Malmedy massacre

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Prelude
Battle of Vianden – Battle of Kesternich

Initial German assault
Losheim Gap – Lanzareth Ridge – Malmedy massacre

Allied defense and counteroffensive
Elsenborn Ridge – St. Vith – Bastogne

German counterattack
Bodenplatte – Nordwind

Background
German forces – Order of battle

The Malmedy massacre was a war crime in which 84 American prisoners of war were murdered by their German captors during World War II. The massacre was committed on December 17, 1944, by members of Kampfgruppe Peiper (part of the 1st SS Panzer Division), a German combat unit, during the Battle of the Bulge.

The massacre, as well as others committed by the same unit on the same day and following days, was the subject of a trial during the Dachau Trials of 1946.

Contents

Context

Hitler's plans for the Battle of the Bulge gave the main goal (breaking through Allied lines) to the 6th SS Panzer Army, commanded by General Sepp Dietrich. He was to break the Allied front between Monschau and Losheimergraben, cross the Meuse River, and then capture Antwerp.[1][2]:5 Kampfgruppe Peiper, named after and under the command of SS-Standartenführer Joachim Peiper, was composed of armoured and motorized elements and was the spearhead of the left wing of the 6th SS Panzer Army. Once the infantry had breached the American lines, Peiper's role was to advance via Ligneuville, Stavelot, Trois-Ponts, and Werbomont and seize and secure the Meuse bridges around Huy.[2][1]:260+[3]

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