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Well fellas, I am currently standing in the remnants of Easy Companys foxholes overlooking the town of Foy, just outside Bastogne, and I have to say it is a surreal experience! The foxholes are still very evident, and although I expected there would be lots of small shrines or memorials set near these revered spots, there is nothing, and I think that's great. Leaving the area as it was has much more meaning to the memory of the men that survived this battle. There is however a beautiful monument not far from here memorializing the E Company men who died in this particular battle.

 

I am all alone standing here trying to imagine what it might have been like, covered in snow, freezing my a** off, waiting for an onslaught of German infantry, and living through incessant shelling not knowing if I'd live to see the morning. I can't imagine it. My respect level for what they lived through just got much deeper. :salute:

 

It's currently around 75 F, sunny and dry. I can clearly see the town of Foy about 1000 yards away and that's pretty damn close if your trying to hold off an entire German offensive.

 

Anyway, just thought I'd share my feelings about being in such a special place for people such as us, who try and honor their memories by preserving their history.

 

Off to Malmedy and the Elsenborn Ridge this afternoon. Not able to post photos at this time, but will try and share some when I get home in a couple of weeks.

 

Regards,

 

Rick

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Collector of WWII M-1helmets and WWII Airborne items

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Thanks Rick...our roving reporter! I look forward to reading your updates. Enjoy your European foray!

 

Ian :thumbsup:

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Thanks for the update Rick, really enjoyed reading it. Hope you're having a great time on the continent!

 

Will

WWII USMC & USN - CAMOUFLAGE / CORPSMAN / PARAMARINE / MARINE RAIDER / DENIM / DECK JACKETS.

 

VIETNAM - CAMOUFLAGE / SF / 'IN-COUNTRY' ITEMS.

 

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Rick

 

Hope your haqving a great trip.I have always thought of doing the Ardenne in the winter.Post some pictures of your journey if you can.

 

RD

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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Hi guys, thanks for checking in...I'm on my own for this trip so it's nice to hear back from you guys....my wife gave me a 3 week "hall pass" to take this trip....she likes history and my war interests, but if there isn't a shoe store or a Gucci outlet within 500 yards, she starts to lose interest.

 

I visited the area of the ambush at Poteau where the Americans were ambushed by the Germans and took significant losses and it was a big propaganda coup for the Germans, in fact the most famous photos of German troops in the "battle of the bulge" were taken right here. I highly recommend the little (big) museum here, it's privately owned and run and it's really a great group of authentic gear and helmet displays and relics dug up in the guys garden.

 

Today I wandered though several villages and towns, some not even on the map, and found it to be totally enjoyable. No schedule and no expectations. I have been asking villagers along the way for relics and gear, and handing out a paper translated into French stating my interests and asking about any equipment that they may know of. So far I have a handful of spent .50 cal shells and a pistol belt. It pays to ask a simple question sometimes! The people are very friendly, and although as a Canadian everyone just assumes I speak fluent French, I don't, so there is a lot of acting out words and gestures, and then of course lots of laughter.

 

I bought myself one of those fancy new iPad computers for my trip, but for some reason I can't post photos on the forum, so they'll have to wait until I get home.....but just as a teaser, I have picked up a few reasonably nice, but very authentic M-1 lids that I am quite excited about. A little salty, but then I like them like that, and being from the "bulge" makes them extra special!

 

I also toured a very interesting little museum in Bastogne, which had several genuine unit marked lids in cases (not for sale, but that's fine because in their front window they're trying to sell basic garrison caps for around $170 US!!), but as a note of interest, all of the M-1 helmets were fixed bail helmets....not a swivel bail to be seen. Not surprising really, but of all the helmets I've seen here in displays, they are all FB.

 

Anyway,thats the update from the bulge, I'm now in Manhay / Grandmenil at the site of another famous battle. More later on what I find here.

 

I hope the forums Normandy adventurers are having a great time, wish I could have been there, but quite frankly, I think I'm seeing more here without the Normandy circus going on around me.

 

Cheers from Belgium,

 

Rick

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Sounds like you're having a great time Rick. Thanks for the interesting updates. A three week furlough to do your own thing...I should be so lucky! Shame you can't upload your pics. We'll just have to be patient and wait until you return home and edit them (by which time you'll doubtless have a couple of thousand in the can!)

 

Take care!

 

Ian :thumbsup:

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Off to Malmedy and the Elsenborn Ridge this afternoon. Not able to post photos at this time, but will try and share some when I get home in a couple of weeks.

 

Regards,

 

Rick

 

Hi Rick, have you been to see or added the King Tiger and museum at La Gleize to your itinerary, well worth a visit if I recall :lol: :thumbsup:

 

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/2982267

 

Enjoy your trip ;)

 

ken

.

Young enough to care and enjoy militaria - Old enough to remember as surplus

 

" Life's too short for reproductions "

 

 

Life is like a tank of gas, the closer you get to a quarter tank, the faster it goes 

 

.

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The museum at LaGleize is worth a visit.

