Many of them died in combat during the Battle of the Bulge

The German Military Cemetery of Recogne, where 6,807 fallen rest in Belgium

On December 16, 1944, nazi Germany launched a counteroffensive on the Western Front, aiming to take the Belgian city of Antwerp.

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For this offensive, Germany had terrible weather conditions that prevented Allied aviation from flying. The German Army was able to foresee this circumstance thanks to the German meteorological detachment from Svalbard, Norway. That counteroffensive began what was known as the Battle of the Bulge, during which the Germans pocketed large numbers of American troops, mostly from the 101st Airborne Division, in the Belgian city of Bastogne.

The siege of Bastogne was a particularly difficult episode of this battle, due to the very low temperatures that the allied troops killed there had to endure. In this siege, the Americans suffered more than 3,000 casualties but in the end they resisted, until the arrival of reinforcements from General Patton's Third Army, which managed to break the siege.

Before the war ended, in February 1945, two military cemeteries were created in the village of Recogne, in the commune of Bastogne: one American and the other German. They were located next to each other, on both sides of a road. Shortly after the war, the 2,700 buried in the American cemetery were transferred to the Henri-Chapelle Military Cemetery, 30 km east of Liège, in Belgium. The German cemetery remained in Recogne, surrounded by a small wall and located next to a civil parish cemetery.

In this cemetery there are 6,807 German soldiers buried, many of them belonging to the 2nd Panzer Division of the Wehrmacht, which fought in the siege of Bastogne, although there are also German soldiers who died during the invasion of Belgium in 1940 and during the subsequent occupation. The cemetery has been managed by the German War Graves Commission since the 1950s. This Thursday, The History Underground has published an interesting video visiting this cemetery:

You can see here some screenshots of the video, which begins with the monument that remembers the place occupied by the provisional American cemetery. The flags of the United States and Belgium fly on it. It includes a Cross representing the fallen Christians and a Star of David representing the Jews.

The sign indicating the German cemetery, written in German and French (Bastogne is in the French-speaking region of Wallonia).

In this cemetery there are six names for each cross, three on each side, indicating the soldiers who are buried in that place. In many cases the only thing that is read is the phrase "Ein Deutscher soldat" (A German soldier), alluding to the soldiers who could not be identified.

In this tomb we see a curiosity: it is a Frigate Captain of the Kriesgmarine, the German Navy. Fritz Breithaupt was a German sailor born in 1892, awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, one of the highest German decorations. He died on December 25, 1944 in Longchamps, France, when the plane in which he was flying was shot down.

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