Pipers BG in the Ardenne

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by HeavyDragoon, Apr 3, 2006.

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  1. Does anybody have any information on Battlefield Tours or reference material concerning Piper's BG in the Ardenne? All gratefully received.
  2. Why do you want to know?

    There is a book by Mike Reynolds about Peiper's battlegroup which is a fair text for a battlefield tour. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1862271569/?tag=armrumser-20 Armed with this you could have an interesting tour. Its also worth looking at the US Army official history and if you can be bothered, one of the many books on thre LAH SS

    If there's enough in the budget for my fee, I'd take you there. ;)
  3. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    Check out the picture of the family grave at the end, where, contrary to popular misconception, Peiper's name is shown as Jochen, not Joachim.

    What this page doesn't tell you is that Peiper's death sentence was commuted because, as a professional soldier, he had never been desperate to join the Nazi Party. When the time came that he might consider it, it was suggested that as the war progressed, he might want to wait for a death of a senior party member and acquire a lucrative low-digit party number. Then it became clear thay they would lose the war and he actively chose NOT to join the party.

    By being able to demonstrate that he was a professional soldier, not a Nazi and not personally responsible for any war crimes, his defence lawyers got him commuted.

    The story goes that at the O Group on the eve of the Ardennes Offensive, an officer from the lead force asked the inevitable question about "What do we do with prisoners?" Peiper's reply was, "You are in tanks: you cannot take prisoners. You do not take prisoners." This was why the Americans were huddled in a field at the Malmedy crossroads, because the tanks had left them to be collected by second echelon troops. The second echelon troops, however, had only picked up on the last sentence: "You do not take prisoners."

    As for the famous picture of Peiper looking at a map on the bonnet of his Schwimmwagen, there has long been doubt about his identity. The chin is not Peiper's and there is a widely held belief among those who have studied it that the man in question was a Corporal in the Recce Battalion.
  4. If you go across to Belgium and visit Troi points, Malmedy, Bastogne (good museum) and others there are still plenty of relics around.

    On the Peiper battlegroup front if you go the village of La Gleize there is a King Tiger from Peiper's BG sitting in the market place there to mark the furthest West that his unit advanced. :wink:
  5. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    I did a battlefield Tour of that with Gen Mike Reynolds some years back - really excellent, he had tapes of Peiper recounting his version, etc. (They were great mates), and he knew most of the local landowners, so we had very good access.

    I think I still have the large map printed for the event - Gen R got it done in BAOR (going back a bit here...) when he was working there. If you can wait a bit, PM me in about 3 months when I'm back in Blighty, and you can have it. Otherwise, any other sad Queensmen out there with the stuff from that Tour?
  6. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    Try "Hitler's Last Offensive" by Peter Elstob, who I seem to recall commanded 3RTR in the counterattack.

    I had a copy of this book in the early 70s but it went walkabout while I was stationed in Paderborn 77 - 82.

    It is quite a tome and covers the whole offensive, not just Kampgruppe Peiper, but I read it a number of times and enjoyed the read.

  7. Peter Elstob commanded a tank in 3RTR, not the whole regiment. IIRC he finished the war as a sergeant. Interesting character, born in the UK but spent his teenage years in the States (in New Jersey where his family had moved to), steward on an ocean liner, officer in the pre-war RAF but cashiered for dangerous flying, fought in the Spanish civil war. When Ww2 came along the RAF didn't want him back so he joined the RTR as a trooper. Post-war a novelist, historian and involved in a series of dodgy business deals.
  8. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    Wow! I guess his publishers really wrote him up on the back cover! And gullible young me believed it all.
  9. Pieper changed his christian name to Jochen from Joachim because he sounded slightly Jewish .
    At his trail after the war it was mentioned in his defense that he let a load of Italian jews go free.
    I believe the Italians involved backed this story up . I know he was killed in his cottage in France
    around 76/77 by a french political group , due to his role during WW2. He did die fighting.
  10. Or he may not have been. There is a story that the old soldier was too cunning for ther attackers and abushed them and that the bodies killed and burned in the attack weren't his ;)
  11. Jochen common German nickname for Joachim, bit like Bill for William.Seems only the Yanks in their reports referred to him as Joachim.