25 or 50 km in a 1944 Willys Jeep
Program of the visit of the “Perimeter of Bastogne” (morning or afternoon)
– 10h00 : welcome at McAuliffe Square in Bastogne, introduction to the Battle of the Bulge ;
– 10h30 : visit of the Mardasson Monument and the milestone 1147 km of the “Road to Liberty”;
– 11h00 : visit of the Woods of Peace created for the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge;
– 11h20 : 506 PIR – 101 Airborne – Easy Company Monument;
– 11h30 : visit of the Jack Woods (foxholes);
– 11h45 : visit of the American Foy Memorial and the German Cemetery;
– 12h30 : back to McAuliffe Square.
A visit of other sites/monuments is possible : “Patton’s Road”, Museum of Sainlez, Bastogne War Museum, 101 Airborne Museum Bastogne, Bastogne Barracks …
To reserve: Consult the contact section
Melvin E. DAVIS – 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion
Mel served with the 811th Tank Destroyer. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and joined the U.S. Army in 1943 after he graduated from High School one month before D-Day. He went into basic training at Ft. Hood, Texas and then was transfered into the tank group and trained at Twenty Nine Palms, CA as both a driver and a gunner. He was sent to Europe after D-Day into France and was assigned to Patton’s Army. He was assigned as a tank driver of a Hellcat and fought in a series of battles in August through October.
When the fighting stopped for the “Winter of 44” he was stationned away from the front lines with Patton waiting for the Spring to begin the march to Germany. Around December 9th or 10th his group of 4 tanks were sent up to Bastogne to relieve another group of 4 tanks who where sent back to where Patton’s Army was stationned. Every 3 weeks tanks were being cycled up to the front line to replace other tanks that were stationned there to give each tank crew some “time to relax” because they did not expect any more fighting until the Spring when the Winter was over.
When the Battle of the Bulge began on December 16th, his group of 4 tanks were told to head East from Bastogne and told to “stop the Germans”. As they headed out, Mel’s tank ran out of gasoline and the other 3 tanks were told to keep going forward. Mel asked for more fuel to be sent up, but there were told no fuel was going to be sent to them and they should get out of their tanks, dig foxholes, grab their rifles and stop the Germans.
Sometime on December 17th the Germans attacked his position, he was seriously wounded with shrapnels from artillery fire and the Nazis charged forward and moved right passed his foxhole thinking he was dead. He was picked up a day later by U.S. medics, brought back into Bastogne and then sent to a hospital in Luxembourg where he had surgery and recovered from his wounds. He was then assigned to the supply division in Paris and drove a supply truck and back to the front lines for the remainder of the war.
Our May 2023 visit to “Nuts City”
My family has decided that our three days in Belgium and Luxembourg with you touring the Ardennes forest region, museums and various monuments for the “Battle of the bulge” was the complete highlight of our 17 day holiday! Paul, the ability to communicate with you on email, prior to the start of our holiday to discuss tour ideas, produced a wonderful agenda that fully explored the area at a reasonable pace. Your generosity to honor my world war two veteran father from the Pacific theater on a “Memory Wall” alongside of other veterans in the pub “Le Carré” in Bastogne’s McAuliffe Square Bastogne was very emotional. After that, we sat and discussed our plans for next several days with you. After a few minor changes, we began our personalized tour in your vintage 1944 Willys Jeep. What a joy to listen to you and your insights about the Battle of the Bulge along with information about current Belgium and Luxembourg. Your photo book of the towns and battle field as they were during December 1944 – January 1945 was valuable to help us compare to what they are today. Your photo book made the current landscape come alive and spoke to us about the damage once done these towns and how the people rebuilt and persevered! Humans can inflict great pain upon each other and yet noncombatants retain the spirit and will to rebuild. Your visual chronicling of the cities and landscape will have a lasting emotional impact on our family! Finally, thanks for taking the extra time to travel to our hotel in Clervaux to see us off that Saturday evening! How wonderful it was to just sit and chat about most anything over a coke, beer and coffee to say, “au revoir à notre nouvel ami”, goodbye to our new friend. Paul, thank you for a wonderful visit to the Ardennes region and becoming the highlight of our Western European Holiday!
Terry and Lori Finigian