Visiting Dasbourg-Pont, Luxembourg and the Our River: Hamlet in the Grand Duchy of Military Significance in 1945
Some history and military logistics; & General Patton
As the Battle of the Bulge raged in early 1945, when Allied — particularly American — troops checked and repulsed the von Rundstedt Offensive, this small hamlet in Luxembourg on the Our River took on military significance.
It was here that the 249th Engineer Combat Division, attached to the 4th Armored Division of the 3rd Army built a bridge to cross the Our River, a sometimes meandering water course, through often difficult terrain, in the north of the Grand Duchy. In February 1945, Company C of the 249th Division erected what is known as a Bailey bridge across the Our (1).
So why was this symbolically so important (and practically, also)?
It was because the building of this bridge made it possible for forces of the American Third Army in the locality to cross into the adjacent area of Germany. Leading those forces was the often larger-than-life, outspoken, undeniably irascible but undoubtedly distinguished General George S. Patton (2).
General Patton was buried on Luxembourg soil; he died in Germany after the end of World War Two later in 1945, and was interred at the American Military Cemetery, Hamm, near Luxembourg City (see below).
Interestingly, after World War Two, some German territory east of the Our River was annexed to Luxembourg for a few years, before the Luxembourg government had a change of heart about the matter and reversed its stance.
The Our River rises in Belgium, and then forms the border between that country and Germany; it subsequently forms the border between Luxembourg and Germany (there is also a small area of Luxembourg which is situated on the east bank of the river). It finally flows into the Sûre (Létzebuergesch and German: Sauer ), which then continues the demarcation of the Luxembourg-German border. The Our River has a total length of 78 kilometres; and, according to the comparative sizes of the three countries where it is situated, for Luxembourg is it thus one of the Grand Duchy's major rivers.
The hamlet of Dasbourg-Pont (Létzebuergesch: Dosberbréck ; German: Dasburgerbrueck ) is situated in the municipality of Parc Hosingen (Létzebuergesch: Parc Housen ; German: Park Hosingen ), in the northern area of Luxembourg known as the Oesling (in French and German; Létzebuergesch: Éislek ).
Spelling note about the Our River: the name Our is used equally between French, Létzebuergesch (designated the national language of Luxembourg) and German, although purists in German can point to 'Ur' as the former German spelling, which, however, has fallen into disuse.
October 19, 2012
(1) Source: Chris Brock, 'Morristown veteran receives hero's welcome in Luxembourg', Watertown Daily Times, November 9, 2010, http://wdt.net/article/20101109/CURR04/101109813
(2) A military museum is named for General George Patton (1880-1945) at Ettelbruck, Luxembourg (see below).
Also worth seeing
Hamm Cemetery , Luxembourg (distance: 65 kilometres), where General George S. Patton and a total of 5,076 American soldiers (many of whom fell during the Battle of the Bulge) are buried.
Ettelbruck , Luxembourg (distance: 29 kilometres) has the General George Patton Memorial Museum
Dasburg , Germany: (distance: approx. 1 kilometre) has the ruins of a Medieval castle.
How to get there: The nearest large international airport to Dasbourg-Pont is Luxembourg (Aéroport de Luxembourg ), at Findel, from where car rental is available. For North American travellers making the London, England area their touring base, airlines flying to Luxembourg include Luxair (from London Heathrow Airport and London City Airport) and CityJet (from London City Airport). Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.