War [and other] movies youd like to see made

#1
Is everyone else as downright fed up (and frankly insulted) at the way modern films fail to recognise British forces, yet heap praise upon the US military? 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Memphis Bell' and 'U571' all relegate our military contribution to bit parts. Imagine for a moment therefore, that you were a film director, with a blank cheque, and no hang ups about political correctness. What aspects from British military history do you think warrant a movie? Let me start with a few suggestions of my own:

Naval:

The attack by RN Midget submarines on Japanese cruisers at Singapore in July 1945.

Land:

The Battle of the Imjin, Korea in April 1951 involving The Gloucester Regt.

Air:

The Bomber Command Offensive in WWII (Not the whole of it. Just maybe focusing on a typical raid).

Regards,
M2
 
#3
Good topic M2 , always wanted to see Len Deighton's "Bomber" turned into a film, I believe Speilberg has taken an option on "Goodbye Mickey Mouse"


Naval

Ludovic Kennedys Father holding off Scharnhorst and Gneiseau in the equivalent of the Isle of Wight Ferry. Killed in Action , VC awarded. While the action seemed futile, it did force Scharnhorst and Gneiseau back to port, as the Royal Navy now knew where they were

http://www.iprom.co.uk/archives/caithness/rawalpindi.htm

Air Force

The Battle of the Bridges , May 1940, as the RAF tried to stop Rommel and Guerdian on the way to Dunkirk, with the Fairey Battle and Blenheim squadrons losing horrendous numbers of aircraft and aircrews on a totally futile cause.

Or possibly, the last great airbattle over Athens,during the retreat from Greece in '41 when 14 Hurricane Pilots , including Roald Dahl , took on 200+ German Bombers and Fighters. None of them thought they were coming back , but they had to (Quote dahl) "put on a good show for the locals"

Army

Chindit Operations , or something featuring the 14th Army, maybe a biopic of Bill Slim?

There is one film that does need making that combines Army, Navy and Air Force , and that's Dieppe 1942 Operation "Jubilee"

http://www.combinedops.com/Dieppe.htm

Heroic efforts by all concerned, including the RAF fighting their most intense single battle of the whole war, the Navy coming in to drop and take off troops under a hail of fire and the Royal Marines , British Army Commandos , American Rangers (So it still might get made) and of course, the Canadians. I was amazed to find out from some of the Canadians I've worked with, that the entire Dieppe battle , is a "Must teach" in Canadian history classes in schools and colleges. They fought, bled and died on a 2 mile strip of beach, so valuable lessons could be learned for D-Day , and of course, for every amphibuous Op since
 
#4
They should make a film about an alcoholic retired Col working as a mercenary. Hired by a copper baron, to seize an imprisoned African president from a rebel tribe.

They could recruit three more officers and RSM a medic and 50 other ranks in the UK and group and train in Swaziland.

One of the officers could have a young son in Private school with an outrageous name due to his mother being French..... Imagine the torture of him being separated from his son over the Christmas period when they should be in Val dis'are skiing.

Once the plan is approved and some great outtakes of the training camp.. They could parachute, without Oxygen from 25'000ft into an area nearby the holding area.

They should obviously split in two, one group going to seize the airfield to secure a safe LZ for the pickup C-130 the other go in and in swift and sharp movements seize the dying President..... perhaps having a slightly camp medic to administer medicine.

On arrival back at the Airfield, the swarve and sophisticated cool cookie Lt can talk in the pickup aircraft..Say with callsigns, iron man and Wild goose.

NOW THE TWIST

When the C-130 lands, slip the camera back to London and show the Copper baron doing a deal with someone else and saving himself a wages bill for 55 Mercenaries. The C-130 could then pass by the now mentally defeated Mercs on the ground and we could have them ducking to avoid the wash of the Herc.

Now feeling double crossed the Lt Col...who could be played by Richard Burton could request that Raiffer.....say Richard Harris should 'Plan our way out of hear' after an inspirational speech about being double crossed.

Feeling stitched and angry they make their way south as all other directions are out of the question, they encounter stiff resistance all the way, but being British and having an ability to fire LMG Bren guns from he hip they will persevere, maybe even finding a cranky Irish clergyman in a field............ who could incidentally know where there is an old Dakota on an abandoned airstrip.

They can get the aircraft going and the remainder of the gang can struggle under fire to reach the taxiing aircraft...... as a final act of despair Raiffer who can't reach the aircraft could request his CO and best pal to shoot him as he can't catch up...... Alan Faulkner could do this with his Own Uzi...

