Revenge and vengefulness during the Battle of Normandy (I)

SS-Flak Abteilung in Normandy
Camouflaged Tiger tank of the Waffen-SS in Villers-Bocage
12.SS-Panzerdivision Hitlerjugend in 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 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. Top image: an unidentified member of a Waffen-SS Anti-Aircraft Battery in June 1944 in Normandy. Middle image: Panzer VI Tiger of schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 camouflaged in the undergrowth in Villers-Bocage in Normandy in June 1944. Bottom image: young SS-Panzergrenadiers of SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 25 of the Hitlerjugend division. The wounded officer with the back towards the camera is SS-Obersturmbannführer Max Wünsche, commanding officer of SS-Panzer-Regiment 12 of the same division. The officer to the very right is SS-Hauptsturmführer Rudolf von Ribbentrop, commander of 3.Kompanie of the same tank regiment. He was the son of the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. Photo taken by SS-Kriegsberichter Wilfried Woscidlo on June 9 1944 at Rots in Normandy. Commons: Bundesarchiv.

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