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Battle of the Bulge

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by TacticalTank, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. Timo

    Timo Member

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    Yet you made a blanket statement about every interview with a Waffen-SS veteran without having a clue about the way I approached and interviewed them.
    Very true, that's why it took me years and years to get where I am today. I found that only cold hard well researched facts combined with a strict neutral stance could make them tell the truth, combined with talking to them in private instead of as a group. And mind, that goes for Germans, Belgians and Americans.
    Why make a broad statement about Belgium and Luxembourg when we're specifically talking about Stavelot? To put it in perspective, I wasn't talking about large scale organized and coordinated actions. I wrote:
     
  2. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I'd like to get any of that info for my own work (which will be properly attributed of course) and would be delighted if you could share some of that with me. I'm much more interested in the actual fighting than the ugly events in the Ardennes. What did they think of the 30th compared to other allied Divisions? What was the feeling when they realized they were up against the 30th again along the Ambleve river?

    That's about all you get from any of the Old Hickory vets; just a general acknowledgement that SS prisoners were dealt with in the field after the Ardennes. The regimental and division histories gloss this over with vague statements about Waffen SS prisoners being too "fanatical" to surrender. We know that's not true, the Waffen SS surrendered just like anyone else when things went bad.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Member

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    Kodiakbeer, see my pm :)
     
  4. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I want to make sure that everyone understands that I am not suggesting that he participated in the killing of unarmed enemy combatants. Quite the opposite, I don't think he would have.

    However, I think that he knew that it did occur within the division. It was not something that he wanted to discuss.
     
  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Noted. We know that it happened, but it may be one of those things that most GI's heard about, but didn't actually see or participate in. Certainly, several hundred SS prisoners were taken at LaGlieze and many others here and there along the Ambleve and turned in properly. At LaGlieze every SS man with GI boots was made to surrender them and then marched away barefoot in the snow. Harsh, but well short of murder.
     
  6. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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  7. SKYLINEDRIVE

    SKYLINEDRIVE Member

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    I sure mad a blanket statement. It seems obvious that you cannot take the word of an accused as a fact, you have to apply a critical aproach! But you still don´t have delivered any proof where civilians were engaged in military actions during the bulge. But do not bother, I´m truly sick of this and I rest my case.
     
  8. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I don't think Timo is actually saying the civilians were engaged in any military actions, only that the LAH thought they were.

    One of the big accusations that pops up again and again is that civilians were shooting at them as they passed through Stavelot. This is given credence by a mistake in the 30th Division history "Workhorse of the Western Front" where it states that the 1st Battalion, 117th arrived in mid or late afternoon of the 18th after Solis (291st Engineers) had withdrawn about 0930. This gets repeated by every author who writes about the event. This leaves nobody there but civilians to shoot at the column passing through.

    In fact, "A" and "B" companies were infiltrating into Stavelot by about 1100 on the 18th. In time to shoot at exposed men in the turrets of the Tiger II's bringing up the rear of the column, and various other units following that. When Frankland arrived at the fuel dump where he met Major Solis and a Lt. Pehovic (probably about 1015 or 1030), he spent some time questioning them, but while all that was going on A and B companies continued down the road into Stavelot where the shooting began almost immediately. Frankland didn't contact the Division for some time trying to get some clarity about the situation, hence the confusion about Division recording contact several hours after it actually occurred.

    Peiper himself didn't know the 117th was in Stavelot for at least another 24 hours, so the assumption was that it was the resistance shooting at them.

    That excuses nothing.

    Captain Kent again:

    [FONT=&quot]18 December 1944[/FONT][FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The 1st Battalion detrucked at dawn, of 18. The orders were: Company "A" to protect bridge approaches to Malmedy from the South-East direction. Company "C" to hill on left flank (South of Company "A"). Orders quickly changed, 1st Battalion mission changed, now to go to Stavelot to relieve Company "A" 526th Armored Infantry Battalion which had not seen much action prior to this time. They told us that the road from Malmedy to Stavelot had been cut by the Germans.[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]​
    [FONT=&quot]The 1st Battalion moved by convoy to Francorchamps, then south toward Stavelot. We detrucked at 2 miles of town. We found Armored Infantry personnel eating K-rations and the men said simply: "Germans ran us out of town. Mission abruptly changed from relief to Assault. Units jockeyed into tactical formation and advanced. Company "A" at right of the road and Company "B" at left of road leading into Stavelot.Along the road on right side was a large number of gasoline drums, some had been set on fire to prevent the Germans from using this as a supply. I met some civilians who were very helpful, and knowledgeable about the whereabouts of the German troops. These men may have given their names, but I have forgotten, but they did mention "Belgique Resistance" and thusly I have remembered them. Also I felt that they were the ones that set the drums afire rather than the men of Company "A" 526th Armored infantry Battalion. This act took tactical foresight, which did not come through to me in my contact with the young soldiers.[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot][/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]​
    [FONT=&quot]As our leading echelons moved through the fields and woods toward the town, our leading men were now infiltrating into the town square, the 1st Platoon of Company "A" and 1st Platoon Company "B" moved in on their share. The 1st Platoons of Company "A" and Company "B", took the town square in Stavelot, but due to the fire power of the German tanks, could do no more. The tanks were kept at bay by the actions of the two platoons under the direction of Lieutenant Murray. Firing grenades and bazookas, they kept the tanks from being too aggressive. One tank even backed into a building.[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot][/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]​
    [FONT=&quot]We were ordered to hold our position. Under Lieutenant Murray's direction and organization, with the cooperation of Lieutenant Foster, Company "B", the area was tactically snug, also helped by mortar observers, light machinegun, heavy machinegun, Tank support, and Tank Destroyer. Again the Jerries tried to again breakthrough our lines. The GI's were not to be fooled, we killed or captured most of them[/FONT]
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Member

