12th SS in Normandy

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by canuck, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The fact remains that the 12 SS shot our men in cold blood. Thus, after that, they were very lucky to have been taken prisoner.
    I repeat what I posted before. I never ever witnessed a prisoner being ill treated by the British army. Nor did I hear of it occurring anywhere.
    The only time there would be a dust up if the SS started their bloody silly nonsense. And they did try it on at times, Usually settled with a smack in the mouth.

    You would have thought that the SS would have learned to keep their mouths shut .But some of those bombastic idiots could not!

    I captured several 12 SS men. IF they behaved themselves, I lit a cigarette for him, stuck his hands on his head and pointed the way to go...None of us wanted to escort bloody prisoners back..... Send them back on their own!
    Sapper.
    But it all so long ago; 67 years have passed. That is in many cases more than a life time. But I never forget......

    Sapper
    246 Field Company.RE
    8th Brigade
    Third British Infantry Division

    Monty's Ironsides
     
  2. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

    [...] they were very lucky to have been taken prisoner.
    I repeat what I posted before. I never ever witnessed a prisoner being ill treated by the British army. Nor did I hear of it occurring anywhere.
    The only time there would be a dust up if the SS started their bloody silly nonsense. And they did try it on at times, Usually settled with a smack in the mouth.


    Maybe I'm just getting it wrong, but isn't this a contradiction? They were lucky to be taken prisoner or they'd get "a smack in the mouth" - which is not "being ill treated"?
     
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Heimbrent
    "a smack in the mouth" would by all reasonable standards of to-day's PC obsessed populations as ill treatment - but in 1944 - this was a gentle correction for "trying it on " as a prisoner - so you are right inasmuch as it is a contradiction - however in those days we looked upon "ill treatment" as being hit with a rifle butt - or even a bullet in the back of the neck - which appears to be a speciality of the SS troops.

    any prisoners we took were invariably given a tin of cigarettes- plus a million Italian matches in order to light just one cigarette and sent on their way if there were no Infantry about - mind you we never had to fight the SS in Italy - apart from one lot from Russia to deal - viciously with the Partisans..and they did just that. viciously !
    Cheers
     
  4. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

    Tom, thanks a lot for the clarification.
    I sometimes find it hard to interprete things without letting it be influenced by my own person and experiences, even if that's just what I should do as a historian.

    Do you know how this was seen by the prisoners? Was that (i.e. a smack in the mouth) within the scope of their expectations anyway, so that they didn't consider it as ill-treatment themselves either? After all, I assume, their frame of reference when it comes to being a PoW can't have been so very different from yours)
     
  5. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Heimbrent
    The biggest problem I see all around is the fact that the world has changed - radically since the 60's - by a complete rejection of what was a fairly moral standard prior in that period- the age of aquarius et al - but before that we lived in violent times from '39-'45 when a 'smack in the mouth' was not uncommon - so from that point of view it was to be expected for bad behaviour.

    I am aware of the differences with my own children when bad behaviour was not tolerated - or was liable for the ministrations of the "Board of Education" across their nether regions on occasion - today - would be in jail for child abuse - we went on the basis of "spare the rod - spoil the child ' - the result of "sparing" can be seen in many civil riots to-day when children think that they are entitled to smash thingsup and steal as you "have it - I want it "syndrome...

    Changed days - but NOT for the better I am afraid
    Cheers
     
  6. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The thing about all this Tom....With all the good will in the World. it is a fact that unless anyone has experienced what it is like to face up to mortars, 88s, and spandau fire..Then no one can never really understand what the Vets have seen and done.

    Let me tackle this thing about abuse of prisoners. There were two enemies against us the Wehrmacht, and the SS. The SS were arrogant and mouthy, they exuded hate, even when we captured them. These were the people that had left a trail of death and torture in their wake.... where ever they had been.

    If you need proof? Then look at the Das Reich No 2 SS Panzer div. See what they did at Orador sur glan, or the other little town where they hung 99 Frenchmen from the lamp posts.

