Traveling Battle of the Bulge: La Roche-en-Ardenne
August 4, 2017 joedemadio 2 Comments
La Roche is one of those villages you will never regret visiting. Wether it’s for a drink or for a week of exploring the Battle of the Bulge battlefields. Ever since I came to Belgium to learn more about the German Counter Offensive my dad would stop in La Roche for a coffee. It’s a town you MUST visit when you’re on a trip to the Battle of the Bulge battlefields. Here’s why!
I know the village for its role during the Battle of the Bulge, but most people do not. The town dates back to the Roman era and the castle has been in use since the 9th century. The area of La Roche is very attractive to bikers and hikers who can enjoy the Belgian Ardennes here on its finest. And, when water levels are high and the temperature is right, you’ll see a lot of kayaking and canoeing on the Ourthe river that flows through the town.
But for World War enthusiasts like myself La Roche offers some great monuments and battlefield sites. They even have a museum about the Battle of the Bulge that has a wonderful collection of items. On December 18th 1944, the first Germans entered the town for their so called advance. Three weeks later it was back in allied hands which meant that a lot has happend in those weeks. In the town you’re also able to spot an M4A1 Sherman Tank that stands there in honor of the 2nd and 3rd US Armored Division. On ridge overlooking the village you’re able to spot an M10 Achilles 17pdr Self-Propelled gun. Before I continue on why you should visit La Roche, below you’ll find a Google Maps with the location of the main monuments in La Roche so it’s easier for you to locate them.
Did you know that other parts of the Battle of the Bulge battlefields are easy accessible from La Roche-en-Ardenne? Bastogne, the town that was defended by the 101st Airborne Division is only 30 minutes away! Besides, La Roche is connected to a road network that allows you to visit many great places in the Battle of the Bulge area. Last year I published two articles: 5 Museums You Must Visit & 10 Things to See when visiting Battle of the Bulge Area. Definitely check out these posts. The Baugnez ’44 Museum and the December ’44 Museum in La Gleize are only 45 minutes away from La-Roche and are a MUST-SEE when you visit this area.
One very last thing I’d like to mention about why you should visit La Roche, or actually what you should do when visiting La Roche, is read up on the Parker’s Crossroads. Today this crossroad is called Baraque de Fraiture and it’s the first thing you see when you exit the E25 highway. Make sure to stop here before driving down the N89 road towards La Roche. Then when you finally go in the direction of La Roche and drive down the N89, see the woods to your right. Park your car at one of the small intersections and look in the woods for foxholes and trenches.
The Battle of the Bulge left many traces in the Ardennes and definitely in La Roche. Next time you visit the area I hope this article will help you out. Read more about the area of La Roche and Hotton during the Battle of the Bulge here to expand your knowledge about the different units that fought there.
I got one last tip for for everyone out there wondering where to go in the Ardennes for exploring the Battle of the Bulge battledields. Get yourself a copy of this amazing guide – A Tour of the Bulge Battlefields – by Cavanagh. It simply has six different routes which you can take by car and will help you to learn more about the battles in the Ardennes.
We combined everything in this article in one video, including some more tips for visiting the Battle of the Bulge Battlefields. Have a nice trip!