Alleged orders from Americans not to take POWs for a week

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Panzermahn
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Alleged orders from Americans not to take POWs for a week

Post by Panzermahn » 09 Apr 2004 14:19

After the Malmedy massacre committed by the men of the Kampfgruppe Peiper, it was ALLEGED that the Americans issued official orders not to take any SS or Paratroopers as POWs for a week..

I would like to know whether this is a myth or a fact...i hope anyone can share any information regarding this without any fighting which we see quite frequently happen in this thread nowadays

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Re: Alleged orders from Americans not to take POWs for a wee

Post by xcalibur » 09 Apr 2004 14:31

panzermahn wrote:After the Malmedy massacre committed by the men of the Kampfgruppe Peiper, it was ALLEGED that the Americans issued official orders not to take any SS or Paratroopers as POWs for a week..

I would like to know whether this is a myth or a fact...i hope anyone can share any information regarding this without any fighting which we see quite frequently happen in this thread nowadays
Could you be more specific as to from whence these orders emanated, ie, did they allegedly come from SHAEF HQ, an army group HQ (eg, Bradley's, etc), or from some lower level?

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Re: Alleged orders from Americans not to take POWs for a wee

Post by gewehrdork » 09 Apr 2004 14:37

panzermahn wrote:After the Malmedy massacre committed by the men of the Kampfgruppe Peiper, it was ALLEGED that the Americans issued official orders not to take any SS or Paratroopers as POWs for a week..

I would like to know whether this is a myth or a fact...i hope anyone can share any information regarding this without any fighting which we see quite frequently happen in this thread nowadays
There were no official or written orders to that effect. Som units may have taken it upon themselves to pass such a "word of mouth order" that left no paper trail or officer named to it in retaliation. I am aware of that during the winding down of the ardennes battle some german POW's were shot when they surrendered wearing american uniform items - items they could have only gotten off the dead. Rumor had it that Allied troops would be shot if they had similar german items on them if they were captured.

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 09 Apr 2004 14:44

A few older posts on the topic:
Caldric wrote:I did find it interesting that Col. Ben R. Jacobs was no longer in command of the 328th Reg. a few days after this order was supposedly issued December 21st 1944 (a new commander took over the 328 on the 26th). Strange that no one has this order nor is there any information given about it except over at Revisionist web site of Historical Review.

Anyway I can not find if Colonel Jacobs was killed in some action or relieved of his command.

Also this supposed order was after the Malmedy Murders, 4 days later to be exact, just enough time for the Malmedy murders to get around, most US Infantry wanted blood once the story of Malmedy circulated around.

If I were to guess I would say that Col. Ben Jacobs ordered all SS troops shot on sight after hearing of the SS actions at Malmedy, in retribution. I would also guess that if these were written orders, which I doubt, they would have been found and destroyed once he was relieved of his command or was killed (still looking into that). I would also guess that once command heard of such an order Jacobs was relieved of his command of the 328th Regiment. This would be standard procedure because this only leads to undisciplined Army, so the command would take swift measures against Colonel Jacobs. That is of course assuming the order existed to start with, which I have doubts about a written order.
David Thompson wrote:Good guess, Caldric. Here's a little more information on the "no prisoners order" of the US 328th Infantry Regiment:

The order is mentioned in an "Aftermath" article on the "Waffen-SS Order of Battle" website, at:

http://www.wssob.com/conclusion.html

The author is scholarly enough to give us a citation, namely, Stephen Ambrose's "Citizen Soldiers," p. 355, who in turn quotes from a volume in the Official History of the US Army in WWII, "The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge," by Hugh M. Cole, Office of the Chief of Military History, Wahington D.C.: 1965, p. 264. That volume is available online, courtesy of the US Army Center for Military History, and the chapter containing the quotation can be found at:

http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/wwii/7-8/7-8_CONT.HTM

The passage reads as follows:

"The speed with which the news of the Malmedy massacre reached the American front-line troops is amazing but, in the perfervid emotional climate of 17 December, quite understandable. The first survivors of the massacre were picked up by a patrol from the 291st Engineer Combat Battalion about 1430 on that date. The inspector general of

Page 264

the First Army learned of the shootings three or four hours later. Yet by the late evening of the 17th the rumor that the enemy was killing prisoners had reached as far as the forward American divisions. There were American commanders who orally expressed the opinion that all SS troops should be killed on sight and there is some indication that in isolated cases express orders for this were given. [5] It is probable that Germans who attempted to surrender in the days immediately after the 17th ran a greater risk than would have been the case during the autumn campaign. There is no evidence, however, that American troops took advantage of orders, implicit or explicit, to kill their SS prisoners."

footnote [5] to the above passage states: "Thus Fragmentary Order 27, issued by Headquarters, 328th Infantry, on 21 December for the attack scheduled the following day says: "No SS troops or paratroopers will be taken prisoners but will be shot on sight.""