The aircraft will inevitably run out of fuel and the President will die in transit.

The film could end with the CO extracting his revenge with a silenced PPK and taking money from his safe to widows, and then go the private school and pick up the toffee nosed kid whom he'd promised his life long pal he would look after.

All in all it would make a cracking movie, I would have Richard Burton, Richard Harris, stewart Grainger, Hardy Kruger and Roger Moore in the Film and would have characters going by the names, Witty, Sandy, tosh etc etc... I would fill it with cheesy clichés and make it watchable to the drunken squaddie over and over again.

I would also get Joan Armatrading to make a tear jerking song for the title music and call it 'Sad are the Eyes'

I would call my movie Wild Geese and have drawn a couple of pictures of the case of the front cover :D

 
#5
All good ideas above. Allied Artists Studio (if they still exist) might even be interested in that Africa thing.

How about a mini-series for TV or “franchise” style series of movies about 3 Commando in WW2? Perhaps along the lines of “Band of Brothers” or “The Longest Day” (if they'd broken it into the 3 movies it should have been).

They were organized from scratch by an officer (Lt-Col John Dunford-Slater DSO) who went from captain one day to Lt-Col the next, having to deal with former superiors, now subordinates, etc, etc. They were at Vaagso, Dieppe and Normandy. Brig. Peter Young was an original member. Plenty to deal with there.

The same thing could be done with the British section of “Drop Zone Normandy” by Lt Gen. Sir Napier Crookenden KCB, DSO, OBE, DL. Or “The Big Drop”, about 9 Para and Merville Battery.

Why don’t one of you Arrses come up with a synopsis, treatment or even a script and submit it to a producer? I see that my friend Shotgun is a writer, asking for interesting anecdotes. Here’s another line of work. What are they going to say? No? So what? Move to the next one (their e-mail/snail addresses are all easily found). It works, believe me. The rejecters usually even give you tips on improving your script or pitch.

MM: I don’t think the movie producers intended to insult you or anyone else (well, maybe some Jerries or Nips). With all due respect, I’d say that the reason all those US-centered movies are out there is because someone wrote scripts that were used by US movie types to produce US movies that will make them American money in the US (my apologies if this sounds sarcastic. It’s not intended). It’s a job, not a cause. There may also be more old US equipment around to use (remember all those M-48 "Tigers" in “Battle of the Bulge”?).

I think right now UK-centric movies would work here. Just look at “Master And Commander.” Remember, as Busterdog has said, Americans are impressed with “…the motherf*cker with the James Bond voice.”
 
#6
mighty_doh-nut said:
They should make a film about an alcoholic retired Col working as a mercenary. Hired by a copper baron, to seize an imprisoned African president from a rebel tribe. They could recruit three more officers and RSM a medic and 50 other ranks in the UK and group and train in Swaziland.etc etc etc
This could lead to a brilliant spin off TV series - unless the Yanks get in First and ruin it. They would call it , Z Force ..... O Group....no I have it The A Team
 
#7
To compare Wild Geeese to the A team is unforgivable, wash your mouth out!

The only thing they have in common is a tolken black man and the main men are both dead

In the Ateam, when did you ever here anyone say...'Lt Finn..that was ludicrous, you're jumping from an aeroplane not a whore house window'

or 'Those of you who don't know me are in for a great big f**ing surprise, those of you who do know me are in for an infinatley more horrible time than they can care to rememer'
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#8
When I was a nipper I always thought Longest Day didn't show enough of the beach scenes - clearly Spielberg agreed with me and so we got Saving Private Ryan.

I have a similar criticism for the WW1 movies (that I have seen) when compared with the books (I have read), and whilst it would be the ultimate insult to have America turn up and win WW1 in 1917 I would like to see a Spielberg or Scott movie (as opposed to, say Cameron) do justice to that awful war, obviously the situation doesn't lend itself to an easy movie to make (scene 1, the trench, scene 2, the trench, scene 3, the trench etc) and would rely lots on the script (ahhh, bugger, all the good script writers are dead now) but it would be nice to have a decent modern movie, so that, in case anyone has forgotten, they can see exactly what a world war 1 battlefield looked like. There's loads of archive footage available apprently (anyone know anything on this).

The recent movie The Trench was awful and I was dissipointed to see it, the problem is, that if it had been successful then hollywood could have been persuaded into making another movie with a bigger budget but it would appear that instead it was the nail in the coffin...
 
