German commando captured in American uniform is prepared for execution

World & Nature

German commandos captured in American uniform are prepared for execution, 23 December 1944

Unteroffizier Manfred Pernass, Oberfähnrich Günther Billing, and Gefreiter Wilhelm Schmidt

“They were captured on the 17 December 1944 and had ID cards with the following names ‘Charles W. Lawrence’, ‘Clarence van der Wert’ en ‘George Sensenbach’ but Pernass, Billing, and Schmidt were given a military trial at Henri Chapelle, sentenced to death, and executed by a firing squad on 23-12-1944. Captain J. Eiser (medic) of the 633th Medical Clearing Station pinned the white target patches on their chests, Schmidt’s glasses were taken off before he was shot and fanatic Billing shouted “Long live our Führer Adolf Hitler” at the moment supreme.”


He was a Nazi spy, not a soldier

During the Battle of the Bulge, German commandos would breach American lines wearing American uniforms and cause tons of havoc and would trick the Americans into thinking a full-on German offensive was occurring as a distraction to where the real offensive(s) were taking place and also just to cause the Americans tons of damage behind enemy lines and cripple morale.

But once the Americans caught on they began asking questions that only real Americans would know, like who is the pitcher for the Yankees and other such pop culture type questions. But The Battle of the Bulge was pretty devastating to the Americans at the time, because the Allies seriously underestimated the Germans and did not think they had supplies, numbers, logistics or really even the balls to pull off the type of offensive of that caliber that far into the war. But once their impressive offensive ground to a halt as the panzers ran out of gas, it dealt a devastating blow to the Wehrmacht in many ways as they would never go on the offensive again in any serious way on the western front.

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To this day, it remains the deadliest single battle ever fought by American troops in WWII and the second deadliest in it’s history.