It has some really nice items (Peiper's map board, 116th Panzer overseas cap, etc).

And of course you have the infamous King Tiger sitting next to the museum.

 

Hopefully you saw the 2nd SS Panzer Division Panther tank at Grandménil (at the little crossroads, not far from the monument to the 75th ID).

And also Baraque de Fraîture aka Parkers Crossroads.

 

Erwin

704th Tank Destroyer Battalion

 

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The museum at LaGleize is worth a visit.

It has some really nice items (Peiper's map board, 116th Panzer overseas cap, etc).

And of course you have the infamous King Tiger sitting next to the museum.

 

Hopefully you saw the 2nd SS Panzer Division Panther tank at Grandménil (at the little crossroads, not far from the monument to the 75th ID).

And also Baraque de Fraîture aka Parkers Crossroads.

 

Erwin

 

 

Hi Erwin and Ken, actually I can see the Panther from the window of the cottage I am staying in here in Grandmenil! So I am literally right in the middle of where it all happened! :thumbsup: I will be visiting the La Gleize museum tomorrow, and the owner of the accommodation I am staying in has extensive knowledge of the area so will be taking me around to see the area.

 

Having a great time, just absorbing all of the history of the area!

 

Regards,

 

Rick

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I am very envious to anyone that can journey to the various battlefield in Europe and grateful for any and all photos they share with us. There is one question that keeps popping into my head though,.... can anyone just wander around these woods and forests to visits these points of interest? How does one get permission to do this or isn't it necessary? Do the "natives" always allow this or don't they care?

 

I've always wondered about that.

 

Thanks for the report and any photos you can send back. My dad's outfit was near the "Ridge" at one point.

 

 

 

Greg

My collection is strictly what my dad brought back from the ETO.

Sgt. Mahlon E. Sebring, 82nd Airborne, 319th Glider Field Artillery, A Battery - Normandy, Holland, The Bulge, and Germany... finishing with occupation duty in Berlin

http://ww2-airborne....ts/319/319.html

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I am very envious to anyone that can journey to the various battlefield in Europe and grateful for any and all photos they share with us. There is one question that keeps popping into my head though,.... can anyone just wander around these woods and forests to visits these points of interest? How does one get permission to do this or isn't it necessary? Do the "natives" always allow this or don't they care?

 

I've always wondered about that.

 

Thanks for the report and any photos you can send back. My dad's outfit was near the "Ridge" at one point.

Greg

 

 

Hi Greg, I often wondered that myself and in the two times I've been here I have tapped into local resources to guide me around, but also on this trip I did a lot of research and have found that many of the wooded areas where there are existing foxholes are accessible to the public, you just need to know where to go and how to find them, but it is better finding a local historian or fellow collector to guide you around the first time over here.

 

I have just returned fom several foxholes in the area of Grandmenil and Sadzot where the owner of the B&B I'm at has tons of knowledge and is a bit of a historian on the area. While walking through the woods I found 3 pieces of shrapnel, some German barbed wire and a piece of a "pigtail" that they used to wind the barbed wire through.

 

One thing they don't allow is using a metal detector in the woods, and they have severe fines for it if caught!

 

It really is a remarkable experience and I can only imagine if I had a direct family connection like you do, how much more it would mean.

 

When I get home, I will try and post some photos, because for some reason I can't from where I am.

 

I will post more details as I see and find more sites. Tomorrow is a big day with lots planned. :thumbsup:

 

Rick

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Looking forward to reading more.

 

And, Rick, if you hear sounds in the early morning ... it's not a Panzergrenadier Regiment walking by .... probably some local farmer sending his cows to the pasture. ;)

 

Erwin

704th Tank Destroyer Battalion

 

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Looking forward to reading more.

 

And, Rick, if you hear sounds in the early morning ... it's not a Panzergrenadier Regiment walking by .... probably some local farmer sending his cows to the pasture. ;)

 

Erwin

 

Well no cattle walking by yet, but at the crack of light this morning it was the battle cries of the rooster in the yard next to me that got my blood boiling....if I had a nice sniper rifle with a suppressor it would have been just a nice chicken dinner tonight (although I don't think roosters are very good for eating) but as it's late here, I will see what daylight brings and who will wake up first, me or the bird....maybe I'll get up first and go play some AC/DC real loud and see if he likes it

 

Thanks Erwin,

 

Rick

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Hi guys, just a quick update from "the bulge"....spent all day today with a local historian traveling to all the hot spots of some of the toughest, bloodiest battles the Americans had around here. Until now I had very little knowledge of the 75th ID but now I have a new found respect for them and many other units I had little knowledge of. I walked the fields and forests around Grandmenil, Manhay, Soy, Hotton, Sadzot, Beffe, and Amonines and found dozens of little known about foxholes. I stood in the forest where one of the very few bayonet charges in the ETO occurred by the 551st AB and found the remnants of German mortar round carriers lying in the German foxholes.

 

I'm telling you, this is one incredible experience. If anyone is planning a trip here, I have the guy for you to tour you around. Very nice, very knowledgeable and speaks perfect English.

