Another picture from our archives. A GI of an unidentified unit is digging in behind his M2 .50 caliber Heavy Machine Gun, protecting the approach to the village of Holler in northern Luxembourg.
On this day, 73 years ago, Vianden, the last Luxembourg village still to be in German hands, was liberated by the US Army. Early in the morning of February 12th 1945, GIs of the 1255th Engineer Combat Battalion converged from the surrounding heights and fought bitter close combat actions against the last Wehrmacht soldiers. Many times during that day the engineers had to eliminate booby-traps and clean minefields all while trading deadly small arms fire with the Krauts. To m...ake things worse they're under constant shelling from German artillery and "Screaming Mimies". The bitter fighting, cleaning out one house after the other took the whole day, but as darkness fell the GIs of the 1255th ECB had liberated the "Iewwescht Gaass", the upper part of the village and took up positions along the banks of the Our river.
The liberation of Vianden came for a heavy price! Eleven of the Engineers were killed that day. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten.
It took another ten days before the US Army liberated the lower part of the town, the "Oennescht Gaass" which lies across the river, on the eastern bank of the Our.
Yesterday the town council and the citizens of Vianden had organised a commemorative ceremony in honour of the brave men of the 1255th Engineer Combat Battalion, so their bravery, valiance and sacrifice will not be forgotten!
At the next stop the remnants of an “M1917 Heavy Machine Gun” position had been restored and the participants were told a rather sad and morose story. In fact the fire of this gun of M company, the heavy weapons company of the third battalion 109th, which had been on attachment to Lima company on December 16 1944, was the cause of heavy losses amid the ranks of the 914. “Grenadier Regiment”. The M1917 was putting a deadly flanking fire into the “Volks Grenadiere” that had jus...t climbed the steep slope leading from the Our river up to the “Nidderbierg”. Hundreds of young German soldiers lost their life in the hail of bullets, M company’s heavy machine gun was spewing at them.
The story told at the sixth and final workshop was a more peaceful one. From the edge of the hill, looking down into the Our river valley, next to the German village of Ammeldingen, one can see the “Zollhaus”. This is the old house that used to be the German Customs and Border Police offices and living quarters. The GIs used to call the house the “White House”, due to it’s white washed walls. Patrols from both sides used the house as a landmark as it was visible to the human eye even in the darkest hour of the night. The more it was, as at this spot the waters of the Our river run very shallow, a much used crossing point, as well for the Germans as for the GIs! Anyhow it was in the woods, just next to the “Zollhaus”, that on December 10. 1944 an US and a three men German patrol had met heads-on. We ignore what crazy twist of fate was responsible, but none of the two parties opened fire and after a few seconds of blank fear both sides started talking to each other and bartering cigarettes and coffee! After a few minutes each side got on their way and it is self understood that these events never found their way into a Patrol Report!
Having returned to the Forestry Board’s blockhouse the participants were spoiled with a delicious pea soup and mulled wine!
It was a great satisfaction to us all that we had so many people taking part, the activity had been fully booked three weeks in advanceI But even better was the fact that the participants were of every age, from 6 up to 70! And everybody seems to have had a great experience and an unforgettable evening out in the woods!
We would like to thank everybody involved in making this happen! You were a great team!
The FB team of the “MNHM - Musée National d'Histoire Militaire” and the FB team of “CEBA - Cercle d’Etudes sur la Bataille des Ardennes”
Last Saturday, February 3rd, the Bettendorf tourist board, the Bettendorf town council, the Luxembourg Nature and Forestry Board, the Luxembourg Army, the Archaeological Service of the Luxembourg National Museum, the Musée National d’Histoire Militaire MNHM from Diekirch, the 26th "The Yankees" Division Luxembourg living history group and CEBA had organised an historical night walk around the “Nidderbierg” hill at Bettendorf.
About 220 people had chosen to participate and the...
December 15th, 1944, Bettendorf-Nidderbierg, only hours before Hitler launched his last great offensive in the west.
Two riflemen and their medic, 28th Infantry Division, 109th Infantry Regiment, L-Company, are waiting for new orders in their dugout.
Charles D. Mellendorf is another example that shows us that freedom and peace do not always come for free! The 20 years old man from Marion, Indiana was KIA on January 19th 1945.
Staff Sergeant Mellendorf, ASN 35094509, was a squad leader with G Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry of the 5th “Red Diamond” Division. He had been wounded a first time in France, on September 22nd 1944, and it is quite remarkable that at the young age of 20 he held already the rank of S.Sgt., h...
This is a tribute to all the civilians who became refugees, when they had to flee from the destruction of war 73 years ago. Their dubious journey had just started. It was the time, when the violent Battle of the Bulge raged through the streets of their towns and villages. Many others couldn’t flee and had to stay where they were. They hid in the cellars and basements of their stone build farmhouses and if they were lucky they survived the hostilities. But you... can still read the names of the fallen in local cemeteries today.
