Incl 2 to VII Corps
G-2 Periodic Report #1
The following information was obtained on Dec 25, 1944, as a result of personal observation and interrogation by 1/Lt Frank B. Craig, IPW Team #93, attached to the 30th Infantry Division.
Ten or twelve completely burned bodies which were charred black were seen at Renardmont (K-70250090) where a small shed had once stood. This shed has been completely destroyed by fire. The burned bodies of the civilians were piled up on one another. It was impossible to determine their age or sex. In the adjacent house, there was a middle-aged woman who had been stabbed with a knife and then shot. Two boy between age of 6 and 10 were seen with bullet holes in their foreheads. Outside this house, and within a radius of 30 yards, there were several other dead civilians. One old woman had been killed by a smash over the head, probably with a rifle butt. There was a body of a young man with his boots taken off who had been killed by being shot through the back of the head. Another young man whose wrists looked as though they had been tied, had been similarly killed. A married couple had been shot in a house little farther to the North, at K-70350192. Near a foxhole were the bodies of a 13-year old boy and a 15-year old girl who had been shot, apparently as they tried to escape.
Two Belgian civilians who live in the vicinity gave the following information. Mme L.F. states that some SS men came to the house where she was staying, and asked for American soldiers. After being told that there were no Americans nearby, the SS men left. Two SS men came to the house a little later and searched it. When this had been completed, they asked one of the officers whether the people should be shot. The officer left it up to the men. The SS men took one man from the house with them. Mme L.F. states she saw other SS men bringing men, women and children from their houses and shooting them in the street. Mrs M.P. states that the SS men killed her husband, together with her sister and brother-in-law. One man came into her room, searched it thoroughly and left. Mrs M.P. then went to the window where she saw the soldiers herding the people together. Some people were shot as they tried to escape. One was knocked down with rifle butts and shot. After the people had been put into the shed in Renardmont (K-7025009), she heard shots coming from there shed, and saw the shed go up in flames. Mrs M.P. believes that about 25 to 30 civilians were killed in the vicinity. (Source: 30th Infantry Division)
STORY AS TOLD BY GERMAN PRISONERS
On December 18, the Engineer Platoon of HQ Company, 1.SS-Panzer-Recon-Battalion (Pionierzug, Stabskompanie, Aufklärungs-Abteilung LSSAH), while on reconnaissance in the Stavelot area prior to attack, were ordered by their platoon leader, SS-Untersturmführer Heinrich Dröge, to do away with all civilians who came in sight. Dröge is in our hands, either seriously wounded or dead. An identical order was given by the platoon leader of the bicycle platoon, SS-Untersturmführer Erich Kollaschny. Further, one Prisoner of War heard a company commander SS-Obersturmführer Heinrich Goltz, deliver the same instructions from a vehicle. The men carried their orders well, even exceeding them in their zeal to do their German duty. In the village of Parfondruy (K-705005), twenty civilians of all ages and sexes were slaughtered. Some were shot on the street. Others were assembled in a barn and butchered there. After the blood bath, a match was put to the barn and the contents consumed. It is believed that the Prisoners of War hoped in this way to hide what they had done.
SAMPLES OF CONFESSIONS OBTAINED
The civilians were picked up on the streets and brought into a barn, then they were shot.
I myself, SS-Unterscharführer Richard Rosenke (Annex 1), shot two civilians. They were a man and a woman, about 45 years old.
These civilians were then shot and the barn was set afire. All members of the platoon participated in the action.
When both Belgians noticed that they were to be shot, they tried to escape. Therefore I, and several of my friends, shot and killed the fleeing Belgians.
We had the mission to reconnoiter Stavelot. Before we could march into the village, we had to advance to the left of it to find out how strong and where the American artillery was. We had to pass through a village. Before we got into it, SS-Untersturmführer Heinrich Dröge gave the order to shoot everybody there. I was at the end of the platoon. I know that many civilians were herded into the barn and then shot. As I followed the platoon to the scene of the incident, I received the order from the Untersturmführer to burn the barn down with the help of another soldier, a Fallschirmjaeger. (Source: 1st Canadian Army)
FIRST ARMY IPW REPORT
Consolidated Report on 13 Prisoner of War
Unit: 25.SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment, 12.SS-Panzer-Division
Captured: Sadzot (P-4787) (Sheet 13 1:100,000), Dec 28, 1944
Preamble: It seems to have trickled through that the SS does not enjoy a great deal of popularity outside Germany. All the Prisoners constantly apologize about their membership of this hated organization. In general, losses seem to be about 50% and more.
