Belgium / Monument
Located between Assenois and Bastogne, a pre-WWII small concrete Belgian bunker marked the vicinity in which Sherman tanks under the command of Lieutenant Charles Boggess of the U.S. 37th Tank Battalion, first made contact with American forces besieged within Bastogne. The bunker has since become known as ‘Fortress Boggess.’
Lieutenant Boggess was part of a Task Force of the U.S. 4th Armored Division which was spearheading the drive to reach Bastogne by the U.S. Third Army, commanded by Lieutenant-General George Patton (Jr.). Its mission was to break the German Army’s encirclement of Bastogne from the south by linking-up with the besieged American forces within.
Following a bitter battle for the village of Assenois on the afternoon of 26 December 1944, Sherman tanks commanded by Boggess forced their way through German Army lines and into the Bastogne perimeter.
The old Belgian bunker marked the vicinity in which first contact was made between the 4th Armored Division and the U.S. 101st Airborne Division. Members of the 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion, who had been in foxholes nearby, greeted Boggess’s Sherman tanks. It marked a symbolic ending of the siege.
The route created into Bastogne remained hotly contested, as the German forces tried to close the gap. Over the following days, various U.S. Armored and Infantry Divisions in the area worked to maintain and expand the vital corridors. It ensured essential supplies got through to Bastogne and that the wounded as well as the civilians were able to be evacuated.
The Assenois bunker (‘Fortress Boggess’) was a defensive structure built in the 1930s to preserve Belgian neutrality in case of attack. Today this quiet site has been converted into a place of remembrance, largely devoted to commemorating the symbolic lifting of the siege of Bastogne by Lieutenant-General Patton’s troops.