SS-Untersturmführer Kurt Kramm was assistant adjutant of the 1.Panzer-Battalion, 1.SS-Panzer-Regiment, (LSSAH). He spoke English.
(Question) Do you know the element of the 1.SS-Panzer-Regiment, primarily referred to as Kampfgruppe Peiper, that participated in this Offensive?
(Answer) Yes, and they were
1.SS-Panzer-Regiment & Headquarters Company
AAA Company (1.SS-Panzer-Regiment) (Vogel)
3.SS-Panzer-Battalion (2.SS-Panzer-Regiment) (Diefenthal)
501.Company (King Tigers)(Independent)
AAA Detachment (Luftwaffe)
These are all the units of the Kampfgruppe. As to recon units: Only such reconnaissance units as were found within the units themselves. These were equipped only with light vehicles without armor.
(Question) Do you know whether there is a connection between the Recon Battalion commanded by Knittel and the Kampfgruppe commanded by Peiper?
(Answer) There was undoubtedly some connection but just what the points of contact were, I don’t know.
Route of March: Kramm traced it, indicating hours of arrival in the various towns of the Spearhead and the midst of the column, all in English. This is not extracted for 2 reasons: (1) The route he traced was that reflected on a map titled Route of Advance Kampfgruppe Peiper contained elsewhere in this study. (2) Hours were disputed by the Prosecution and Defendants as to the coincidence of arrival time and atrocity occurrence.
Order of March at Blankenheim, Dec 16, 1944, 0200
That is the actual order not that necessarily specified by order: were SS units.
Aufklarung Abteilung, Obersturmfuehrer Werner Sternebeck
10.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Company, Obersturmfuehrer Georg Preuss
(Element) 12.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Company with canon SPW’s
(Main Part) 9.SS-Panzer-Pioneer-Company, Obersturmfuehrer Erich Rumpf
7.SS-Panzer-Company, Hauptsturmfuehrer Oskar Klingelhoefer
(Main Part) AAA Company of 1.SS-Panzer-Regiment
3.Panzer-Pioneer-Company, Obersturmfuehrer Franz Sievers
13.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Company of 2.SS-Pz-Gren-Regt
AAA Battalion (Luftwaffe)
Order of March, Lanzerath, Dec 17, 1944
Aufklarung Abteilung, Obersturmfuehrer Werner Sternebeck. Tanks of the 10.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Company, Obersturmfuehrer Georg Preuss, with part of the 12.SS-Pz-Gren-Co with Armor SPWs and CO, 3.Panzer-Battalion with CO and 1.SS-Panzer-Regiment, Oberstrumbannfuehrer Josef Diefenthal
(NB. Confused titles. Maybe he meant these three principal officers: Sturmbannfuehrer Werner Poetschke CO 1.SS-Pz-Bn, 1.SS-Pz-Regt and Sturmbannfuehrer Josef Diefenthal, CO 3.SS-Pz-Gren-Bn, 2.SS-Pz-Gren-Regt
6.SS-Panzer-Company, Untersturmfuehrer Hans Steininger, 1.Plat Leader commanding because the CO, Obersturmfuehrer Benoni Junker was sick.
11.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Company, Obersturmfuehrer Heinz Tomhardt
7.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Company, Hauptsturmfuehrer Oskar Kingelhoefer
(Maint Part) 9.SS-Panzer-Pioneer-Company
13.Infantry-Howitzer-Company of 2.SS-Pz-Gren-Regt
AAA Co of 1.SS-Panzer-Regiment
1.SS-Panzer-Company, Oberstrumfuehrer Kerl Kremser
2.SS-Panzer-Company, Oberstrumfuehrer Fritz Christ
501.Heavy-Tank-Battalion (King Tigers)
AAA Battalion (Luftwaffe)
Order of March changes later. On the forenoon of Dec 17, 1.SS-Panzer-Company bypassed the companies in front of them and reached the point with the whole Armored Column in Ligneuville.