1.Co: Before Combat, 65 men; Today, 25 men
2.Co: Before Combat, 105 men; Today, 50 men
3.Co: Before Combat, 80 men; Today, 40 men
4.Co: No figures available.
5.Co: Before Combat, 120 men; Today, 50-60 men
6.Co: Before Combat, 120 men; Today, 55 men
7.Co: Before Combat, 120 men; Today, 30 men
8.Co: Before Combat, 120 men; Today, 100 men
10.Co: Before Combat, 100 men; Today, 15 men
PW states this to be a very conservative estimate.
Additional Order of Battle: 8.Heavy-Mortar-Company. The composition of the Heavy Mortar Companies is reported as follows, 1 Medium Mortar Platoon with 6 Medium Mortars (81-MM), 1 Heavy Mortar Platoon with 6 Heavy Mortars (120-MM), 1 AT Platoon with 3 Panzeschrecks AT-gun. (8.Co in its last engagement is reported to have lost 3 medium 81-MM mortars and 2 of the 120-MM heavy mortars.
CO 2.Bn, SS-Osbf (Lt Col) Shulze
CO 1.Co, SS-Usf (2/Lt) Schulz
CO 6.Co, SS-Usf (2/Lt) Pohle
CO 7.Co, (Acting), SS-OSF (T/Sgt) Doernhamke
(CO of the 7.Co wounded is evacuated)
CO 8.Co, SS-Usf (2/Lt) Fritsch
CO 10.Co, Lt (Wehrmacht) Huebner
Mission: To take Sadzot in order to create an advanced HQs
Retreat-Tactics: The Regiment used the following methods in order to safe guard itself in the event of a necessity for an Absetzmanoeuver (disengagement). Each Company sent only 2 platoons into lines, the 4.Heavy-Mortars Platoon remained in reserve and the 3.Platoon was employed to prepare a secondary line of defense.
Signal Equipment: The Prisoner from the Battalion’s Signal Platoon reports the employment of a radio-set called Dora-2. It differs, according to the Prisoner, fromthe old Dora-set in that it can operate with ultra-shortwaves, which is supposed to interfere with enemy sound location.
December 23, 1944: First German spearhead composed of 15 camouflaged Mark VI-2 Tiger tanks, 30 reconnaissance cars, about 100 half-tracks, trucks and jeeps, passed through the town from 0900 to 1100, going in the direction of Havrenne (P-2181). Many of the men were dressed in American uniforms with armored combat hats. About 1/3 of the spearhead consisted of American vehicles.
December 24, 1944: Convoy consisting of trucks loaded with Wehrmacht infantry, and about 25 105-MM Guns on wooden wheels pass through the town going West. Troops were Alsatian, Polish, and Czech origin. None of the vehicles were American. The Germans on the other hand had plenty of captured American rations. 3 tanks stopped in the town for repairs.
December 25, 1944: Very little enemy activity in the town.
December 26, 1944: 8 Tiger tanks, several trucks, and small groups of soldiers on foot retreat through Humain towards Hargimont (P-2679). The 8 Tiger tanks remain in the town, where they are attacked by our Army Air Force. 1 Tiger exploded. At 1630, informant overhears following message being sent over wireless by the Officer in charge ‘Only 300 men left, send help.’ In the afternoon of Dec 26, Germans ran out of supplies, and as usual, decide to loot the town.
December 26, 1944: Early in the morning, informat overhears another message being sent over wireless: ‘Enough ammunition left to cover retreat only’. In reply, the Officer in charge was ordered to fight to the last man. Soldiers, disgusted, throw arms away, and hide in basements. Officers, armed with machine-pistols, chase soldiers out of basements, and force them to fight the arriving Americans. Germans depart. (Source: First United States Army)
OTHER INTELLIGENCE NOTES
(1) Draft Order This document was found on a German soldier belonging to the 1.Co Panzer-Regiment Der Führer. The original was written in German and Slovenian.
