SS-Leibstandarte at Wormhoudt 1940

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Ship of Fools
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Post by Ship of Fools » 09 Aug 2007 18:52

thanks Rob

Searching the online catalogue of the national archives, http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk, with term "wormhoudt" they seem to have about 25 files dating from the late 40s on the matter, including a lot of interrogations of captured german soldiers.

For some reason one of the files suggest a Belsen connection
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/cata ... ID=2468527

although there is no indication of the link

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Post by Andreas » 12 Aug 2007 09:55

Hugh Sebald-Montefiore's "Fight to the Last Man", a recent account of the BEF's fight on the road to Dunkirk, contains a discussion of Wormhoudt, based on eyewitness testimony, the Leibstandarte war diary BA/MA RS4/1211, a 2.PD combat report BA/MA RH27-2/93, personal diaries, the official British reports, eyewitness accounts either gathered or taken in interviews by Sebald-Montefiore, letters, and secondary sources such as Aitken and published or unpublished unit histories. This shows the following:

a) The main report is a 1947 Warcrimes Interrogation Report by the same unit that investigated the Le Paradis massacre. Two reports are actually available, the 1947 report superseding the earlier one. They can be found in the archives under NA/PRO WO 309/1813 (for the 1947 report), which contains the original report uncer WCIU /LDC/1500.
b) The WCIU report states that an order was given to at least some Leibstandarte troops that POWs were to be shot. Mohnke is linked to this at least because he commanded II./LSSAH at the time, but also see below.
c) The massacre at the barn was just the most murderous act of the day, POWs apparently had been killed all day singly or in in smaller groups.
d) The first killing may have happened at about 2pm French time in the town square of Wormhoudt, according to Private Oxley of 4th Cheshires, who was wounded in this incident but made an escape after feigning death for a while. This report is not corroborated by anyone else, in particular the times are doubtful. The report was made in 1940, immediately after Oxley's return.
e) Evans reports in an interview with Sebald-Montefiore that 15-20 POWs were machine-gunned at "what looks like a factory" on the Wormhoudt-Cassel road while he was marched past.
b) A private in 7.LSSAH named Oskar Senf gave evidence to the WCIU stating that Mohnke repimanded Ustuf Heinrichs about having brought in POWs, by saying "What do you mean by bringing in prisoners contrary to orders?" Senf was probably part of the POW escort which guarded the group Evans was in. Heinrichs then went to BN HQ to hand over the POWs, but after about half an hour came back with ten men from another company, ordering the escort to take the POS back. When queried about back where, he answered the ten other soldiers knew what to do. When these were then quizzed they said they had orders from Mohnke to shoot the POWs. Senf states how he told both the ten new soldiers and Heinrichs he would not do that. The ten new soldiers said they would, and Heinrichs replied that he had just himself heard what Mohnke had said.
e) The other formation on the field was 6./PR 3 of 2. Panzerdivision, called in to bail out Dietrich and Wünsche, but there is no indication they were involved other that they pushed one truck full of BEF soldiers of the road, firing into it and setting it on fire, leading to most of the men in there to burn to death - it is not clear however whether the truck had surrendered or been overrun.

British eyewitnesses are Evans, Daley, Oxley, Fahey, and Tombs

All the best

Andreas

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NigeGSX1400UK
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Re: SS-Leibstandarte at Wormhoudt 1940

Post by NigeGSX1400UK » 09 Mar 2008 09:03

Re the debate on whether the atrocity took place in May 1940. IT DID and it was the LSAHSS who did it. Sepp Dietrich's excuse for it not being down to him was he was in a ditch under fire on the day. That ditch is approx 200m-300m from the barn where my fellow Brits were killed. He must have noticed the SS and Brits going to the barn as at the time the hedgerow between him and them was non existent. Monkhe is generally blamed for the atrocity but Dietrich did at one time or another say words to the effect that a commanding officer is always responsible for the actions of his men and yet he denied any responsibilty for the murders. Dietrich should have swung for what he did as should Monkhe.

