Belgio / Luogo di interesse
This water tower still stands today, in Rocherath, one of the ‘Twin Villages’ of Rocherath-Krinkelt, in the Belgian municipality of Bullingen. The area is near the Belgium German border and the tower was a strategic point during the Second World War.
In the months before the end of the war, it was here that the front line was located. Anyone observing from this tower could, using radio communication, lead and adjust artillery fire from their troops.
From the water tower, it was possible to look out over the entire region. Both the Elsenborn ridge and the eastern forested region of the former “Siegfried Line” (the “Westwall”), could be seen.
The first conquest of the ‘Twin-Villages’ by US troops took place on 12 September 1944. The water tower was one of the first buildings to be taken and secured. In the months that followed, US artillery fire on the German border region was led from here.
When the German Offensive in the Ardennes started in the winter of 1944, the German Volksgrenadier Division, attacking towards Rocherath-Krinkelt, pushed through the forested area next to Hollerath-Udenbreth (Germany) into fierce opposition from American infantry troops. It was only with the help of the German SS Panzer Division, following behind, that on 20 December the village was successfully captured by German troops. Even so, heavy casualties were caused by the US artillery, led from the water tower.
The many damaged German Panzer tanks that lay along the street where the water tower was located, and elsewhere in the village of Rocherath, showed the effectiveness of the US artillery observers located on the water tower. When the German forces took over the village in December, their artillery observers occupied the water tower (as well as the church tower). However, given the limited availability of German canons, little could be organised. Because of the fighting in this area, the German troops’ Ardennes offensive, which failed, was delayed right from the beginning by several days.
On 30 January 1945, American troops succeeded in recapturing the village, and the time on the front line was over for Rocherath-Krinkelt.
Wasserturmstrafe, Rocherath, Bullingen, 4761