In December we visited the area to find some MG Shields. This was a subsequent visit of the visit we made during the summer. During the summer we found some nice bunkers located in the area of the Fuhrtsbachtal. Now we went to the other side of the woods. It was very snowy so we only found items near the path and we did not enter the woods because we were not sure which paths to follow without disturbing the nature (see national park notes below). We will come again during a new summer period.
We parked at the Wahlerscheid parking place and entered the woods a two places (Red lines) and we found bunkers near the blue areas (please check the GPS points in the bunker database).
We found the following MG Shields (below) and as can be seen these did not survive the war without damage. Besides the concrete in the forest there are also many foxholes and trenches to be found (see also Hasselpfad article).
The MG shields looked from above. In 1939 the Germans found that not all lines of fire were optimal. In order to fix this omission MG shields were placed to have fully covered lines of fire.
Wahlerscheid during the war
The crossing at Wahlerscheid is also called "Heartbreak Crossroads" the road towards Belgium leads to Rocherath. During the war heavy fighting took place in the area of the crossroad not only due to U.S. offensive actions but also from German side during the "Battle of the Bulge".
On December 13, 1944 the 9, U.S. infantry was engaged to take the crossroad as part of the assault on the dams (Urft-Stausee) coming from the direction of Rocherath. Because of the strategic importance the 991. Grenadierregiment (277. Volksgrenadierdivision) defended the road towards the crossroad. In the period before the assault they enhanced the Westwall by placing minefields, barbwire and trenches. The assault was halted at the border crossing due to the defenses in place and German artillery fire. Furthermore the snow is limiting the sight. Not until the night of December 15 the Americans are able to break through and reach the Wahlerscheid forestry house. The forestry house (now the parking place) was not rebuild after the war, the same goes for the "Zoll Haus" (near the tower).
The Americans are forced to leave the occupied area already in the morning of December 16, 1944 as the Ardennes offensive was started by the Germans. The Americans gave the crossing the name "Heartbreak Crossroads".
The crossing was finally reoccupied on February 1, 1945 together with a push into Germany (e.g. Gemund). Below you can see a picture of the Forsthaus on February 2, 1945 were German prisoner of war (Regimenter 183 und 164) are guarded by U.S. soldiers (2nd Infantry Division,"Indian Head" Division).
National park Eifel
A point of attention during a visit of Wahlerscheid is the fact that a large part is a national park. The green areas are national park and this comes with some attention points. Please visit this site for the exact terms and the maps about the borders of the national park. Outside the borders there are some paths that are forbidden to enter (marked with shields). If you have any doubts please contact the Förderverein Nationalpark Eifel.
Although some parts maybe outside the national park this does not imply that you can disrespect the nature in those areas. You may find some enthusiastic (private) people discouraging you to search for westwall items, their care about nature is somewhat over enthusiastic (we were somewhat followed to check we would not disturb anything).
Source of information and maps:
Der Westwall zwischen Niederrhein und Schnee-Eifel, Manfred Groß, Rheinland-Verlag
Hölle im Hürtgenwald Die Kämpfe vom Hohen Venn bis zur Rur September 1944 bis Februar 1945 from Trees, Wolfgang / Hohenstein, Adolf
Article created on 12/30/2009 by rene.
The last change was made on 9/4/2011 by rene.