One good thing though, the LSAHSS suffered badly in the USSR and on Germany's retreat back to Berlin and the destruction of Nazism. The Soviets tended NOT to take SS prisoners but rather to execute them. Before anyone says Soviet Barbarians they lost over 20 million dead to Germany.

I have visited the barn and although to many this comment may seem mad. I took soil from Worcestershire and Warwickshire and spread some there, so forever on it is partially English land. I also sensed the evil committed there. My wife can attest to my reaction in the barn (no I don't scare easy I am an ex bouncer and football steward who used to deal with away fans). She said she had never seen me react like I did that day I looked 'terrified' (her word) and had to leave the barn.

As for any surviving SS vets hurry up and die because the 'nacht hexen' (a German term for the women Soviet Airforce pilots in WW2) are waiting and the world will be better for your leaving it.

A couple of final points. As an Englishman I accept we did not get an Empire by being nice. But we never did anything as bad as the Nazis in WW2. The S.S. is the S.S. whether in a camp like Belsen or fighting in Normandy or Kursk. They all represent an ideology unique in its racial barbarity and the numbers murdered by its members.
Rant over
Cheers
Nige
BTW, in case anyone thinks I have a problem with non-Nazi Germans I do not. While at University 2 of my friends were German, 1 Japanese we all got on fine although it surprised me how little they knew of the horrors of the past. Oh and my doctor is German too and shes lovely.
'All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing'

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Re: SS-Leibstandarte at Wormhoudt 1940

Post by NigeGSX1400UK » 09 Mar 2008 09:11

One thing I just remembered if the SS-Leibstandarte were Hitler's elite bodyguard why did they run when British troops, out of ammo fixed bayonets and charged them?
Because they were,are and always will be, cowards and bullies, thats why.

Cheers
Nige
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'All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing'

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Marcus
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Re: SS-Leibstandarte at Wormhoudt 1940

Post by Marcus » 09 Mar 2008 12:31

NigeGSX1400UK wrote:Because they were,are and always will be, cowards and bullies, thats why.


Welcome to the forum. Please note that this is a forum where we discuss fact and not opinions and we don't allow that kind of opinion posts here.

/Marcus

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Re: SS-Leibstandarte at Wormhoudt 1940

Post by Magic » 08 Nov 2008 15:33

In relation to this subject, I believe that the British troops fought very professionally and bravely and inflicted heavy casulties upon the Leibstandarte and other German troops, A highly trained and Elite unit of any army that goes into action is like letting a Pit bull off the leash, they are trained for maximum agrression, and thats the point, these troops are usually send in where the fighting is expected to be the feircest, now it is usually the troops from such units who go on to inflict the most autrocities, they are not trained to handle defensless prisoners, they are trained to go in with the maximum agression, as the British troops were also well trained and diciplined this resulted in a fierce battle, it was probably in keeping whith what those Leibstandarte troops thought was expected of them that this massacre happend. Now they should have been reined in by their superior officers and restrained at this point. It is often overlooked that the CIC Sep Detrich had only hours before been shot up in his staff car, had his driver killed and spent many hours pinned down in a ditch with his aide, and maybe this had some impact upon the decisions made.

But this happens with many elite units, I can cite the British Paratroopers in the Sunday Bloody Sunday massacre, or even if the allegations are true (I do not know) about some Argentines being 'finished off' in the Fawklands war after the battle for Goose Green(apologies to those concerned if this did not happen), the Americans certainly did simular in Korea and Vietnam and yes World War two also. I do not excuse the Leibstandarte for it's actions and particularly not it's officers, however any unit that is trained to that high level of combat agression would maybe have done the same in the same circumstances, the problem with debating anything about world war 2, is that it remains so highly emotionally charged, If Germany would have won this war, I rather suspect there would have been a lot of allied officers and troops accused of war crimes, I cite for example the Americans at Remagen, Bomber Harris, actually we would probably be having this debate 63 years later as well, but the other way around, the German culprits would probably been decorated as heroes, not for that incident but for their other comat expliots during the war years, that is what war does to men, it turns brave and reasonable intelligent men into killing maschines.