#9
How about making the book of 'Pegasus Bridge' by Stephen Ambrose into a Mini series of Movie?

How about one of the stories out of 'the operators' or 'one up' turned into a movie.

or a factual fly on wall documentry with an episode on each of the army arms and services. Or following a unit on op deployment to gulf or balkans and keep the press minders out of the way.
 
L

LE_OC

Guest
#10
"Pegasus Bridge" a Green Jacket battle honour. The producers would probably have the paras doing it to sex it up a bit.
 
#11
Apparently the Yanks are rewriting history again, this time with Tom Cruise playing the part of an American pilot in the Battle of Britain. He saves us from the Hunn, but in reality the bloke he is portraying only had 7 take offs. Six knackered landings and 1 engagement, what a tosser!
 
#12
All top ideas above,
PTP, Len Deighton's 'Bomber' would indeed make a superb subject for a film. Historically accurate, and extremely hard hitting in the way so many seperate lives become affected by the events of just one raid. Also agree with the RAF attacks aginst the bridges over the Albert Canal. All 6 Battles dispatched were shot down, and the first 2 RAF VCs of the war were awarded posthumously to Fg Off Donald Garland and his observer Sgt Thomas Gray. In an appalling act of rank snobbery however, Garland's radio operator, LAC LR Reynolds recieved no award whatsoever.

Likewise, the Chindits and Dieppe would also be excellent material.

Winger,
I understand that American money and scripts will be thrown into films for American audiences. What frustrates me is that the BBC are willing to fund Band of Brothers (excellent as it was) but have not done a similar British orientated WWII drama. In fairness, I can't remember who did the superb 'Warriors' BH drama of a few years back however; BBC or ITV.

Anyway, here's a few more suggestions:

Naval:
The 'Channel Dash' by the Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, where 6 obsolete RN Swordfish torpedo bombers and 10 RAF Spifires attacked a huge German naval force escorted by hundreds of aircraft. None of the RN aircraft returned, and the only 5 survivors were awarded 4 DSOs and a CGM while the leader Lt Cdr Eugene Esmonde, was awarded a posthumous VC.

Or what about the attack on the German cruiser Adm Hipper by HMS Glowworm in Norway in 1940 which again resulted in a VC?

The Battle of Taranto.

Land:
The Battle of Mirbat during the Dhofar War.

The Battle of Monte Cassino.

Any WWI subject.

Air:
The precision attack by RAF Mosquitoes on the SS HQ at Amiens.

The initial defence of Malta by 4 RAF flown Sea Gladiators, 'Faith', 'Hope' and 'Charity' (plus one other that wasn't named!).

The defence of Habbaniyah, Iraq against a German sponsored uprising in 1941 by a motly collection of RAF trg and second line aircraft.

Regards,
M2
 
#13
What about (and this should get a few back in here :lol: ) anyway what about a real "Dads army film" showing the fire brigade, AP's,ambulance service, police force and all the "old folk" of Londom who dealt with the blitz................................. or has it been done yet?


Dont think so not portraying the actual reality.


Just a thought.
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#14
tigger_c/s_30 said:
................................. or has it been done yet?


Dont think so not portraying the actual reality.


Just a thought.
There was that brit version of the enigma machine which I thought was quite good, that covered a fair bit of London...

Or that time travel series with the Only Fools and Horses guy....
 
#15
Good suggestion Tigger,

There is a small part in the 'Battle of Britain' where the civilian fire and rescue teams are shown in action during the night blitz (including the river tenders), but these guys remain very unsung.

I also seem to remember from my dim and distant youth a dodgy 1970's drama called 'Danger UXB'. Although it focused on Army bomb disposal, I recall a fair bit in that about the civilian rescue services. I think it starred Anthony Andrews and some blonde totty (Judy Geeson?).

Regards,
M2
 
#16
How about a TV mini-series of Nicholas Montserratt's superb "The Cruel Sea". It was written just after WWII and was then filmed in the very early 50's with Jack Hawkins in the leading role. If you've read the book then you'll know that lots of stuff got left out of the film.

or

something about the Chindits and their barking mad leader Maj Gen Orde Wingate in Burma 43-44. If you want a tale of soldiers pitted against a hostile environment as well as the Japanese then that could be a winner.

or

The Glorious Glosters at the battle of the Imjin River in Korea. Though someone has probably already suggested this, but I'm too lazy to check.
 