From the unit history of the US 328th Infantry Regiment on a website at:

http://www.jeroenkoppes.com/ww2/units/3 ... nf.Reg.htm

we can see that Colonel Ben R. Jacobs commanded the unit when the order was issued on 21 Dec 1944. However, Col. Jacobs was replaced as commander five days later, on 26 Dec 1944, by Lieutenant Colonel Paul Hamilton.

So we have a "no prisoners" order all right, but the source of the information on that order says: "There is no evidence, however, that American troops took advantage of orders, implicit or explicit, to kill their SS prisoners," and the man who issued the order was replaced five days after he issued it.
Caldric wrote:During the Bulge Battle the 328th attacked or defended against the Fuhrer-Grenadier Brigade, now I am not sure but I do not think this is a SS unit but standard Heer attached to the German 7th Army, this brigade was part of the Grossdeutschland? So no SS to murder I guess.
/Marcus

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Post by Panzermahn » 09 Apr 2004 14:59

Thanks Marcus for the links...

So it means that the American themselves did violate the Geneva Convention right by issuing such orders although there is no evidence that American soldiers follow such orders, right?

Thanks for helping out.,..,..really appreciate it... :)

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Post by fknorr » 09 Apr 2004 16:18

Marcus Wendel wrote:A few older posts on the topic:
Marcus,

Are there any other posts that give references to similar 'orders' (real or implied) to say the airborne troops areound D-Day?

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Post by Marcus » 09 Apr 2004 16:56

fknorr,

There may be others that you can find using the search function, those were the ones I was looking for.

/Marcus

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Post by David Thompson » 09 Apr 2004 17:09

Panzermahn -- You wrote:
So it means that the American themselves did violate the Geneva Convention right by issuing such orders although there is no evidence that American soldiers follow such orders, right?
You are moving too quickly to exaggerate here.

(1) It is the actual refusal to grant quarter -- the refusal to take prisoners -- which is the war crime. That requires that there be someone who tries to surrender, who is deliberately shot as a result of the order. There is no evidence that anyone refused to take prisoners in this particular case. This is like a case where someone decides to kill every German he finds for a week, and then can't find any, or doesn't do it.

(2) We've only found a single order, and you're already using the plural term "orders," even though no more have as yet been found.

(3) How does Colonel Ben R. Jacobs get transformed into "the Americans"? Because he's an American? Since there's no evidence that Colonel Jacob's order was a general policy in the US Army, or was even approved by his superiors, how does his individual act become a collective act of "the Americans"?

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Post by WalterS » 09 Apr 2004 21:28

Panzermahn wrote:
So it means that the American themselves did violate the Geneva Convention right by issuing such orders although there is no evidence that American soldiers follow such orders, right?
Wrong. An alleged order given by one regimental commander who was relieved 5 days later with no evidence that this order was ever carried out does not translate into "the Americans themselves" violating the Geneva Convention. On the contrary, the fact that this officer was relieved of command gives credence to the notion that summarily shooting POWs was not standard operating procedure in the US army.

[An attempt to move the thread off topic and into a discussion on the Waffen-SS was removed by the webmaster]

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Post by Marcus » 09 Apr 2004 21:31

WalterS,

Stay on topic. If you want to discuss the warcrimes of the Waffen-SS do so in a thread dealing with that issue, thanks.

/Marcus

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Post by fknorr » 09 Apr 2004 23:02

I just skimmed the post (and tried checking out the embedded links (one didn't work for me)) but did it say anywhere that the American officer was removed from command for issuing this order?

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Post by Caldric » 09 Apr 2004 23:20

fknorr wrote:I just skimmed the post (and tried checking out the embedded links (one didn't work for me)) but did it say anywhere that the American officer was removed from command for issuing this order?
No I no longer looked into the incident after we discussed it because it was fairly plain to me what happened. Of course we could be wrong but I think the commander took it upon himself to be some avenger and he was fired for it. But if you do not want such an order to become common knowledge and start a nightmare on the frontlines then you very well relieve the commander quietly and go on with the war.

Being replaced by a Jr. officer is a good sign he was fired.

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Post by fknorr » 10 Apr 2004 02:26

Caldric wrote:Being replaced by a Jr. officer is a good sign he was fired.
Fired maybe...for this offense, maybe but it was war time, it could've been anything. No one has produced anything that definitively states it was for this order or conversely that he was wounded, etc.

I t could have been any number of things that a combat commander is sacked for.

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Post by xcalibur » 10 Apr 2004 02:31

You're leading the charge on this: Why don't you get a copy of his 201 file and tell us.

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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 10 Apr 2004 02:46

panzermahn wrote:Thanks Marcus for the links...

So it means that the American themselves did violate the Geneva Convention right by issuing such orders although there is no evidence that American soldiers follow such orders, right?

Thanks for helping out.,..,..really appreciate it... :)
Technically if Anerican Soldiers shot any prisioners who were responsible for the Malmedy Massacre, That would been within the bounds of Military justice and the Conventions.

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