The body was charred beyond recognition. He could not have been more incorrect. During World War II in Europe he served as personal adjutant to Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, between September 1939 and September/October 1941, and thereafter as a Waffen-SS commander. But, soon they sat down on the straw, obviously under the influence of the gas. In a desperate attempt to defeat the Allies on the Western Front, the German armies were to break through the U.S. lines in the Ardennes, cross the River Meuse and take Antwerp, cutting the Allied forces in two. Joachim Peiper was born on 30 January 1915 into a middle-class family from the Silesian region of Imperial Germany. One of the Battle Groups of the 1st SS Panzer Division was Kampfgruppe Peiper. In the initial days of the offensive, Kampfgruppe Peiper rolled through the Ardennes like a slow-moving train. Sheet music of the popular song, purchased in 1943, is one little girl’s lifetime link to Technical Sergeant Neal K. Moore. , The parish priest of Boves, don Giuseppe Bernardi, and local industrialist Alessandro Vassallo, who had acted as negotiators between Peiper and the Italian soldiers and partisans, successfully secured the release of the prisoners and the return of the body of the killed SS trooper. They were initially concerned that it would become a place of pilgrimage for Nazi sympathizers. To address the lack of fuel, Peiper was provided with a map showing American fuel depots to allow him to seize fuel at those locations if needed. SS Panzergrenadiers and German paratroopers mop up in Stoumont. , Despite the failure of Peiper's battle group and the loss of all tanks, Mohnke recommended Peiper for a further award. The German economic recovery did not allow SS men to hide, and holding a high position in society could raise questions that people like Peiper preferred to avoid. www.battlefieldtours.se - Battle of the Bulge, 16 December 1944. The U.S. forces regrouped and blew up several bridges ahead of Peiper's advance, trapping the battle group in the deep valley of the Amblève, downstream from Trois-Ponts. Peiper's Panthers flank Stoumont from the fields east of town. As the first adjutant, Peiper's job included providing Himmler with the murder statistics from the Einsatzgruppen units each morning. Peiper went on a long leave with his family in Bavaria.  Peiper wrote to Potthast in March 1943: "Our reputation precedes us as a wave of terror and is one of our best weapons. Peiper complained that the road assigned to his Kampfgruppe was suitable for bicycles, but not for tanks. Taking Peiper’s orders to heart, Poetschke dismounted his vehicle, grabbed a panzerfaust and personally threatened to shoot any man who did not move forward immediately. The sentence was commuted, with Peiper serving twelve years in prison. Reportedly, the nickname derived from the torching and slaughter of two Soviet villages where their inhabitants were either shot or burned. cers from the 150th SS Panzer Brigade. , The turmoil raised by this case caused the Secretary of the Army, Kenneth Royall, to create a commission chaired by Judge Gordon A. Simpson of Texas to investigate. A medical examination concluded that he needed rest. On 17 December 1944 the German fighting unit (Kampfgruppe) Peiper killed 84 American prisoners of war at the crossroads of Baugnez near Malmédy. This formation was intended to be the “tip of the spear” in the drive to the Meuse River. Transportation was limited, and the Allies had near-total air superiority. Delayed by roads not suitable for tanks and the stout defense of locations such as Lanzerath, Ligneuville, and Stavelot, Peiper and his Kampfgruppe nevertheless achieved many of their objectives by December 18, 1944. Mostly it consisted of blaming Italian communists for manufacturing false accusations and insisting that the destruction of the village was due to a fierce battle with partisans.  As an unofficial leader of the group, Peiper came to the attention of the commander of the camp, and then of higher command. For one thing, the module itself was split in two (Kampfgruppe Peiper II was released subsequently), which was frustrating for many ASLers. All the men in his small rearguard medical detachment who had been left there had been killed and then mutilated. , Peiper's role beside Himmler gradually came to an end beginning in the late summer of 1941. But even through the fog, American observers on the outskirts of Stoumont could see that a sizable attack was about to commence.  