#17
MM

Bomber is a must read , and I defy anyone not to be moved by the book

"Events leading up to, and including the last flight of an RAF Bomber, over Krefeld, heart of the Ruhr, June 31st 1943"

On the Albert canal and Maastricht raids , the 6 Battle raid was the last ditch volunteer only effort , made I believe in the afternoon, when the RAF had lost 14 Battles and crews and 6 Blenheims out of Watton in the morning effort. The Afternoon effort ran into defence in depth, with 109s , 200+ Machine Guns and 20 mm Flakvierlings and 2000+ pissed off german troops covering all approaches to the bridges. The Hurricanes were engaged from way out with overwhelming opposition , leaving the Battles to fend for themselves, trying to drop reinforced structures with 250 lb bombs.

I agree on Garland/Grey/Reynolds, and I'm surprised the RAF hasn't made a more concerted effort to give Reynolds his deserved VC. the whole crew made the decision to press on.

On the 12th May, 12 Squadron were tasked with destroying vital bridges over the Albert Canal, the whole Squadron volunteered so it was decided that the six crews already detailed on the readiness roster should undertake the mission.
Tom's pilot Flying Officer Donald Garland was to lead 3 aircraft against the Veldwezelt Bridge in a low level attack.
Tom was the Observer/Navigator on Fairey Battle 1 - P2204 PH-K, piloted by FgOff Donald Garland with LAC Lawrence Reynolds as rear gunner.
They flew below the cloud base at 1000 feet and on reaching the Veldwezelt area started a shallow bombing run.
There were estimated to be some 300 guns entrenched in a defensive ring around the bridge, and the aircraft was blasted into the ground.
The second Battle L5439 piloted by PO IA McIntosh was hit in the main fuel tank, setting the aircraft ablaze, he jettisoned his bombs and made a forced landing - he survived as a Prisoner of War.
The third Battle L5227 piloted by Sgt Fred Marland released its bombs but then lost control and dived into the ground.
When the smoke cleared it was seen that the western end of the bridge was shattered, and evidence suggested the damage was caused by Garland and Gray's cool attack.
It had been Gray's first operational bombing raid.
After the raid, local civilians recovered the bodies of Garland, Gray and Reynolds, and quickly buried them in a secret location to prevent the Germans claiming them.
Near the end of the war Allied authorities were notified and all three were re-interred in Lanaken cemetery. Subsequently the three were buried in the Imperial War Graves Commission cemetery at Haverlee.
The citation for Garland and Gray's VCs which appeared in the London Gazette dated 11 June 1940 read in part:
Much of the success of this vital operation must be attributed to..
The coolness and resource of Sergeant Gray who navigated Flying Officer Garland's aircraft under most difficult conditions in such a manner that the whole formation was able to successfully attack the target in spite of subsequent heavy losses.
The VC was given to Gray's parents at an investiture in Buckingham Palace on 24 June 1941.
The ironic , poignant thing, from looking at these graves personally, from memory is that the crew are buried together, but Reynolds lack of a VC on the headstone really stands out.

Other topics

The x-craft attack on Tirpitz, I know it's been done before, but a possible re-vamp?

John frosts raid on Bruneval
HMS Campbeltown at St. Nazaire
and this story

http://home.earthlink.net/~aircommando1/GCCongMOH1.htm

Still alive last I knew, and currently rebuilding a Spitfire he "fell over" in Thailand.

And from all accounts, utterly mad and a nice guy to boot.
 
#18
Bravo2sugars said:
or

The Glorious Glosters at the battle of the Imjin River in Korea. Though someone has probably already suggested this, but I'm too lazy to check.
It's been done, it was called "A Hill in Korea" and starred Jack "won the war single handed" Hawkins.

Something about SOE in Yugoslavia would be good where Brigadier Trotsky Davies was parachuted in complete with typist to set up a resistance movment.

Or howabout something about the Malmedy massacre of SAS troops in 1944 and the subsequent post war investigations, notable as they kept the SAS between VJ day and the raising of 21 SAS in 1947.

Trotsky
 
#19
http://www.hmsglowworm.org.uk/

HMS Glowworm v the KMS Admiral Hipper

An incredible story. This action , is one of the few WW2 naval ship v ship actions very well documented photographically. Photographs appear on website.
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#20
Trotsky said:
Or howabout something about the Malmedy massacre of SAS troops in 1944 and the subsequent post war investigations, notable as they kept the SAS between VJ day and the raising of 21 SAS in 1947.

