On September 9, 1943, Paestum was the location of the landing beaches of the U.S. 36th Infantry Division during the Allied invasion of Italy. German forces resisted the landings from the outset, causing heavy fighting within and around the town. Combat persisted around the town for nine days before the Germans withdrew to the north.
Along with the 3rd Division, which had just landed, and, as one of the few “fresh” units available, 2nd Battalion was given the task of pushing inland out of the beachhead in pursuit of the retreating enemy. They moved through Battipaglia, a town totally destroyed in which each single building had been reduced to flat, dusty rubble. Eboli a few miles away was almost as badly devastated.
Above Eboli, at the dead end of a winding mountain road in an oppressive cul-de-sac between ridges, we liberated the village of Campagna, which had been used as an internment camp for political prisoners. There, huddled together in miserable squalor, we found almost a thousand civilians from southern and eastern Europe, most of them Jews.
During Peipers advance through the Bulge the Kampfgruppe of Peiper had to take several detours becaus of blow bridges of traffic jams. One of the famous pictures of the battle of the Bulge was taken at the crossroads at Kaiserbaracke. We see Peiper himself reading the map and looking at the road signs. He eventually took the road to Malmedy
Today this intersection is no longer recognizable as such. An industry terrain next to the motorway, has swallowed the forest and the intersection. Now days this intersection has become a roundabout. The only thing left are the signs with the correct distances which indicate the routes the Kampfgruppe took.
Finally Peiper arrived in the evening at Stavelot where he was forced to withdraw till the dawn the next day. After heavy fighting they succeeded into crossing the bridge. What they did not know was that north of Stavelot a gasoline storage was placed. The American’s eventually set fire to the petrol dump to avoid it should fall in hands of the Germans. This event is to be seen in the movie ‘Patton’ which, following the story of the movie was the beginning of the end.
The Malmedy massacre was a war crime in which 84 American prisoners of war were murdered by their German captors during World War II. The massacre was committed on December 17, 1944, by members of Kampfgruppe Peiper (part of the 1st SS Panzer Division), a German combat unit, during the Battle of the Bulge.
The massacre, as well as others committed by the same unit on the same day and following days, was the subject of the Malmedy massacre trial, part of the Dachau Trials of 1946. The trials were the focus of some controversy.
On December 21 Malmedy was attacked by the Germans. Under command of Skorenzy the objective was to capture the River Meuse bridges. During the battle for Malmedy the railway viaduct was to be blown by the Americans. Problem was that it was an immense stone arched construction. Eventually at 2.00 p.m. on December 22 the bridge was blown with 1,800 lbs of TNT, completely blocking the road.
On December 21 Malmedy was attacked by the Germans. Under command of Skorenzy the objective was to capture the River Meuse bridges. During the battle for Malmedy the railway viaduct was to be blown by the Americans. Problem was that it was an immense stone arched construction. Eventually at 2.00 p.m. on December 22 the bridge was blown with 1,800 lbs of TNT, completely blocking the road.Read more