Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge

The story of the Battle of the Bulge, one of the last major battles of World War II, is an incredible one. It lasted from December 1944 through January 1945, and was one of the fiercest battles of the war. Germany made a big push to take Bastogne in order to have access to roads they needed to continue to expand across Europe. They surrounded the town, which was protected by the US Army 101st Airborne inside. German representatives offered the commanding US General McAuliffe to surrender, and his famous answer back was “Nuts!”

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Rainy road with signs to Bastogne and Foy
Roads to Bastogne and Foy

American soldiers, hungry, cold, and tired, dug in and held the besieged town, constantly under attack. The skies cleared, which allowed for bombings from German planes, but also allowed for crucial air drops of medical supplies, ammunition, and food. And then the final speedy push of General Patton leading his Third Army division to Bastogne to relieve the soldiers and help to end the battle.

Liberty Road Marker with Flame
Liberty Road Marker
Google Map of Route for Battle of the Bulge Trip
Round trip route, Stuttgart to Tongeren


Our first stop was in Luxembourg, the capital city of the small country of Luxembourg. We visited the American Cemetery, a very special memorial for the fallen in World War II, including the final resting place of “Old Blood and Guts” himself, General George S. Patton. This is a beautiful and peaceful place with thousands of white crosses set in immaculately manicured grass. A special treasure of remembrance, created and maintained by the US and Luxembourg.

A 3-minute drive away is the German Cemetery, another impressive memorial, quiet and sombre. It has a different look and feel of the American cemetery, and is well worth a visit.

Both of these memorial cemeteries are quiet and powerful reminders that many never came home. While they represented different sides during the war, they all made the ultimate sacrifice.

We drove the back roads from Luxembourg to Bastogne, through beautiful countryside of rolling green hills. With many pull-offs in scenic areas, we ate our sandwiches for a picnic lunch.

Views of green fields
Views in Belgium


Mardasson Memorial
Mardasson Memorial

Le Bois Jacques, the woods where the Easy Company of the 101st Airborne spent their time during the battle, is in the next village of Foy. Their story was made popular by the HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers. The hushed quiet of the woods, with remnants of fox holes, felt like being in an outdoor cathedral. Quiet, solemn, and beautiful, it was again a time to reflect on what these men of the Greatest Generation went through when called on to serve their country.

101st Airborne Museum

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La Roche

The Ardennes is a beautiful region to drive through. There are rolling green farmlands and dark forests, with tiny villages dotting the area. After being immersed in the stories at the museums, it’s easy to imagine tanks rolling through the area, soldiers in foxholes in the woods, and bombs falling from planes overhead. The whole area makes you really appreciate what that generation went through during the war. Driving from Bastogne to Tongeren, we stopped for lunch in La Roche-en-Ardenne.

Town on river with castle ruins on hill
La Roche-en-Ardenne, Belgium

La Roche is a stunningly beautiful town on a wide bend of a river, a surprise highlight for us. We ate a wonderful lunch at a spot near the river, under the watch of the castle ruins. Afterwards, we picked up some Ardennes Ham at one of the local artisanal butcher shops. This ham has been of great importance to the region for centuries, as most families had a pig, and it was likely the only meat they would have for the year. A manual process of salting, drying, and maturing helped to ensure that it would last. With amazing flavors, it should be eaten along with melon and a Belgian beer.


Our route home was also beautiful, through rolling hills and beside wide rivers. While driving, with 80’s tunes playing and rain pouring down, we made plans for future road trips around Europe. This has been a wonderful trip through history. It’s very interesting and inspiring to explore the battle sites and hear the stories of tenacity, bravery, and national pride.

Rob and Barbara and Tank
Tank in Bastogne

“A Good Plan, Violently Executed Now, Is Better Than a Perfect Plan Next Week.” 
– George S. Patton

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2 responses to “Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge”

  1. Michael C Goodwin Avatar

    Thanks Barbara, I have always been interested in WWII and Cold War history and this was good reading. I have written blogs on growing up during the Cold War era. Your travels are always quite fun to see.

    1. Barbara Skinner Avatar

      Thanks Michael, we really appreciate that. 🙂

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