    Let those that defend the SS, visit Orador..It has been left just as the Germans departed it... A place where hideous memories cling to the ivy clad burnt out walls.

    Let them enjoy visiting the church where the SS put all the women and children. before setting it alight and burning the mothers and children alive.....

    Where if you listen very carefully, you can still hear the screams of little children being burned alive... 67 years ago........

    Now lets return to prisoners....In many cases after the battle, you could have a Wehrmacht man helping with the wounded on stretchers. But the SS?

    It would be helpful if all what they were responsible for; is made known.
    For example: a group of SS came forward with a white flag to surrender, when our men went forward to take them in... another popped up and cut them all down with Spandau fire... (Source? The late Ted Brown. Queens Reg)

    Finally...As to the 12 SS? Fine... we mangled them..... We destroyed them... In the end they were a sorry shambling mess.

    Some of them had to endure the horrors of the Falaise pocket, where we reduced them to a state where even the fighter pilots over flying Falaise, complained about the sickly stench of death that got inside their cockpits.

    Yet..And I repeat. I never witnessed atrocities on prisoners, nor did I know of any.(Outside of battle)

    British army discipline rules supreme! If we harmed a prisoner?
    Sapper/

    PS. My trouble is, that I cannot forget the screams of little children being burned alive....Is that wrong? Oh Yes! one other thing..Anyone want to challenge any of what is posted here?
     
  7. Combover

    Combover Guest

    Not at all Sapper.

    I wasn't there and only got my gradfather's perceptions of the SS when I was growing up, which roughly match yoursand I can see where you are coming from and wholeheartedly agree.

    He hated them. HATED them.
     
  8. In leiu of what they were up against, the Commonwealth troops did suprisingly well.
     
  9. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Brian -
    I don't doubt for a moment that your story of the SS was true in all aspects- however we never fought the SS in Italy so while we had at least three of their best e.g 1st Paras - 26th Panzers - 29th PG's - seemingly always against us in the Canadian Division -we had in comparison a gentleman's war- and atrocities were happening all the time but it was Wehrmacht Vs Civilians mainly - for sabotage - they were tough but not malicious in action as can be seen from the Battles of Ortona - Cassino - Coriano and many others... etc

    HEIMBRENT- made a mess of your PM - as usual- so didn't get your message ...
    Cheers
     
  10. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Posted by me on a separate thread a while ago, but applicable to this thread:

    There is quite a bit on this forum about the execution by the 12th SS Panzer Division of Canadian soldiers at Abbaye d'Ardenne and Chateau d'Audrieu...

    In a new book 'Armies of Empire' (Converse) the author refers to two soldiers from the 151st Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division being executed at Chateau d'Audrieu.

    Further investigation has revealed that Privates William Barlow and Evan Hayton, both 'D' Company, 6[th Bn Durham Light Infantry], together with 24 Canadian prisoners were shot by SS troops; it was suspected that the killings were carried out by men of the Reconnaisance Battalion, 12th SS Panzer Division (Newcastle Evening Chronicle - 1994); this is referred to in 'The Faithful Sixth' (Moses), but I must have overlooked this on first reading!

    Name: BARLOW, WILLIAM HENRY
    Initials: W H
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Private
    Regiment/Service: Durham Light Infantry
    Age: 21
    Date of Death: 08/06/1944
    Service No: 4987501
    Additional information: Son of Herbert and Pheobe Barlow, of Worksop, Nottinghamshire.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: II. F. 4.
    Cemetery: HOTTOT-LES-BAGUES WAR CEMETERY


    Name: HAYTON, EVAN
    Initials: E
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Private
    Regiment/Service: Durham Light Infantry
    Unit Text: 6th Bn.
    Age: 20
    Date of Death: 08/06/1944
    Service No: 14617934
    Additional information: Son of James and Marjorie Hayton, of Bescar, Lancashire, England.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. G. 9.
    Cemetery: BENY-SUR-MER CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY, REVIERS

    These men were in the same Company as Corporal Billy Gibson, uncle of our own Jim (handle 'Verierres'); Billy was killed in action six days later. :poppy::poppy::poppy:

    Best,

    Steve.