 

Anyway, that's it for now, tomorrow I'm off to la Gleize to the museum there, and then to Stavelot and Malmedy.

 

Cheers from Belgium,

 

Rick

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A very interesting area to visit.

The Sherman in Beffe actually stood near the road till 1984 (or so) when they moved it to the present location.

It was cannibalized (sp?) but remained where it was either knocked out or left behind.

 

Then you also have the story of Task Force Hogan.

 

Enjoy your stay!

 

Erwin

704th Tank Destroyer Battalion

 

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Seems like you're having a great time Rick. Are there any restrictions due to the risk of unexploded ordnance lying around in the woods etc?

 

Ian

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Great thread !!

 

I've been to Bastogne and the surrounding area...its very moving walking through those same streets, fields and woods where the battles took place. I found a museum not too far from Bastogne in Diekirch, Luxembourg that was cool as well. !!

 

http://www.mnhm.lu/pageshtml/curatorsmessage.php

 

The last time I was in Paris, we took side trip to Normandy...it was an amazing experience I'll never forget !! We stayed at the Chateau de Sully (this made the side trip to Normandy an easy "sell" to the wife) which was in between Bayeaux and Omaha beach....very nice !!

 

http://www.chateau-de-sully.com/en.php

 

Keep us informed on your progress !!

 

Thanks !

 

Vic

"We Polish soldiers, for your freedom and ours, gave our souls to God, our bodies to the soil of Italy, and our hearts to Poland"

 

-- inscription at the Polish cemetary - Monte Cassino

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Seems like you're having a great time Rick. Are there any restrictions due to the risk of unexploded ordnance lying around in the woods etc?

 

Ian

 

 

There don't appear to be any restrictions Ian, I haven't seen any signs prohibiting people or warning of UXB's.....I think common sense is the rule of the day, however what isn't allowed is metal detecting, although many do it, if you get caught there are apparently heavy fines. I have found many pieces of shrapnel and empty shell casings but as far as stepping on a mine or an unexplored rifle grenade, there doesn't seem to be any real concern that I can tell. I had a bit of a moment last week though when I was in a small museum shop and they sell some relics and original militaria and in walks a guy with a small box full of stuff. Well I could see from 4 feet away that there was a US mortar shell and a couple of unused 20mm shells, all rusty and covered in dirt....well I guess they buy them from him but I didn't stick around to find out how much they were going to pay him, I made a hasty exit because if I'm going to go down in the line of fire, it's going to be on duty with guns blazing during a bank robbery or hostage taking or something similar, not in a small shop in Bastogne with some hick selling live ordnance.

 

I think the concern is much greater in the WWI battlefields where stuff is being churned up daily by farmers and works crews.

 

Anyway, signing off for now, off to Bruges tomorrow to meet up with Bart P and Johan for the first time.

 

Cheers,

 

Rick

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Collector of WWII M-1helmets and WWII Airborne items

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Talking about finding stuff in the Ardennes...

While walking thru the Bois Jacques between Bizory and Foy North of Bastogne on May 4th, 2005, I came across this UXO in one of the old foxholes.... No doubt these were unearthed with the use of a metal detector and then irresponsably left behind for anyone to find??!!??

Both items were clearly marked and the Belgian Army EOD Services were alerted to pick up these vintage rounds........

 

Looking forward to meeting you, Rick!

Keep Saturday PM free for a visit to the local Canadian WW2 museum...

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Well boys,the big adventure is drawing to a close. After 12 days of wandering through some of the most revered and historical places of the second world war, I am in Bruges relaxing, eating fantastic food and staying in a nice hotel.

 

Last night forum member Bart P. was kind enough to drive in from his home 30 minutes away, to take me for a beer and a bite to eat before driving me around the Canadian battlegrounds in the Scheldt pocket, visiting an intact Bailey bridge across the Leopold Canal and checking out some German bunkers. It was a fantastic tour that I wouldn't have had the chance to do if it were not for Bart....and I got to see his very nice helmet collection! Thanks again Bart!

 

Today, our very own Senior Mod and owner of the Liberator Collection, picked me up and took me to his home to see the goods in person....all I can say is Wow! We've all seen his stuff on the forum, but seeing it in person and getting to hold some of those amazing helmets was a great experience! It was a very special moment to see an amazing private collection such as his. Tonight Johan and his wife and daughter took me for dinner and it was great local restaurant and a very nice dinner with great company.

 

It was really nice to end this trip in Bruges, and to meet two of our most active members. Thanks again guys!

 

Once I get home, I will post some photos and list some websites and places to see when you all visit Belgium, and believe me, if you are serious about the history we collect and preserve, you should really try and get here at least once.

 

Off to London on Sunday for a couple of days and then home to the west coast of Canada and my loving wife who lets me take these great trips. :thumbsup:

 

Cheers fellas,

 

Rick

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Rick

 

Looking forward to the pics.Wish I could have been a strap hanger on your trip!!Have a safe trip home.

 

RD

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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