Belgium / Landmark
The village of Villeroux and surrounding area, including the Bois de Fragotte (Fragotte Wood) was the scene of fierce fighting around Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. The commemorative marker-stone near Villeroux, on the Neufchâteau to Bastogne Road, shows how close German forces got to Bastogne in this area.
On 20 December 1944, the village of Villeroux lay in the sub-sector allocated to the U.S. 101st Airborne Division’s 327th Glider Infantry Regiment. American artillery units were also positioned near Villeroux to help bring down defensive fire around the slowly forming Bastogne perimeter.
The next day, German forces arrived in the area, looking to close the encirclement around Bastogne. They pushed through the villages of Assenois and Sibret, towards Villeroux and then Senonchamps.
The German 26th Volksgrenadier Division encountered increasingly strengthening resistance from the American forces and the frontline gradually begun to form in and around the Bois de Fragotte. The woods and surrounding area remained the scene of fierce fighting over the proceeding days.
The village of Villeroux was retaken by the U.S. 9th Armored Division on 28 December, as part of Lieutenant-General General George Patton’s U.S. Third Army push to lift the enemy siege of Bastogne. Patton’s U.S. 4th Armored Division had already ruptured the German Army’s encirclement on 26 December.
However, German forces were determined to close the expanding American southern corridor into Bastogne. On 30 December through the area of the Bois de Fragotte, German troops counter-attacked. The battle raged for several days, but the American troops were eventually able to retake the entire area around the Bois de Fragotte.
During the fighting many wounded American soldiers were transferred to Poisson-Moulin. One of the U.S. 11th Armored Division’s advanced First Aid Stations had been set up there by the 81st Medical Battalion.