It was not generally known until long afterwards that the object of this move was to allow the Worcestershire Battalion a period of special training prior to committing it as part of the force to make the assault on the Siegfried Line on 9th January 1945. The Recce Party procured billets in Tilburg and the Battalion moved off from Brunssum to occupy them at 09.00 hours on the 18th December.
In Tilburg the location of the billets were in the streets around the “Cavalerie Kazerne” which were the Cavalry Barracks situated in the south west part of the town. The section of the map on the next page was that used by the Battalion at the time and shows the location areas of the individual Company billets, as marked up by Lieutenant Rex Fellows (‘B’ Company).
It was expected that the Battalion would have a month out of the line devoted to training. However, news came in that Von Rundstedt had launched a full scale mechanised offensive through the Ardennes, aimed at splitting the American 9th and 1st Armies, cutting across the southern part of Belgium.
After only a short stay in Tilburg the Worcestershire Battalion was ordered to concentrate hastily in the Belgian town of Bilzen (19th December). Troop Carrying Vehicles arrived outside their billets the men quickly jumped on and were on there way south.
It was whilst in Tilburg that the Battalion found itself directly under the flight path of the V1 ‘flying bombs’ directed on Antwerp. They came over the town at night in regular half hour intervals.
Von Rundstedt's last throw in the form of his Ardennes Offensive had caused the best-laid plans of the General Staff to go slightly astray. So it was that the Battalion were to wait in reserve at Bilzen with the rest of 214 Brigade.
It must be confessed that the Allies had now been pushing back the Germans for so long that for a while no one really took the Ardennes Offensive seriously. By the 20th December, however, it had become apparent that it was a major operation and more than mere tactics. For the Germans the whole issue of the war was at stake.