Instead of surrendering, Peiper chose to trek home. Peiper was soon appointed commander of the 1st SS Panzer Regiment after its previous leader had been killed in action, yet he had no experience leading tanks. , The "old boys' network" of SS peers helped Peiper to obtain his release from prison and secure employment. Eight of Peiper’s Panthers entered a field to the east of Stoumont and approached the town from its flanks.  On 16 April 1946, approximately 300 prisoners were moved from Schwäbisch Hall to Dachau, where they were put on trial. In this report, it recommended that the twelve remaining death sentences be commuted to life imprisonment. In 2013 a group of citizens from Boves visited Schondorf and prayed at Peiper's grave. At that time, Himmler's personal staff was under the command of Karl Wolff. Upon entering the village, Peiper's troops made a terrible discovery. , In February 1941, Himmler told Peiper about the German plan to invade the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa.  Investigators quickly found that the SS men, including Peiper, although hardened soldiers, were not trained to withstand interrogation. Peiper was physically and mentally exhausted. Around 0730 hours the lead Panthers throttled forward and attempted to force the issue. Headlong attacks without proper reconnaissance lead to heavy losses in men and materiel. A small group, the Boves circle, was formed in the village, to hold prayers on every 19th of the month, the day of the Boves massacre.  The tour continued in April 1940, with visits to Buchenwald and Flossenbürg concentration camps, followed by a visit to Poland to meet with SS and Police Leader Wilhelm Rediess and the SS official Otto Rasch to discuss how further "evacuations" (i.e. What remained of the two companies began to pull back towards the edge of town, as the advancing German tanks fired directly into the houses and buildings along the road to clear out any defenses. Peiper joined Himmler on board his special train and, on occasion, acted as his liaison to Adolf Hitler, travelling with Erwin Rommel to accompany Hitler as he met with Wehrmacht generals near the front.  On 19 December 1944, in the area between Stavelot and Trois-Ponts, while the Germans were trying to regain control of the bridge over the Amblève River (crucial for allowing reinforcements and supplies to reach them), men from Kampfgruppe Peiper killed a number of Belgian civilians. , After Italian forces capitulated to the Allies, the LSSAH was moved to Italy for two months to participate in Operation Achse, the disarming of the Italian military. By December 19, the surprise of the German assault had worn off. He began his career conducting oral histories and research for HBO’s miniseries The Pacific and holds the distinction of being the first historian hired by the Museum’s Research Department.  The individual units were subordinated to local Higher SS and Police Leaders and used in the murder of Jews and other "undesirables", in addition to providing rear area security. The first shots either flat out missed the targets or ricocheted off the heavy German frontal armor.  On 1 March 1938, Peiper received his Nazi Party membership card with the number 5.508.134. In early May, Himmler, accompanied by Peiper, discussed with Globocnik, the SS and Police Leader in Lublin, the mass murder of the disabled. The impact left on the local population is still hurting today. The Executive Director of the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City shares insights about Native Americans in the “Thunderbird Division.”. Home/Documentaries/WW2 Germany Films/Battle of the Bulge: Kampfgruppe Peiper DVD.  He received a favourable review from his SS instructors but only a conditional approval in the psychological evaluation conducted by German military doctors. The National WWII Museum Digital Collections. Peiper once told one of his friends: "I personally think that every attempt at rehabilitation during our lifetime is unrealistic, but one can still collect material. His unit took part in Operation Spring Awakening, which failed. The survivors were able to reach American lines later that day, and their story spread rapidly throughout the American front lines. On 24 December, Peiper abandoned his vehicles and retreated with the remaining men. Beside rude combat engagements, its route was sown with murders of American POW’s and Belgian civilians. The courtroom of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg hosted nearly 400 visitors each day, including 250 members of the international press. Horst died in June 1941 in Poland in an accident that was never officially explained. ", Peiper's mechanized column did not reach the jumping-off point until midnight, delaying his attack by almost 24 hours. American attacks on Stoumont forced the remnants of the battle group to retreat to La Gleize. Peiper ordered his men to form a defensive ring around the Stoumont/La Gleize area, and await a breakthrough that would restore his supply lines. 