    These were unarmed POW's that were executed in cold blood...

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  11. rossaspden

    rossaspden Junior Member

    my father was in 46RM and fought the 12th SS panzer in Rots - he told me that the Canadians had tried to attack the village earlier in the day but were forced to retreat - everyone was unsure as to the strength of the German force. As a marine in a small troop he remembers that you were only ever interested in your immediate surroundings and never got to know the "full" story - in Rots he heard that B troop had suffered heavy casualties and then his Z troop along with X troop and a sherman attacked,two panthers were destroyed and the Germans had several casualties forcing them to withdraw.He does say that these Germans were better trained and continually moved about between houses.The marines dug in expecting a counter attack in the night but it didn't happen - one of his mates was awarded the MM during this action. He remembers another who was killed at Rots - several years ago I took him to a war cemetery in Normandy and found his resting place - very emotional.
     
  12. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    From 'Three Assualt Landings - The Story of the 1st Bn The Dorsteshire Regiment in Sicily, Italy and NW Europe' by Lt-Col AEC Bredin DSO, MC.

    The 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment, 231st Infantry Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division, were acting as motorised infantry in support of the 8th Armoured Brigade, which were operating in advance of the main bridgehead. This is early on the 9 June 1944.

    "Meanwhile, the Commanding Officer and company commanders went forward to Point 103 to carry out a reconnaissance. Our armour, by-passing the Audrieu area while we were dealing with the opposition there, had occupied Point 103 unopposed.

    ...both flanks were open. On our left the 3rd Canadian Division had not yet cleared Bronay. It was men of this division who were foully murdered after being taken prisoner by the 12th SS Panzer Division - we saw them with our own eyes, laid out in rows behind the Chateau at Pavie."

    This book was first published in February 1946.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    my father was in 46RM and fought the 12th SS panzer in Rots - he told me that the Canadians had tried to attack the village earlier in the day but were forced to retreat - everyone was unsure as to the strength of the German force. As a marine in a small troop he remembers that you were only ever interested in your immediate surroundings and never got to know the "full" story - in Rots he heard that B troop had suffered heavy casualties and then his Z troop along with X troop and a sherman attacked,two panthers were destroyed and the Germans had several casualties forcing them to withdraw.He does say that these Germans were better trained and continually moved about between houses.The marines dug in expecting a counter attack in the night but it didn't happen - one of his mates was awarded the MM during this action. He remembers another who was killed at Rots - several years ago I took him to a war cemetery in Normandy and found his resting place - very emotional.

    Drop me a PM if you know the name of the chap who got the MM. I may be able to find it for you.
     
  14. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    my father was in 46RM and fought the 12th SS panzer in Rots - he told me that the Canadians had tried to attack the village earlier in the day but were forced to retreat - everyone was unsure as to the strength of the German force. As a marine in a small troop he remembers that you were only ever interested in your immediate surroundings and never got to know the "full" story - in Rots he heard that B troop had suffered heavy casualties and then his Z troop along with X troop and a sherman attacked,two panthers were destroyed and the Germans had several casualties forcing them to withdraw.He does say that these Germans were better trained and continually moved about between houses.The marines dug in expecting a counter attack in the night but it didn't happen - one of his mates was awarded the MM during this action. He remembers another who was killed at Rots - several years ago I took him to a war cemetery in Normandy and found his resting place - very emotional.

