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My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

Article about: I'm just back from a very short break to Northern France, an area I have never visited before. I had two full days to pack in as much as possible and I think I achieved my goal! This thread

  1. #11
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    So that concluded Friday. Saturday was going to be a long one.

    Just for the sheer hell of it I wondered if I could visit five different countries in a day. My plan was to leave France, head into Belgium, clip the bottom of Holland, on into Germany and finish of with Luxembourg before returning to France! Phew!

    I was up at 06:00 and had breakfast, quite a lot of breakfast actually and was away just after 07:00.
    I took the road to Charleroi and after a painful drive along rural roads following a neverending succession of tractors and lorries i missed the chance to take a pic as I crossed the border.

    Continuing north, and following the signs for Maastricht I arrived in Holland, again missing the border photo shot due to volume of traffic I finally got a Dutch roadsign!

    Through Holland I was following the signs for Aachen.......

    I passed a Christmas tree.......

    And eventually ended up in Germany.......
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  2. #12
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    Very impressive memorials Adrian, most of which ive visited, did you also manage to get to see the battleground of the canadian trench system, most of which has been left as is where you can walk among the trenches, the dividing lines between allied and enemy troops , were in some cases less than 50mtrs, i dont know if you knew it but Hitler visited Thiepvel during WW2 and at that time you could go to the top, apparently one of his entourage scratched a swastika into the parapet and he was so enraged that he threatened to have the man shot, also there is one small cemetary that during the war a patrol of german soldiers came across the old guy who looked after all the smaller cemetaries in the area, the officer in charge was questioning him because he was British, he found out that this old guy had to walk some 10miles a day to keep the cemetaries looking neat and tidy so the very next day had a bicycle delivered to him, had he only known that the old guy was part of a lifeline and that at the time of being questioned there were 6 British airmen sitting in the old guys tool shed 50ft from the patrol, oh by the way, the german patrol were SS, that shed is still there also with the unmarked crosses of three "deserters" who were shot, all three were under 19yrs of age one i believe was 16yrs, all three were suffering from shell shock at the time

  3. #13
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    After a short burst through Germany I came back into Belgium and my route took me very close to Malmedy. I couldn't pass so close and not pay a visit to the town but more importantly the site of the Malmedy massacre which took place on 17th December 1944 where 84 American prisoners of war were shot by the SS, part of Kampfguppe Peiper.
    The Baugnez crossroads is situated about 3km from the town.
    There is a memorial to those who were murdered on the crossroads and a visitor centre and museum. Despite being a little pushed for time I stopped and had a wander, visited the museum and was mighty glad I did.
    These photos are of the memorial (the names of the fallen are set into the wall), the crossroads and the field in which the massacre took place.
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  4. #14

    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    Quote by ObKrieger View Post
    Very nice Adrian. That museum's method of displaying uniform items is kind of strange. I don't think I have ever seen anything like it.
    I agree! I wonder how many clumsy tourists end up stepping on the displays...

    Their uniform displays kind of reminds me of fallen soldiers. Creepy in a way...

  5. #15
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    Into the museum now and a very worthwhile experience. I would recommend anyone to pay a visit if they're in the area. You are guided round by an audio handset which explains everything about the Ardennes Offensive and the massacre clearly and tells you about the displays. I obviously can't recount it all here but the photos should speak for themselves.
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    Last edited by Adrian; 11-28-2011 at 02:29 PM.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    A few uniform displays......
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  7. #17
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    And some more.......
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  8. #18
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    A Fallschirmjäger prepares to exit his plane as the paratroopers are brought in to help reserve German armour on the ground while ground troops head on into the Ardennes in a Schwimmwagen.

    Meanwhile, an American pilot has been shot down. He parachutes into the forest, completely lost and is using his silk map, worn as a scarf, to try and get his bearings........
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  9. #19
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    Adrian, in actual fact that field is the wrong one, we made that assumption as well, but we had with us an After the Battle magazine which stated that it was always assumed that the massacre was between the cafe opposite the memorial and the buildings in your photo, but it happened in the field behind the cafe which is now a normal house, the photo that you show is presumed to be where the ditch was where the GIs were actually captured, we went up and down that damn road for half hour trying to pinpoint all the locations but because of all the changes its difficult to find the lay of the land but the magazine helped us, also the famous photo of Peipers SS going past the crossroads with the St Vith and Malmedy signposts, is no longer a crossroads but a ruddy great roundabout with a truck haulage company off to the side and industrial units all around, also Ambleve is a no no, it doesnt exist, its the valley and the river but theres no town as depicted in Battle of the Bulge film

  10. #20
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    Default Re: My visit to Northern France, WW1 sites and a mad dash around Europe in a day including Malmedy!

    Some American accoutrements, headgear and uniforms........

    The boots in the last photo belonged to General Patton.
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