Hi I'm Martin King. I'm a British Military historian/Author. Thank you for visiting this site. I've been visiting European battlefields for research purposes for about twenty years. I left my job as a lecturer in English literature and European history at the University of Antwerp to focus on researching and writing about individuals and the battlefields on which they served. During my studies I was particularly allured to the Ardennes and the infamous Battle of Bulge because of the remarkable feats of bravery that occurred there. I realized that the actions of certain individuals really could affect the course of history and it's those men that I venerate with this site. Moreover I want to introduce you to them because if only for the sake of posterity their deeds should be kept in the public zeitgeist. The actions of individuals such as Bazooka man Pfc Mason Armstrong, Major Arthur C. Parker, Lt. Charles Boggess and many others demand our attention and lasting respect. These men and their comrades were bona fide American heroes, real heroes who fought with incredible bravery and tenacity in extremely adverse conditions and we owe it to them to remember their deeds with both pride and compassion. I'm often asked to research individual histories of WWII service personnel by surviving relatives and occasionally just by interested parties. Researching the personal histories of veterans and their units is a purely voluntary activity. I thoroughly enjoy the process of pouring over military records, endless enlistment files and databases because it's for a well-defined purpose. The gratitude that I receive for my work is more than sufficient compensation for these activities. One of the reasons that I'm so avid about what I do is because I've had the honor and pleasure of accompanying British, American and German WWII veterans, listening to their firsthand experiences of the actions and seeing the places where they fought. The overriding consideration for me personally when I conduct research is that I'm keeping someone's story alive. They aren't forgotten and never will be as long as certain people such as my self and many others are prepared to go that extra mile and 'find out' what really happened. Very occasionally I visit the actual battlefields and take extreme pleasure in showing people around them. I'm also a qualified linguist, I speak Flemish-Dutch/German and French quite fluently but more importantly I thoroughly enjoy sharing information. I think that the word 'expert' is overused when referring to historians and their ilk, I prefer to use 'well-informed'. Please don't hesitate to contact me personally if you require further information, until which time I remain at your disposal. I look forward to hearing from you.
|The hundred days campaign.|
My son Ashley standing next to the cannonball-in-the-wall fired during the battle of Ligny that preceded Waterloo.
Waterloo was fought in a small area (some 10km by 4km) on the main road leading south from Brussels. The farms of Hougoumont and La Haye Saint can still be visited along with many other incredible sights on and around this famous battlefield.
|The 1917 Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres or simply Third Ypres, was one of the major battles of World War I, fought by British, ANZAC and Canadian soldiers against the German Army. The battle was fought for control of the village of Passendale, (Passchendaele on maps of that time), near the Belgian town of Ypres in West Flanders. There are still trenches in this area along with the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world|
The Hurtgen Forest
|This was taken during a visit to a ‘West Wall' bunker near Schmidt|
The Battle of Hurtgen Forest (German: Schlacht im Hürtgenwald) is the name given to the series of fierce battles fought between the American and German forces during World War II in the Hürtgen forest (or Huertgen forest). The battles took place between September 19, 1944, and February 10, 1945, in a strategically insignificant corridor of barely 50 square miles (129 km²), east of the Belgian-German border. The initial objectives were to take Schmidt, clear Monschau, advance to the Roer and Rhine rivers, and take control of the dams located there. As the battle progressed, the American commanders appeared to lose sight of these objectives. I always consult my notable colleague Mr. Ludwig Fischer when I visit this place. He lived in Schmidt during the battle and always gives that added extra bit of information. His friend discovered the body of a G.I. from the 28th Division in his back garden a couple of years ago.
Operation 'Market Garden'
|This veteran took part in both D-Day and Operation ‘Market Garden' and lived to tell the tale.|
The tactical objectives of operation Market Garden (September 17-September 25, 1944) were to secure a series of bridges over the main rivers of the German-occupied Netherlands by large-scale use of airborne forces together with a rapid advance by armoured units along the connecting roads, for the strategic purpose of allowing an Allied crossing of the Rhine river, the last major natural barrier to an advance into Germany. The operation was initially successful with the capture of the Waal bridge at Nijmegen on 20 September, but was a failure overall as the final Rhine bridge at Arnhem was never taken, and the British 1st Airborne Division was destroyed in the ensuing combat. The Rhine would remain a barrier to the Allied advance until the Allied Offensives in March 1945. The defeat of Allied forces at Arnhem is considered the last major German victory of the Western Campaign. From Hells Highway to Arnhem there are some great battlefield sights in this part of Holland.