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Re: SS-Leibstandarte at Wormhoudt 1940

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 08 Nov 2008 17:25

Hey Magic,

A highly trained and Elite unit of any army that goes into action is like letting a Pit bull off the leash, they are trained for maximum agrression, and thats the point, these troops are usually send in where the fighting is expected to be the feircest,


This may sound good in the abstract but it has little to do with the specific circumstances of the LAH in May 1940.


now it is usually the troops from such units who go on to inflict the most autrocities,


That is incorrect, or at least in the US is perceived as incorrect in military circles. Better-trained troops committ less atrocities and crimes specifically against POWs and civilians.


they are not trained to handle defensless prisoners,


Forum member Christoph, an expert on WWII German training, should chime in here, but I suspect that the proper handling of POWs was a standard part of Heer basic training.


they are trained to go in with the maximum agression, as the British troops were also well trained and diciplined this resulted in a fierce battle, it was probably in keeping whith what those Leibstandarte troops thought was expected of them that this massacre happend.


You need to read up on what actually happened. Members of the 7th Co, II Battalion, LAH, under the orders of CO Wilhelm Mohnke, forced 65-80 British POWs into a barn and then machine gunned and grenaded them to death. The incident occured not during the fighting but afterward.


Now they should have been reined in by their superior officers and restrained at this point.


Nowadays that is correct - officers are expected to prevent crimes from happening, to control forces under their command, to act when a crime is discovered, and to punish those found guilty. The superior officer in this case - Mohnke - was the one who instigated the masssacre. The SS did not censure his behavior nor even bother to investigate the incident.

At any rate, this was only the first of multiple crimes Mohnke was allegedly involved in - the massacre of Canadian POWs at Normandy and of US POWs during the battle of the Bulge being two others. Mohnke may have also commanded some of the "flying tribunals" that shot "defeatist" Berlin civilians and wehrmacht troops during the April 1945 battle for the city.

My opinion is that basically Mohnke, in addition to being a fanatical Nazi, was a sociopath. Most accounts from his peers describe him basically as a creepy and occasionally irrational guy.

It is often overlooked that the CIC Sep Detrich had only hours before been shot up in his staff car, had his driver killed and spent many hours pinned down in a ditch with his aide, and maybe this had some impact upon the decisions made.


It's not overlooked at all - it was mentioned earlier in the thread. The Allies did investigate Sepp's possible involvement with the incident but basically came up with nothing.Given the circumstances as I understand them, I don't think that Dietrich had anything to do with it either,

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Re: SS-Leibstandarte at Wormhoudt 1940

Post by mellenthin » 14 Nov 2008 14:51

NigeGSX1400UK wrote:Re the debate on whether the atrocity took place in May 1940. IT DID and it was the LSAHSS who did it. Sepp Dietrich's excuse for it not being down to him was he was in a ditch under fire on the day. That ditch is approx 200m-300m from the barn where my fellow Brits were killed. He must have noticed the SS and Brits going to the barn as at the time the hedgerow between him and them was non existent. Monkhe is generally blamed for the atrocity but Dietrich did at one time or another say words to the effect that a commanding officer is always responsible for the actions of his men and yet he denied any responsibilty for the murders. Dietrich should have swung for what he did as should Monkhe.

One good thing though, the LSAHSS suffered badly in the USSR and on Germany's retreat back to Berlin and the destruction of Nazism. The Soviets tended NOT to take SS prisoners but rather to execute them. Before anyone says Soviet Barbarians they lost over 20 million dead to Germany.

I have visited the barn and although to many this comment may seem mad. I took soil from Worcestershire and Warwickshire and spread some there, so forever on it is partially English land. I also sensed the evil committed there. My wife can attest to my reaction in the barn (no I don't scare easy I am an ex bouncer and football steward who used to deal with away fans). She said she had never seen me react like I did that day I looked 'terrified' (her word) and had to leave the barn.