On the morning of Dec 18, the 6.SS-Panzer-Company, the 7.SS-Panzer-Company, and the 3.SS-Panzer-Pioneer-Company sent on a special mission to the south to search another ridge over the Salm River. They returned late during the night when the Kampfgruppe was already in La Gleize. Of the 7.SS-Panzer-Company, only the Commander Klingelhoefer returned to the Kampfgruppe, the other tanks of the company stayed ahead in Stavelot. American opposition: during the first part of the offensive we were facing the 80th Infantry Division. Later, the 30th Infantry Division. Kramm was captured on Dec 25. Tank type of the 1.SS-Panzer-Battalion: Mark V Panthers for the 1.and 2.SS-Panzer-Companies; Mark VI-2 Tigers for the 6. and 7.SS-Panzer-Companies.
Kramm’s records: Defense, during Cross, said he seemed to possess an admirable memory, and asked if he kept a diary, he kept one, but not hour-to-hour. He said: I only made entries when important matters occurred and I had to make entries into the combat daily journal of the battalion. He burned it before capture on Dec 25. Although he was in other campaigns including Russia, he was not an officer, but being one and the adjutant he had the journal duty. This explanation was given for his memory of dates, formations, etc.
1.SS-Panzer-Battalion Adjutants were: Untersturmfuehrer Arndt Fisher until he was wounded on Dec 17; Untersturmfuehrer Kurt Kramm, provisionally, until Untersturmfuehrer Rolf Rolard Reiser arrived from Germany on Dec 19.
(501.Heavy-Tank-Battalion) Its armor was the Mark VI-2 Tiger. Its commander was Oberstrumbannfuehrer Von Westerhagen. At least as of and for the operations Dec 16-22 1944 of Kampfgruppe Peiper, it was a unit, but not organic. While it was a separate battalion, it was attached to the Kampfgruppe and commanded by Von Westerhagen. This officer was the commander of the organic, but apparently non-operational 2.SS-Panzer-Battalion of the 1.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment. Witnesses during the trial for the Malmédy Massacres referred to their organization as the 501.Heavy-Tank-Battalion and not the 2.SS-Panzer-Battalion.
(Malmedy Trial Testimony – SS-Hauptsturmführer Heinz Birnschein)
Battalion officers as of Dec 15, were Hauptsturmfuehrer Mobelius, Feller, Amselgruber, Wessel, and Oberstrumfuehrer Lukasium. Commander was Von Westerhagen. Attended Battalion conference on Dec 15, and received orders. The Battalion had the mission to drive behind the 1.Battalion, and after we came out of the hilly terrain we were to drive ahead to the Meuse River. Route of March did not take to the Malmedy Crossroads, but the column was in (Ligneuville). Von Westerhagen drove behind the 2.SS-Panzer-Company which was the spearhead. Drove from Engenwald to Thirimont, were rested 3 hours, then to Ligneuville.
(Question) Your Battalion caught up with the rest of the Kampfgruppe on or about Dec 18, in the vicinity of La Gleize and Cheneux? Is that correct?
(Answer) We were in Cheneux and the order reached us that we should stop to drive back to La Gleize because of the lack of fuel, and await further orders there!
He said that he reached Ligneuville at about 0900 Dec 18 and recalled a hill in the down. He was obviously in Ligneuville with his company, but the date and the hour were debated due to the atrocity implications. No action mentioned.
(Malmedy Trial Testimony – SS-Untersturmführer Heinz Buchner)
At noon, Dec 17, 400 meters in front of the entrance of Stavelot, when he came down on the road from Lodomez to Stavelot, his tank stopped there because he was out of fuel.
He was also fired upon by AT gun but did not mention firing himself. Towards the evening of Dec 19, one Mark VI-2 and several Mark V attacked the bridge and the entrance of the town of Stavelot. The attack was broken and the tanks retired in the direction of Wanne. The bridge was blown off about an hour later but did not know how the bridge was destroyed. Apparently, he and his Tiger were at the Stavelot approach but remained there.
(Malmedy Trial Testimony – of Franz Wagner)
Member of the Battalion he personally was in La Gleize during the night of Dec 18/19 and the night of Dec 23. He guarded PWs. No mention of tank action, or of his tank if any.
(Malmedy Trial Testimony – SS-Hauptsturmführer Rolf Möbius)
Member of the 501.Heavy-Tank-Battalion, he reached La Gleize on Dec 19, late afternoon. Peiper instructed Von Westerhagen to appoint an officer to handle the welfare of the PWs, who was not Mobius. He had no PWs duty himself. Battalion: he said, passed by Crossroads at night. He was riding with Battalion into Ligneuville. No Mention of tactical action.
Testimony dealt with crimes aspect.