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My trip in the Huertgen Forest and the Ardennes


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The next pictures were taken inside a small museum ,downtown Bastogne.

In this museum i got my 1st Lt. helmet. w00t.gif

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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More helmets.

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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A piece of the fuselage from a downed american aircraft.

 

 

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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This tank originally was named "Barracuda".

It participated in an assault from the south of Bastogne on December 30, 1944.

This Sherman and another one got separated from their unit and were heading north into enemy territory.

 

In the vicinity of Renaumont (west of Bastogne), they got under enemy fire. In an attempt to escape this enemy fire, the Sherman got stuck into a muddy, snow-covered, swamp-like terrain and was hit by a 75 mm round in the left flank and a "Panzerfaust" in the engine compartment.

Wallace Alexander got wounded and is reported to have died while being a prisoner.

Urda and Goldstein were sent to Stalag XIIA (Limburg, near Wiesbaden).

 

The second Sherman, under the command of a Captain Robert Ameno was destroyed as well.

 

"Barracuda" remained on the battlefield until 1947.

At one time, the 704th TD Bn Association - and 4th Armored Division - had it repainted and put their markings on it.

 

Erwin

 

SHERMAN TANK

This tank and its audacious crew ( 6 victories ) managed to come very close to the hamlet RENUAMENT, which was being heavily defended by the Germans, but got stuck in the mud and was hit by anti-tank weapons. The impact point is still visible. Tank Driver, Andrew Urda, and the bow gunner, Ivan Goldstein, were taken prisoner and sent to a concentration camp. The other 3 crew members Tank Commander, Wallace Alexander, Gunner, Cecil Peterman, and the Assistant Gunner, Dage Hebert, were badly wounded and left for the medics. Wallace Alexander never made it back from the war, he was officially listed as FOD, Finding of Death, no remains were ever found. Hebert and Peterman were eventually picked up by our medics and were never POW's. They served with the 11th Armored Division, 41st Tank Battalion, Company B.

 

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704th Tank Destroyer Battalion

 

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Bastogne itself is also a nice looking town.

 

Here you see the "Le Nuts" , a nice little restaurant. Note the screaming eagle on upper wall.

 

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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My wife and I continued our tour through the Ardennes , and we came through Foy.

On January 13th 1945 elements of the 101st Airborne Division were ordered to attack and clear this small village. ( Easy Co. 506th PIR was involved ).

 

This is the small church of Foy. You can see a look-a-like in the mini series "Band of Brothers"

 

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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The village of Foy after the battle. The wall to the left is part of the church.

 

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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Panther tank in the town of Houffalize.

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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This is the distinctive shape of the church in St. Vith.

 

The only railroad on the entire front to cross from Germany into Belgium came to St. Vith, Belgium, making St. Vith, which was also a major road junction. Thus St. Vith was the most vital initial prize the Germans sought, in order to allow supplies to flow to support the remainder of the attack. It was no accident that St. Vith was right in the very center of the Fifth and Sixth Panzer Armies: St. Vith had to be the main line of supply for both Armies. The German plan called for capture of St. Vith by 1800 on December 17 by Fifth Panzer Army, but the defenders held at St. Vith until late on December 21. This led the German Fifth Panzer Army Commander, Gen. Hasso von Manteuffel, to recommend to Hitler's adjutant on December 24 that "the German Army give up the attack and return to the West Wall." Manteuffel's reason for this recommendation was "due to the time lost by his Fifth Panzer Army in the St. Vith area."

 

Hitler did not accept Manteuffel's recommendation, and the German supplies began to run out. German columns ran low on gas and ammunition well before reaching even their first major goal: the Meuse River. On December 23, the weather cleared, and Allied planes finally filled the skies in support of the besieged American troops. (Some of the GI's had wondered why they saw German planes before that, despite the conditions, but saw no American planes.)

 

 

Slowly but surely the Allies -- from the North, the West, and the South -- closed the salient, the Bulge. The First US Army troops from the north met the Third US Army troops from the south at Houffalize, Belgium on January 16, 1945. St. Vith was recaptured on January 23, 1945.

 

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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This is a picture of St. Vith during the battle.

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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The 106th Infantry Division was credited with a holding action that used much of the precious time of the German Offensive. Time was an important and vital ingredient in Hitler's plan to break through to the Meuse River and then to go for Antwerp. The first three days of battle were vital and the 106th Infantry Division slowed his advance in the St. Vith area. By doing so the 106th played a large role in the final defeat of the German Army. The delay and extended battle used so much of the precious resources of the German Army that they were never again able to recoup and fight the style of war they had in earlier days. This delay in time was a big key in the final downfall of the German plans for their ARDENNES OFFENSIVE. The loss of their resources, both human and equipment accelerated their final defeat and caused an early end to the long war in Europe.

