Malmedy Massacre

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ZackdeBlanc
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Malmedy Massacre

Postby ZackdeBlanc » 28 May 2003 04:56

What exactly happened at Malmedy during the Ardennes Offensive? I mean, I know some POWs were massacred but how many were killed? And, what was the reason for the killing?


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Chadwick
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Malmedy Massacre

Postby Chadwick » 28 May 2003 05:46

The Malmedy Massacre occured on December 17, 1944 when 72 American soldiers captured by a German S.S. unit (Led by Lietenant-Colonel Joachim Peiper) south of the Ardennes town of Malmedy, "were led into an open field, lined up, and machine-gunned." Roughly twelve of the men escaped and managed to hide in a nearby cafe. The Germans surrounded the cafe, set it on fire, and then shot the men as they fled from the flames. There were also several other massacres by the same SS unit, at ten other places along its line of march, at least 308 American soldiers and in excess of 100 Belgian civilians were killed after being captured or arrested. One example occured on December 19 near Stavelot. SS members killed 130 Belgian civilians; 47 women, 23 children, and 67 men, whom they systematically executed on the charge of sheltering U.S. soldiers.
News of the Malmedy and other reported massacres spread quickly throughout Allied ranks. The news not only stiffened Allied resistance, but also led to reprisals against German soldiers. On Dec. 21 at Chenogne, as German soldiers emerged from a burning house carrying a Red Cross flag, they were shot down in the doorway by U.S. troops. Twenty-one German soldiers were killed in this instance.

Chadwick

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Peter H
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Postby Peter H » 28 May 2003 06:20

The actor Charles Durning was one of the survivors--- "Durning landed at Omaha Beach in the D-Day invasion. He survived the landing, but was wounded in an ambush during the Battle of the Bulge. He was captured, escaped, and narrowly missed death at the Malmedy Massacre. He won three Purple Hearts and the Silver Star. He still carries his memories and battle fatigue to this day".


A recent article on the incident can be found here:

http://www.historynet.com/wwii/blmassacreatmalmedy/

ChristopherPerrien
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Postby ChristopherPerrien » 28 May 2003 22:36

I really do not like to say this because I definety despise the SS guys who
killed POWs, However it is possile that the civilians executed may have been executed within the rules of war if they were in fact "aiding the enemy".

Sad but true,

I will chech the link, perhaps comment more

James
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Postby James » 29 May 2003 00:33

If you are interested in alleged German mistreatment of American POW's--even those captured in the last months of the war when defeat seemed inevitable--I do recommend to you the documentary on the Berga camp I mentioned in another post. It is on American television tonight (PBS) and from the information on the related web site, it looks to be very compelling.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/berga/

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Postby Hasso » 31 May 2003 04:03

Christoph, even if they were aiding and abetting the enemy, do you honestly believes this justifies the execution of that many civilians (let alone a single one)? 23 children, Christoph. What possible crime could 23 Belgian children have done to neccessitate this brutal execution?

Plus, they are Belgians, they are not German citizens, and they had already been liberated by the Allies. That's a pretty broad definition of aiding and abetting if in fact the Germans used this as a pretext.

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Postby ChristopherPerrien » 31 May 2003 04:22

No I can't codone the killing of children.
Killing children is a war crime just like killing POW's.
And rightly it should be. Children cannot aid the enemy
and be responsible for it.
But killing people(adults) who aid the enemy that is ok.
No better than spies or a host of other actions that can get
you executed as one.
Now the fact that they killed children along with adults would lead me to believe that all of these people were innocent. In that case it is all murder.


Since killing POW's is the easiest to prove as a war crime let's just use that and execute all of these "scum"- as I cannot call them soldiers.

I really don't know or think the Geneva conventions cover children.
I guess they never gave thought to how murderous and sadistic some
"scum" can be.

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Postby Einsamer_Wolf » 31 May 2003 07:33

To what extet did Joachim Peiper know of this? I wonder if it was out of sheer bloodlust or because the desperation of the Ardennes offensvie did not allow them to take prisoners.

Einsamer Wolf

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Wolfkin
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Postby Wolfkin » 31 May 2003 08:37

Hey guys!

There was a very good article written for WWII Magazine, in the February 2003 issue, regarding the Malmedy Massacre. I would like to suggest that everyone find this issue and read it. It seems that what most of us have been conditioned to believe, may not actually be true about many incidents during the Ardennes. I am going to invite everyone to read this article and then decide for themselves what they want to believe.

Cheers,

Wolfkin

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Einsamer_Wolf
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Postby Einsamer_Wolf » 31 May 2003 15:20

Wolfkin wrote:Hey guys!

There was a very good article written for WWII Magazine, in the February 2003 issue, regarding the Malmedy Massacre. I would like to suggest that everyone find this issue and read it. It seems that what most of us have been conditioned to believe, may not actually be true about many incidents during the Ardennes. I am going to invite everyone to read this article and then decide for themselves what they want to believe.

Cheers,

Wolfkin


Is it available online?

EW

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Postby David Thompson » 31 May 2003 16:12

Massacre at Malmedy by Michael Reynolds

http://www.historynet.com/wwii/blmassacreatmalmedy/

I was not favorably impressed by this article. In his treatment of the "Massacre at Malmedy" the author examined the killings of 86 captured American soldiers from Battery B, 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion on the road from Baugnez , Belgium on 17 Dec 1944. The author then concluded:

"In summary, it can be said that there is no evidence to support the idea of a premeditated massacre--particularly in view of the fact that over half the Americans in the field survived both the main shooting and the administration of coup de grâce shots by the Germans who entered the field. Nor is it reasonable to suggest that the main body of the Kampfgruppe mistook the men in the field for a fresh combat unit, or that there was a mass escape attempt that caused the Germans to open fire.

