German soldiers executed at Normandy

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Simon Gunson
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German soldiers executed at Normandy

Post by Simon Gunson » 29 Mar 2004 04:40

Hi everyone

My father was a Royal Navy signalman on LCH-187 on D-Day with the group which landed the Green Rovers near Arromanches.

My dad is long since dead, but told me since his ship was a headquarters and fire support vessel, many German prisoners were brought out from the beach for interrogation abord his ship and then summarily executed by machine gun on the bows of his vessel. Does anybody know the name of the German unit(s) near Arromanches in July 1944 ?

My dad also reported that his vessel shot up a low flying Spifire and pounded it with 40mm pom-pom guns which simply bounced of the pilot's armour with no apparent effect. He told me the only Luftwaffe he saw were two Ju-88s flying so low that their props lifted spray off the sea behind them.

I share this info in the hope that it may help some German families identify the sad fates of their loved ones. It's pretty awful to execute soldiers once they've surrendered no matter whose uniform they wear.

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Post by Caldric » 29 Mar 2004 04:51

I have never heard of such a thing in any reading on D-Day. It would seem a bit strange to take them on a ship to question them, lot of work to just have them shot. Seems a bit drastic for the Royal Navy also considering their war service is pretty clean.

Anything could have happened I suppose.

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Penn44
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Post by Penn44 » 29 Mar 2004 06:00

I assume that you could acquire more information about this event from the ship's log that may be kept in the British archives.

Perhaps someone more familiar with the British archives can inform the poster how he can contact the archives for more information.


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Penn44
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Post by Penn44 » 29 Mar 2004 06:06

Guards shoot POWs for many different justified (legal) or unjustified (illegal) reasons. If the story is true, who knows why these soldiers were shot.

People who are shot by machinegun bullets bleed excessively, and rounds can take apart heads and rip open stomachs which increases the mess. Who is going to clean up the carnage on the decks? For this reason alone, I doubt this was an intentional event.

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Simon Gunson
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German soldiers executed at Normandy

Post by Simon Gunson » 29 Mar 2004 07:11

Sorry to disappoint you guys but my father was quite adamant that a group of German soldiers were deliberately marched to the bows and there deliberately executed. There was no suggestion of a riot being subdued.

It makes perfect sense that prisoners would be interrogated on a ship whose purpose was a command and control headquarters off the beach.
My father's duties involved calling in fire support from battleships and aircraft and for this they needed to gather information about German defences.

I have read in a book by a New Zealander in the British Army at the time in a Sherman Tank unit, that Allied troops were under orders not to take German prisoners. I can't recall the name of the book or author, but will try and find it.

If any of you had seen the TV series "Band of Brothers" about the American 101st Airborne Div there was reference to the deliberate execution of German prisoners.

My father was quite adamant because it so shocked him how cold blooded it was. You have to remember British forces are bound by the Official Secrets Act for life.

I find it peculiar that some people don't accept that all sides commit attrocities in war. One must remember that there was heavy press censorship during the war and stiff penalties for speaking out.

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WalterS
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Post by WalterS » 29 Mar 2004 07:25

I find it peculiar that some people don't accept that all sides commit attrocities in war. One must remember that there was heavy press censorship during the war and stiff penalties for speaking out.
I have no problem at all believing that atrocities were committed by all concerned. I must say that in all of the reading and studying about D-Day that I have done over the years I had never heard that story. It certainly could be true, and since you gave the ship's designation, worth checking out.

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Christoph Awender
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Re: German soldiers executed at Normandy

Post by Christoph Awender » 29 Mar 2004 10:43

Simon Gunson wrote:I find it peculiar that some people don't accept that all sides commit attrocities in war. One must remember that there was heavy press censorship during the war and stiff penalties for speaking out.
No one in this thread said that warcrimes were not committed by both sides. Some members just stated that they never heard about this/such incident (shooting POWs on the afterdeck of a ship) you posted.
Having doubts about one incident is not negelecting other warcrimes.

Looking at the problems we have here in this section I think you should be carefull with such "accusations"

And now please back to topic if someone knows more about this incident!!!

\Christoph

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Christoph Awender
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Post by Christoph Awender » 29 Mar 2004 11:10

You ask:
Does anybody know the name of the German unit(s) near Arromanches in July 1944 ?
I guess you mean on 6.June 1944? In the area Arromanches were elements of 716.Infanteriedivision. Gren.Rgt.726 in the area Bayeux and Gren.Rgt.736 in the area between Arromanches and the Orne river.

\Christoph

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Post by hauptmannn » 29 Mar 2004 12:42

Perhaps the soldier were appalled by the casualties caused my the german defenders?

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Post by fknorr » 29 Mar 2004 18:41

casualties happen in war...

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 29 Mar 2004 18:44

fknorr wrote:casualties happen in war...
So do warcrimes, does that mean we should not study or discuss them?

/Marcus

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Post by fknorr » 29 Mar 2004 18:50

my response meant that just because they are receiving casualties isn't a proper excuse for murder...or does it?

(understandible but not 'legal', right?)

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Penn44
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Post by Penn44 » 29 Mar 2004 19:00

Besides the ship's log book, there might be a veterans organization for the ship's crew as well as for the headquarters unit that was stationed aboard the vessel. These veterans may provide additional information.

To identify the headquarters unit aboard the vessel, again, I recommend the poster consult the British archives.


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Michael Miller
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...

Post by Michael Miller » 29 Mar 2004 19:02

fknorr makes a good point.

The members of the "Hitlerjugend" Division who murdered wounded Canadian POW's in Normandy were also allegedly acting in response to the high casualties they were sustaining at the time. Same excuse possibly motivated Fritz Knöchlein's company at Le Paradis four years earlier.

~ Mike

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Penn44
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Re: ...

Post by Penn44 » 29 Mar 2004 19:07

Michael Miller wrote:fknorr makes a good point.

The members of the "Hitlerjugend" Division who murdered wounded Canadian POW's in Normandy were also allegedly acting in response to the high casualties they were sustaining at the time. Same excuse possibly motivated Fritz Knöchlein's company at Le Paradis four years earlier.

~ Mike
I would assert that shooting prisoners as a response to high casualties is usually done by the frontline unit that has experienced the high casualties, not some ship-borne rear echelon headquarters section.


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