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La Gleize

14km (9 miles) S of Spa

Sad to relate, but the main claim to fame of this village -- other than a scenic location -- is that it got blown to bits in December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge. The fighting here was as important to the eventual U.S. victory in the Ardennes as the better-known struggle at Bastogne. La Gleize is on N633.

Spearheading the entire German offensive, Kampfgruppe Peiper, a powerful battle group from the 1st SS Panzer Division (Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler), under Oberstürmbannführer Joachim Peiper, broke through the thin American front in the Losheim Gap. Peiper's tanks and armored infantry smashed up rear-echelon units, and then drove west through Stavelot to Trois Ponts, where an American engineer detachment blew up the vital bridges over the Amblève in their faces. After penetrating deeper into the Amblève valley, the battle group was finally brought to bay at La Gleize, cut off, and pounded relentlessly by artillery. Just 800 of Peiper's 6,000-strong force, minus all their tanks and other heavy equipment, made it back to German lines.

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