Belgio / Storia

​​Battle of Manhay​



Indicazioni stradali

​​On 24 December 1944, the German 2nd SS ‘Das Reich’ Panzer Division entered the small village of Grandmenil in the municipality of Manhay. By 26 December they had withdrawn back to the village of Manhay.

​​Following the breakthrough of the German units at Parkers Crossroads and into the village of Manhay, a company of German Panther tanks turned west towards the village of Grandmenil. Waiting ahead were soldiers of the US 75th Infantry Division and tank destroyers of the US 3rd Armoured Division.

The Panther tanks began moving along the Rue d’Erezée, a main road leading into the village, and quickly encountered an American roadblock. However, the roadblocks were made of wooden barricades and the tanks were able to carry on. The lead tank entered the village and halted at a road junction, where today, a Panther tank has been installed.

At that moment, the tank commander heard a loud crash to the rear. An American anti-tank destroyer had hit the fourth Panther tank in the column. Very quickly, the battle began as the American and German units fought each other in the village.

Further along the road to the rear, Panther tanks tried to take cover off the raised roadway and headed for the fields either side of the approaches into Grandmenil. However, they were unaware that the American troops had laid mines in the fields. Very quickly, five Panther tanks were disabled. Today, this field can be seen to the left of the Manhay Museum.

The following day on 25 December, the Panther tanks tried to break through Grandmenil and head for the woods at Trou du Loup. There they were stopped, and some of them headed back to Grandmenil. Throughout Christmas day, the American forces brought heavy artillery fire down on to the village and several air attacks took place, with many houses destroyed.

On 26 December, the remaining German soldiers withdrew to Manhay. Soldiers from the US 75th Infantry Division moved down out of the woods above into the village to the west. By 18:00 they had secured the village and set up a defensive perimeter.

Today, the village is mostly rebuilt. At the side of the road stands a Panzer MkV tank marked with the insignia of the German 2nd SS Panzer Division. The tank was found abandoned after the fighting in the area and is now a reminder of the battle in the Ardennes during the winter of 1944 to 45.

​​Rue d’Erezee 42​, 6960