I wonder how many of the guys that now live in these houses know the story that follows the place. I wish I could see their faces when they could see such Now and Then pictures!!!This selection of pictures have taken me a little longer to prepare due to the number of them. But I feel it's justified due to the personal actions carried out during this battle, no less than 6 Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded to US troops fighting in the villages. This hard won action also created enough delay in the Northern sector advance to ensure that the German Ardennes Offensive was ultimately doomed to failure.
The Twin Villages Rocherath-Krinkelt
Both villages share the same main street with Rocherath to the North and Krinkelt with the Church the South. Both German routes of advance Rollbahn A & B emerge from the forest to the East of the villages with A running into a cross road in the centre of Rocherath and B skirting the southern edge of Krinkelt and continuing on toward Wirtzfeld.
The actions that took place in these two villages are to complicated to try to record here however if you're interested I'd recommend you get the book 'The Battle East of ELSENBORN and the twin villages' by Wiliam.C.C.Cavanagh.
Around 12KM North of Rocherath lies the crossroads of Wahlerscheid, just before the German Offensive began the US 2nd Division had just captured this costly objective made up of deep trenches and 5 concrete bunkers guarding a cross road on the International Highway. This action named the area Heartbreak Crossroads.
From the 16/12/44 a brave one sided battle was fought at the edge of the woods to the east of the villages by troops of 99th Infantry Division US 393rd Infantry facing the overwhelming forces of I. SS Panzer Corps.
Ultimately they fell back into the villages and set up defensive positions. They had to hold to enable the 2nd US Inf Div to disengage at the Wahlerscheid crossroad and fall back into and then retreat through the villages or they would have been cut off. This was successfully achieved, they were then told to hold to enable the 2nd US Inf Div to fall back to the Elsenborn Ridge and dig in. The 99th were then able to fall back on this position.
The villages were abandoned after 4 hard days often hand to hand fighting, sometimes US and German troops occupied adjacent buildings. At the close of this action US forces had destroyed no less than 111 German Panzers, assault guns and armoured vehicles.
Picture 1 was taken looking to the East along Rollbahn A the I.SS Panzer-Korps advanced toward us. The US troops were dug in along this road in fox holes (still there) to the right and left. The next four pictures show then and now of Rollbahn A as it entered Rocherath just before the cross roads with the main street. The next set show Panzers knocked out in th Village heading South down the main street toward Krinkelt.