    Lance Corporal Richard McCarthy

    This NCO showed complete disregard for personal safety during the operations on 11th June. His work involved assisting casualties over open ground covered by fire. During the night of the 11th/12th June Lance-Corporal McCarthy went forward alone from Rots in order to locate and assist wounded, in an area which was constantly under enemy fire.
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers-Here's the original

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    my father was in 46RM and fought the 12th SS panzer in Rots - he told me that the Canadians had tried to attack the village earlier in the day but were forced to retreat - everyone was unsure as to the strength of the German force. As a marine in a small troop he remembers that you were only ever interested in your immediate surroundings and never got to know the "full" story - in Rots he heard that B troop had suffered heavy casualties and then his Z troop along with X troop and a sherman attacked,two panthers were destroyed and the Germans had several casualties forcing them to withdraw.He does say that these Germans were better trained and continually moved about between houses.The marines dug in expecting a counter attack in the night but it didn't happen - one of his mates was awarded the MM during this action. He remembers another who was killed at Rots - several years ago I took him to a war cemetery in Normandy and found his resting place - very emotional.

    46 RM Commando ROH 11/6/44

    BEGBIE, William Bell Sgt
    BROOKS, William Elias Cpl
    DAVIDSON, George Mne
    DOWNS, Jack Mne
    GARLICK, Reuben William Cpl
    JERRAM, Anthony Patrick Lt
    JOHNSON, Cyril L/Cpl
    JOHNSON, Henry Stuart Mne
    JONES, Ernest George Mne
    JUDD, Thomas Charles Frederick Mne
    LEDGER, Thomes Musgrove Sgt
    LEEMING, William Cedric TSM
    McFALL, Robert Cpl
    MUSGRAVE, Kenneth Mne
    NUNN, Richard Geoffrey Lt
    ROBERTSON, Harry Scrimgeour Sgt
    ROGERS, Albert William Cpl
    ROWE, Edward George Sgt
    SMITH, James Thomas Richardson Sgt
    WHEELER, Alexander Victor Mne
    WHITAKER, James Cpl
     
  17. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    On 11 June the 46th Royal Marine Commando assaulted Rots.
    The official historian of Le Régiment de la Chaudière, described the scene the following day:

    “They fought like lions on both sides, so that the dead lay corpse by corpse. We searched every house, every courtyard to avoid ambush. And here is the confirmation of how ferocious last night's battle must have been. The Commandos lie dead in rows beside the dead SS. Grenades are scattered all over the road and in the porches of houses. Here we see a Commando and an SS man, literally dead in each others arms, having slaughtered each other. There, a German and a Canadian tank have engaged each other to destruction, and are still smoldering, and from each blackened turret hangs the charred corpse of a machine gunner. Over here are a group who ran towards a wall for shelter and were shot down before they got there. And then near the church, as the advance guard of C Company and the carriers turn the corner, there are three Germans. Only three. But one of them instantly draws his pistol and hits one of our men. A Bren gunner kills two of the three SS men, but the survivor gets away. Now we understand with what kind of fanatic we have to deal."

    --------------------------------------

    The town and woods of ROSEL were cleared by 1500 hrs. Phase IV - Attack commenced at 1730 hrs. The assault on LE HAMEL was put in at 1800 hrs by 'Y' and 'S' Troops, who encountered heavy opposition. The assault on the positions surrounding the village was successful and two hrs of bitter street fighting followed in LE HAMEL against a resolute enemy subsequently identified as 1 Coy 26 PGR of 12 SS Pz Div. Meantime, 'A' and 'B' Tps had passed through into ROTS and encountered two PANTHER tanks which were destroyed by the Cdn Shermans after a hard fight. Street fighting in ROTS followed and by dusk both towns were in our hands. Enemy casualties were 122 killed (counted and buried subsequently by Reg de CHAUDIERE) and eight prisoners. Our own casualties were 17 killed, 9 wounded and 35 missing (majority believed wounded and evacuated by enemy). The Cdo was then ordered to withdraw from the towns by 8 Cdn Inf Bde but CO stated towns could be held and the Cdo was then ordered to hold the towns and infm that assistance would be sent fwd as soon as possible. The remainder of the Cdo moved into the town; two of the Shermans remained overnight to give assistance if required. All ranks stood to continuously throughout the night but no counterattack was put in by the enemy.
    National Archives catalogue number ADM 202/105.
     
  18. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

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