Ardennes

Discussion in 'General' started by IanBartlett, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. IanBartlett

    IanBartlett Junior Member

    Can anyone suggest an itinerary for a two to three day visit to the Ardennes battle areas? Any suggestions for a base and hotel would be welcome.

    Thanks in advance

    Ian
     
  2. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Have a look at the Ardennes part of my WW2 Battlefields website for some ideas:

    http://battlefieldsww2.50megs.com/ardennes_battlefields.htm

    I would recommend Bastogne as a base; there are some good and also less expensive hotels there (there is a Bestern Western there now eg) and it puts you in easy reach of many of the famous places.
     
  3. IanBartlett

    IanBartlett Junior Member

    Paul, many thanks for this.
    I hope to visit in late August

    Regards

    Ian
     
  4. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    There was an interesting article on the neglected British contribution to the battle in issue 1 of the now-defunct 'Battlefields Review' magazine by Charles Whiting (aka 'Leo Kessler') a veteran of the campaign. This was followed up with a mini-battlefields tour of the sites mentioned, in issue 12. I have got plans to do this tour in future, but have so far not got round to it. Please e-mail via the forum if you would like me to send you this stuff.
     
  5. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    The Ardennes battlefields must be one of my most visited battlefields. I've always stayed at either Wiltz (Lux.), Bastogne, or Diekirch (Lux.). Out of the three, I've always found Wiltz the most rewarding.

    My main interest lies in the Northern battlefield areas such as Malmedy-Stavelot-La Glieze, but I've found a lot of interesting sites in the South, the relatively unvisited areas of the Luxembourg Ardennes. Wiltz is handy for the Bastogne area (which I find a little too "touristy", with not too much evidence of battle left over), but also for the northern Luxembourg battlefields with much to be found in the forests and also for the small museum in the "castle". Diekirch is wonderful for the Lux. battle area (and the local beer!)with a lot of evidence of the battle locally (if you look for it) and what I regard as possibly the best war museum in Europe (and I've been to a lot of them!).

    If I was to visit just one place in the Ardennes, however, I'd make for the woods in the hills overlooking St.Vith. I've spent many hours in these woods, armed with tactical maps and prior knowledge of the actions. Take away the 60 years of erosion and pine-needle dropping, this place is just as it was in Dec.'44! (see if you can find the remains of the Liberator that was downed on Christmas Day 1944!!! ;) )

    B.
     
  6. Baldblutch

    Baldblutch Member

    Hi,

    When I visit the ardennes area, I always stay in the villages around the Belgian/German border near St.Vith.

    There are very nice hotels in this region like in Burg Reuland, Ouren (3 land's point), or even in Clervaux.

    I find that this area still has the real 'feel' of the battle, because the villages stay exactly the same as they were in 1944.

    The region is easy to reach (motorway to St Vith, Prum from Liège or the motorway to Bastogne from Liège are not to far away)

    There are some very good guides on the market (Battlefield Europe Series, for instance, has a book with some good routes around St. Vith and one about Bastogne) and you might obtain some good guides from the Belgian Tourist board, too. I believe also that Mr and Mrs. Holt have a good guide of the area!

    But I still find it the most rewarding to drive to a place of interest, park there and just take off in the woods, there is always something of interest there! For instance, the woods around Lanzerath have great dugouts and also the woods around Grosskampenberg are great for foxholes, there is also much to see from the siegfried line (Dragon's teeth).

    If you want to make some good walks in the area, check out the site of the Diekirch Historical Museum, they have a great tour around the battlefields in that area, that is coupled on a tour of the Siegfried line around the Our River. (please wander off that route, the best spots are not even marked on the map!)
    However, the map with that route is very difficult to follow, luckily there are arrows and road signs everywhere.

    If you visit museums, please check out the Diekirch museum (the best in the area), the La Gleize museum (great) and even the museum in Clervaux castle is nice to visit. I don't like the museums in Bastogne, too expensive, too touristic....
    Another good place to visit is Irrel, Germany (near Echternach, Luxembourg) and the Panzerwerke Katzenkopf (see their site), the biggest bunker of the Siegfried line.

    If you visit cemeteries, please go to Hotton (British cemetery), and there are some beautiful small German ones just across the Our River in Daleiden, for instance. The US cemeteries are a little out of the region, but I like Henri Chapelle the best.

    If you want any more information, let me know. I live in Belgium and I have been studying the battle of the bulge for more than 15 years so I know the area by hart.
     
  7. Ali Hollington

    Ali Hollington Senior Member

    Mark- Charles Whiting aka Leo Kessler! I've seen a number of Whitings books in the shops in recent times but would never have linked him with the fictional work credited to Kessler. So whats his history?
    Ali
     
  8. IanBartlett

    IanBartlett Junior Member

    Many thanks for all the advice. I'm still planning my itinerary.

    Regards

    Ian
     
  9. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Charles Whiting is an extremely prolific fiction and non-fiction author (200+ books) born in 1926. He served as an infantryman in the north-west Europe campaign, in the 52nd (Lowland) Division Recce Regiment, according to the blurb on the jacket of one of his books. In the 1970's he jumped on the Sven Hassel bandwagon and produced a large number of 'Leo Kessler' books. I tried reading a couple aeons ago and they were pretty dreadful from what I recall. There was a particularly ridiculous one about double-agents in a castle (No, not 'Where Eagles Dare') but the details escape me. I enjoyed his non-fiction works written as Charles Whiting rather more, although I didn't realise they were by the same bloke at the time! 'Bloody Aachen', '48 Hours At Hammelburg' etc were slim, pacily-written and easy to read volumes usually pretty assertive and tendentious. At the time I assumed the author was an American. He has continued to write them ever since, the most interesting in my view being his book on the British contribution to the Bulge. They are not great works of academic literature by any means but helped maintain my interest in the period in my late teens when I had outgrown War Picture Library etc. and no doubt have done the same for many others. His other noms de plume are 'Klaus Konrad' and 'John Kerrigan' but I can't say I've ever come across any of his books under those names.
     

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