 

The last unit to leave St. Vith was I & R Platoon - Headquarters Co. , 423rd Infantry Regiment, 106th Infantry Division.

 

 

On "Klosterstrasse" near the College School, stands a memorial to the 106th Infantry Division. Some new buildings replace the old ones which were destroyed and housed the Divisional Headquarters in December 1944. This monument erected by the 106th Infantry Division Association is cared for by the people of St. Vith. The building behind the flags is the original memorial which was built in 1950. That building is now being used by the school. In 1995 a new memorial was erected in front of the old.

 

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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The 106th Infantry Division, average age of 22 years, suffered 564 killed in action, 1,246 wounded and 7,001 missing in action at the end of the offensive. Most of these casualties occurred within the first three days of battle, when two of the division’s three regiments was forced to surrender.

 

 

The inscription on the brass plate.

 

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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Thanks Joe.

 

The high losses of the 106th are the cause why i price my 106th ID officers tunic so high.

 

The golden lion patch is visible on the right shoulder.

 

The Helmet is the one i've bought in the museum in Bastogne.

 

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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Near Schoenberg in the vicinity of St.Vith, following a small road into the woods, there you will find a memorial for the 168th Engineer Combat Battalion and their part in the defense of St.Vith.

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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Soldiers of the 168th Engineer Combat Battalion install a culvert to prevent a road from being flooded in St. Vith on Feb. 03, 1945.

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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Some of the best known pictures of WW II and the Battle of the Bulge were made on December 18th, 1944 during the battle for St.Vith in the vicinity of a small village ,named Poteau, where the roads from Recht and St. Vith join en route to Vielsalm.

 

German troops, which were now in the offensive for two days, had be stopped close Poteau by the Combat Command A of 7th Armored Division. Brigadier-General Hasbrouck gave order to Colonel Rosenbaum, Combat Command A, 'to necessarily keep Poteau '. Here several clashes between the 7th Armored Division and 1st SS-Panzer Division and later also with 9th SS-Panzer Division happend. In the night of 17 December about midnight orders from the 106th Division arrived at the 14th Cavalry group headquarters which had been set up in Poteau: the cavalry were to return to Born, which they had just evacuated, and occupy the high ground. By this time most of the 32d Squadron had threaded their way south through Poteau, apparently unaware that the group had established a command post there. Shortly after dark Colonel Devine departed with most of his staff for the 106th Division command post, but this command group was ambushed near Recht (Colonel Devine and two of his officers escaped on foot). Early on the 18th, Lt. Col. Augustine Duggan, senior of the remaining staff, intercepted elements of the 18th Squadron, part of Troop C, 32d Squadron, and the one remaining platoon of towed 3-inch guns from the 820th Tank Destroyer.

 

These were placed under the command of Maj. J. L. Mayes as a task force to comply with the orders from division. With great difficulty the task force vehicles were sorted out, lined the road, and then turned about and faced toward Recht. Mayes's group moved out from the crossroads at first light on 18 December but had gone only some two hundred yards when flame shot up from the leading light tank and an armored car, the two struck almost simultaneously by German bazooka fire. The glare thrown over the snow silhouetted the figures of enemy infantrymen advancing toward the Poteau crossroads. The task force pulled back into the village and hastily prepared a defense around the dozen or so houses there, while to the north a small cavalry patrol dug in on a hill overlooking the hamlet and made a fight of it.

 

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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Here are two more during the ambush.

 

Some of them were made during the attack and others were staged after the attack on the location.

 

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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And this is the place of the ambush 60 years later.

the view is towards Poteau.

 

Note the telephone poles. These are the ones you can see in the upper pics.

 

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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Another view.

 

My car.

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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In 2004, a memorial was placed at the site of the ambush, honoring the 14th Cav Group and the soldiers that died during the attack.

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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Also a diagram of the battle was placed near the memorial.

 

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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This is a aerial view of the ambush site a few days later.

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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As i said before Poteau was a strategic point in the battle for St. Vith.

Today ,there is a great museum recreating the events of 44.

It is located in a former custom-house only 200 yards away from the ambush site.

 

This one hangs outside the museum.

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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This is a view from the museum down the road towards Recht. Just a few yards down the ambush took place.

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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Once inside , u can see quite a collection of uniforms, weapons and vehicles connected to the battle for St.Vith. The owner is also a very kind person, if you have any question.

 

A jeep of the 106th Infantry Division.

 

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"Did Americans want heroes ? Well, we were willing at that point to be satisfied with survival."

Looking for 45th, 86th Infantry Division and 106th Cav items.

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