Belgium / Landmark

Destruction of Lutrebois




Because of its strategic position astride one of the main roads into Bastogne from the south, Lutrebois would find itself at the heart of a ferocious fight during the Battle of the Bulge. The village and surrounding area were heavily fought over and repeatedly came under fire from both sides.

Following the creation of a vital corridor into Bastogne by the U.S. 4th Armored Division on 26 December 1944, Lieutenant-General George Patton looked to expand this. The German forces were equally determined to close it. A ferocious battle erupted in the area and lasted several days, engulfing the villages of Harlange, Lutremange, Villers-la-Bonne-Eau and Lutrebois.

Elements of the U.S. 35th Infantry Division, which had initially captured Lutrebois on 29 December, were pushed back by violent counterattacks starting on 30 December, as German troops from the 1st SS Panzer Division and 167th Volksgrenadier Division once more invaded the area.

The harsh weather conditions and difficult terrain only made it more arduous for the Americans to recapture the area. But, over the next few days, the 35th Infantry Division succeeding in gradually pushing the German troops back, aided by the 4th Armored Division and the artillery and Air Force.

In January 1945, Lutrebois was liberated for good. The village had been heavily shelled and bombed during the fighting. Few buildings escaped the disaster unscathed. The chapel was destroyed and the Château in Losange, located south of Lutrebois, was seriously damaged by artillery fire.

Several inhabitants became casualties, including some who had been shot by German soldiers whilst trying to flee the village. Others had been evacuated to safety in small groups by the Americans during the fighting. Whilst others escaped over the border into Luxembourg, which was viewed as safer at that time. 

Bastogne, 6600