Hitler had decided to put all his eggs in one basket to defeat the Western Allies with one great push, the operation “Wacht am Rhein.” Starting on 16 December under terrible weather conditions the German Panzer Divisions broke through the thin American frontlines. Despite a strong resistance by several American units, the German Army made its way west. The famous “Kampfgruppe Peiper” advanced under circumstances that became tragic for all.
Soon the German units arrived at the main center of communication in that region, the town of Bastogne. The grim defense of Bastogne, mainly units from the 101st Airborne and 10th Armored Divisions, became famous and stands now for the strong will of the Allied Commanders and the simple GIs to finally defeat the Third Reich.
On Christmas Eve 1944 the reconnaissance battalion of 2nd Panzer reached the most western point of the Bulge, only a few kilometers away from the Meuse-River at Dinant.
Already from 22 December on, American counterattacks on the southern part of the Bulge had started to open the way to Bastogne. Finally, on 26 December the first Sherman tank made its way into the town. At latest from this day on, the German commanders realized that this offensive failed and that further fighting would be senseless. Nonetheless, the fights continued almost until the end of January 1945.
Note: This is our one and only 2024 battlefield tour that will coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Ardennes Offensive. We generally don’t do this because of the increase in travel and VIP road shutdowns as well as the possibility of poor December weather. Please see the proposed schedule on page 3.
Brief Schedule (See Brochure for Full Details)
We are purposefully setting aside two half days for commemoration ceremonies during the tour and we will include a visit to one of Germany’s most famous Christmas markets.
Saturday, 14 Dec.—Pick up at BRU at 12:00pm. Visit to Henri Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium. Afternoon rest time. Evening briefing and introductory dinner at the hotel.
Sunday, 15 Dec.—Initial advance in the northern sector, with a focus on the area around Elsenborn and the Siegfried Line (Westwall), Skyline Drive, 106th Inf. Div. and St. Vith.
Monday, 16 Dec.—Participation in the commemoration ceremonies TBD. Also, focus on the advance of Kampfgruppe Peiper: Büllingen, Baugnez, Stavelot, Malmedy, La Gleize and Neufmoulin.
Tuesday, 17 Dec.—Focus on the defense of Bastogne, including visits to the Bastogne War Museum. Visit to the Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof Recogne.
Wednesday, 18 Dec.—Focus on the German advance of the 2nd and 116th Panzer Divisions of the Fifth Panzer Army toward the Meuse River. Visit to Hotton War Cemetery, maintained by the CWGC.
Thursday, 19 Dec.—Half day set aside for commemoration ceremonies TBD. Afternoon visit to the Luxembourg American Cemetery, followed by a visit to the Christmas Market in Trier, Germany.
Friday, 20 Dec.—Morning departure at 9:00am to BRU. We expect to arrive at the return point around 11:00am, but delays are always possible. The tour ends with our arrival at BRU.
What Makes This Tour so Unique?
- This is the first time that KDIH has offered a tour that coincided with a major anniversary of the battle. December 2024 will mark the 80th anniversary of the Ardennes Offensive.
- The tour will include two half days set aside for commemoration ceremonies.
- It will also include a visit to a famous German Christmas Market just days before the holiday.
Download the Tour Information Here and Sign-up Today!
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