THE TANK ACCIDENT ON THE ALZETTE BRIDGE

  • Gedenk-Zeremonie Panzer-Unglueck

    Gedenk-Zeremonie: vor 75 Jahren passierte der Panzer-Unfall in Hesperingen

    (Grafik von Christian Pettinger)

  • Gedenk-Zeremonie Panzer-Unglueck 1

    Gedenk-Zeremonie: vor 75 Jahren passierte der Panzer-Unfall in Hesperingen

    (Foto von Laurent Blum)

  • Gedenk-Zeremonie Panzer-Unglueck 2

    Gedenk-Zeremonie: vor 75 Jahren passierte der Panzer-Unfall in Hesperingen

    (Foto von Laurent Blum)

  • Gedenk-Zeremonie Panzer-Unglueck 3

    Gedenk-Zeremonie: vor 75 Jahren passierte der Panzer-Unfall in Hesperingen

    (Foto von Laurent Blum)

  • Gedenk-Zeremonie Panzer-Unglueck 5

    Gedenk-Zeremonie: vor 75 Jahren passierte der Panzer-Unfall in Hesperingen

    (Foto von Laurent Blum)

  • Gedenk-Zeremonie Panzer-Unglueck 6

    Gedenk-Zeremonie: vor 75 Jahren passierte der Panzer-Unfall in Hesperingen

    (Foto von Laurent Blum)

  • Gedenk-Zeremonie Panzer-Unglueck 4

    Gedenk-Zeremonie: vor 75 Jahren passierte der Panzer-Unfall in Hesperingen

    (Foto von Roland Schumacher)

Memorial ceremonie on the morning of decembre, 26th 2019 in Hesperange in presence of Mayor Marc Lies, aldermen Georges Beck and Diane Adehm, member of the local council Henri Pleimling and members of the Geschichtsfrënn an der Gemeng Hesper to remember the sacrifice of the three American soldiers of the 10th Armored Division, Cpl Lewis W. Meade, Cpl James G. Russ, Tec 4 Isidore M. Vasko, who gave their lives in a tragic tank accident on the bridge in Hesperange on December 26th, 1944. Their sacrifice shall not be forgotten 75 years later.


lt was bitterly cold on the morning of December 26th, 1944 (St. Stephen's Day), in spite of bright sunshine. The ground was frozen hard. For several days, American Forces had been rolling through Hesperange towards the North of the country to intervene in the Battle of the Bulge. Since December 16th, 1944, American units had been engaged in fierce defensive action with the last reserve troops of the German army.

lt was around a quarter to ten. The bells of our parish church had rung for mass the second time. American tanks were rolling continuously over the temporary wooden bridge towards Luxembourg City, while other vehicles were departing south. The tank drivers had to maneuver carefully to avoid touching each other on the bridge. Although the lanes roadway on the bridge had been separated from the footbridges on either side by heavy horizontal beams, the driver of one of the tanks coming from the City made the mistake of driving onto the right-hand footbridge.

One of the men in the tank was standing up in the turret and was just taking a drink from a canteen when the heavy vehicle tipped to the right, broke through the thin floorboards of the footbridge and fell with a loud crash into the Alzette River. Traffic stopped immediately, and in no time, the crews of the following tanks had leapt from their vehicles, hurried across the frozen marshland to reach the Alzette and waded through the water in an attempt to help. A few seconds later the first crew member emerged from the icy waters. His eyes revealed his horror and fright. Screaming and crying, he was wading around the tank when a second crewmember came up out of the water. Holding on to each other, the two men moved toward the bank. They were to be the only survivors.

The tank was resting on its turret and only the driver and the tank commander had been able to free themselves. Despite desperate efforts, the helpers were only able to open the escape hatch on the bottom of the tank some time later. Their endeavors were in vain, for they could only recover the dead body of one of their comrades from the interior of the tank. He had lost consciousness in the crash and had drowned in the oil leaking from the engine and the intruding river water.

Later two army cranes managed to right the tank and drag it to "Onnerklaus" (nearby field name) to remove the remaining two victims from the turret.

They had survived the Battle of the Bulge; the sound of our church bells was their death knell. Far from home they gave their lives for the freedom of Europe.

(based on a report by Paul Keller)

 Hesper4
2018 Einladung Einweihung Hesper Nord
2018 Einladung Familienchronik der Gemeinde Hesperingen

Hesperange

Ende September (2016) kamen einige Lehrer des Lycée de Garçons Esch-sur-Alzette unter der Leitung von Nory Gruber nach Hesperingen, wohin sie ihr Arbeitskollege Roland Schumacher eingeladen hatte. Nach einer herzlichen Begrüßung im Rathaus im Namen der Gemeinde durch den Schöffen Roby Leven nahm die Gruppe den Lehrpfad Hesperingen-Süd, Alzingen und Fentingen in Angriff, den die Geschichtsfrënn vun der Gemeng Hesper zusammen mit der Gemeindeverwaltung erstellt haben. Der 6,9 Kilometer lange Fußmarsch bei sonnigem Wetter durch Natur und Wohngegend vermittelte den Teilnehmern eindrucksvolle Momente der kulturhistorischen Sehenswürdigkeiten der Gemeinde, wobei ein kleiner Vortrag in der Pfarrkirche Fentingen sicherlich einen Höhepunkt darstellte. Am Abend beschloss ein gemütliches Essen im Restaurant Jardin Gourmand in Hesperingen die interessante Wanderung.

Lehrpfad 001b