Aroimd 12:30 on 17 December 1944, a column of trucks and jeeps belonging to Battery B, 285th Field Artillery Observation Battallion, pulled up outside the (now demolished) command post of Lieutenant Colonel David E. Pergrin's 291st Engineer Combat Battallion. Pergrin advised Captain Mills, the Battery B commander against continuing on to St. Vith via Baugnez since he had reports of German armour approaching Mahnedy from the east and felt it would be safer for them to take an alternative route to St. Vith. They chose to ignore his advice and the column set off towards its fateful encotmter with 'Hitler's Own' - SS Leibstandarte.
T^e incident most often referred to as the 'Malmedy Massacre' occurred on the right side of N62 in what is today the garden of the red brick house across the road from the prefabricated blue building. In 1944 this was an open field, the red brick house and its driveway having been built post-war. The Battery B colunm of trucks and jeeps came under fire after the point turned due south in the direction of Ligneuville. The men exited their vehicles to be marched back up to the field opposite you by their German captors.
'The massacre was neither a premeditated slaughter, nor a complete battlefield accident. There were elements of both, primarily brought on by the actions of Max Beutner or Eric Rumpf (which, is not completely clear). Suffice it to say that the battlegroup commander, Obersturmbannführer Jochen Peiper was not there. However, Werner Poetschke was present and fuming after a particularly testy encounter with Peiper regarding the lack of progress of the tank group and the missing nature of Werner Sternebeck's spearhead (unknown to them it had already motored on ahead). Peiper was also annoyed that the firing would alert the American forces in Ligneuville nearby He had learned that an American general, (General Edward Timberlake) was there and having never caphired one before, was intent on that prospect!
ArdennesBattle for the BulgeMalmedyNormandiePeiperVadVarVem