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Thread: Happy Memorial Day

  1. #1

    Happy Memorial Day

    Thanks to all the men and women, past and present , in the US armed forces...

    Without them , we wouldn't be here

    Best Regards

    Smuler
    Savoir Faire Is Everywhere !!!

    Trying one day to be " In the Know "

  2. #2
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    Well said Smuler.......spent some time today thinking of my late great-uncle who fought with the US Army in World War II, and my cousin-in-law, who fought in Vietnam as an 18 year old. Both were wounded and returned in one piece.

  3. #3
    I was just listening to War Stories on Fox Business News. 2/3rds of the Marines that set foot on Iwo Jima were killed or wounded. 6,852 Americans died on Iwo Jima which was a 5 mile wide chunk of coral. Today is a good day to remember instances such as this as we grill burgers and swill cold beer.

  4. #4
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    I recently saw the classic 1965 movie "Battle of the Bulge" which depicts the actual historical event at Malmedy in which an SS faction executed 84 American prisoners of war who had surrendered, although some also escaped the firing of the machine guns from a truck. Word of this incident spread rapidly through the American lines and as a result, my great-uncle was given retaliatory orders to "take no prisoners" if he encountered surrendering German soldiers. He did encounter surrendering German soldiers and executed his orders. As a result of this he ended up with booty (mostly jewelry and rings) which he took off the dead soldiers he shot and kept stored in a chest with his medals. I really feel badly that my great-uncle had to execute these orders, but what the Germans did at Malmedy was not right and could not be allowed to stand.

    The way the incident was depicted in the movie was that the SS faction that committed this atrocity was a rogue unit that did not act pursuant to the orders of the German high command, which was probably true.

  5. #5
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    Happy Memorial Day to all my American friends on MERB.

  6. #6
    EB - I do not believe that these were rouge orders. That particular SS unit was trying to strike fear in the Americans. the goal was to drive to Antwerpen. Recently Rick Atkinson wrote an outstanding 3 volume set regarding the Western European theater starting with the allied invasion of North Africa.
    Army at Dawn - North Africa
    The Day of Battle - Sicily and the Italian Campaign
    Guns at Last Light - D-day through the invasion of Germany
    If you are interested give it a read. It took Atkinson about 10 years to finish the series and I found it outstanding. The best trilogy on WWII I have ever read and the best books on WWII that you will ever read. Even during the counter attack after D-Day the SS Panzer units took time to hang about 50 or 60 French citizens en masse in some town and there was another instance were woman and children were stuffed in a French church and the church was burned to the ground. Also, a few allied prisoners were executed on the spot by the Panzer SS units at D-Day. I think they had some formula for retribution for vandalism or murdering a Nazi in the rear echelon by civilians etc.

    I am all for the continued hunt to capture any war criminal that would do such a thing but rest assured, Germany paid in full for such atrocities. The Russians made sure they killed as many and raped as many civilians as they could. Allied bombing missions of German cities did nothing but murder innocent civilians and curry favor with Stalin far after there was any military objective. The book contains vivid accounts of Children watching their parents burnt to a crisp in front of their eyes from phosphorus dropped by allied bombers. The book is full of such stories. The Germans only fought harder at places like Aachen when their borders were being penetrated and all was seemingly lost...the last book in the trilogy was bone chilling.

  7. #7
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    Gentlemen,

    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver View Post
    ...SS faction that committed this atrocity was a rogue unit that did not act pursuant to the orders of the German high command...
    Yes, the massacre incident was largely committed by the Waffen SS under the command of Colonel Joachim Peiper who had a close connection with Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler himself. He was supposed to be executed for war crimes but the sentence was eventually commuted. About 30 years later he was found living in France and shot by either former resistance fighters or Communist Party members. The film also paints Peiper's tactics as self-defeating since retreating men who have no choice but fight or die fight much harder.

    Still I would not call Peiper's unit "rogue" since this shooting of prisoners was hardly unusual for the Waffen SS.

    When it comes to World War II films I prefer "The Longest Day".

    I'd like to give a shout out to my relatives who served, a grandfather in combat who lived, and his brother who was killed in a gas attack in World War I...grand uncles and cousins who served in combat in Sherman tanks, and various bomber aircraft in World War II, a father in the navy just after Korea, my nephew who has done two tours in the Middle East and still serves.

    Also, a special note of honors to my long ago ancestors like Claude Louis Lemaire, Jean Besset and others who came to the frontier of New France to serve as guardians of the people against the Iroquois.

    Many thanks,

    Merlot

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hungry101 View Post
    EB - I do not believe that these were rouge orders. That particular SS unit was trying to strike fear in the Americans.
    They definitely managed to accomplish the opposite.

    The movie portrays the incident as not ordered by the German High command, but nor did they seem too upset by it, and were actually somewhat dismissive, telling Robert Shaw's inquiring character Colonel Hessler that "we can't control what the SS does." This comes after the scene in which Charles Bronson, as leader of captured American POWs and hearing of what happened at Malmedy, demands that Shaw's German Colonel Hessler guarantee the treatment of his men in accord with international law and not execute them. Bronson also threatens Hessler that if he could not guarantee their safety, the Americans would riot and take a lot of German lives with them. In the end, Shaw's Hessler gives Bronson his word that the American POWs would be treated well and not shot, but he then calls German High command to demand what their knowledge was of the Malmedy incident.

    These characters are fictitious, but it does provide an interesting reimagining of how American POWs may have been concerned for their safety after Malmedy, as the incident became well known due to survivors who ran and made it into the woods and then back to American lines. This is what led to my great uncle being given orders to "take no prisoners" regarding surrendering Germans.

  9. #9
    EB - there is a great chapter dedicated to this in Citizen Soldiers by Steven Ambrose. He wrote D-Day: The Climactic Battle for WWII and Citizen Soldier as a follow up. D-Day took you through D-Day but Citizen Soldiers takes you through the hedges and the Winter that followed. Ambrose used to run the Eisenhower Center a the University of New Orleans. He was a huge Dwight D fan and it showed in his writing. He talked about the most dangerous time in a POW's life was just moments after he was captured and he chronicled a few instances in Europe where allies killed Germans and vice versa...it certainly was not as bad as the German and Russian double envelopment of Poland or the German/Russian co-treatment during and following operation Barbarossa.

    BTW - the one thing I like about Atkinson is his writing was completely objective. Ambrose was very partial to Eisenhower. I enjoyed and I recommend both, however.

  10. #10
    OMG I am watching US Vets talk about their experience at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea. Marine General O.P. Smith disobeyed MacArthur's orders and concentrated his forces. He saved the 1st Marine Division. This was when 10 Chinese divisions jumped into the war. The Vets are talking about Chinese executing wounded (This went both ways. The US doctors couldn't treat any Chinese). A man in a liter hearing the corpsmen and surgeons in the triage say "throw him on the dead truck. He won't make it" and he yells "What are you doing..." and they treat him and he lives. A man in a truck of US wounded watches the Chinese jump over the side of the truck and execute every one of his wounded comrades. Somehow he lives and crawls across the ice of the Chosin to be evacuated. His legs and hands amputated. Fighting their way out, walking out in the freezing cold 100's of miles...some companies had 90% casualties. The rest were dead. O.P. Smith should have won the medal of honor. The army Divisions didn't fair so well. MacArthur was relieved.

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