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While everyone knows of the German and Russian crimes of the Second World War, the crimes of the British and American soldiers are rarely discussed. While war does awful things to all fighter, these are the instances when the “good” Allied soldiers committed their own war crimes and are hardly spoken of. British Massacres:
A week after the discovery of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, a rumor reached the British Army’s ‘Desert Rats’ that the 18th SS Training Regiment of the Hitler Jugend Division, had shot prisoners at the nearby village of Rahter. The Rats were engaged ina  fierce battle with the SS defenders in the village of Nahrendorf. Slowly, and in groups, the SS began to surrender. As the noise of the battle died away the villagers emerged from their cellars and found the bodies of 42 SS soldiers lying in a shallow grave. After discovery, the bodies were then interned on a hilltop cemetery near the village. Each year, hundreds of SS veterans visit the cemetery to pay tribute to their fallen comrades, whom they say, were shot in cold blood on the orders of a “blood-thirty British NCO”.
American Massacres:
The Dachau Massacre: American soldiers (as photographed above) killed German prisoners of war and surrendering SS soldiers at the Dachau concentration camp
The Biscari Massacre: Biscari consists of two instances of mass murder, where US troops of the 45th Infantry Division killed roughly 75 prisoners of war, most of which were Italian.
Operation Teardrop: Eight of the surviving, captured crewmen from the sunk German submarine U-546 are tortured by US military personnel. Historian Philip K. Lundeberg has written that the beating and torture of U-546’s survivors was a singular atrocity motivated by the interrogators’ need to quickly get information on what the US believed were potential missile attacks on the continental US by German submarines.
In the aftermath of the Malmedy massacre a written order from the HQ of the 328th US Army Infantry Regiment, dated on December 21, 1944, which states: No SS troops or paratroopers will be taken prisoner but will be shot on sight. Major General Raymond Hufft of the US Army gave instructions to his troops not to take prisoners when they crossed the Rhine in 1945. “After the war, when he reflected on the war crimes he authorized, he admitted, ‘if the Germans had won, I would have been on trial at Nuremberg instead of them.’”  Stephen Ambrose related: “I’ve interviewed well over 1000 combat veterans. Only one of them said he shot a prisoner… Perhaps as many as one-third of the veterans…however, related incidents in which they saw other GIs shooting unarmed German prisoners who had their hands up.”  Near the French village of Audouville-la-Hubert 30 German Wehrmacht prisoners were massacred by U.S. paratroopers.
Many Americans and Canadian troops were ordered to not take prisoners during the D-Day landings in Normandy. If this view is correct it may explain the fate of 64 German prisoners (out of 130 captured) who did not make it to the POW collecting point on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

While everyone knows of the German and Russian crimes of the Second World War, the crimes of the British and American soldiers are rarely discussed. While war does awful things to all fighter, these are the instances when the “good” Allied soldiers committed their own war crimes and are hardly spoken of.

British Massacres:

  • A week after the discovery of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, a rumor reached the British Army’s ‘Desert Rats’ that the 18th SS Training Regiment of the Hitler Jugend Division, had shot prisoners at the nearby village of Rahter. The Rats were engaged ina fierce battle with the SS defenders in the village of Nahrendorf.

    Slowly, and in groups, the SS began to surrender. As the noise of the battle died away the villagers emerged from their cellars and found the bodies of 42 SS soldiers lying in a shallow grave. After discovery, the bodies were then interned on a hilltop cemetery near the village. Each year, hundreds of SS veterans visit the cemetery to pay tribute to their fallen comrades, whom they say, were shot in cold blood on the orders of a “blood-thirty British NCO”.


American Massacres:

  • The Dachau Massacre: American soldiers (as photographed above) killed German prisoners of war and surrendering SS soldiers at the Dachau concentration camp
  • The Biscari Massacre: Biscari consists of two instances of mass murder, where US troops of the 45th Infantry Division killed roughly 75 prisoners of war, most of which were Italian.
  • Operation Teardrop: Eight of the surviving, captured crewmen from the sunk German submarine U-546 are tortured by US military personnel. Historian Philip K. Lundeberg has written that the beating and torture of U-546’s survivors was a singular atrocity motivated by the interrogators’ need to quickly get information on what the US believed were potential missile attacks on the continental US by German submarines.
  • In the aftermath of the Malmedy massacre a written order from the HQ of the 328th US Army Infantry Regiment, dated on December 21, 1944, which states: No SS troops or paratroopers will be taken prisoner but will be shot on sight.

    Major General Raymond Hufft of the US Army gave instructions to his troops not to take prisoners when they crossed the Rhine in 1945. “After the war, when he reflected on the war crimes he authorized, he admitted, ‘if the Germans had won, I would have been on trial at Nuremberg instead of them.’”

    Stephen Ambrose related: “I’ve interviewed well over 1000 combat veterans. Only one of them said he shot a prisoner… Perhaps as many as one-third of the veterans…however, related incidents in which they saw other GIs shooting unarmed German prisoners who had their hands up.”

    Near the French village of Audouville-la-Hubert 30 German Wehrmacht prisoners were massacred by U.S. paratroopers.
  • Many Americans and Canadian troops were ordered to not take prisoners during the D-Day landings in Normandy. If this view is correct it may explain the fate of 64 German prisoners (out of 130 captured) who did not make it to the POW collecting point on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

/ January 28, 2011 / 60

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David Birnbaum

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