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The Malmady massacre was, according to the judgment of the Dachau War Crimes Trials a war crime committed by German troops during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, involving the murder of prisoners of war. The German defendants received the death penalty and 10 to 20 years prison sentences. All of them were paroled, the last one about 11 years later.

On December 17, 1944, near the hamlet of Baugnez on the height half-way between the town of Malmady and Ligneuville in Belgium, elements (2 Mk IV tanks and 2 armored halftracks ) of Waffen-SS Kampfgruppe Peiper encountered about 100 men of Battery B of the American 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, who had just passed the Five Points Crossing at Baugnez in direction of Ligneuville. After a brief and effective shelling of their about 28 vehicles with 75 mm explosive shells, and MG 42 machine gun fire, most of the surviving Americans fled directly into nearby woods. Dozens of bodies (55 to 60 according to either American or German sources) of fallen GIs lay by the roadside. The Americans who had not fled surrendered after having returned the German fire with their remaining small arms. The captured survivors were led into a nearby pasture where shortly after about 36 other prisoners who had arrived on German vehicles were added to their number. It is clear that in no way could about 150 prisoners of war be present at the locality at any given time. Peiper and his leading armoured units then continued their advance. After between mid-January and April 1945 72 plus 12 bodies had been revovered from the site, the case against the alleged perpetrators of a war crime was investigated, and criminal proceedings took their course.

Whatever might have happened at the massacre site, the American military court failed to take into consideration that after considering that an account of all fallen and all surviving soldiers (including those who had fled) could only have left 21 American soldiers as victims of a possible war crime.

( I have left the following part of the original answer for anyone who would care to compare this with what I have written in the section above. I recommend for anyone to read "Wholesale Slaughter art Baugnez-Lez-Malmedy" by Willy Alenus on the internet, "Enquete inedite ... (in French) by Henri Rogister in HistoMag, also on the internet, and Gerd J. Gust Cuppens" Massacre á Malmedy in French and German.

A tank pulled up, and a truck shortly thereafter. A single SS officer pulled out a pistol and shot a medical officer standing in the front row, and then shot the man standing next to the medical officer. Other soldiers joined in with machine guns. It is not known why this happened; there is no record of an order by an SS officer. While the shooting of POWs was common on the Eastern front, such incidents were rarer on the Western front.

Many prisoners escaped into the nearby woods. Some 72-84 of the prisoners were killed, their bodies left on the field where they fell. An American patrol discovered the massacre that night. News of it spread quickly among Allied troops. Afterwards, the order went out: SS and Fallschirmjager were to be shot on sight.

Among the soldiers who escaped was actor Charles Durning.

American forces recaptured the site where the killings took place on January 13, 1945. The bodies were recovered on January 14 ‒ January 15, 1945. The memorial at Baugnez bears the names of the murdered soldiers.)

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Q: What happened at the Malmedy Massacre?
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