This year started with the first Battle Field Tour organised by the WPC (Warrior Preparation Centre) of the US Army, in cooperation with me and Karl-Heinz Heck and accompanied by German veterans.A Group of over 50 people from Ramstein Airbase were taken on a 3 days tour, to see the "Hotspots" of the Battle of the Bulge. They went to the Bastogne area, the Luxembourg area, and the area of the so called "Northern Shoulder". For this sector I helped prepare as much as possible to get the group to several "Hotspots", like Losheim, Lanzerath, Büllingen, Bütgenbach, Baugnez, La Gleize, etc. This route was a part of the route Kampfgruppe Peiper took (not Bütgenbach) on December 16th. The Group also stopped at the Domaine Bütgenbach were the 1st Inf. Div. halted several attacks of the German 12th SS Panzerdivision "Hitlerjugend". For that part I asked Lt. August T. McColgan, G Company, 2d Battalion, 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, to write a short account / info bulletin for the group, and so they could understand what happened there.
This is wat Lt. Mac McColgan wrote after his visit to the Battlefield:

The "Hot Corner" of Bütgenbach revisited by Lt. August T. McColgan, 26th Rgt, 2d Bn, "G" Co, May 20th 2000.

Also we stopped for a short break at the house of Karl-Heinz Heck to see one of the relics of the defence of the Dom. Bütgenbach; his 57mm Anti tank gun. During these stops, a German veteran of the 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division, Rolf Odendahl, was 'on board' to tell the group about his experiences at the area he was fighting (Shoppen, Faymonville, etc.).
See his account at: Rolf Odendahl, former veteran of the 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division tells his story of the Battle.

One of the members 'on board' wrote after the Battle Field Tour:

I have recently returned form a three-day trip through the Ardennes battlefield. I cannot stress enough how enjoyable and educational this trip was. This would NOT have been if not for the effort of the Warrior Preparation Center team and of course the Herculean work of Hans Wijers. His meticulous research and explorations of this area, and contacts with veterans from BOTH sides of this important conflict aided the WPC immeasurable and the tour would not have been as successful if this effort was absent. I eagerly look forward to purchasing more books from Hans. He has a great way of putting the many veterans stories together and presenting them in a very readable and understandable format. I can't wait for his next releases!!! My hats off to the WPC team and a very BIG thanks to Hans, he truly made the battlefields come alive and added an extra window upon this highly confusing, desperate and most important battle of WWII.

Jon W. Russell, US Army

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