General Hasso Eccard von Manteuffel’s Forward Command Post Message Center
Also known as Henri's CP, this old farm in Eselborn belongs to the Zangerlé family and has functioned as one of Gen. Mantueffel's messaging centers throughout the frontlines of the Ardennes Offensive. Only a few days after the offensive began, the German forces had a firm grip on the Northern Luxembourg land once again. This area was the spearhead rush of the 2nd Panzer Division, 26th Volksgrenadier Division followed by reserve troops of the Panzer Lehr. After passing through Eselborn and Lentzweiler the 2nd Panzer engaged in an intense fight to the death with the CCR 9th armored attachment to the 28th Division, Task Force Rose, (Capt. Lyle K. Rose) at Antoniushof, 7 US tanks of Sherman and lightweight Stuarts were taken out. What was left and could get out retreated to Allerborn/Houffalieze/Bastogne to Task Force Harper (Lt. Col Ralph S. Harper) at the Feitsch crossroads only to be completely defeated.
Manteuffel established a forward command post at the Wolfshof farm, in with that a messaging center was established in Eselborn at the Zangerlé farm. This farm after the war had plenty of first hands witnessed events and documentation left behind to confirm its history. Mrs. Zangerlé was a young girl at the time that the house was occupied by Germans, and bear witness to the evening that the village was about to be liberated on 23 January 1945. On 22 January elements of the 28th Cavalry Squadron (attached to the 26th Yankee Division) left Weicherdange and were now on the outskirts of Eselborn, artillery and rocket fire from P-47, most likely, XIX Tactical Air Force(XIX TAC) 21 January were put to business, flushing out the last German occupants.
One of the soldiers that occupied the house that early evening was not so lucky as witnessed by Mrs.Zangerlé. She had just been told to go to bed and went upstairs to her room, within minutes of going up the stairs and past one of the German sentries sitting on the stairs, a huge explosion hit in the back of the house sending hot steel ripping through the walls and window. In an instant, the young German soldier was cut down where he sat. By sheer luck or divine happening, Mrs.Zangerlé escaped the same result. It is thought that there was a German radio transmission truck, Henschel Kfz-72 maybe was sitting behind the house that was the intended target.
This barn bares the scares of high velocity flying shrapnel from the day of freedom.
Evidence of hot steel penetrating the metal covering of the barn, leaving there "highlighted" markings.
The living room of the house served as the messaging center between frontline activity and the Manteuffel Command post just 550 meters across the town in the Wolfshof farm. The family has many of the artifacts left by those former occupiers and now serves as a testament to history. On occasion, Manteuffel would visit the communication center and delegate from there.
Out front of the house sits a runner’s bicycle mad by NSU (Neckarsulm) in which Bavarian town they are from, made in 1940, this all-steel heavy pedal machine was capable of carrying 40kg on the bike rack. Also parked in front of the message center is a 1939 BMW with a sidecar. Both machines were used in running messages of vital importance to the effort for advancement. Within the message center, one artifact on the center table is a saucer cup and utensils used by the General himself.
The farm is just one small piece of the bigger picture of the Battle of the Bulge and forever a location of historic actions contributing to the complete story. Thanks to Henri and his very helpful and friendly family for allowing the story told.
End of message