WW2 Sites in Luxembourg

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…

M4A1 (76)W Sherman, Vielsam

This M4A1 (76)W Sherman Tank is located in the village of Vielsam in Luxembourg. It is a later pattern M4A1 with a cast hull and 76mm gun, which gave the crew a better chance of taking on enemy tanks. Indeed, tanks like this destroyed Panther tanks in the fighting around Vielsam in 1944. This particular…

Diekirch Military Museum

The National Museum of Military History at Diekirch in Luxembourg is a fabulous war museum telling the story of the fighting in this area, principally in 1944/45 but also in 1940 when the German Blitzkrieg swept through here in 1940. There are numerous displays throughout the museum, and some superbly created dioramas depicting scenes from…

Montfaucon Sherman Tank

The battlefields of the First and Second World War criss-cross in many places and while out visiting the Verdun area today we came across this M4 Sherman in the main square at Montfaucon d’Argonne, a village that was on the line of the American advance in 1918 and also in 1944 a generation later in…

Hürtgenwald Museum, Germany

The Hürtgenwald was a forested area beyond the Siegfried Line, or Westwall, in Germany close to the city of Aachen. It was fought over in November 1944 as American troops fought their way through the area. Ernest Hemingway, who reported on the battle, called it “Passchendaele with tree-bursts”. The Hürtgenwald Museum is a private museum…

Remagen Bridge

The story of Remagen Bridge is one of the iconic moments of the last months of the Second World War. By March 1945 the German Army was in full retreat with American and British forces pushing from the West and Russian troops advancing in the East. As the final advance on the river Rhine began…

Maisy Battery, Normandy

The Maisy Battery is a privately owned museum in Normandy located between Omaha and Utah beaches in the American D-Day sector. It was a substantial gun battery site equipped with howitzers which could fire onto both beaches and posed a serious threat in the early days of the Normandy invasion. It was bombed from the…

Arracourt Sherman Tank

The Battle of Arracourt in September 1944 is something of a forgotten battle of WW2. Arracourt is a village in eastern France where the US Army had been advancing since the liberation of Paris in the summer of 1944. While Operation Market Garden was taking place in Holland, to the Allies surprise the Germans proved…

Higgins Boat Memorial

The Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP), or Higgins Boat, was the main type of landing craft used by the American military in the Second World War. On D-Day they were used extensively on both Omaha and Utah Beaches, being immortalised in the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan showing the landings on D-Day. Designed by American…

Remembering VE Day

Today is the 70th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day – VE Day – when the war in Europe came to an end.   German troops had first surrendered to Field Marshall Montgomery at Lüneburg Heath on 4th May 1945. This though only concerned German units facing 21st Army Group, so the fighting in the…

Exploring The Hürtgenwald

The Hürtgenwald was a forested area just inside the German border and east of the city of Aachen. It was protected to the south and west by the Siegfried Line but was reached by American troops in September 1944. The fighting in the Battle of the Hürtgenwald lasted well into December 1944, and the final breakout…

Elbe Meeting Memorial, Torgau

On Day 5 of our Last Days of WW2 battlefield recce myself and my fellow battlefield guides ended the day on the Elbe River at Torgau where American forces meet with Soviet troops on 25th April 1945, a day that was later known as ‘Elbe Day’. A contemporary newsreel report is found here. It had…

Zeppelinfeld, Nuremberg

Arguably one of the most iconic structures that remains from the Third Reich period in Germany are the Nazi Party Rally Grounds around the Zeppelinfeld in Nürnberg or Nuremberg. The area was the scene of many Nazi Party rallies and in April 1945 the scene of stiff fighting as US troops spent five days fighting for…

Mulberry Whale, Vosges

  On our recce for the Last Days of WW2 battlefield tour we came across a Mulberry Whale roadway section still being used in the village of Horbourg-Wihr in the Vosges on the border with Germany. The Vosges saw heavy fighting in 1945 and was liberated by Free French and US Forces. Indeed in nearby…

Lorraine American Cemetery

The Lorraine American Cemetery is the largest American cemetery from the Second World War in Europe with 10,489 burials and 444 service personal commemorated on the memorial to the missing: meaning that it is even bigger than the US Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy. It covers more than 113 acres and the dead here…

Musée de la Reddition, Reims

Today was my first day with fellow battlefield guides from Leger Holidays in a long trip following events in Western Europe in 1945. We started at Reims where one of the three surrenders in May 1945 took place. The Musée de la Reddition, or Surrender Museum, in Reims commemorates the American led signing of the…