The Eagles Nest Berchtesgaden
|Visit the breathtakingly beautiful area of Berchtesgaden and see some amazing WWII sites in the company of a renowned Flemish expert. He'll arrange accommodation in a classic Bavarian B&B and give you an in-depth historical tour of the whole region. You'll need three or four days for this one but it'll be worthwhile. Apart from the historical aspects you'll be able to marvel at the incredible scenery and enjoy the unspoiled surroundings.|
A real American hero
|James Hanney and friends digging in on the Prumerberg ridge. Within hours the snow would fall heavily and they'd be attacked by the well armed 18th German Volksgrenadier regiment. It was minus 28c on that ridge and 62 years later the foxhole that he dug is still there.|
The Bulge Today
|This magnificent King Tiger is outside the War Museum at La Glieze. It took a direct hit and still has the 25-pounder shell lodged in the front. Apparently that didn't stop it...|
Today there are still many incredible sites worth visiting in the Ardennes. The actual foxholes dug by E company during the siege of Bastogne are still visible. There are the museums, battlefield relics, and of course spectacular scenery. I'd be honored to show you around. Photo taken by Michael W. Morris Jr. Click for zoom
|American War memorial in Bastogne|
|the last resting place of Gen. George S Patton at Hamm cemetery Luxembourg.|
Click for zoom
|A Panther Tank Ausf G in Grand Menhil nearby Manhay. This one is still in relatively good condition. Photo taken by Michael W. Morris Jr.|
Click for zoom
|This M3A3 Sherman 'Barracuda' stands on the corner of McAuliffe Square in Bastogne.|
Through the years many thousands of visitors to Bastogne have seen the tank in the corner of the McAuliffe Square and marvelled at the damage that was inflicted by a German 88mm on this vehicle. The tank was nicknamed the ‘Barracuda' and was part of B Company 41st Tank Battalion 11th Armored division. Well now it's time to meet the crew.
1/ T/4 Andrew Urda: Driver 1921-1979
2/ Sergeant Wallace Alexander: Tank Commander 1922- 945 KIA
3/Corporal Cecil Peterman: Gunner 1920-2000
4/Pfc Dage Herbert: Loader 1911-1992
5/Pfc Ivan Goldstein: Bow Gunner 1925-Still living
To most visitors it's just an old Sherman M4A3 with some battle scars but during the Battle of the inside of that tank was home to those five brave men. The tank was hit near Renaumont, a few kilometres west of Bastogne, on December 30 1944. It had been separated from its unit, together with another tank from the same unit. Barracuda got stuck in a snow covered pond and some German grenades disabled it. On the portside of the tank there's a hole caused by a German shell. The ensuing explosion wounded Cpl. Cecil Peterman and Pfc. Dage Herbert. Commander Sgt Wallace Alexander died of his wounds a few days later and his body was never recovered. After their wounds had been treated by German medics Herbert and Peterman spent the rest of the war in captivity at Stalag XIIA. The remaining two crew members Urda and Goldstein were unhurt but they also ended up as POW's in Stalag XIIA. Because Goldstein and Urda were Jewish they were forced to endure hard labor. These two men made a pact to watch each other's backs for the duration. Luckily they both survived but Urda was so traumatized by his experiences that he never mentioned the war again. Goldstein moved to Israel where he still lives today.
Now the next time you look at that tank or even if you're seeing it for the first time think about these men.
|foxholes dug by the 168th Combat Eng. Bat and can still be seen on the Prumerberg Ridge east of St. Vith. Temperatures fell to below -28c while those men defended that ridge against repeated attacks from the 18 Volksgrenadier regt.|
Click for zoom
|Easy/506 occupied positions in Bois Jacques where these foxholes can be seen today .|
About a half a mile beyond those trees is the village of Foy. Click for zoom
|This 45ton Panther was dragged out of the river Ourthe in Houffalize.Photo taken by Michael W. Morris Jr.|
Click for zoom
Malmedy Massacre site Baugnez
|The site of the Malmedy Massacre. Well it's very close to the site. The memorial is in Baugnez about 3 miles down the road from Malmedy|
Man of steel
|This plaque is dedicated to Pfc Mason Armstrong. These men were a different breed.|
Photo taken by Michael W. Morris Jr. Click for zoom