For the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Ardennes, the association
Ardennes History Remember 44/45 had set the bar very high in order to present an unforgettable weekend and great presentations. The pouring and sometimes winter rain did not discourage participants and the public who came in large numbers for the festivities, while giving everyone an idea of what the weather may have been like in 1944.
An exceptional year requires an exceptional program. So a five-day program had been set up by Ardennes History Remember 44/45 and its many volunteers: military scholarship, conference, evening of testimonies of elderly people who experienced these dramatic events in the region, parades of vehicles, etc… without forgetting several commemorative ceremonies at various monuments with the presence of more than 25 American veterans.
Nearly 450 re-enactors and a large range of vehicles, tracked or not, participated in the three re-enactments.
Stug III, Panzer III, Panzer I, two SDKFZs and other vehicles were in support of the German infantry while on the US side, in defensive position, two Shermans had been buried up to the dome like the 7th Armored Division did for the protection of Manhay in December 1944. Several other vehicles were present on the ground including a Firefly tank and the Sherman “Fury” well known to movie-addicts. At the crossroads, we could still count on several Sherman M-4, M7 “Priest” tanks, a Tank Destroyer M-10 while two other static tanks, a Chaffee and a second Firefly, decorated the front of the MHM44 museum. Like every year, several routes had been set out for the 250 vintage vehicles of all types and even for the tanks which had the privilege of being able to ride their tracks in the forest.
The Panther tank of Grandmenil was well surrounded with the belligerent camps, and a field hospital had been installed in a sheepfold shed for this occasion. The muddy and mutilated fields will keep the traces of this reconstruction until spring.
The icing on the cake with regard to the festive aspect: the scenic performance of the talented “Manhattan Dolls” who, with a professionalism and a sympathy which immediately took the hearts of the audience, animated for three days the evenings and afternoons by their songs and music of the time.
Again, and despite the weather, it was a real success! To those who directly or indirectly contributed to this success, the grateful organizers send a huge “THANK YOU!”.
Ardennes History Remember 44/45 invites you to relive this on 11, 12 and 13 December 2020 for new adventures. Several armored vehicles will be present and the irresistible “Manhattan Dolls” have been invited again.
See you soon for new adventures at Manhay ’44.
And many thanks to: Stavros Van Greckoland, Philippe Son, Christian Lonneux, Time Travellers , Retro & Vintage Photography, François Donche, Max Libotte, Daniel Leduc, Luigi Gueli for their pictures!