Le massacre de Baugnez

The 285th battalion of US field artillery observation was confined near the 7 th armoured division in Heerlen, in Holland. Three groups of the battery B, with roughly 140 men and 30 vehicles were with this  Division towards the south. They are placed between the Combat Command R and the 7 th armoured artillery regiment.
At 11. 45 on December 17, the convoy arrives at Malmédy but cannot easily clear a path because of an important circulation.
At 12. 45, the convoy stops in front of the headquarters of the 291 th battalion of combat of the engineering U.S. which constitutes the only defense of Malmédy. Whereas it indicated the road which was assigned to him with Colonel Pergrin, controlling of the 291 th, lieutenant Lary is informed presence of tanks German in Bullange. One then advises to him to change his route in order to avoid the confrontation. Like Lary has the responsibility to respect the route, it selected to keep the path that one assigned to him and to run the risk. Thus the small group starts on N 23 towards the northern wing of Kampfgrüppe Peiper. They pass a dam established by the sappers of the 291 th and arrive at the crossroads of Baugnez. Two M.p. from the 518 th detachment of the Military Font are guarding  the crossroads. After the passage of the Combat Command R, one of both will lunch in Malmédy.
The M.P. which remained guide the jeep of lieutenant Lary on the good road. After the last vehicle of the convoy passed, the M.P. enter the coffee of the crossroads and, at this time, hears the noise of a shooting of tank. It realizes that the column which had just passed is tackled by a German column. In the shooting, some G.I.' S are killed. Others try to be defended while being thrown in trenches. But against tanks, the combat is unequal. The vehicles of the American column are pushed by the tanks on the low side of the road in order to release the passage.
Lieutenant Harry, seeing himself unable to answer the attack rises in order to go. Some men succeed in fleeing towards the coffee of the crossroads.
The commander Diefenthal arrives and the shooting ceases. The Germans leave to search the Americans who went and bring them to the crossroads where they pile up them in a field close to the coffee. They are approximately 120 aligned out of 8 rows.
The commander Diefenthal makes leave the German column and leaves the commander Poetshke with the prisoners. This one withdraws two Panzer IV of the column and the fact manœuvrer so that the prisoners and the field is under the fire of those.
The Soptrott sergeant, controlling tank 731 receives the command then to open fire. He then gives to the command to his gunner-assistant the Fleps soldier to carry out the received command. This last already came out its gun. It adjusts the driver of lieutenant Lary and car. It is approximately 14. 00.
Lary does not understand and requires of its men not to panic in order not to still start a more important shooting. But the machine-guns of the tanks enter then in share.
When the tanks mowed all the prisoners, they from go away. Pioneers of German engineering enter the field to complete any American showing sign of life. The Germans leave some men of guard to the crossroads and from go away. Fortunately, a score of G.I.' S are only miraculeusement wounded, including Lary. Of only one blow, they rise and run towards wood, in north. After having seized again itself of their surprise, the Germans of guard open fire. Ten Americans deviate of their road and take refuge in the coffee. This one is then set fire to, and the Americans taken refuge inside, progressively cut down with their output. Pergrin, which had remained in Malmédy, heard the shots and decides to leave towards the crossroads Baugnez, in order to realize from what occurs. At the time when it arrives at the top of a hill overhanging the place of slaughter, it sees arriving four men, witnesses of the massacre, who ran and went through wood. It brings back them to Malmédy. Other survivors manage to regain the positions of the 291 th battalion of engineering U.S. It finally only with did not fall the night that one of the last survivors, who had taken refuge in the icy water of a brook could join in his turn, its lines.
On the whole, 17 survivors will regain Malmédy between 15H30 and midnight, and 43 men on the whole could escape the massacre.
The official report/ratio gives a list of 86 men cut down to the crossroads.
A very great publicity will be made around this massacre and, certain American units will go until applying the revenge on this crime.
December 21, the headquarters of the 328 th regiment of infantry transmit her commands for an attack projected for the following day:« No SS or German parachutist will be made prisoner will be drawn at sight ».
After the war, a memorial will be built around the place of the massacre. Étrangement, he has only 84 registered names there.
In December 1946, a lawsuit take place with Dachau or the principal persons in charge of the crime was judged.
On 74 judged SS, 43 were condemned to death, 22 with the penal servitude for life, and 8, with sorrows from 10 to 20 years.
Some, whose Peiper escaped the death penalty. Actually, it is currently known that neither him, nor its Kampfgrüppe were on the spot at the time of the crime


Des remarques,
des suggestions,
des témoignages ….

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