As for any surviving SS vets hurry up and die because the 'nacht hexen' (a German term for the women Soviet Airforce pilots in WW2) are waiting and the world will be better for your leaving it.

A couple of final points. As an Englishman I accept we did not get an Empire by being nice. But we never did anything as bad as the Nazis in WW2. The S.S. is the S.S. whether in a camp like Belsen or fighting in Normandy or Kursk. They all represent an ideology unique in its racial barbarity and the numbers murdered by its members.
Rant over
Cheers
Nige
BTW, in case anyone thinks I have a problem with non-Nazi Germans I do not. While at University 2 of my friends were German, 1 Japanese we all got on fine although it surprised me how little they knew of the horrors of the past. Oh and my doctor is German too and shes lovely.


Accusing a whole division and everybody that served in it before and after in whatever capacity is not an act of common sense.The same goes for accusations against every soldier that served in the waffen ss.

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Re: SS-Leibstandarte at Wormhoudt 1940

Post by tino struckmann » 20 Feb 2011 05:07

I have an question as I am researching this particular episode of the war, I have heard an story about what prompted the execution of the British soldiers, accordingly the SS had been in a firefight with the British solider for some time and had offered the British to surrender which was turned down and several hrs of fighting ensued resulting in 6 more German soldiers killed, angered by loss of their number the SS were said to execute the British after they finally surrendered.

I have in my studies found that most executions by the Germans usually were prompted by some prior event, partisan attacks, ambushes or other.

I am not making excuses as before said, ALL sides committed many war crimes and sadly in to many occasions against women and children, I am trying to find the entire story if any have more information?

sincerely
chris

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Re: SS-Leibstandarte at Wormhoudt 1940

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 01 Oct 2011 02:46

On p.64 of Drew Robert's new book The Storm of War (Harpers, 2001) there's a fascinating tidbit of information about how a Sgt. Stanley Moore and Sgt. Major Augustus Jennings herocially threw themselves on grenades thrown by the Leibstandarte troops in attempt to save the lives of their comrades.

More information see http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Not+just+ ... 0146283024

On seeing the first grenades thrown into the barn, Sergeant Moore and Sergeant Major Augustus Jennings had pounced on to them, either hoping to pick them up and throw them back at their captors, or perhaps intending to sacrifice their own lives in order to shield their men from the blast.


An excellent collection of photos and documents on the massacre are available at

http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/1940/24549 ... 0-a-3.html

Additional information:

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/writ ... /wormhoudt

http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-13686862.html

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Re: SS-Leibstandarte at Wormhoudt 1940

Post by David Thompson » 01 Oct 2011 05:01

Rob - wssob2 -- Thanks for the new information and links.

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Re: SS-Leibstandarte at Wormhoudt 1940

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 01 Oct 2011 05:33

You're welcome David! Happy to share - R

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Re: SS-Leibstandarte at Wormhoudt 1940

Post by phillip burke » 13 Oct 2011 18:01

hello all,the site ww2talk forum is one of the best accounts of the massacre i ve read, while i was reading it it did strike me that its very similar to the hitleryouth massacre in normandy. Its quite obvious the leibstandartes 2nd battalion lost it after a hard fight from the british, and after extracted there revenge. Another thing struck me was one of the witness saying how young the germans were, and this kind of reminds me of some of our and the americans behaviour in iraq. im sure we dont know the half of what happened out there, but its quite obvious you put young people in these situations you get atrocities, and no im not defending the behaviour just making an observation.One thing you have to take into account with Mohnke is that he served the equivilant of a life sentence in prison in russia, with many years spent in isolation in the luibjanka. Im not sure if this is true but i think the west german s considerd that he d served his sentence in russia for any crimes. He never fought in the ussr expect at the battle of berlin.

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Re: SS-Leibstandarte at Wormhoudt 1940

Post by PF » 17 Jun 2015 23:07


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