Bastogne

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Bastogne
Bastenaken  (Dutch)
Bastenach  (German)
Municipality
Bastogne Rue du Sablon R01.jpg
Flag of Bastogne
Flag
Coat of arms of Bastogne
Coat of arms
Bastogne is located in Belgium
Bastogne
Bastogne
Location in Belgium
Location of Bastogne in Luxembourg province
Bastogne Luxembourg Belgium Map.png
Coordinates: 50°0.25′N 05°43.2′E / 50.00417°N 5.7200°E / 50.00417; 5.7200Coordinates: 50°0.25′N 05°43.2′E / 50.00417°N 5.7200°E / 50.00417; 5.7200
CountryBelgium
CommunityFrench Community
RegionWallonia
ProvinceLuxembourg
ArrondissementBastogne
Government
 • MayorBenoît Lutgen
 • Governing party/iescdH
Area
 • Total172.03 km2 (66.42 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2017)[1]
 • Total15,737
 • Density91/km2 (240/sq mi)
Postal codes6600
Area codes061
Websitewww.bastogne.be

Bastogne (French pronunciation: ​[bas.tɔɲ], Dutch: Bastenaken, German: Bastnach or Bastenach, Luxembourgish: Baaschtnech) is a Walloon municipality of Belgium located in the province of Luxembourg in the Ardennes. The municipality of Bastogne includes the old communes of Longvilly, Noville, Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, and Wardin. The town is situated on a ridge in the Ardennes at an elevation of 510 metres (1,670 ft).

History[edit]

At the time of the Roman conquest the region of Bastogne was inhabited by the Treveri, a tribe of Gauls. A form of the name Bastogne was first mentioned only much later, in 634, when the local lord ceded these territories to the St Maximin's Abbey, near Trier. A century later, the Bastogne area went to the nearby Prüm Abbey. The town of Bastogne and its marketplace are again mentioned in an 887 document. By the 13th century, Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor and count of Luxemburg, was minting coins in Bastogne. In 1332, John the Blind, his son, granted the city its charter and had it encircled by defensive walls, part of which, the current Porte de Trèves, still exists. In 1451, the lands of the county of Luxemburg were absorbed into the Duchy of Burgundy and as a result, Bastogne became part of the lands of the Spanish Crown when the Burgundian heir Charles became king of Spain in 1516.

The city's walls were quite effective at protecting it during the troubled times that followed. The city's economy actually flourished thanks to the renown of its agricultural and cattle fairs. The walls repelled a Dutch attack successfully in 1602. In 1688, they were dismantled by order of King Louis XIV when the town was occupied by French forces during the Nine Years War.

The 19th century and Belgium's independence were favourable to Bastogne, as its forest products and cattle fairs became better known abroad. Several railway lines were built to link it to the neighbouring towns. This all came to an end with the German occupation during World War I.

World War II[edit]

Liberated by the Allies in September 1944, Bastogne was attacked by German forces a few months later. Hitler's plan was to regain control of the Ardennes, splitting British from American forces, then advance to and reoccupy the strategic port of Antwerp and cut off the key Allied supply line. On 16 December, taking advantage of cold and fog, German artillery initiated the Battle of the Bulge attacking the American divisions deployed sparsely around Bastogne. A few days later, Brigadier General McAuliffe and the 101st Airborne Division along with elements of the 10th Armored Division (United States) and the 82nd Airborne Division, arrived to counter-attack but, after heavy fighting, became encircled within the town. On 22 December German emissaries asked for the American surrender, to which the General answered tersely, “Nuts!” The next day the skies cleared, allowing Allied air forces to retaliate and to drop much needed food, medicine, and weaponry to ground forces. On 26 December the Third U.S. Army, under the command of General Patton, arrived and broke the siege. The official end of the Battle of Bastogne occurred three weeks later, when all fighting in the area ceased.

Bastogne is the terminus of the Liberty Road (France), the commemorative way that marks the path of liberating Allied forces, and of the Third Army that subsequently relieved Bastogne.

Geography[edit]

The municipality of Bastogne comprises five sections (Bastogne proper, Longvilly, Noville, Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, and Wardin) which were separate municipalities before a merger in 1977. Each contains a number of villages.

Climate[edit]

Bastogne has an oceanic climate similar to the remainder of Belgium, but with more continental influences due to it being inland and elevated in comparison to lowland areas nearer the Atlantic. In spite of this the winters are heavily moderated for its latitude and although snowfall and frosts are common, means remain just above freezing.

