The American Malmedy: The Biscari Massacre

by James Buchanan

Almost every American, who stayed awake in history class or who has watched movies or documentaries about World War Two, has heard of the Malmedy Massacre, where German soldiers were accused of shooting 84 Americans, who had already surrendered.

Despite the fact that the Malmedy Massacre has been taught as fact for over 70 years, no Germans were ever executed for that “massacre” and the man, who supposedly ordered the massacre, SS Colonel Joachim Peiper, was let out of prison in 1966.

Among the arguments against the Malmedy massacre are that no similar massacres by other SS units or by Peiper himself took place during the Battle of the Bulge, that civilians living in the area knew nothing of a massacre of Americans and that 98% of Americans taken prisoner by the Germans survived the war (and the non-surviving two percent could easily be badly wounded soldiers, who died in captivity).

That same source notes “During the Battle of the Bulge, a unit of the 1st Panzer Division killed over 80 GIs during a fire fight. The American dead were laid out in rows in the snow, but the Germans were forced to withdraw from Malmedy before the dead soldiers were buried. Allied propagandists blew this event up into a major atrocity story, claiming that the Americans had been taken prisoner and then lined up and shot.”

It should be noted that for the entire duration of the war from 1939 to 1945, the most famous German atrocity against POWs is the Malmedy Massacre with 84 dead raising the question: Why weren’t similar massacres committed throughout the war in places like France, Greece, North Africa and Norway??

In contrast, U.S. soldiers committed a massacre of at least 73 Italian and German POWs at the Biscari airfield on the island of Sicily.

One source notes “The Biscari massacre was a war crime committed by members of the United States Army during World War II.[1] It refers to two incidents in which U.S. soldiers were involved in killing 71 unarmed Italians and 2 German prisoners of war (POWs) at the Regia Aeronautica’s 504 air base in Santo Pietro, a small village near Caltagirone, southern Sicily, Italy on 14 July 1943…”

“On 14 July 1943, soldiers with the U.S. 180th Infantry Regiment were facing stiff enemy resistance near the Santo Pietro airfield, and by 10:00 hours had taken a number of prisoners, including 45 Italians and 3 Germans. The executive officer for the 1st Battalion, 180th Infantry Regiment, Major Roger Denman, ordered a noncommissioned officer (NCO), Sergeant Horace T. West, 33 years old, to take that group of prisoners “to the rear, off the road, where they would not be conspicuous, and hold them for questioning.” The POWs were without shoes and shirts, which was common practice to discourage attempts to escape.”

“After Sergeant West, with several other U.S. soldiers assisting him, had marched the POWs about a mile, he halted the group and directed that eight or nine of them be separated from the rest and taken to the regimental intelligence officer (the S-2) for questioning. West then took the remaining POWs “off the road, lined them up, and borrowed a Thompson submachine gun” from the Company First Sergeant (the senior NCO in the Company). When the First Sergeant asked West what he wanted it for, West responded that he was going to “kill the sons of bitches.” West then told the soldiers guarding the POWs to ‘turn around if you don’t want to see it.'”

“He then killed the POWs by shooting them with the Thompson. When the bodies were discovered some thirty minutes later, it was noted that each POW had been shot through the heart, which indicated shooting at close range. Investigators later learned that after West had emptied the Thompson into the group of POWs, he ‘stopped to reload, then walked among the men in their pooling blood and fired a single round into the hearts of those still moving…'”

“The court-martial panel found West guilty of premeditated murder, stripped him of his rank and sentenced him to life imprisonment. On 23 November 1944 the remainder of his sentence was remitted and he was restored to active duty and continued to serve during the war, at the end of which he received an honorable discharge. West died in Oklahoma in January 1974.”

At least one other large massacre of POWs (aside from Sergeant West’s crime) took place at Biscari with a group of 11 American soldiers forming a firing squad under the orders of an American captain (who was later killed in the war) bringing the body count up to at least 73.

The Biscari Massacre was covered up for the remainder of the war, and you could argue that it’s been effectively covered up for over seventy years considering that this is a well-proven massacre and war crime (that very few know of) compared to the Malmedy “Massacre” which couldn’t even get an execution of a guilty party at the Nuremberg kangaroo court.

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