It is hereupon stated that the service to which you are called is not voluntary, but based on the interstate conventions of June 7, 1944. Based on these Conventions, people of German nationality are called upon to serve in the Wehrmacht or in the Waffen-SS. Any disobedience to the call to arms will be punished by law. Application at deferment from serving in the German Army will be directly dealt with by the draft goard, and only exceptional and critical cases: students, supporters of families, and essential war workers; documents to prove such are to be grought along. Examples: Report cards or statements showing continuation in the next higher class, family statements, and tax reports. Should an applicant claim a change of nationality other than German, a statement to corroborate such must be obtained from the Statistical Bureau based on the census of 194, and presented to the present Officer of the Slovakian Army. If you are so sick that you are unable to be transported, a statement from a city doctor or hospital is to be presented, proving such claim.
(2) Use of Towns Cases have been reported where Germans permitted unopposed the occupation of a town by our troops in order to cause casualties by artillery fire when mass lines were formed or reliefs were in progress. Observation posts on nearby heights eliminated any guesswork in the timing. (Operation Notes XII Corps)
(3) Security Don’t learn security the hard way. During a conference, three of our experienced company commanders and one artillery observer were surrounded and captured because they failed to provide a security guard. (CO, 414th Infantry Regiment, 104th Infantry Division.
(4) Training Foils German Trick We have trained our men to know that the Germans put mortar fire just behind our artillery fire to make us think our own artillery is falling short. This instruction has increased our troops’ confidence in their own artillery so that they keep going close with the enemy before he recovers from the effects of our artillery fire. (S-3 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division)
(5) Atrocities against US Prisoners of War It has be determined thaty the mass murder of American PWs on December 17, 1944, Southwest of Malmédy, was committed by the spearhead of the Combat Team Peiper. PW states that the man responsible for the murders is SS-Unterscharführer Persin of the Penal Platoon of the 9 (Engr) Co, 1.SS-Pz-Regt. Persin and 18 men under his command were the one who actually carried out these killings. This was told to IPW by SS-Sturmman Berger and another comrade, both of his Company.
Description of Persin: He is an uncontrollable rowdy whose bad reputation won him considerable notoriety. His age is 25-26; eyes, brown; height, 6 feet; hair, brown; weight, 180 lbs; smooth-shaven, slim, wiry build. (Source: FUSA IPW Reports)
(6) Wanted for further Interrogation
1/Lt Stach, formely CO of I/149.VGR, has now been identified as CO of I/689.VGR (246.VGD). This character, whom our forces captured in the vicinity of Würselen on October 24, escaped from one of our Prisoners enclosures and several days later, made a stinging denunciation over the air of the treatment afforded him as a captive by US guards and interrogators. Bring him back alive. (Source: FUSA)
(7) Order of Hitler On the morning of December 16, 1944, a Fuehrerbefehl (Order of the Leader) was read to the 14.Company, 915.Regiment. It said among other things This is the decisive battle, all newly formed divisions are taking part. You will have the support of the new Luftwaffe units and your tank formations. No wounded should be carried back by the men. No one has any right to move back, and both squad and platoon leaders have the right to shoot anyone who retreats. (Source FUSA)
(8) The Evils of Strong Drink US Troops along the Moselle River , saw two enemy revelers full of Christmas cheer, stagger down the opposite bank and search for a small boat. One collapsed on the bank; the other managed to climb into a boat, row to the friendly shore, and fall into the arms of the captors. He begged them to go back for his friend, so the Americans rowed over and picked the other drunk. Both gave information of value, including the password and one offered to lead a combat patrol back to his comrades. The offer was accepted and mission accomplished. (Source: XII Corps)
(9) Enemy Looting Civilian reports that enemy troops thoroughly looted Eschdorf before retreating from the town; taking everything that ran on wheels, including carts, bicycles, carriages, and even a wheelbarrows. hey told the civilians that they had been informed that once the counter offensive started they could non expect any supplies from the rear and that it would be necessary to forage for food and equipment from the land. Sheets were a very popular item of loot, as they were used as camouflage for vehicles and personel. (Source: III Corps)
ORDER OF BATTLE NOTES
a. The 85.ID commands several combat groups, among which are remnants of its two infantry regiments. These are located generally in the sector from Obermaubach (F-1037) to the south of Vossenack (F-0331). (Source: V Corps)
b. The 79.VGD is also a newly-committed division on the US Third Army front. The division is commanded by Oberst Weber. It’s Infantry Regiments are numbered 208., 212. and 226.. (Source: XVIII Corps (Airborne)
c. Although it still consists of only weakened regiment, (1126.IR), the 559.ID appears to have reverted, in name at least, to divisional status. A Prisoner who was formely with the map section of the division headquarters states that the designation Kampfgruppe von Muehlen was dropped about December 14. (Source: 12-AG)
17.SS-Panzer-Grenadier Division was in contact on the XV Corps front in the vicinity of Saarguemines as late as December 24. The Division apparently has been favored with a steady flow of replacements which accounts for the maintenance of its identity in spite of continuous heavy losses. It appears from PW statements that the Division received, during the month of November, about 2000 replacements, losing 50% of this complement in PWs. The Sixth Army Group (6-AG) reported on December 23, that the Division was once more at low ebb and its combat effectives were estimated at 2000, including personnel from Trains and QM services, which were being used as Infantry Replacements.
