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Pics: In Peiper's footsteps (La Gleize-Cheneux)

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Martin Bull, May 1, 2013.

  1. pistol

    pistol Member

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    The road to Ligneuville. The column of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion had just started to move down this road, in the direction of Ligneuville, when it came under fire from the left. Many of the Americans sought cover in the deep ditch on the right hand side of the road. Some tried to reach the forest to the right. The soldiers in the ditch surrendered and were herded back to the field west of the road near the crossroads.
     

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  2. pistol

    pistol Member

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    After moving a little down the road, same area now looking back towards the crossroads. The building with the white star on the gable is the new Baugnez Museum. Right behind it is the massacre field.

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    The story of the Malmedy Massacre has recently been retold by Danny S.Parker in his book: "Fatal Crossroads: The Untold Story of the Malmedy Massacre at the Battle of the Bulge"

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  3. pistol

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  4. pistol

    pistol Member

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  5. pistol

    pistol Member

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    One Panther was demolished by a shot in the rear from a Sherman tank which was under repair and parked next to the Hotel du Moulin. The Panther ended up in front of the Hotel des Ardennes, just beyond the church of Ligneuville.

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    View the Sherman had down the main road towards the Church. The Hotel des Ardennes is just around the corner.
    View attachment 18828

    The building that housed the Hotel des Ardennes still exists but is no longer a hotel
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    View in the direction of the Hotel du Moulin
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  6. pistol

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    Same area as on last picture

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  7. pistol

    pistol Member

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    Stavelot

    On the approach road to Stavelot, at the hamlet of Vaulx-Richard, KG Peiper halted for the night on the evening of the 17th.

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  8. Natman

    Natman Member

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    Thanks to both Martin and pistol for this great thread. I've never seen most of the "then" photos, very interesting.
     
  9. pistol

    pistol Member

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    Stavelot

    Preceded by his Panzergrenadiers, Peiper on the morning of the 18th attacked down the Chemin du Chateau (Castle Road), the road that steeply descends to the bridge over the Ambleve River at Stavelot. In early morning, still dark, his Panzergernadiers cleared the group of buildings situated along the Chemin du Chateau on the east bank of the Ambleve, also known as the Stockeu district. This done Peiper, at first light, launched his tanks against the bridge. The bridge defence was overwhelmed and the bridge taken intact.

    View up-hill of the steep Chemin du Chateau that was used by the Panzers of KG Peiper to reach the bridge at Stavelot.
    View attachment 18832 View attachment 18834
     

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  10. pistol

    pistol Member

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    The Stavelot bridge
    View attachment 18835 View attachment 18836


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    Later that day Stavelot and the bridge over the Ambleve were retaken by the 1st Bn, 117th Infantry, 30th U.S. Infantry Division, thus blocking Peiper's supply route. All efforts by the 1st SS Pz Division to retake the bridge and reach its forward battlegroup were repulsed. The western ramp of the bridge, on the left hand side, was finally blown by the Americans.
     

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  11. KodiakBeer

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  12. pistol

    pistol Member

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    Thank you Kodiak Bear. Next to the Chemin du Chateau stands a small monument commemorating the men that fell in the battle for the Stavelot bridge on 18 Dec 1944. They were from the 291st Engineer Combat Battalion who had set up roadblocks on the south bank of the river. They were later reinforced by a section (two 3-inch ATk guns) of towed TD guns of the 825th TD Bn and a platoon of infantry from 'A' Coy of the 526th U.S. Armored Infantry Battalion. The two latter formations belonged to Task Force Hansen, an ad-hoc formation composed of First U.S.Army reserve units. The task force was assigned to defend the town of Malmedy and the downstream crossings over the Ambleve River at Stavelot and Trois Ponts. The first platoon of Company A from the 825th TD Bn, with four 3-inch anti-tank guns, was attached to Company A of the 526th Arm Inf Bn and assigned to defend Stavelot, while the second and third platoons accompanied another company of the 526th to block the roads into Malmedy from the south.

    See also http://donauschwaben-usa.org/pdf%20forms/Thornton%20Genealogy%20Project%20Files/526th%20Armored%20Infantry%20Battallion%20stories/Stavelot%20-%20Belgium.pdf
    For a detailed description of the Battle of Stavelot I recommend the book by Hubert Laby, Ardennes 44, Stavelot (written in French).

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    A 3-inch anti-tank gun in position

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    A section of 3-inch anti-tank guns of the 825th AT Bn was sent up the Chemin du Chateau in the early morning of Dec 18th to reinforce the tiny American bridgehead on the east bank. The section was surprised by the enemy infantry even before it could deploy its TD guns. The halftracks with their guns still in tow were knocked-out and a number of the crew were killed. The spot nowadays is marked by the monument.
     

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  13. pistol

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    Next to the bridge are two other monuments. One of an U.S. halftrack, which were used by 825th TD Bn for towing the 3-inch anti-tank guns. The other, opposite the bridge, remembers of the 25 civilian victims of the Stockeu district, who were brutally murdered by the Waffen SS in Dec 44.

    View attachment 18840 View attachment 18841
     

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  14. pistol

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    Trois Ponts

    As we all know, at Trois Ponts Peiper's luck ran out. The bridge over the Ambleve at Trois Ponts was blown up in his face by engineers of the 51st Engineer Combat Battalion, which forced him to make a detour through the Ambleve Valley to La Gleize, where he hoped to find another passage over the Ambleve River. The terrace of the Hotel Le Beau Site, situated high in the hills northeast of Trois Ponts, offers a grandstand view of the Trois Ponts area.

    View attachment 18842
     

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  15. pistol

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    Wanne

    On the 18th, Peiper sent a small task force - comprised of his Mk IV tank companies - south over Wanne, in an effort to take the southern bridge at Trois Pont, near the railroad station. It proved in vain. The southern Ambleve bridge was blown when the Germans approached.

    The Chateau de Wanne later held the HQ of the 1st SS Pz Division. It was here that Peiper debriefed to Mohnke, the division commander, after making his escape from the cauldron of La Gleize.

    View attachment 18843

    A monument in the village centre remembers of the bitter fighting that took place in January 1945 by the men of the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team.

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  16. pistol

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  17. pistol

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    Cheneux

    At Cheneux Peiper crossed the Ambleve over an intact bridge and again headed westwards.

    View attachment 18848
     

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  18. pistol

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  19. pistol

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  20. pistol

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    Habiemont - Lienne River

    Finally, by the end of Dec 18th, the column of KG Peiper, after passing through Cheneux and Rahier, was stopped at the River Lienne near Habiemont by a little band of engineers of the 291st Engineer Combat Battalion. They blew up the bridge over the Lienne when the first enemy tanks approached. The damned engineers!!

    The bridge over the Lienne
    View attachment 18855

    Monument for the 291st Engineer Combat Battalion at the bridge site.
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