, as lieutenant in the 687th, had played an integral part in the battle, got more and more convinced, that the official record was wrong. So in 1989 Eames returned to Luxembourg, using several maps and worked closely with aleading local expert. In this process, they established beyond a shadow of a doubt that Poteau de Harlange was the actual battle site.
Eames and the local expert then persuaded Phillips of this, and Phillips redressed the error in a subsequent version of "To Save Bastogne".
Today, the small crossroads appears little changed. The Café burned down during the battle but has been rebuilt, and a small chapel has been erected nearby to honor the brave veterans of that small battle. The view is in direction Bigonville.
Tintange Then and Now
Southern Flank Relics
Below are photos from relics found on the Battlefields of the Southern and Northern Flank. Top row from left to right:
Group photo containing relics of a B.A.R M-1918 A2 clip and .50 caliber shells for the M-2 machine gun found in the vicinity of Poteau, Belgium 2004 / Thompson MP M-1928 A1 clip and Fragment of US M-2 hand grenade found in the woods around Clervaux, Luxembourg 2001 /
Middle photo: 75mm Shrapnel of a tank grenade of the M-4 Sherman tank found in woods around Café Schumann, Schumanns Eck, Luxembourg 2003
Top right photo: German Egg grenade 39 found on the Hoesdorfer Plateau, Luxembourg 2003 (this was the position of the German Grenadier Regiment 916 of the 352nd Volksgrenadierdivision
Bottom left and middle photo: Fuze part of a US 105 mm grenade (with time fuze) and a 30-06 caliber clip for the M1 Garand both found in woods around Café Schumann, Schumanns Eck, Luxembourg 2003
Bottom right: US M1 combat helemt for a combat medic. This one was a barn find in St. Vith, Belgium in 2001