FUSA reported on December 30, Prisoners taken bu the US 7-A state that 50-60 tanks were unloaded at Lautzkirchen (Q-6573) on December 24. All men in 17.SS-PG.Div.
Note ! After publishing this archive, I was alerted that there was some mistakes in the original text. While searching for, I started digging in my PDF files and found an interesting part to add to this text.
I, SS-Untersturmfuehrer Richard Rosenke, being duty sworn, make this deposition under oath.
During the winter offensive in December 1944, I was Schuetze in the Engineer Plat., HQs Co, 1.SS Pzr Div (LSSAH) (Pionierzug, Stabskompanie, Aufklärungs-Abteilung LSSAH). On the morning of December 16 1944, SS-Obersturmführer Heinrich Goltz, my company commander assembled the HQs Company for a lecture at which occasion he expressed himself about as follows:
This offensive will be of great importance. The Luftwaffe will support us and we have to do everything to make this offensive a success. In this offensive, civilians and prisoners of war will be shot.
I am not certain whiter Goltz used the same words which I used, but their meaning conforms to the truth and are the same. Also, I would like to add, that Goltz read this speech from a sheet of paper.
We then drove to the offensive and reached Stavelot during the night, December 18, 1944. We drove through this village and reached another one, the name of which I cannot tell. However, I can remember that in this village was a large double span railroad bridge, the spans on which did not run parallel, so that empty space was between these two spans through which one could see through. We passed this bridge and drove to another large bridge where we turned around and drove back almost to Stavelot where we turned left, driving on a small road for approximately 1000 meters, until we reached a village where we spent the night.
As we dismounted from our vehicles, I noticed two elderly male civilians, which were bumped off right close to this bridge by SS-Untersturmführer Heinrich Dröge, my platoon leader. We then marched along the roadbed back to Stavelot at which occasion Dröge gave us the order to clean out the house and to herd together all civilians. This was done by us. The civilians were herded to the vicinity of a shed which was located on the right side of the road as one goes from Stavelot in the direction of the railroad bridge mentioned above. Immediately thereafter, Dröge issued the order to herd those 20 civilians into this shed. I don’t know for sure whether there were 20 or more, or less.
At first, the civilians offered resistance, therefore more or less, we had to use force by treating them with rifle butts. Thereupon, Dröge gave the order to shoot these civilians inside the shed. SS-Schuetze Alfred Führer was the first to shoot into the civilians with his MG. Later, however, he had a stoppage so that SS-Rottenführer Hartmut Strauss relieved him by firing into the civilians with his MG. After the MG firing was over, one woman was brought in whose age I can no longer estimate. Dröge personally pushed this woman into a house on the right of the shed and was shot by him with shot into the back. For this, Dröge used an American weapon, the name of which I do not know. As we were about 130 meters away already, we heard cries and moans coming from this shed. I then received from SS-Unterscharfuehrer ‘Hedwig‘ the order to go back and see what was the matter. When I got there, I saw as two people, one man and one woman, mortally wounded, were still shriedking. I gave them a few shots into the head and liquidated them. I then returned again and saw how two young civilians of about 18 to 20 years of age were shot by Dröge as well as by others. One of them, as I can recall, wore a blue lochsmith overall and one had red hair. In my opinion, these civilians wanted to run away which was the reason why they were shot.
We then went into the woods to reconnoiter an artillery position and at night, we went into the vicinity of the rairoal station where we quartered ourselves in a cellar. Diagonnaly across a sawmill was located and right close to the sawmill was a house into which SS-Obersturmfuehrer Manfred Coblenz had moved with a part of his unit. On December 21, this house became uninhabitable. Therefore, Coblenz moved to us into the cellar and was susequently captured with us.