Trotsky
Malmedy was covered in the Battle of Bulge and looked full of Americans to me. I assume you're referring to something else. A quick web check reveals:

Malmedy Massacre Trial


Bodies of American POWs killed at Baugnez Crossroads

The incident which became known as "the Malmedy Massacre" happened at the Baugnez Crossroads in the Ardennes Forest in Belgium on December 17, 1944, the second day of fighting in the famous Battle of the Bulge, where American troops suffered 81,000 casualties, including 19,000 deaths, in one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. The German army suffered 70,000 casualties with 20,000 dead in the month-long battle, which didn't stop even for Christmas Day. It was during this decisive battle that a number of American soldiers were taken prisoner by Waffen-SS soldiers who were fighting in the battle group named Kampfgrüppe Peiper, which was spearheading the German attack.

The photograph above shows some of the 72 bodies which were recovered after they were left lying in the snow until January 13, 1945, four weeks after they were killed. The reason given by the US Army QM unit which eventually retrieved the bodies was that there was still heavy fighting in the area, which was not true, according to American soldiers who participated in the fighting in the vicinity of the Massacre. According to one veteran of the battle, an American Infantry Captain who is now deceased, the alleged massacre was a cover-up to explain why the US Army waited four weeks to collect combat fatalities after they had been notified about the bodies by local Belgian citizens. Another 12 bodies were recovered four months later after all the snow had melted, making a total of 84 victims.

On the day of the incident, Peiper's assignment had been to capture the bridge over the Muese in the Belgian town of Huy, and hold it to the last man until General Dietrich's 6th Panzer Army could cross over it, then rush across the northern Belgian plain to take the great supply port of Antwerp, which was the main objective of Hitler's Ardennes Offensive. Hitler had personally picked the route that Peiper was to take, but heavy artillery fire from the 2nd US Infantry Division had forced him to take an alternative route through the tiny village of Malmedy, close to the Baugnez Crossroads.

Peiper's Battle Group never reached its objective, which was the bridge over the Muese. Many of Peiper's tanks were destroyed by the Allies, and after Peiper ordered his men to destroy the remaining tanks and vehicles, the survivors escaped by wading and swimming across the river. Peiper's men were forced to retreat on foot, at a killing pace, on Christmas Eve 1944. Out of the 5,000 men in Peiper's unit, only 800 survived the Battle of the Bulge. Almost one out of ten of the survivors was indicted as a war criminal by the victorious Allies.

The Baugnez Crossroads was known to the Americans as Five Points because it was the intersection of 5 roads. There is considerable disagreement about what actually happened at Five Points on that Sunday afternoon in 1944 when the blood of American soldiers was spilled in the snow. The victims were members of Battery B of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion. The function of this lightly-armed technical unit was to locate enemy artillery and then transmit their position to other units. No two accounts of the tragedy agree, not even on the number that were killed. The official report said 86 were shot and there are 86 names on the Memorial Wall that has been erected at the site, but the Malmedy Massacre trial was based on the murder of the 72 soldiers whose bodies were autopsied after they were recovered on January 13, 1945, buried under two feet of snow.

According to the story that was pieced together by the American survivors, Peiper's assault unit had destroyed around a dozen American army spotter planes that day and had captured a group of American soldiers, who had been forced to ride along as Peiper's men continued down the road on their tanks. At the crossroads, the German tanks caught up with the American soldiers of Battery B, 285th Battalion which had just left the village of Malmedy and were traveling the same road, bound for the same destination. At the crossroads, a US Military Policeman, Homer Ford, was directing traffic as a column of artillery vehicles, led by Lt. Virgil Lary, passed through the intersection, headed for the nearby village of St. Vith.

A five-minute battle ensued in which approximately 50 Americans were killed. Some of the Americans tried to escape by hiding in the Cafe Bodarme at the crossroads, but Peiper's SS soldiers set the cafe on fire and then heartlessly gunned down those who tried to run out of the building. Survivors of the massacre said that the SS soldiers then assembled those who had surrendered after the battle in a field beside the Cafe. There were three eye-witnesses to the event: the owner of the Cafe, Madame Bodarme, a 15-year-old boy and a German-born farmer, Henri Le Joly. None of these witnesses were called to testify at the military tribunal in Dachau.

According to Charles Whiting in his book entitled The Traveler's Guide to The Battle for the German Frontier, "The Americans huddled in a field to the right of the pub, some of them with their hands on their helmets in token of surrender; others smoking and simply watching the SS armor pull away, leaving their POWs virtually unguarded. It was so quiet that Mme Bodarme and Le Joly came out of hiding to watch what was going on."

