A short introduction...
This webpage was first created in 2008.
Welcome to this website dedicated to the 106th Infantry Division. My name is Carl Wouters.
Born in 1988 in Belgium, I have always had a keen interest in the history of WWII and especially the Battle of the Bulge. Since Belgium is a relatively small country, the historic Ardennes are within reach. I have been regularly visiting the area since the late 1990ies. I first came in contact with the 106th Division memorial at St. Vith while on a school trip in the area around 2003. Ever since I have been researching the Division.
The history of the Golden Lion division is often overlooked and exists only in the limelight of the Battle for Bastogne. Not taking away any credit of the defense of Bastogne or the men and women who served there, from a historical perspective the battle for St. Vith was much more important, both to the Germans and the Americans. To have a chance of succes, the German timetable necessitated the town of St. Vith to be in German hands by 17 December 1944. History shows that they were only able to take the town till 21 December and by that time their offensive had lost its drive. This was thanks to the courage of the men of the 106th Infantry Division and its attached units.
Poor attempts by some dubious military history writers such as Charles Whiting's "Death of a Division" have portrayed a very negative image of the officers and men of the Golden Lion Division. His biased portrayel of the men of the 106th as a group of men who fled their positions in face of the enemy was extremey short-sighted and just plain wrong. Anyone who studies the true history of the Division knows that these men performed valiantly in face of overwhelming odds and that some of its units in the Eifel were only overcome by factors above their control. The remnants of the Divison fought on.
A total of seven men were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery in face of the enemy. The men who were captured faced another grim side of the war in the German prisoner camps. Many died from bombs, disease, malnutrition or at the brutality of their guards. Hundreds are still buried in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands as a testimony to their courage and ultimate sacrifice.
All men of the 106th Infantry Division deserve our respect and admiration. With this website I hope to help set the record straight and honor the Allied soldiers who helped to liberate Europe from the Nazi tyrrany. We are forever indebted to them.
As Belgium Liaison for the 106th Infantry Division Association I encourage all to visit the former battlefields of the Golden Lions and enjoy all good things that Belgium has to offer. You will see that we have not forgotten our liberators.
“Golden Lions, to make history is our aim!”
I hope you enjoy the website....
A message of appreciation to the 106th Division Association
3 January 2017
Dear members of the Board of Directors,
First of all my very best wishes to you for the New Year. May this year bring you good health, joy and many blessings. Now that the busy holiday season has ended, I would like to take the opportunity to adress a word of appreciation to you and the Association.
The commemoration ceremonies on 17 December 2016 were well attended and it was good to see so many people with a genuine interest in the Division's history present. Flower wreaths in name of the Association were placed at the Division Memorial in St. Vith, the Rencheux Bridge memorial in Vielsalm and at Parker’s Crossroads. The day was topped off with a wonderful dinner party at the Auberge du Carrefour on the Baraque de Fraiture, where veterans, families and friends of the 106th will always have a home. Bernadette, her daughter Esmeralda and the rest of their staff did a wonderful job, as usual.
It was at the Auberge where we were genuinely caught by suprise by the great honor of being bestowed with the Order of the Golden Lion. Words cannot begin to express how I feel personally, and I'm pretty sure this applies to the other awardees (Doug Mitchell and Bernadette Lengler as well as André Hubert, though due to illness he was in absentia). Humbled, honored and thankful are only a few of the apt feelings I can convey. To join a line of recipients, whom we all have long admired and respected is a great honor indeed. The Golden Lions are in our hearts and we are lucky to be a part of this wonderful worldwide family.
This prestigious award of the Order of the Golden Lion and the legacy that comes with it greatly encourages us to continue to perpetuate the history of the 106th Infantry Division here in Europe. Yet, what we do to remember the sacrifices made during the winter of 1944-1945 are just small ways of expressing our gratitude towards the men and women of the Greatest Generation, to whom we are indebted so much. We owe the veterans of the Division our everlasting gratitude.
Wishing you all the very best for 2017!
Warm regards from Belgium,