La bataille de Normandie, Die Schlacht um die Normandie, the Battle of Normandy (French: Normandie, Norman: Normaundie, from Old French Normanz, plural of Normand, originally from the word for "northman" in several Scandinavian languages)

Battle of Normandy
Both sides frequently failed to observe the Geneva Convention during the Normandy Invasion. It is not as if Allied war crimes are not known - it is just that it tends not to get talked about. The worst of these were the bombing raids on medical stations and ambulance convoys, many of which contained Allied servicemen being treated by Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (German Red Cross). Historian Peter Lieb has found that many U.S. and Canadian units were ordered not to take prisoners during the D-Day landings. If this view is correct it may explain the fate of 64 German prisoners who did not make it to the POW collecting point on Omaha Beach on June 6 1944. An example is the U.S. Army General Maxwell D. Taylor who instructed the men of 101st Airborne Division to take no prisoners according to American historian and Professor Stephen Edward Ambrose. Some 30 German prisoners were in fact massacred by U.S. paratroopers at the French village of Audouville-la-Hubert. A documentary made by CBC News confirmed British eyewitness (Edward Ashworth) accounts of Canadian troops cutting the throats of German prisoners and that Canadian tanks run over German soldiers with their arms in the air during the Battle of Normandy. The rumor spread through the entire 12.SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend that the Allies were killing fellow soldiers trying to surrender. In the days and weeks that followed, Canadian soldiers were executed following their capture by men of 12.SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend. The SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 25 was responsible for the killing of seven Canadian prisoners at it´s Headquarters at L’Ancienne Abbaye Ardenne. Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke was implicated in the killing of another 35 Canadian prisoners, all of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, at Fontenay-le-Pesnel on June 8 1944, though he never faced a trial for any conclusion as to any query of involvement. Canadian war crimes investigators were never able to establish with certainty the units involved, much less the individuals. After World War II, Allied investigations established that separate atrocities were committed by German troops in 31 different incidents involving 134 Canadians, 3 British and 1 American. Image: Encyclopedia Britannica.

12.SS-Panzerdivision Hitlerjugend
Both sides often took no quarter in tit-for-tat reprisals. According to a report by regimental adjutant Count Hauptmann Clary-Aldrigen who was captured by British troops near Hill 102 along with six senior officers and men, including regimental commander Oberst Luxenburger and battalion commander Major Zeissler of Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 130 of the Panzer-Lehr Division on June 8 1944. The British forces were two scouting parties numbered 2 and 6A of C Squadron of the Inns of Court Regiment. According to the war diary of the Inns of Court Regiment on June 8 1944: Lieutenant Yodaiken, Lieutenant Wigram, Corporal Fowler and six other ranks. When the German officers refused to voluntarily ride on the English armored reconnaissance vehicles as shields against bullets, the one armed Luxenburger was beaten up and tied to the vehicle, covered in blood. After respective orders had been received by radio, Major Zeissler, Hauptmann Clary-Aldrigen, the NCOs and men of the group were shot by the retreating British still with Oberst Luxenberger tied to one of their vehicles. Clary-Aldrigen survived the gunshot wounds and regained consciousness and crawled, badly wounded, in the direction of the village of Le Mensil-Patry. The next day, in retaliation, three Canadian prisoners, Private Harold Angel of Cameron Highlanders and Privates Frederick Holness and Ernest Baskerville of Royal Winnipeg Rifles were ordered shot at Le Haut du Bosq on June 9 1944 by Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke. SS-Obersturmbannführer Bernhard Siebken opposed the summary executions and called Division HQ and spoke to divisional Chief of Staff (Ia). He was told that POWs are to be treated according to the Geneva Convention. Mohnke returned to Battalion HQ looking for Siebken, who was away at the front, he then ordered SS-Untersturmbannführer Dietrich Schnabel to execute the Canadians. At Schnabel’s command the three Canadians were shot. At the end of World War II, several trials of Axis war criminals took place. However, in Europe, these tribunals were set up under the authority of the London Charter, and could only consider allegations of war crimes committed by persons who acted in the interests of the European Axis countries. Siebken and Schnabel (both of SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 26) were accused of the above war crime. Knight's Cross Holder Bernhard Siebken and Dietrich Schnabel were found guilty and hanged in Hameln on January 20 1949. Reference: Hubert Meyer - the official historian of 12.SS-Panzer-Division. Image: an SS-Sturmmann of 12.SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend (Normandy June 1944). Commons: Bundesarchiv.

12.SS-Panzerdivision Hitlerjugend
The theft and looting of Normandy households and farmsteads by liberating soldiers began on June 6 1944 and never stopped during the entire summer. One woman - from the town of Colombieres - is quoted saying: They are looting everything and going into houses everywhere on the pretext of looking for Germans. Even more feared, of course, was the crime of rape - and here too the true picture has arguably been expunged from popular memory. The evidence shows that sexual violence against women by Allied servicemen in liberated Normandy was common. Reference: William Hitchcock´s The Bitter Road to Freedom. According to the American Professor and historian Robert Lilly, there were around 3,500 rapes by American servicemen in France between June 1944 and the end of World War II. According to an article in Der Spiegel by Klaus Wiegrefe, many personal memoirs of Allied soldiers have been willfully ignored by historians until now because they were at odds with the "Greatest Generation" mythology surrounding World War II, but this has recently started to change with books such as "The Day of Battle" by American journalist and author Rick Atkinson (winner of the Pulitzer Prize) where he describes Allied war crimes in Italy, and "D-Day: The Battle for Normandy" by British historian Anthony Beevor. References: Spiegel Online 05/04/2010. Credit: Wikipedia. Image: a young Waffen-SS Grenadier on the outskirts of Caen in June 1944. Photographer: SS-Obersturmführer and Kriegsberichter Friedrich Zschäckel. Commons: Bundesarchiv.

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