2, 2./SS-Pz.Pi.Btl.  During the trial, several witnesses testified of at least two instances when Peiper had ordered the murder of POWs. The Panthers, under the cover of smoke, reversed course and entered the eastern side of Stoumont via a sunken lane. , In 1972, Peiper moved to a small village of Traves, Haute-Saône, France, where he owned property. The Panthers began to move forward, albeit cautiously. According to The New York Times, the Facebook celebration's inclusion of Peiper triggered a "widespread backlash on social media." No longer were American units fleeing the field of battle in front of their enemy. , In May 1940, Peiper accompanied Himmler as he followed Waffen-SS troops during the Battle of France. The circumstances of Peiper's death led to speculation that it had been faked. Heavy artillery and small arms fire chased the tank back around the bend in the road as SS Panzergrenadiers streaked into the engagement, only to be driven back by intense small arms fire.  In court documents, his attorney stated that Peiper was not a war criminal and that the Allies had used the trials to defame the German people. The Americans of the 117th Infantry Regiment and the 743rd Tank Battalion had recaptured the town. The sentences were automatically subject to review by the U.S. Army Review Board. Kampfgruppe Peiper – The Sanatorium An Introductory Scenario for BF:WW2 Wednesday December 20th 1944 Scenario written by Richard de Ferrars Historical Overview The St Edouard Sanatorium dominates the hillside above the small Ardennes village of Stoumont. Very soon, they no longer moved.  It was noted by the prosecution that by the time McCown was captured on 21 December, Peiper was aware that his tactical situation had deteriorated substantially and that he and his men were in danger of becoming POWs themselves. The Germans now had two separate tank columns moving into Stoumont. Colonel Hal D. McCown, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 119th Infantry Regiment, to testify about Peiper's troops' treatment of American prisoners at La Gleize. The first round hit near the left sprocket, the second sheared the 75mm barrel off of the Panther, and the third penetrated the armor where it exploded, wounding most of the crew and forcing the tankers to bail out of the now burning vehicle. Eventually anger boiled over into atrocity and the murder of US soldiers at Malmendy and elsewhere along the route. Without encountering resistance, the Kampfgruppe moved southward from La Gleize via La Gleize railway station, crossed the Amblève valley over a small bridge, and in a long, drawn-out column reached the wooded area west of Trois Ponts under most difficult conditions.” Beginning in August, Peiper's battalion was stationed near Cuneo. Kampfgruppe Peiper (SS-Pz.Rgt. The great fame of Peiper as a Waffen-SS commander during the Battle of the Bulge was born. , On 4 February, Peiper met for the last time with Himmler at his provisional headquarters. In 1959, he attended the national meeting of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients. Now clear of any anti-tank fire from within the town or from the fields beside it, the Panthers rolled.  In late December, he was ordered to the divisional staff; with so few operational tanks, his command of the regiment was no longer needed. Suffering from a nervous breakdown, he was relieved of command on 2 August and dispatched to the rear. In retaliation, five days later, LSSAH troops killed 872 men, women and children. By Michael Reynolds. On 11 August, Lombard reported the total number of shot "looters" (a code word for the Jews) was 6,526. On 17 December at Malmedy, Peiper's unit was advancing aggressively and still hoped to reach its objective, whereas by 21 December the unit found itself nearly cut off at La Gleize and out of fuel, having suffered over 80% casualties. His battle group was to take bridges on the Meuse between Liège and Huy. The damaged Panther retrieved the wounded crewmen from the first tank and reversed course. Despite his victory at Stoumont and the seemingly wide-open road ahead, he was now helpless, and he knew it. The pressure on the defenders reached its high-water mark when German halftracks rattled into town and disgorged their cargo, that cargo being fresh Panzergrenadiers who went house to house and mopped up what was left of the American defenders in Stoumont. 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