After the Battle of Bure, Battle of the Bulge

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by Hubbar49, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. Hubbar49

    Hubbar49 Member


    During the Battle of the Bulge (16 Dec 1944 - 15 January 1945), the 6th Para Brigade was heavily involved in combat to take back and keep the belgian village of Bure. They suffered heavy casulaties (as may be seen in the Commonweath Cemetery in Hotton). . After the Battle, Field Marshal Montomery paid them a visit. A local museum asks us to hepl identifying the place where this picture was token . It must be the HQ of one of the Paras Battaillons... Does this picture "tell things" to one of your readers? (btw: Did Monty exchange his beret for the winged beret of the officer with the round collar on his right? ). Somebody could identify the unit of the man sporting wings on his breast? (right on the second row)
  2. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Hey Hubbar, The man in second row is Canadian parachute regiment, the picture is a famous well known one, I'm sure someone will give you location..and I'm not sure in regards to the obtaining of Monty's Para cap badge certainly can't see that he has borrowed it from anyone in pic, they would be improperly dressed... Also both officers either side of Monty have their cap badges still, regards Jason.
  3. Hubbar49

    Hubbar49 Member

    Here, they think this was in the vicinity of Rochefort-Grupont-Libramont: I suppose the Regiment Operation diaries must say where each unit has its head quarters? It looks as the entrance of a well up mansion. We are sure there was some para units (as well as SAS) close to my father's home (in Rochefort) , because my grand-father was shot at by British red berets. On the morning, when they told him some jerries were expecting to come by, they asked/ordered no once to go out; as my grand-father ignored the "councel" , they shot him some rounds of Bren gun. He told us he saw a few logs kicked around him by the bullets. We though he "told us tales", since we demolishing the farm, we found "mended hoes" in the deck and the walls! The leg of the man on the front row, on the rigth, hide a kind of "Unit placard"
  4. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Hubbar,

    Check the link below on Facebook (Pegasus Bridge - Feature Film) and then click on image for added info on identity of a few of the men. According to information provided by Ron Perry, 7 Para, and recently deceased, the photo was taken at the 6th Airborne Divisional HQ at Rochefort. One photo I have of the group is dated January 12th, 1945, however, not completely sure on date accuracy.

    Pegasus Bridge - Feature Film

    I believe this part of a series and may be available at the IWM. See others down this page at Battlefield Historian.

    British Troops in the Ardennes

    Regards ...
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  5. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    Attached Files:

    Cee likes this.
  6. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    According to the 6th Airborne Div HQ War Diary, Monty visited main HQ of the Division at 12:00 hrs on Jan 13th,1945, and met with representatives of all units of the 6th Airborne.

    Since12:00 hrs on Jan 5th, 1945, Main Div HQ 6th AB, was established at the Chateau de Ciergnon; which I believe is (one of) the Royal Palace(s) in Belgium

    Hope this is of help.

    It looks like the picture of the assembled men was taken on the steps at the frontside of the Chateau (courtesy: Royalement Blog: Le château de Ciergnon)
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
    brithm likes this.
  7. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Excerpt of the 6th AB Div HQ War Diary of Jan 45:

    WD 6th AGB Div Ardennes.jpg

    BTW the battle for Bure wasn't the only action of the 6th AB Division during the BoB. The fight for Bure started on Jan 3rd, 1945. After three days of of heavy fighting the village was finally seized, but in the end had to be abandoned on the night of 6/7 Jan 45; another 'Heartbreak Crossroads' as the Americans would have called it. The Airborne Division remained in action in the Ardennes until Jan 15th, 1945.

    Of the British Divisions involved in the Ardennes battle the 6th Airborne Division had the highest casualty rate, suffering 124 KIA; half of these fell at Bure. Total losses of 30 Corps in the Ardennes amounted to 1.408 men, of which 328 were KIA.

    See for the 51st HD in the Ardennes: Ardennes 1945, 51st Highland Div
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
    brithm likes this.
  8. brithm

    brithm Senior Member


    I think this photograph may have been taken close to the end of January near the Maas in the Venlo-Roermond area shortly after Montgomery was made Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment

    Imperial War Museum list the photographs as:

    8 PARACHUTE REGIMENT 3 Btn - B13811-15, 19-21, 25
    6th Airborne Div – New Col Commandant of TM Montgomery inspecting – B 13696-13709
    New Col Commandant of TM Montgomery portraits in beret-jacket B13654-59
    9 Btn – (Leavers?) of Bande victims – B 13804-5
  9. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    The Royal Chateau de Ciergnon is west of Rochefort near the village of Ciergnon. The front entrance is covered by a grand arched portico. The stone work on the bottom of the front columns is similar to the columns siding the stairs in the group photo with Monty.

    There is no entrance on the east side of building. The back or south side has a long terrace with a commanding view of the valley beyond. The west side appears to have a bay window structure built into the lower story.