We humbly request you to remember these fine men, women and children ...
... and we wish all of you a Peaceful and Merry Christmas!
(Picture: A reenacted scene while the 2014 commemoration ceremonies in Clervaux, that shows a refugee family during a short stopover, with their packed up wagon, seeking a shelter for the upcoming night.)
Yesterday, as every year since December 1983, CEBA has held it's commemorative ceremony at the monument of the GI in Clervaux. After Mayor and Member of Parliament Emile Eicher had welcomed the attendees, Mister Daniel Pattarini, Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy, addressed the forty people in attendance. Afterwards it was CEBA President Erny Kohn's turn to deliver a short but poignant speech.
After the laying of the wreaths, the short, but dignified, ceremony was conc...luded with the bugler playing Taps and the National Anthems.
We want to thank all the people who took the time to attend to the ceremony, specially so Mr. Pattarini, his wife Mrs. Katy Farley Pattarini and Cpl. Hay of the US Embassy's Marines Security Guards Detachment.
A big thank you goes to Silvia and Roland from Gaul's Legacy Tours for letting us have their pictures!
Here are Paul and Camille, the only active, remaining founding fathers of CEBA. Both have been best friends for decades. On the academic session for CEBA’s 45th anniversary, they officially met for the first time at a CEBA event, after a very long time.
We wanted to share this picture with all our members and friends as a tribute to the founders of CEBA.
To mark it's 45th anniversary, CEBA had invited it's members and friends to an academic session on Saturday, December 9.
The event was held at Clervaux Castle, where, on December 17 and 18, HQ Company of the 110th Infantry had fought on the German assaults until they ran out of ammunition and the Castle was ablaze.
In his welcoming address, Alderman Georges Michels, emphasized the importance of keeping the memory alive on the development of today's society....
The musical interludes were presented by the saxophone quartet of the Luxembourg Army Band. Sgt. Ch. Anne Lelong, Sgt. Ch. Georges Sadeler, Sgt. Ch. Georges Glod and 1er Sgt. David Ascani made a fabulous appearance playing "Beale Street Blues", "Liza", "Oh Lady be good", and "Nice work if you can get it".
Mister Daniel Pattarini, Public Affairs Officer, representing the US Embassy in Luxembourg, delivered a remarkable address on the bonds created by common history and how the remembrance and perception of historical impacts each individual.
After Mister Pattarini had finished his address it was the turn of Mister Benoît Niederkorn, Director and Curator of the National Museum of Military History in Diekirch, to capture the audience. The conference held by the young historian was not only well researched and presented in a lively way, it was also treating a subject of Luxembourg's WWII history, most people are not very familiar with, as hardly any research has been done on it. Benoît Niderkorn spoke about the destruction and the reconstruction of the villages and infrastructures after the end of the Battle of the Bulge.
The subject was had been desegregated into four parts: the scope of the destruction, the reconstruction and organization of the rebuilding effort, the use of POW's as a labor force in the agricultural sector and finally the problem of unexploded ordnance and the birth and early years of the Luxemburg Army EOD unit. The thundering applause that followed Mister Niederkorn's presentation was more then deserved!
The last speaker was CEBA's president, Mister Erny Kohn who outlined CEBA's history, focusing on some milestone events. Among these were the inauguration of the GI monument in Clervaux, the visit of Lt. Gen. Daniel Strickler, the unmasking of Rudi Frühbeisser, the German version of "Walter Mitty", as well as many more.
The academic sitting was concluded by a perfect interpretation of the National Anthems of the USA and Luxembourg by the Luxembourg Army Band saxophone quartet.
After the conclusion the attendees were invited to a reception hosted by the Clervaux Town Council.
Finally, together with the last few pictures, we would like to express our gratitude and a big THANK YOU to all the people who have helped us all these years.
First the locals, we are not the only commemorative association in Luxembourg, we've had an excellent partnership with many other NGO's and museums: The AMBA, Association of Museums on the Battle of the Bulge, the Patton Museum in Ettelbruck, the Quadriga Military Vehicles Collectors club, the Friends of Patton's 26th Y...ankee Division, the National Museum of Military History from Diekirch, the US Veterans Friends, The Museum on the Battle of the Bulge Wiltz and many others.
But also the US Embassy Luxembourg, The British Embassy Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Army and many other government agencies as well as a multitude of private citizens.
Across the Atlantic we have true friends and Allies in the many veterans associations, as an example the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge or the 26th Infantry Division Veterans Association, not to forget the 80th Infantry Division Veterans Association, we can't name them all as the list would be too long.....
Finally we owe the biggest recognition to the citizens and the town council of Clervaux! Your support has been tremendous, and without your help we could not have realized half of what we've done these past 45 years!