Battlefield guide Reg Jans talks about the murder of between eight and 15 wounded Americans in an aid station in the village of Foy near Bastogne, December 20th, 1944.
The Siege of the Belgian town of Bastogne was a decisive part of the wider Battle of the Bulge. The fight, between the American and German forces, took place in December of 1944. The German troops were focused on gaining control of the harbor at Antwerp, which would give them access to the North Sea.
The German armored forces rushed to seize road routes through Eastern Belgium before the superior Allied air strength could be deployed in force. There were seven major roadways running through heavily wooded countryside which the German forces were pressing to gain control of. These roads all converged on the town of Bastogne, and the Germans had to control that crossroads if they were to progress toward Antwerp.
The siege lasted from 20 to 27 December. The besieged Americans held out against the attackers until they were reinforced by elements of the Third Army under the command of General George Patton, to an eventual Allied victory.
Reg Jans’ deep passion for WWII began as a boy after talking to his grandfather (who had been wounded in 1940 while fighting in France with the Belgian Army) and watching moving picture footage of the D-Day landings, parachute drops over the Netherlands and snow-covered foxholes in the Ardennes.
Reg’s grandfather’s death signaled a turning point for Reg, along with the realization that freedom does not come for free and historical knowledge should be preserved and passed on.
You can tour with Reg to see key places in our WWII history – check out his website here www.regjans.com
Reg Jans is a regular contributor to War History Online.