So how do we explain the shootings at the Baugnez crossroads on December 17, 1944? There seem to be only two reasonable explanations. The first is that it started in response to a specific escape attempt. Someone saw two or three Americans make the break described in a sworn statement made to Lieutenant Schumacker in October 1945; that person then opened fire and this in turn caused a commotion in the field as some of the prisoners tried to push through their comrades to the west. But this movement, and the fact that at least one and probably two Americans had by then escaped from the field, only exacerbated the situation, and other Germans in the vicinity then fired. Even if this theory is accepted, however, it in no way excuses the deliberate killing of wounded prisoners by those Germans who then entered the field.

The other explanation is that faced with the problem of what to do with so many prisoners, someone made a deliberate decision to shoot them. And it is significant that the majority of the American survivors spoke of a single German taking deliberate aim with his pistol and then firing two shots at the prisoners. The sheer number of Americans in the field and the fact that they were standing in a group meant that many were physically shielded by the bodies of their comrades. This explanation would then require that, after the main shooting, it was necessary to send soldiers into the field to finish off the survivors."

The author was either unaware of, or chose to ignore, the fact that the term "Malmedy massacre" was a general descriptive term for 11 separate incidents involving units of the 1st SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler," which were charged as war crimes by an American military tribunal. These war crimes charges involved the killings of:

(1) 86 captured American soldiers on the road from Baugnez , Belgium on 17 Dec 1944
(2) 50 captured American soldiers around Bullingen 17 Dec 1944
(3) 19 other American POWs at Honnsfeld, Belgium 17 Dec 1944
(4) 93 civilians at Stavelot, Belgium 18 Dec 1944
(5) 31 captured American soldiers at Cheneux, Belgium 18 Dec 1944
(6) 8 other American POWs at Stavelot 19 Dec 1944
(7) 44 American POWs at Stoumont on 19 Dec 1944
(8) 5 Belgian civilians around Wanne, Belgium 20 Dec 1944
(9) over 100 American POWs at La Gleize, Belgium on 18 Dec, 21 Dec and 22 Dec 1944

By only looking at a portion of the "Malmedy massacre," the author has missed the larger pattern. There were 11 separate massacre incidents involving the same Waffen-SS units in a period of only six days. These killings were not a "mistake," nor did they result from a misunderstanding. The commanders of those SS units gave or transmitted "no prisoner" orders, resulting in the deliberate murder of a large number of American POWs and Belgian civilians.

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Postby ChristopherPerrien » 31 May 2003 20:57

Good post David!

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Wolfkin
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Postby Wolfkin » 01 Jun 2003 19:29

Whether or not the author is speaking of the event at Baugnez or all of the events during the Ardennes is not, in my opinion, the point. The point trying to be made is the seperation of fact from fantasy. What is clearly obvious is that events did not happen in the way most people perceive them.

Instead of getting into another heated argument I will just point people in the direction of a few good sources and they can decide for themselves. Some good books to check out: Ardennes 1944: Peiper and Skorzeny by Jean Paul Pallud, Hitler's Last Offensive by Peter Elstob, The Leibstandarte Volume IV/2 (for their version) and Hitler's Last Gamble by Trevor N. Dupuy.

The last book mentioned is the best one, in my opinion. There is an appendix near the end entitled "Malmedy: Massacre and Trial" where the author goes into detail about all the incidents in the Ardennes. He shows how the prosecutors faked evidence, beat confessions out of prisoners and other things.

It is shown how Lt. Col. Willis Everett, the defense counsel, did his own research. Everett went to La Gleize, Stoumont, Bullingen and other Belgian towns. He spoke to villagers, Mayors and Priests of these villages and found that most allegations were false. Everett also interviewed former U.S. prisoners, including a Major Hal McCown (captured in the LaGleize-Stoumont area), and the story that he received was an entirely different one. The reason that almost all sentences were commuted was because it was found that most allegations were false.

If anyone can find this book please read pages 487-497. I do not have a scanner so I can not scan them. Read this then draw your own conclusions.

Cheers,

Wolfkin

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Arminiusder Cherusker1
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Malmedy

Postby Arminiusder Cherusker1 » 11 Jun 2003 12:58

Wolfkin,
a good book about this case is "Battle of the Bulge - Then and now" -
by Jean Paul Pallud, special pages 183 to 192.

Regards Arminius

Carelian
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Re: Malmedy Massacre

Postby Carelian » 24 Oct 2012 16:37

This kind of incidents are normal when you go to war. Take any war, any century, there is many more. And every one is tragedy. It is against rules of war, it can not let happen. But still, it happens, and will happen many more times in future. Ask someone who did take part vietnam, iraq, afganistan or balkan in 90's.

for this Malmedy case, truth is never known. Who did give order to shoot? No idea. Was it planned, nobody knows. But not likely. if i imagine myself commanding KG Peiper, gambling my own life and my subordinates too, with mission to advance without delays, american POW's would be my littlest worry. Forward to eternity, and beyond.

Again, i have be sorry my very bad english :)


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