How to Visit the Ardennes

Old Jan 24th, 2019, 05:16 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 664
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How to Visit the Ardennes

I will be traveling to the Netherlands in May (have been there many times and will be staying with longtime family friends in Eindhoven). I am considering trying to take a trip to the Ardennes to visit the area that was the Battle of the Bulge. I will have my 16 year old daughter with me. We will not have a car. Not too sure about where, but my father, a Dutchman, fought with the allies during the War and I would like to see the area. Is there a way to travel there by train from Eindhoven? or perhaps Antwerp? What national airports can I look art flying out of? Brussels or one in Germany? Is this even doable? Thank you!
odie1 is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2019, 07:40 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,231
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Can you rent a car for a day -- that would let you get to some of the small villages in the Bulge. I was there a a few years ago car-less, but I hired a guide/driver for a full day and the places I went would have been impossible without a car. It was one of the most moving trips I have ever taken -- every single town/village/wide spot in the road has memorial and monuments to the various Allied units.

You can get to Bastogne by train.

Here is my trip report (So you don't have to wade through the whole thing - the Bulge parts start with posts on May 30th). Honoring my Father, Belgium, Amsterdam, London and TWO GTGs
janisj is online now  
Old Jan 25th, 2019, 03:39 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,507
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As janisj points out, it's easiest if you can rent a car. From Eindhoven you can drive down the the Meuse valley easily, via Hasselt for instance.

As it happens, I'm now near Durbuy in the Ardennes. From Rotterdam it took me about 5 hours to get here by public transport.
menachem is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2019, 05:10 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 5,506
Received 12 Likes on 7 Posts
We flew into Frankfort, rented a car and did it on our own. We researched my Dad's military records plus Jim Broumley wrote a book about the 509th Paratroopers. It is well marked. We stayed in Bastogne. On Trip Advisor there are several tours you can review. We just did a guided tour of Ypres and it was money well spent as he covered so much more than we even knew about. I would research military records first. There has to be some about your Dad. Ancestry is a good start.
Macross is online now  
Old Jan 25th, 2019, 06:22 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,231
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
It also partly depends on where your father was and which unit(s) he was attached to. Bastogne is 'famous' because that is where most of the Brass/headquarters and pretty much all of the reporters were. The heaviest fighting was quite far north east of there in the actual 'Bulge'.
janisj is online now  
Old Jan 25th, 2019, 08:20 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 664
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
janisj-I remember your trip report from several years back-I was hoping that I was going to be able to find it-you inspired me to go to the Ardennes and I have been waiting for my return trip to do it. I do not know how easy it will be to find info on my father's service-he was a part of the Dutch Resistance and then the military and later aided the allies as an interpreter. I will have to look back through some of his things to see if I can find more specifics. Does your trip report tell the name of your driver/guide?

I will look into the car...but not too sure how confident I feel about that.
odie1 is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2019, 09:41 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,231
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
>>Does your trip report tell the name of your driver/guide?<<

Yes . . . his name is Henri Mignon. I assume he is still doing his tours. Henri Mignon Bastogne Bulge Easy Company Tours

If you can contact him -- he is a wealth of information and may be able to give you info on which unit(s) your Dad could have been attached to. He is not cheap but was reasonable IMO for the extensive tour he gave me.
janisj is online now  
Old Jan 25th, 2019, 12:38 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A tour for a day makes more sense than renting a car and going off kind of clueless. If janis liked it says a lot!
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2019, 04:51 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 5,506
Received 12 Likes on 7 Posts
https://www.cia.gov/library/center-f...g98/Dutch.html
Macross is online now  
Old Jan 25th, 2019, 04:57 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 5,506
Received 12 Likes on 7 Posts
That was an interesting read. There are several links with pictures of the Dutch Resistance. I do hope you get some leads before you go on your Dad. It has been ten years since we went but enjoyed the area very much. My Dad wasn't able to travel so bringing back pictures of Sadzot meant so much to him.
Macross is online now  
Old Jan 25th, 2019, 10:54 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,507
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@odie1 you can search in the archives of NIOD, the Dutch Institute for War and Genocide Studies

https://www.archieven.nl/nl/search-m...98&&mivast=298
menachem is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2019, 02:43 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with the posts above, renting a car makes most sense, in particular to make live easier when in the Ardennes. Small little villages in De Ardennen might not as (frequently) connected with public transport as you would like to.
vaus is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2019, 05:06 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 664
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
macross-That was a very fascinating read-especially since they spoke of Eindhoven. I have a letter written after the war by a Jewish family that my father and his parents helped hide. I am considering donating it, or a copy of it, to the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam.

menachem-Thank you. I tried using that website but nothing came up under my father's name. But, unfortunately I don't read Dutch but tried using Google translate to see if I could figure it out.

I am really thinking I will rent a car and head over there once I figure out where. Any good websites where people might be able to help me narrow it down with the following info? I have begun doing the research on this but have not some up with too much yet.

This is the best item that I have to go on, a letter I found in my father's things:

Headquarters 7th Army
European Theater
APO 339 US Army (although it could be 330)

It is addressed to who it is concerned, names my father having been "employed by this division" since 18 Sept 1944, in the capacity as interpreter for them in French, Dutch and German, having "greatly assisted this detachment successfully to complete its mission and to the Allied nations." It says he was "used by Special Branch as an investigator and by Public Safety as an investigator-interpreter." It then goes on to speak of his honesty, integrity etc.

R O'Brien
Colonel QMC
Commander

I remember my father speaking of Battle of the Bulge, Patton, and how awful the conditions were. I obviously need to do some more homework but at least this is a start.
odie1 is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2019, 12:30 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,849
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you do get a car and drive down to the Ardennes, Odie1, you may pass close enough to the American cemetery at Henri-Chapelle in Belgium, where a number of casualties of the Battle of the Bulge rest. Full disclosure; my Son has an Airbnb on his farm about three miles from the cemetery, and I make a point of driving over and spending some time just sitting, peaceably contemplating things every time I visit him.

That was not my war, and none of my people are buried there, but the quiet ambiance helps to lay to rest some of the ghosts I still carry from Korea. I hope your trip will help comfort and perhaps heal your soul.
nukesafe is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2019, 12:31 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,849
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry, I forgot to post the link: https://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memo...rican-cemetery
nukesafe is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2019, 05:21 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 664
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
nukesafe-Thank you for the information. My father lived through the war and passed away 9 years ago. It was very hard too get him to talk of it, every time I asked him about it, he would break down in tears and have to stop. I never had the heart to push him.
Interesting note-my father's twin brother is still living; he is 92. I asked him two years ago if he was a member of the Resistance; he was not. I asked him if my father or their father was; he responded if they were, he never knew (they both were). As for if he knows exactly where my father fought at the Battle of the Bulge, I highly doubt.
Not too sure if this trip will heal my soul or make it worse; regretting I don't know more and making me miss him more than I already do.
odie1 is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2019, 11:10 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,507
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@odie1, just saying that there are loads of archives in Amsterdam you might want to visit, and also the national archives in The Hague could well be worth a pilgrimage, if you ask archive staff to retrieve and prepare material for you.
menachem is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
LoveLexi
Europe
7
Apr 29th, 2013 09:28 PM
natjgc
Europe
15
Mar 10th, 2009 03:27 PM
John
Europe
11
Jan 21st, 2009 10:29 AM
mirish26
Europe
16
Mar 1st, 2006 12:07 AM
sandy_b
Europe
5
Nov 29th, 2003 02:34 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:56 PM.