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    What I'm saying is that hundreds of civilians we trapped in Stavelot and the surrounding hamlets between December 18 and 24, that 99 percent (don't pin me on that percentage as it is a matter of speaking) was scared as hell and did everything they could to survive but that it is more than likely that in Stavelot and the surrounding hamlets in some cases civilians aided the Americans and that there's probably some truth in the stories that civilians fired on the SS troops, this however being individual cases.

    Between 1940 and 1944 Stavelot had been a hotbed of the resistance movement "Witte Brigade", this is a well established and documented fact, not just some delusion of the SS. For example, when we interviewed madame Antoine (proprietor of the Antoine farm) she told us that her husband had been in the Witte Brigade and had fled to the west as soon as the rumors started that that Germans were coming back. Knittel and his staf occupied her basement for almost a week and shared it with her, her children, their farmhelps and refugees from nearby farms, but she was scared all the time that the SS would discover the weapons that were hidden. It is highly unlikely that all members of the resistance fled and that none of them stayed behind to aid the Americans, just like it is unlikely that the few civilians who did aid the Americans left their weapons at home. One can put it down to not providing actual proof but on the other hand "skylinedrive" provides nothing that proves his take on the events.
     
  10. SKYLINEDRIVE

    SKYLINEDRIVE Member

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    123456789
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Member

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    It is completely unclear what you're "sick" about but so be it. But in that case spare us the childish posts like the one you posted above.
     
  12. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Come on, everyone - I do wish people wouldn't get so 'bent out of shape' in these Bulge threads. The battle is one of the aspects of WWII in which I'm most interested ; it's well-documented ( except, in English, from the German soldiers' point of view ) and I'm always keen to learn as much as I can find out.....

    ......minus personal arguments.:(
     
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  13. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    See my quote in post #148 from Captain Kent. He met a member of the [FONT=&amp]"Belgique Resistance" on the outskirts of Stavelot on the morning of the 18th. But with possible stragglers from 291st Engineers and the 526th AIB in the town itself, along with the earlier arrival of the 117th than is credited by historians it's clear (to me at least) that the shooting in Stavelot was American in origin. None of the reports I have speak of meeting resistance members in Stavelot itself, and my sources are particularly good on the 1st BN, 117th, because my dad was in that battalion. Frankland (the Battalion CO) had a number of those people with him on the hill north of town and dispatched some of them to Francorchamps to aid the artillery, and it wouldn't surprise me if others accompanied artillery observers who moved deeper into the area, though no mention is made of that.

    It's possible that other resistance men fought or sniped at the Germans on their own in other areas, but of course that would not excuse the shooting of civilians any more than aiding the Viet Cong excused Lt. Calley's actions at My Lai.

    I think, as you point out, they simply shot them out of anger and frustration.



    [/FONT]
     
  14. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Since I've had three cups of coffee, I'll transcribe another version of the A and D companies foray into Parfondruy. Obviously, Kent drew from this in the letter I quoted above. And Timo is correct about the dates - it happened on the 22nd.

    From Curlew History (1st Bn. 117th IR)

    Note the bolded section above where the scarcity of prisoners is attributed to fanaticism. Also note that the number of dead is 23, whereas the much later letter by Kent claims 123.
     
  15. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    The Germans in WW1 also screamed about Belgium civillians shooting at German soldiers, they destroyed the town of Louvain and killed the population. The Germans had a pathological fear of Frank Tiers (resistance) and did not hesitate to act on even the slightest unverified rumor.
     
  16. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    As my interest is directed more toward the Pacific I can't contribute much other than to offer a book, "A Soldier's Story" by Omar Bradley that I am currently rereading. He goes into detail of the movements of this battle (and others), but I must warn some, he is not too enamored by Montgomery.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Member

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    Curlew is very accurate: 23 victims, mostly old people and children, but the individual guilt of those who were captured by Warnock is questionable. At least SS-Ustuf. Sieber, the platoon commander of the guilty squad, was not among the prisoners. He was KIA in the final months of the war. And, as mentioned before, he's wrong in his assumption that these men were hanged.