    So if the photo was taken at the Chateau de Ciergnon I'm a little puzzled as to where exactly unless perhaps at another building on the property? Curiously both the stonework and shutters are similar.

    166691640-Getty.jpg East Side Chateau de Ciergnon.jpg South Side Chateau de Ciergnon-Wikipedia.JPG West Side Chateau de Ciergnon.jpg

    Regards ...
    stolpi likes this.
  10. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Ah .. overlooked the portico! You are right Cee, it is not showing in the picture.

    Main and Tac HQ of the 6th AB were both established at the Chateau de Ciergnon from Jan 5th, 1945, onwards. Main HQ moved forward from the Chateau de Leignon to join Tac HQ. They remained there until the division moved to Holland by mid-January.

    Now I'm puzzled too ... :unsure:
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  11. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Could be the "Mandela Effect" kicking in ... :D
  12. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    I made a comparison of the stone work around the front door of Chateau de Ciergnon from the 1945 group shot and another taken in 1993 on Getty Images during a visit by Emperor Akihito. You can see the same fractures and wear in the stone. All I can think is the portico must have been removed at some point and then later restored. So is it safe to claim the group shot was indeed taken at Chateau de Ciergnon?

    Compare 1945-1993.jpg 162552175-Getty.jpg

    Regards ...
    chick42-46, stolpi and Tricky Dicky like this.
  13. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Cee - Very convincing comparison ... good work, bravo! I think we're looking at one and the same entrance.

    Also, judging from the colour of the stones (picture on the right), it seems that those of the portico are newer, maybe a later addition/renovation? The windows with the blinds on both sides of the entrance also fit in well with the Monty picture.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  14. Hubbar49

    Hubbar49 Member

    Thanks for all these informations: it looks as the portico was rebuilt after the war. BTW, are you interested by the copy of a letter sent after the war to the curate of Humain (a village between Marche and Rochefort) by an officer from the 6th Para Brigade. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    brithm, Cee and stolpi like this.
  15. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    ... that should be 5th Para Brigade, with 7, 12 and 13 Para Battalions. The latter, much depleted after the grim ordeal at Bure, was held in reserve at Humain.

    6th AB Ardennes.jpg
    Dispositions of the 6th AB Division on Jan 6th, 1945; after the conclusion of the battle of Bure the Airborne division went on the defensive (taken from my study on 30 Corps in the Ardennes).
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
    Cee likes this.
  16. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Hubbar,

    Thank you for posting the very interesting letter from Major A. A. McLoughlin. I'll pop up a 1945 photo of him standing next to Lt-Col. Peter J. Luard, CO of the 13th Parachute Battalion as found on ParaData.

    Maj Andy McLoughlin OC HQ Coy, Lt Col Peter Luard CO.jpg

    Regards ...
  17. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Two more mapsketches on the 6th Airborne dispositions in the Ardennes in Jan 1945:

    1) Opening of 30 Corps' counter-offensive in the north on 3 Jan 1945. 6th Airborne opened the assault with 5th Para Bde against the enemy bridgehead across the River L'Homme (Lomme), which encompassed the villages of Wavreille and Bure. The 53rd Welsh Division started the offensive a day later on Jan 4th,1945.

    6th AB Ardennes 1.jpg

    2) the final operations on Jan 9 and 10, 1945, following up the German withdrawal from the apex of the Bulge. This did not involve very hard fighting on the part of the Airborne Division as the Germans were in full retreat. Mines, roadblocks, blown bridges and the deep snow were the main enemies. By the end of Jan 10th the Airbornes were squeezed out of the frontline by the advance of the 51st Highland Division on the left and the American VIII Corps, moving up to Champlon, on the right. The large wooded area in between was cleared by the 61st Recce & Belgian and French SAS troops:

    6th AB Ardennes 2.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
    brithm likes this.
  18. Hubbar49

    Hubbar49 Member

    Regarding the Portico, I got in touch with the actual administrator of the "Fondation Royale in Villers-sur-Lesse". He told me he is new at this office, but he already discovered Prince Charles (the acting Regent when Leopold III was held in Austria and stayed in Switserland during the "Question Royale" until Baudoin became King in 1950 when 21.) made some construction work just after the end of WWII. He will ask someone "more knowledgeable " about Ciergnon, but it's obvious the patern of the stone work confirm the place!
    stolpi likes this.
  19. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    I think the guy top right behind the chap with the sten is Sgt Sid Cornell, B coy, 7 para

    Cee likes this.
  20. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    A few more of the official photos taken at the Chateau de Ciergnon of varying quality. Snatched from various sources which didn't provide their IWM numbers.

    Chateau de Ciergnon-Senior Officers-1.jpg Chateau de Ciergnon-Senior Officers-2.jpg Chateau de Ciergnon-Speech.jpg Chateau de Ciergnon-Inspection.jpg Chateau de Ciergnon-Montgomery-1.jpg Chateau de Ciergnon-Montgomery-2.jpg

    Regards ...
    stolpi likes this.

Share This Page