Kaiserbaracke between St. Vith and Malmedy and day raid on St. Vith

Schnelle Gruppe Knittel
Day raid on St. Vith
Left image: SS-Obersturmführer Heinz Goltz from Schnelle Gruppe Knittel at the Kaiserbaracke Crossroads between St. Vith and Malmedy on December 18 1944. An image sometimes identified as SS-Obersturmführer Hans-Martin Leidreiter, who also served under SS-Sturmbannführer Gustav Knittel as company commander in the Ardennes Offensive. SS-Kampfgruppe Knittel operated near Stavelot behind Kampfgruppe Peiper. Kampfgruppe Peiper got closest to the Meuse/Maas but got encircled in La Gleize. Kampfgruppe Hansen made an attempt to break the encirclement but failed. The other SS-Kampfgruppen tried to free the supply route which had also been cut by Allied Forces by taking Stavelot. Heinz Goltz was born in 1921 in Allenstein in Ostpreußen. He joined the Waffen-SS in 1939 and participated in both the Balcans Campain and in Operation Barbarossa. After the abandonment of the Ardennes Offensive the Leibstandarte SS was transferred to Hungary to take part in Operation Spring Awakening (Unternehmen Frühlingserwachen). Goltz survived the battles on the Eastern and Western Fronts. He was later accused of having given the order to shoot Belgian civilians for sheltering American troops in the vicinity of Stavelot on December 19-20 1944. A trial held in Liège in Belgium ended on July 31 1948 with the conviction of Heinz Goltz. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment but served less. Source: U.S. War Department Film. Fair use. Right image: An Avro Lancaster of No. 625 Squadron from the Bomber Groups of the RAF flys over the smoke-covered target during a daylight attack on supposed German troop concentrations at St. Vith in Belgium. With the weather improving over the Ardennes, all allied aircrafts were required for operations in support of ground forces. Malmedy was bombed repeatedly by the U.S. Air Force on December 23, 24 and 25 1944 killing approximately 200 Belgian civilians despite the fact it was actually under control of U.S. troops. Source: Imperial War Museums. Fair use.

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