The December 44 Museum in La Gleize, is dedicated to the memory of the Battle of the Bulge. This battle, also known as the “Ardennes Offensive”, was the last major German offensive on the Western Front in WW2. The battle lasted from 16 December 1944 to 28 January 1945, and was launched over a 130km (80 miles) wide front as a complete surprise to the mainly American Forces through the densely forested Ardennes region between Belgium and Luxembourg.
The fact that this museum is here is by no means a coincidence. The German attack known as “Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein”, to the North spearheaded by Waffen-SS elite unit Kampfgruppe Peiper, was halted here in the Village of La Gleize, by the combined strength of the US 3rd Armored Division, the US 30th Infantry Division and the elite of the US 82nd Airborne Division.
In their retreat on Christmas Eve, the 800 survivors of Peiper’s 1st SS Panzer Regiment left more than a 135 tanks and armored vehicles behind on the battlefield. The impressive Tiger II “213” tank in front of the museum is one of them.
The museum was born from a private collection and displays it’s more than 5,000 items in a way that keeps the memory of the tragic events of the battle alive. Most of the items from the unique collection come from the area of La Gleize. Interesting fact is that the museum is located inside the former presbytery, which was used as an Aid Station by Peiper’s Company.
This is a beautiful museum in remembrance of the Battle of the Bulge, the items on display are very well presented. The fact that the building and the area are part of the history that is being told, makes the museum even more compelling.
For more information about opening hours and prices visit the museum website.