During the months of May - July 1946, the Allies held trials of German SS and Wehrmacht veterans who were connected with the Malmedy Massacre. In this massacre, American POW's were shot out of hand in circumstances, which to this day have not been adequately explained. Peiper as the commander of Kampfgruppe Peiper and the unit which committed this and other crimes against Belgian civilians was ultimately convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death by hanging. Peiper had been both a Nazi and member of the Waffen SS for the duration of the Second World War.
During the early days of the Battle of the Bulge, the Germans captured large numbers of American GI's. In the vast majority of cases, these men were taken prisoner and sent on to POW camps in Eastern Germany. This was true of both Wehrmacht and Waffen SS units.
There were of course notable exceptions. Kampfgruppe Peiper would shoot 84 American POW's of the 258th Field Artillery Observation Battalion who were captured during the confusion of events on December 17th. As this was the second day of the German counter-offensive, speed was essential as Peiper's Kampfgruppe moved to take key bridges on the road to Meuse River.
The second notable massacre would be that of 11 African-American GI's of the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion. Known today as the Wereth 11, these men would be tortured and murdered by members of the Waffen SS.
These events coupled with the activities of Otto Skorzeny's men dressed as Americans would ultimately steel the resolve of the American GI's and contribute to an American victory.
As always with my blog, I enjoy sharing personal experiences that mesh with the story being told. In this case, I had a very personal connection to an American GI taken prisoner at the end of 1944 in France. In 2001, I had the great honor to meet and get to know, William E. "Sonny" Mottern. I was the VP of the National Association of Purchasing Managers affiliate - NAPM-TenneVa that represented Supply Chain Professionals in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. In the course of setting up our November dinner meeting, I decided to invite a veteran to give the pre-dinner discussion.
I reached out to Sonny Mottern and he graciously accepted.
Here's a bit about Mr. Mottern:
Born in 1924, served in the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division and would be captured on December 19th in France near the Rhine River. After stints in four different Stalags, he would be freed by Patton's forces on April 29th, 1945. In 1996, Sonny would be installed as the National Commander of the American Ex-Prisoners of War. Sonny dedicated the later years of his life to informing others about the experiences of American POW's in World War II and subsequent conflicts. During his service, this son of Watauga, Tennessee would earn the following medals: Purple Heart, Two Bronze Stars, the ETO Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the POW Medal. Sonny passed away in 2007. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to meet Sonny Mottern.
I have met former POW's on both the German and the American side of the Second World War. And I think the mercy shown by men in the heat of combat to embrace the better angels of their nature and take the enemy prisoner deserves our gratitude as well.
Now, as we know from history, Peiper and many other Germans convicted and sentenced during the Malmedy Trials would ultimately have their death sentences commuted. Most, including Peiper would be set free in the mid to late 1950's. Peiper would ultimately locate to Traves, France, where he would be murdered in 1976 under unsolved circumstances. Peiper would not be able to escape his past or its judgement.
Now for our Halloween Scenario, we will build a hypothetical backstory as to why Peiper's sentence was commuted. Many prominent Nazis would ultimately provide information to U.S. Military Intelligence, the OSI and later the CIA as the Cold War grew in intensity. So we will explore a reason for why Peiper would be spared and what information he would ultimately provide to US Intelligence sources regarding a Top Secret Mission, which he participated in during the fall of 1943. A mission...kept secret for over 70 years and revealed here for the first time...this is the tale of "Jurassic Peiper".
The Germans would discover Sumerian writings that essentially gave the date and location of a "flying saucer". The writings were very descriptive and the Germans were intrigued enough to send a team back in time to the crash site.
The team was successful in locating the wreck, but they quickly realized that the ship had crashed far earlier and it's power supply, etc. were so severely degraded as to not provide any useful information for German scientific endeavors. Upon their return to the present time, the Germans revisited the exact site and set to work to determine the approximate time of the crash. Using information stolen by German spies regarding the work of Martin Kamen, they came up with a way to perform Carbon Dating (Williard Libby would actually come up with Carbon Dating in 1946). The results of the German effort revealed that the crash had occurred at some point in the Jurassic Period. They knew they couldn't be exact, but they believed that even finding the crash site within a hundred years of the actual date would still give them a chance at some very useful information which could be used in German missile technologies being formulated by such men as Werner von Braun.
So it was that the German team enlisted a skeptical Werner von Braun to join them in their time travel odyssey to find the secrets of a crashed flying saucer.
The mission went as planned...except for one critical misstep. The team had forgotten that in the Jurassic Period they may encounter dinosaurs and other deadly creatures. This misstep would cost the lives of many team members and leave others trapped near the crash site.
Some team members were able to return to the present and advise that a rescue party must return immediately to save Werner von Braun and other key members of the team, who were trapped and in dire danger from some serious dinosaurs.
So it was that in the Fall of 1943, Joachim Peiper would be assigned to the most top secret mission of his career. He would be tasked with leading Half-Track Platoon back in time to confront dinosaurs and save one of the great scientific minds of the Third Reich.
And Peiper was personally selected by the Fuehrer to lead the mission.
Peiper would assemble half-tracks with quad 20mm cannons and flamethrowers. He was also given new versions of the Panzerfaust to take along. Apparently, these were quite effective against dinosaurs.
Peiper's mission would be successful and Werner von Braun would return to Germany and would of course go on to assist the American space race. Peiper and others were forbidden to speak of the mission and their experiences had been so terrifying that most never wanted to think on them again...including Peiper himself...who would later reflect on how much more appealing combat on the Eastern Front was to facing anymore Jurassic era predators.
But Peiper would have one slip up that would be of some benefit to his survival later. On December 21st, Peiper's men would take Major Hal D. McCown, commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division prisoner. Peiper and McCown would speak privately on a couple of occasions. On one of these, the two men talked long into the night and Peiper would speak at length about his commitment to the Third Reich and specifically about Germany's secret weapons and activities which would ultimately secure their victory. During this conversation, Peiper would accidentally refer to time travel and his mission the previous year. Realizing his error, he quickly changed the topic, but McCown never forgot the conversation. For more detail on this actual encounter see the link below:
Ultimately, Peiper and the remaining 800 men of his Kampfgruppe would have to escape from La Gleize. They would take one prisoner with them, McCown. Upon reaching their own lines, McCown would find an opportunity to escape. During the Malmedy Trial, McCown would act as a character witness for Peiper.
With Werner von Braun already secured by the Americans, they had heard other bits and pieces of some time travel mission undertaken by the Germans. McCown's information strengthened their belief that the Germans were hiding some significant scientific information.
Therefore, US Intelligence forces determined that Peiper should indeed be kept around long enough to give up the events of what would later be entitled GA-File 672811 Jurassic Peiper.
It wasn't until 1976, after Peiper's mysterious murder that international agents found a faded picture in one of Peiper's bank vault boxes. Le Monde took ownership of the picture, but would mysteriously lose it before they had the opportunity to publish it.
It's location is unknown to this very day.
While no one ever spoke of Jurassic Peiper ever again...the success of that strange mission would have far reaching effects on the future of humanity.
Scenario GJ062 - Jurassic Peiper will be available in October. Thanks for reading the backstory to this hypothetical scenario and hopefully it will be a great tongue and cheek addition to the world of ASL Scenarios!!!