Climate data for Bastogne (1981–2010 normals; sunshine 1984–2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 3.1
(37.6)
4.2
(39.6)
8.2
(46.8)
12.1
(53.8)
16.3
(61.3)
19.1
(66.4)
21.4
(70.5)
21.1
(70)
17.2
(63)
12.7
(54.9)
7.0
(44.6)
3.8
(38.8)
12.3
(54.1)
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.3
(32.5)
0.8
(33.4)
4.1
(39.4)
7.1
(44.8)
11.3
(52.3)
14.1
(57.4)
16.3
(61.3)
15.9
(60.6)
12.5
(54.5)
8.8
(47.8)
4.2
(39.6)
1.3
(34.3)
8.2
(46.8)
Average low °C (°F) −2.4
(27.7)
−2.7
(27.1)
0.0
(32)
2.2
(36)
6.3
(43.3)
9.0
(48.2)
11.2
(52.2)
10.7
(51.3)
7.8
(46)
5.1
(41.2)
1.4
(34.5)
−1.2
(29.8)
4.0
(39.2)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 104.9
(4.13)
83.2
(3.276)
86.9
(3.421)
68.5
(2.697)
78.5
(3.091)
79.4
(3.126)
76.9
(3.028)
81.9
(3.224)
78.7
(3.098)
91.4
(3.598)
90.0
(3.543)
105.5
(4.154)
1,025.8
(40.386)
Average precipitation days 14.4 12.3 14.4 10.8 12.1 11.7 11.9 11.1 11.1 12.8 14.5 15.2 152.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 43 70 117 165 193 194 212 200 140 100 46 34 1,513
Source: Royal Meteorological Institute [2]

Sights[edit]

St. Pierre Church
The Mardasson Memorial to soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944
  • The 101st Airborne Museum [3] includes dioramas and more about the experiences of soldiers and civilians during the siege of the city during World War II.
  • The Bastogne Barracks [4] museum is free and operated by the Belgian Army. It is located in the barracks used as the headquarters of the U.S. 101st Airborne during the Siege of Bastogne. It features an extensive collection of restored tanks and military vehicles as well as a guided tour of the underground barracks and artifacts from U.S., German and British forces. The base ("caserne") is about 5 blocks from the Place de St. Pierre. The museum includes the basement office where General McAuliffe issued the famous "Nuts!" response to the German demand for surrender. Other rooms display artillery, small arms, radio and medical equipment. Belgian Army specialists guide visitors through the base.
  • The Bastogne War Museum has many war artifacts and videos recreating the experience of the Battle of the Bulge for visitors.
  • The Porte de Trèves, part of the defensive walls that had been erected in the 14th century by John the Blind, can still be seen.
  • The Romanesque tower of St Pierre church and its baptismal fonts also date from the Middle Ages.
  • The Mardasson Memorial, was erected near Bastogne in 1950 to honor the memory of American soldiers wounded or killed during the Battle of the Bulge.
  • Monuments to Brigadier General McAuliffe, General Patton and others can be found around town.
  • Recogne German war cemetery, 6 km to the North. Contains the graves of 6,807 German soldiers.

Folklore[edit]

The key character of all legends about Bastogne is the so-called piche-cacaye.[5] This is pronounced pish-cackay.

Transportation[edit]

Bastogne originally had an NMBS/SNCB railway line connecting it to Libramont and to Gouvy. Passenger trains to Gouvy stopped in 1984 [6] and in the 1990s the line to Libramont was taken out of service.[7][8] The two station buildings in Bastogne remain, but are now used for other purposes. Part of the rail line has been converted into a cycle path. However, two bus stations are now open in Bastogne, according to SNCB: Bastogne Nord and Bastonge Sud. The short line that runs is only a rural shuttle line from Bastogne Nord to Libramont stopping only at Bastogne Sud.

Sports[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Population per municipality as of 1 January 2017 (XLS; 397 KB)
  2. ^ "Klimaatstatistieken van de Belgische gemeenten" (PDF) (in Dutch). Royal Meteorological Institute. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  3. ^ www.101airbornemuseumbastogne.com Archived May 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ www.facebook.com/pages/Bastogne-Barracks
  5. ^ "Syndicat d'Initiative de Bastogne, The Piches Cacayes". Retrieved 30 August 2009.
  6. ^ Études et Documentation Ferroviaires - rail.lu
  7. ^ Belgian Line News 1995
  8. ^ Belgian Branch Line News 2000

External links[edit]