1 Reply Latest reply on Aug 19, 2019 2:35 PM by Rebecca Collier

    Massacre of American GIs, Herrlisheim, France?

    Dave Kerr Adventurer

      Does the NARA have any records of a possible massacre of  57 American soldiers of the 12th Armored Division during Operation Nordwind in January 1945?

       

      A Combat Camera Team of the 163rd Signal Photo Company was assigned by the G-1 of the 36th Infantry Division to photograph a field near Herrlisheim, France, "to determine whether the death of group of 57 American soldiers was an atrocity or if they had died in combat," per III-SC 264382.  The CCT report, which I have, notes in the 6 February 1945 entry that the soldiers "seemed to have died under rather peculiar circumstances."

       

      In Riviera to the Rhine, page 526, Note 12 cites the 12th Armored Division Graves Registration Report of 23 February 1945 and mentions "some twenty-eight destroyed tanks of the 43d Tank Battalion were later recovered, as were the bodies of the battalion commander and many of his men."   The Battalion Commander was apparently captured and survived.   Both the 17th Armored Infantry Battalion and the 43rd AIB suffered heavy casualties at Herrlisheim.

       

      I have found on the website of the 12th Armored Division the January and February 1945 After Actions Reports for most of its combat units.  But none of them describe the discovery and investigation of this incident.

       

      Can you please check the records of the G-1 of the 36th ID and the GRS Report of 23 February 1945 and any other pertinent files that may shed light on this possible war crime.

       

      Thanks,

      Dave

       

      Message was edited by: Dave Kerr  Correct SC photo number. 

       

      Message was edited by: Dave Kerr  Add February to list of AARs.

        • Re: Massacre of American GIs, Herrlisheim, France?
          Rebecca Collier Ranger

          Dear Mr. Kerr,

           

          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

           

          We searched the World War II Operations Reports, 1940-1948 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office (Record Group 407) and located after action reports for January & February 1945 of the 43rd Tank Battalion; G-1 journals for January & February 1945 of the 12th Armored Division; report for February 1945 of the Division Inspector General; report for February 1945 of the Division Chaplain; and after action reports for February 1945 of the 82nd Medical Battalion that all reference heavy fighting in the Herrlisheim area with high casualties. For access to these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.

           

          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

           

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