Peiper's tank unit continued down the road, after leaving behind a few SS men to guard the prisoners. Legend has it that Lt. Col. Peiper, who had an excellent command of the English language, passed the scene and called out to the American prisoners, "It's a long way to Tipperary." According to Whiting's book, Peiper had heard that an American General was in the next village and he was on his way to capture him. General Dwight D. Eisenhower mentioned in his autobiography, "Crusade in Europe," that there was some concern among the American generals about being captured, although he didn't mention Peiper by name.





Lt. Col. Jochen Peiper

At the Dachau proceedings, Lt. Virgil Lary was able to identify Pvt. 1st Class Georg Fleps, a Waffen-SS soldier from Rumania, who allegedly fired the first two shots with his pistol. Some versions of the story say that he fired a warning shot in the air when several prisoners tried to make a run for it. Other versions say that he deliberately took aim and shot one of the Americans. Panic ensued and the SS soldiers then began firing upon the prisoners with their machine guns. The survivors testified that they had heard the order given to kill all the prisoners: "Macht alle kaputt." According to the testimony of three survivors who played dead, the SS murderers were laughing as they walked among the fallen American soldiers and shot those who still showed signs of life. The autopsies showed that 41 of the Americans had been shot in the head and 10 had head injuries consistent with being bashed with a rifle butt. Curiously, most of the victims were not wearing their dog tags, although all of them were identified by their personal effects, since there were no wallets or watches taken by the Germans.





1st. Lt. Virgil Lary points out Sturmmann Georg Fleps

Private Georg Fleps, who is shown in the photograph above, was sentenced to death by hanging, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison. Forty-two of the accused were sentenced to death, but all the sentences were commuted to life after a Congressional investigation determined that there had been misconduct by members of the prosecution team.

(List of the accused)

The photograph below shows one of the survivors, an American soldier named Kenneth Ahrens, on the witness stand as he demonstrates how he held up his hands to surrender. Seated beside him is the interpreter who was responsible for translating his words into German for the benefit of the accused.





Kenneth Ahrens demonstrates how he surrendered

The exact number of soldiers who surrendered to the Germans is unknown, but according to various accounts, it was somewhere between 85 and 125. After the captured Americans were herded into the field at the crossroads, they were allegedly shot down by Waffen-SS men from Peiper's Battle Group in what an American TV documentary characterized as an orgy motivated by German "joy of killing." Forty-three of the Americans taken prisoner that day managed to escape and lived to tell about it. One of them was Kenneth Ahrens, pictured above, who was shot twice in the back. Seventeen of the survivors ran across the snow-covered field, and made their way to the village of Malmedy where they joined the 291st Engineer Battalion.

The massacre occurred at approximately 1 p.m. on December 17th and the first survivors were picked up at 2:30 p.m. on the same day by a patrol of the 291st Engineer Battalion. Their story of the unprovoked massacre was immediately sent to General Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander of the war in Europe, who made it a point to disseminate the story to the reporters covering the battle. One of the news reporters at the Battle of the Bulge was America's most famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, who was covering the war for Collier's magazine. When the gory details of the Malmedy Massacre reached the American people, there was a great outcry for justice to be done. To this day, the Malmedy Massacre is spoken of as the single worst atrocity perpetrated by the hated Waffen-SS soldiers.

The Inspector General of the American First Army learned about the massacre three or four hours after the first survivors were rescued. By late afternoon that day, the news had reached the forward American divisions. In his book , entitled "The Ardennes, The Battle of the Bulge," Hugh Cole wrote the following:

Thus Fragmentary Order 27 issued by Headquarters, 328th Infantry on 21 December for the attack scheduled for the following day says: "No SS troops or paratroopers will be taken prisoners but will be shot on sight."

In his book called "The Other Price of Hitler's War: German Military & Civilian Losses Resulting from WW 2," author Martin Sorge wrote the following regarding the events that took place after the massacre:


"It was in the wake of the Malmedy incident at Chegnogne that on New Year's Day 1945 some 60 German POWs were shot in cold blood by their American guards. The guilt went unpunished. It was felt that the basis for their action was orders that no prisoners were to be taken."

Today, there are also "deniers" such as disgraced historian, David Irving, who claim that there was no massacre at all, and that these American soldiers were killed in a battle with the Germans which took place at the crossroads.

