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Commemorations of the Battle of the Bulge at Cobru and Recogne

Introduction

Along the years, the event Recogne-Cobru has become one of the major historical re-enactment of World War II in Europe. The growing commitment of hundreds of re-enactors and thousands of onlookers coming from all backgrounds is one of the best proof of its tangible success. The yearbook 2015 of the XXst century living history groups of this current magazine did not hesitate to note it as a « must see/participate » date in the calendar of major events.
This popular enthusiasm was proven once more at the occasion of the commemoration of the 70st anniversary of the “Battle of the Bulge”. It must be said that the scope of the 2014 edition was exceptional. During the weekend of last December 12, 13 and 14, 2014 no less than 320 re-enactors - coming from all over Europe and even from the United States - animated with dignity the villages of Recogne and Cobru, occupied respectively by the Americans and Germans. The 1944 ambiance immersion was enhanced by the participation of dozens of vintage vehicles (wheeled or caterpillars) among them one M24 Chaffe, M36 Jackson, and a Polish replica of the famous German tank Panther. But the highlight of the event was without hesitation the re-enactment of the battle of December 1944 and January 1945 organized on Sunday morning.
It is under radiant sunrays, in a white snow powder coated field, complemented by here and there haze that the show took place with a well lubricated 4 years experience scenario. For over more than one hour, the German offensive led place to an American counter offensive, ending in street combats inside Recogne, enhanced by blank shots, smoke and various pyrotechnic effects (among them, the destruction of artificially planted fir trees). The show was narrated by Mr Evrard, Henry de Frahan, and Van Boeckel (we take this opportunity to thank them once again). The 6.500 spectators (official source) applause toward the end was the best testimony of the show performance quality.
Despite this fantastic popular success, the organizing association, Ardennes Memories (composed of the Duty First and HMRA associations as well as the participating village associations), has decided to cease organizing the event. At least for the moment. Why such a decision? A way too heavy structure resting under the shoulders of too few volunteers, pillars of the event. Anyway, we wish to thank warmly all the people, whom near or far, contributed to our cause to make this event the success we know. First and foremost the City of Bastogne, without forgetting all the sponsors. But nothing would have been possible without the active participation of the following re-enacting associations: 6th Cavalery Group, ARM, Big Red One Poland, DAAO, GRH 101 Airborn, GRH 39-45, GRH les Grenadiers du Rhin, HRG Regiment 2, IG 198ID, Indian Head, KVH Carpathia, Le Collimateur, Les groupes de Jef K. de Philippe P. et du Sgt. Baker, Les Lyonnais, Les Lufteaux (not present in 2014), Normandy Memory Club, SRH AA7, Les Varans, et Verlaine 59. To all, we want to express our immense gratitude for their dedication and professionalism.
And as every tale must have a happy ending, we wish that we will all meet again very soon for other events equally grandiose.

On behalf of Ardennes Memories asbl
FX Jordens
President


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