WW2 Sites in Luxembourg

Memorial to General George S. Patton, Ettelbruck

Luxembourg was a neutral country on the outbreak of war in 1939, with only a very small standing army of a few hundred men. It sat between the Maginot Line in France and the Westwall in Germany, but on 10th May 1940 German troops crossed the border and invaded while en-route to France as part of the Blitzkrieg. The country was liberated by American troops in September 1944 who advanced to the German border opposite the Westwall, now known as the Siegfried Line. On 16th December 1944 Luxembourg was invaded once more as part of Operation Wacht Am Rhein, the Battle of the Bulge. Fighting continued on into early 1945 with the Allied advance in Germany,

I have visited Luxembourg a few times, but have just returned from a Battlefield Recce, staying there for a week. It proved a fascinating trip and showed what a huge range of WW2 locations there are to explore in the country.

Luxembourg American Cemetery

A good place to start is the Luxembourg American Cemetery where the burials from the fighting in Luxembourg in 1944/45 are buried. There are more than 5,000 American service personnel commemorated here, and aside from men who died in the fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, casualties from Germany are also found here as the Americans had a policy post-war of not wanting to bury their dead on German soil. The most famous burial is General George S. Patton, but there are Medal of Honor recipients here as well as African-Americans, Army Nurses and the graves of several members of ‘Band of Brothers’. You can get a free self-guided tour leaflet on arrival at the cemetery, which is recommended.

Grave of General George S. Patton

There are a number of really excellent war museums in Luxembourg, including the superb Diekirch Military Museum, as well as others at Clervaux and Wiltz.

Diekirch Military Museum

Like the main Battle of the Bulge area in the Belgian Ardennes the whole area is in many ways one huge outdoor museum as the landscape shows the signs of war with shell craters and foxholes, and there are tanks, anti-tank guns and field guns at many different locations across the region.

Foxhole remains on the Luxembourg Battlefields

It is not every day that you encounter three 88mm guns on the same day and we did this when visiting Wiltz, Troisvierges and Heinderscheid. Some were in better condition than others, but it was good to see examples still on battlefields where they had fought over 70 years before.

A visit to Luxembourg is highly recommended and you can travel to these battlefields in 2018/19 with Leger Holidays on their new battlefield tour.

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