Some of the SS men, who were convicted by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau, are still alive, but they tend to keep a low profile because even now, 58 years after the incident at the crossroads, they are afraid of losing their pensions or suffering reprisals if they speak out. The following description was given recently by a member of the 2nd SS Panzer Division of the Leibstandarte Hitler Jugend, who was convicted and sentenced to prison, together with a number of his comrades, for his involvement in the Malmedy Massacre. For obvious reasons, he wishes to remain anonymous. The following is his account:

"Our tanks were coming under American fire; the leading Tank was hit and its crew bailed out; the following tanks pushed it off the road and we kept going; a few kilometers on, a small group of (approximately 14) American infantrymen surrendered to us and they laid down their weapons. We radioed back to tell the troops behind us to gather up the American POWs and one of our soldiers was left behind to guard them.

A short while later we got a call from our Infantry to say they had arrived at the scene to pick up the American POWs and had come under heavy fire; apparently the Americans who had previously surrendered had jumped and killed the soldier left to guard them and, together with more Americans that had arrived in the meantime, had laid an ambush for the SS that came to pick them up. Colonel Peiper sent some Tanks and ground troops back to assist.

A heavy battle ensued, with hand-to-hand combat, whereby heavy casualties were taken on both sides. The Germans won the battle and gathered up their dead and wounded leaving the bodies of the Americans. It was later claimed the Americans killed in hand-to-hand combat were "beaten to death" by the SS, which is true, except it occurred in battle and not after they were captured.

When the war ended, I was arrested along with the remaining members of my regiment and put on trial by the Americans. All of us were kept in cells with no lights and when we were taken out of the cells they put sacks over our heads and we were beaten almost daily. The men in my regiment who had taken part in the battle at the crossroads were tortured very badly; they had their noses broken and their testicles were crushed and they were beaten until they signed confessions that they had massacred the Americans. These men were sentenced to death.

Because I had not been at the crossroads battle, but at the front a few kilometers away, I was given 20 years hard labor instead of the death sentence; even the crew of the tank that had been hit first and left kilometers behind were given 20 year sentences.

It wasn't until an American Judge later discovered that the confessions had been tortured out of my comrades that many of the sentences were reduced."



SS Lt. Heinz Tomhardt listens as his death sentence is read

The photograph above show a very young German SS soldier, as the death sentence is read to him while his defense attorney, Lt. Col. Willis M. Everett, stands on the right.

The Battle of the Bulge was no ordinary battle; it was the one of the biggest land battles of World War II and resulted in the highest number of American casualties. There had long been rumors that Hitler was secretly developing a "miracle weapon," and it was at the Battle of the Bulge that the jet airplane was first used by the Germans. The area in Belgium where the battle was fought had been the scene of similar battles in 1870, 1914 and 1940. This was Hitler's last stand, the last counteroffensive of the German army, and the Germans knew that if this battle was lost, the war would most likely be lost. The battle was very intense with the Germans putting everything they had into it. As John Toland wrote, regarding the gallant battle fought by the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge: "Boys of fourteen and fifteen died, rifles frozen to their hands; men in their fifties were found in cellars, feet black with putrefaction." Hitler was counting on Dietrich's Sixth Panzer Army, whose soldiers had fought heroically against the Soviet Communists on the Eastern front, to save the Fatherland from the Bolsheviks by winning this crucial battle in Belgium.

Dietrich assigned Peiper the great honor of leading the battle group which would spearhead the attack. Peiper was a veteran of the greatest tank battle of all time, fought between the German Tiger tanks and the Russian T-34 tanks at Kursk in July 1943. At almost 30 years of age, Peiper was the youngest combat colonel in the Waffen-SS and he was on track to becoming the youngest General in this elite German army. He had been awarded the Iron Cross first class for bravery in battle, and was regarded as one of Germany's leading experts in tank warfare. Under his command, Peiper's 1 SS Panzer Korps had disabled more than one hundred Russian tanks in combat. Such was Peiper's reputation as a panzer ace that his defense attorney made the suggestion that he should be brought to America as a consultant in America's Cold War with the Soviet Union. In fact, General Heinz Guderian, Germany's leading expert in armored strategy, had been brought to Ft. Knox after the war to advise the American Army on tank warfare. Peiper and his men had already been interviewed extensively in prison by US Army tactical experts.

