December 2017 was a real success during our 2nd gathering of military
vehicles from WW2 War. Nearly 200 vehicules were present for a great
ride on roads and paths. The long crossing in the forest sector was
crowned by crossing a river nearly half a meter deep. It was the icing
on the cake for the participants, besides a second circuit was made in
the afternoon. In the meantime, we also organized our first
reconstitution. This one was of a remarkable quality with prosthetic
effects made by the friends of the 505th-82nd from Viroinval, like in
Hollywood movies. The public was certainly surprised by this show,
which is offered by numerous re-enactment groups composed of almost 150
actors from both sides.
It must be said that during the weekend, we experienced a weather like December 1944. Indeed, the cold, the snow and especially the rain had made the roads and fields muddy. But this did not endanger the organization, because all participants were motivated by this great weekend retracing the lives of soldiers during the Battle of the Ardennes. It began on Friday with the arrival of a convoy that had started from Beyne-Heusay. A second group had joined them at the exit of the village and arrived at destination, the column was applauded by the children of various communal schools and Manhay authorities. Already, several Nations were represented, some vehicles registered in Germany, Holland, France, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and even Switzerland were present, not to mention the many friends from Flanders.
As in 1944, Manhay and Grandmenil were invaded by military vehicles, many were placed in the villages. On Sunday, some of the vehicles set off for Bastogne as we organized two tours to other cities such as St-Vith, a very important battleground where the units stopped the German advance for more than a week. We also wanted to retrace the withdrawal of troops from the 7th Armored Division and 106th Infantry Division to Vielsalm where a second convoy had joined us. After various ceremonies, the column composed of more than a hundred vehicles took the road to Manhay to attend a new show of the reenactors. The day ended in the village with the inauguration of a stele in memory of the two units listed below having fought to retake the locality around Christmas 1944.
Through this article, the organizers thank all participants for this great weekend, Visitors, Reconstituteurs, Collectors of Military Vehicles, Authorities, Agents of the Department Nature and Forest (DNF) and Police Officers who have done a great job having a team spirit with Ardennes History Remember.
An appointment has already been made for 2018 and it promises to be even better. The small imperfections of these first editions have been rectified, the composition of the battlefield has been revised, the improved car parks and the new museum entitled “Manhay History 44 Museum” MHM-44 held by one of our members, will be a asset and additional activity for visitors, not to mention the Militaria Fellowship organized in the next room.
Welcome everyone on the weekend of 14/15 and 16 December 2018 for a new edition!
Pictures by Jonathan Malemprez