    List of people who were shot by the SS in Stavelot on December 19, 1944. The victims of the Legaye massacre are among these names:

    Albert, Jozef (56 years old, shot)
    Beaupain, Jozef (46, shot)
    Beauvoix, Paul (6, shot)
    Breda, Antoine (73, shot)
    Burnotte, Jean (51, shot)
    Colinet-Livet, Pauline (38, shot)
    Corbisier-Depas, Mariette (34, shot)
    Corbisier-Evrard, Georgine (55, shot)
    Counet, Thérèse (19, shot)
    Daisomont, Anne-Marie (18, shot)
    Daisomont, Henri (52, shot)
    Daisomont, Marie Thérèse (14, shot)
    Daisomont-Lecocq, Marie (49, shot)
    Dejardin, Ad (55, shot)
    Delhez, A. (38, shot)
    Drouget, Jozef (20, shot)
    Duchatelet, François (59, shot)
    Gengoux, José (14, shot)
    Georgin-Boutet, Irma (42, shot)
    Georgin-Counet, Pauline (68, shot)
    Gonay, Ed (56, shot)
    Hourand, Marcel (39, shot)
    Hourand-Grosjean, Félicie (45, shot)
    Lambert, Antoine (53, shot)
    Lecocq, Jeanne (20, shot)
    Lecocq, Octavie (68, shot)
    Lecocq-Leheureux, M. (75, shot)
    Lecocq-Rouxhet, Jeanne (60, shot)
    Legaye, Alice (39, shot)
    Legaye, Jeanne (40, shot)
    Legaye, Marie Jeanne (9, shot)
    Legaye, Prosper (65, shot)
    Legaye-Crismer, Marie (63, shot)
    Lekeu, Arlette (6, shot)
    Lekeu, Edgar (45, shot)
    Lekeu, Louis (78, shot)
    Lemaire, Jozefine (45, shot)
    Lespineux, G. (43, shot)
    Marette-Martin, Marie (80, shot)
    Mignon, Marie José (6, shot)
    Mignon, Monique (4, shot)
    Mignon-Schomus, Maria (32, shot)
    Moxhet, Nic (66, shot)
    Murtzen, Alexandrine (48, shot)
    Nicolay, Louis (48, shot)
    Nicolay, Marie (71, shot)
    Nicolay, Michel (13, shot)
    Petitjean, Lucien (45, shot)
    Remy, Jean (8, shot)
    Remy-Verdin, Henriette (31, shot)
    Roussaux, Jules (63, shot)
    Roussaux-Feraille, Sylvie (55, shot)
    Rouxhet, Bruno (7, shot)
    Rouxhet, Marc (12, shot)
    Rouxhet, Monique (9, shot)
    Rouxhet, Roland (14, shot)
    Rouxhet-Vissers, Elisabeth (41, shot)
    Tixhon, Marie (28, shot)
    Van Esch, Jozef (57, shot)
    Warnier, Georges (59, shot)
    Willem, Leon (63, shot)

    Photo below: December 28, 1944. The remains of the victims of the Maison Legaye massacre, nine days after 23 people had been murdered by members of 2./SS-PzAA1. A GI looks at the body of 4-year old Paul Prince...

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Timo

    Timo Member

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    Though your synopis is basically correct, the statement that they killed the population is not. 209 people were killed, Leuven (Louvain) had a population of just over 24,000 inhabitants at that time.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Member

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    Also the names of the people killed in the Legrand farm in Parfondruy on December 19, 1944...

    Marie Beauvoix-Pondant (34 years old)
    Josphine Grosjean-Hourand (78)
    Paul Beauviox (6)
    Ferdinand Bolette (86)
    Antoine Breda (73)
    Emile Collin (7)
    Leon Crismer (58)
    Pauline Crismer-Bonnelance (58)
    Joseph Denis (67)
    Henri Desonnay (69)
    Leonie Engel (26)
    Joseph Georis (67)
    Adolphine Georis-Gerard (64)
    Fernande Hurlet-Nouprez (26)
    Christiane Hurlet (3)
    Jeanne Kapsite-Sougne (29)
    Jeanne Kline-Terf (36)
    Bruno Klein (9 Months)
    Madeleine Lmoine-Sougne (31)
    Francois Mignon (71)
    Josee Mors (14)
    Lucie Sogne-Gruselin (68)
    Francois Terf (69)
    Julia Thonon-Adams (31)
     
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  20. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    For clarity, "Curlew" is the 1st Battalion (117th) code name and the unit history from which I quoted is written by William J. Lyman. Thanks again for clearing up the fate of these men.

    It's interesting that all of the 30th references list a "dozen" men captured, whereas your sources list 18. Units usually want credit for every capture and yet six men appear to be missing here? Droge may have died of his wounds, but that still leaves a discrepancy of five men.
     

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