In the first few days of the battle, there was mass confusion caused by a team of 28 Germans dressed in American uniforms, led by the famous commando Otto Skorzeny. Riding in stolen American jeeps, they created havoc by directing American troops down the wrong road, changing signposts and cutting telephone wires to General Bradley's field headquarters. Four of the team were captured and when they confessed their mission, the American army immediately broadcast the news that there were thousands of Germans operating behind enemy lines. Skorzeny and his men were later brought before the American military tribunal at Dachau in another proceeding.





Otto Skorzeny, famous German commando

John Toland described the opening scene of the battle in the following passage from his book entitled Adolf Hitler:

By midnight the Ardennes battlefield was in turmoil, a scene of indescribable confusion to those involved in the hundreds of struggles. No one - German or American, private or general - knew what was really happening. In the next two days a series of disasters struck the defenders. On the snowy heights of the Schnee Eiffel at least 8000 Americans - perhaps 9000 for the battle was too confused for accuracy - were bagged by Hitler's troops. Next to Bataan, it was the greatest mass surrender of Americans in history.

The enlisted men among the Malmedy Massacre defendants averaged less than 22 years in age. There were only 30 men who were original members of the Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler, including Lt. Col. Peiper and General Sepp Dietrich. Many of the accused SS soldiers were baby-faced, uneducated 18 and 19-year-olds with little combat experience, but a few others were some of the toughest and most battle-hardened men in the German armed forces, who had been in combat for six years. They had fought some fierce battles on the Eastern front and seen unbelievable atrocities committed by our Russian allies, including mutilated bodies on the battlefield, sodomy on German POWs and cannibalism in which parts of the bodies of German POWs had been sliced off and eaten. The photograph below, taken in the fall of 1941 on the eastern front, was published in a book by Professor Franz W. Seidler who found it in the files of the Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, Case 304, after the war.





Body of German soldier in Russian POW Camp 2, Stalag 305, 1941

Because the Soviet Union had not signed the Geneva Convention of 1929, the Germans were not required to observe the international rules of warfare with regard to our Russian allies who were committing the most sickening atrocities on the battlefield with no regard for the unwritten rules of civilized warfare. During the proceedings, the prosecution contended that Lt. Col. Jochen Peiper had instructed his men to fight as they had fought against the Russians, disregarding international law about the treatment of prisoners of war. The defendants testified that they had been instructed to take no prisoners, but they understood this to mean that because they were fighting in a tank unit, they were supposed to send POWs to the rear to picked up by infantry units.






Gen. Sepp Dietrich is No. 11, Lt. Col. Jochen Peiper is No. 42

In the photograph above, General Sepp Dietrich is No. 11; he was sentenced to death by hanging. Next to him is Prisoners No. 33, General Fritz Krämer, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Prisoner No. 45 is General Hermann Priess who was sentenced to life in prison, but his sentence was commuted to 20 years. No. 42 is Lt. Col. Jochen Peiper who was sentenced to death by hanging.

Besides the killing of 72 American soldiers at the Baugnez Crossroads, near the village of Malmedy, there were many other charges against the 73 accused. The charge sheet specifically stated that the 73 accused men

"did....at, or in the vicinity of Malmedy, Honsfeld, Büllingen, Lignauville, Stoumont, La Gleize, Cheneux, Petit Thier, Trois Ponts, Stavelot, Wanne and Lutre-Bois, all in Belgium, at sundry times between 16 December 1944 and 13 January 1945, willfully, deliberately, and wrongfully permit, encourage, aid, abet, and participate in the killings, shooting, ill treatment, abuse and torture of members of the Armed Forces of the United States of America, then at war with the then German Reich, who were then and there surrendered and unarmed prisoners of war in the custody of the then German Reich, the exact names and numbers of such persons being unknown aggregating several hundred, and of unarmed civilian nationals, the exact names and numbers of such persons being unknown."

In all, the accused were charged with murdering between 538 to 749 nameless Prisoners of War and over 90 unidentified Belgian civilians in the locations mentioned on the charge sheet, which is quoted above. The accused SS men claimed that the civilians, who were killed, had been actively aiding the Americans during the fighting. According to the rules of the Geneva Convention, shooting partisans was allowed.

The prosecution claimed that General Sepp Dietrich, on direct orders from Hitler himself, had urged the SS men to remember the German civilians killed by the Allied bombing, and to disregard the rules of warfare that were mandated by the Hague Convention of 1907 and the Geneva convention. This meant that all of the accused were charged with participating in a conspiracy of evil that came from the highest level, the moral equivalent of the Nazi conspiracy to exterminate all the Jews in Europe, which was one of the charges against the major German war criminals at Nuremberg.
 

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