Clervaux and surroundings

Discover the historical city.

There is a lot to see in Clervaux. Not only the “Musée de la Bataille des Ardennes” may be interesting for you, but also the Sherman tank in the courtyard of the castle, or the GI Statue in the city center.

Information on the planned hiking tour around Clervaux will also be available here.

The Sherman M4A3 (76)

 

Visitors on their way to the medieval castle of Clervaux will discover in the outer courtyard two original leftovers of the Battle of the Bulge. Both had been brought to rest in the last century. Among them: a tank! A Sherman M4A3, featured with a 76 mm gun barrel, having had more firepower than his forerunners, which were armed with the 75 mm barrel. And firepower was badly needed on December 17th, 1944 when German troops started invading Clervaux.

At 11.00 a.m. the Sherman B-2 rumbled up the narrow road leading to the main gate of the castle. Getting near the “Kratzenberg” house it went into a defending position. The five men crew, consisting of the commander, gunner, loader, driver and co-driver, went over to a specific strategy then. They turned the turret into an angle of 33 degrees before the crew flashed into action. The driver moved the tank only a few meters … with full speed … to a clear field of fire. The gunner aimed at some of the German panzers at the Marnach road and fired a few shells in their direction. After that, the tank moved backwards into its hiding position. At first the Germans didn’t realize from where they drew fire until the crew used the abovementioned tactics another several times. During the day B-2 took two grazing shots. Becoming aware of their highly dangerous position, the crew bailed out and took cover in a nearby building. When nightfall came in, some US-soldiers tried to retrieve the tank. In vain, they came under intense German infantry fire and had to abort their mission.

After daylight, on December 18th, 1944 the Sherman tank was disabled by a direct hit, pulling off the gun barrel. Clervaux was surrounded by German troops. GI’s were taken prisoner and were sent off to POW camps in Germany. Clervaux was recaptured in January 1945, while German units were retreating behind the Our and Sauer rivers. War was over! After the hostilities the people of Clervaux built up their destroyed houses, restored buildings and roads, mourned their death. No one gave a straw about B-2 until many years after WW2.

The wrecked Sherman tank was remaining at the very spot where it was disabled in Winter 1944 until 1956. Luxembourg’s army pulled it to the place where it stands since then until the present day on display and fixed the gun barrel. Only in 2003 CEBA’s senior historian Jean Milmeister researched and published in detail the fate of the Sherman tank B-2 in Ceba’s home magazine THE BULGE. Since then, it became evident that the tank belonged to the 9th Armored Division, 2nd Tank Battalion, Company B. This tank is one of two original leftovers from the Ardennes offensive. The Sherman tank is part of CEBA’s Battle of the Bulge museum and will be restored in the upcoming future by a team of CEBA’s specialists.

German Howitzer (PAK 43)

 

Another original leftover from the Battle of the Bulge is standing in the outer courtyard of the castle of Clervaux. Little is known of its provenance.

The PaK 43 was the most powerful anti-tank gun of the German Wehrmacht to see service in a large number of different types.

This iron lady survived the Battle of the Bulge without a scratch. It braved the elements for many years. As a result of this, this formerly proud anti-tank gun is in a pitiful condition today.

In the frame of taking care of the military patrimony, CEBA will organise the future restoration of this PAK 43. An agreement with national and international partners will be lined up. We keep you up-to-date on the restoration process on our facebook-page.

The GI Statue in Clervaux

 

On September 11th, 1983, Clervaux was filled with notabilities, mayors, politicians, music bands, soldiers and of course the towns people of Clervaux. A long awaited dream became true for CEBA and its members. Finally! Hundreds if not thousands of details had to be cleared since that staff reunion in February 1972, when Camille P. Kohn’s idea of erecting a monument for the ordinary US-soldier was agreed by CEBA staff members. The location, the structure, the style, the anticipated financial needs and resources, the choice of the sculptor … these were only some of the concerns. Exactly 39 years after the first US-soldiers crossed the Our river and set foot on German soil, the GI Statue was unveiled by Luxemburg’s hereditary Grand-Duke Henri and his wife the hereditary Grand-Duchess Maria Teresa.

Since then this GI is standing close to the Clerve river … almost in the center of Clervaux where he braves wind, rain and snow. Over the years thousands and tens of thousands of visitors have visited and pictured him, while he was standing there on solid rocks. Stoical and quiet! It was CEBA’s wish that the GI statue shouldn’t bear the face of a warrior. And indeed … it does not. This GI has returned from the battlefield where he had endured bitter fights. After the hostilities of 1944/1945 he becomes an Ambassador of Peace. He’s still there!

CEBA’s GI Statue was handcrafted by Michel Heintz. The sculpture measures 2.40 yards and weighs exactly one ton. It is the first bronze sculpture of such a size in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, which had been realized by a Luxemburgish artist.


The GI Location: