Bastogne, Belgium Day Trip

One cold December day we decided to take a trip to Bastogne. We had recently finished watching Band of Brothers and we were very eager to see the place where the original story took place. Band of Brothers is a very good mini series. If you haven’t watched it, definitely check it out.

If you don’t know about the Battle of Bastogne, here is a short summary:

Liberated by the Allies in September 1944, Bastogne was attacked by German forces a few months later. Hitler’s idea was to regain control of the Ardennes, splitting British from American forces, then advance to and reoccupy the strategic port of Antwerp and cut off the key Allied supply line. On December 16, taking advantage of cold and fog, German artillery initiated the Battle of the Bulge attacking the American divisions deployed sparsely around Bastogne. A few days later, Brigadier General McAuliffe and the 101st Airborne Division along with elements of the 10th Armored Division (United States) and the 82nd Airborne Division, arrived to counter-attack but, after heavy fighting, became encircled within the town. On December 22, German emissaries asked for the American surrender, to which the General answered tersely, “Nuts!” The next day the skies cleared, allowing Allied air forces to retaliate and to drop much needed food, medicine, and weaponry to ground forces. On December 26, the Third U.S. Army under the command of General Patton arrived and broke the deadlock. The official end of the Battle of Bastogne occurred three weeks later, when all fighting in the area ceased.“*

Our first stop in Bastogne was the Bastogne War Museum. We are not huge fans of museums, but this one was excellent. It follows 4 different people and their story during the war: A U.S. soldier, a German soldier, a child living in Bastogne, and a teacher living in Bastogne. It was very informational, but also held my attention because I was following the stories of all 4 people.

Next we visited the Mardasson Memorial, a monument honoring the memory of American soldiers wounded or killed during World War II’s Battle of the Bulge.

This statue is out front of the Mardasson Memorial. You probably recognize it from the famous picture where the sailor grabbed a nurse and kissed her after the war was over.

Next we visited the woods where Easy Company fought during the battle. You can still see remnants of their fox holes here.

Our visit to Bastone was very informational. While it wasn’t like any of our usual trips, we felt very lucky to be able to see a place where so much history took place.

*Excerpt about Battle of Bastogne originally found here

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