Dec 17



Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Stuart Dempsey is standing by the grave of Private First Class Frederick Clark who was killed 65 years ago today. This view was taken facing north at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.

On December 17, 1944, during the “Battle of the Bulge,” occurred an event commonly known as the “Malmedy Massacre.” The atrocities Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Stuart Dempsey describes actually occurred around the tiny village of Baugnez, Belgium, some four kilometers from Malmedy. American soldiers and Belgian civilians were also murdered at several other locations over the next few days by members of the German 1st SS Panzer Division. The final toll is in dispute, but at least 362 U.S. soldiers and 111 Belgians were executed between December 17-20. The actual number may be a good bit higher. One of those killed/murdered 65 years ago today was Private First Class Frederick Clark. He is buried in the Gettysburg National Cemetery.



This map shows the location of where the Frederick Clark/Malmedy videos were produced. Videos #1-#3 were taken by Frederick Clark’s grave in the Gettysburg National Cemetery. This map was created facing north at approximately 6:30 PM on Saturday, December 12, 2009.

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In Video #1 Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Stuart Dempsey is standing near the grave of Private First Class Frederick Clark in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. He introduces us to today’s presentation. This view was taken facing north at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



An aerial photo of the Baugnez, Belgium crossroads (“Malmedy Massacre” site). This view was taken facing east by the United States Army in April, 1947.



The same aerial photo of the Baugnez, Belgium crossroads with some labels. The blue line shows the route of the U.S. convoy. The green lines show the attack route of the German’s Kampfgruppe Peiper (part of the 1st SS Panzer Division). The red rectangle is field where United States’ Prisoners of War were assembled and executed. The red oval is the possible area of the death of Private First Class Frederick Clark. This view was taken facing east by the United States Army in April, 1947.



PFC Frederick Clark is buried in Section II, Grave 370, of the Gettysburg National Cemetery and is one of the very first graves one encounters when entering the cemetery from the Baltimore Street gate. Private First Class Clark was a member of Battery B of the 285th FAOB (Field Artillery Observation Battalion). This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



German SS-Obersturmbannfuerher (Lieutenant Colonel) Joachim Peiper. This image shows Peiper as an SS-Sturmbannfuehrer (Major) in 1943. He was an SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer (LTC) in the 1st SS Panzer Division by December 1944. This view was taken circa 1943 and is courtesy of Stuart Dempsey.

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In Video #2 Licensed Battlefield Guide Stuart Dempsey explains the duties of a Field Artillery Observation Battalion, and gives some background of the men commanded by German Lieutenant Colonel Joachim Peiper. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



A restored version of the Dodge WC51 3/4 ton weapons carrier, of the sort PFC Clark was riding shotgun in when he passed through the Baugnez crossroads. This view is courtesy of Stuart Dempsey.

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In Video #3 Stuart Dempsey describes how PFC Frederick Clark was killed/murdered. One version states he was killed by machine gun fire. Another version states he was killed by the concussion of a shell. This view was taken facing northeast to southwest at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



This image was taken during the recovery of bodies after the US 30th Infantry Division retook the area in mid-January 1945. To ascertain the facts of what happened here, this area was treated as a crime scene. This view is courtesy of Stuart Dempsey.



The numbers show how some of the bodies were marked for identification. This photograph was taken in mid-January 1945. This view is courtesy of Stuart Dempsey.



Some Germans would later claim that the American prisoners tried to escape, or had recovered weapons and fired upon the Germans. However, autopsies revealed the following: At least twenty of the victims had suffered fatal gunshot wounds to the head, inflicted at very close range. These were in addition to wounds made by automatic weapons. Another twenty showed evidence of small-calibre gunshot wounds to the head without powder-burn residue. Another ten had fatal crushing or blunt-trauma injuries, most likely from rifle butts. Some bodies showed only one wound, within the temple or behind the ear. This photograph was taken in mid-January 1945. This view is courtesy of Stuart Dempsey.



Joaquim Peiper survived the war and, along with many of his SS troopers, was brought to trial for war crimes at the former concentration camp at Dachau in 1946. A large number of death sentences were handed out, as well as many life sentences. Peiper was sentenced to death, though no direct evidence was provided that he ordered the massacres. Ultimately none of those sentenced were executed, and none served full sentences. Peiper was released in 1956, after serving a little over 11 years. After release he had a rather turbulent career, largely in the auto industry in West Germany and was employed for a time by Porsche. Peiper’s wartime history dogged him, and he eventually tried to settle quietly in Traves in eastern France (not, on reflection, a good choice). His past caught up with him there on July 14 (Bastille Day), 1976 when persons unknown (but quite possibly veterans of the French Resistance) attacked his house with incendiaries, killing Peiper. This photograph was taken circa 1946. This view is courtesy of Stuart Dempsey.



A memorial wall at the Baugnez crossroads. This view is courtesy of Stuart Dempsey.



At the memorial wall, the names of the victims are on small black plaques. F. Clark is toward the bottom middle. This view was taken circa 1999, and is courtesy of Stuart Dempsey.



PFC Clark’s headstone, and other headstones in this section are covered with Christmas Wreaths courtesy of the SGT Mac Foundation. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.



The 285th FAOB contained personnel from Fort Meade, Fort Lee and New Cumberland Depot. A very high percentage of the men were Pennsylvanians, including Frederick Clark. PFC Clark’s body wasn’t found beneath the ice and snow in Belgium until February 5th or 6th, 1945. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, December 6, 2009.

To see other posts by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides, click here.


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