Via Hitler’s Warrior

Via Hitler’s Warrior page:

“Hitler’s Warrior” is a fitting title in that SS Col. Joachim (Jochen) Peiper arguably was the World War II German equivalent of America’s Audie Murphy, who won virtually every combat award in the books.

To recognize truly outstanding accomplishments, it was necessary to embellish the RK medal with wreaths, diamonds and swords, some of which apparently were added specifically for Peiper. Despite the many honors and medals he earned, Peiper’s primary concern throughout the war and the rest of his life was for the well-being of the troops under his command.

He was blond, handsome, athletic, physically strong, ambitious and highly intelligent. Still, he was a most enigmatic man, personally and professionally. He loved music and literature, yet was ferocious in battle.

He rose to the rank of sturmbahnführer (colonel) in the dreaded SS at age 30, He could have spent the duration of the war in relative safety as a staff officer (adjutant) to Heinrich Himmler but seized the opportunity to command Waffen SS tank battalions on the Eastern and Italian fronts. Peiper and his personal tank crew destroyed an estimated 200 enemy tanks or more on all fronts. So extraordinary were his leadership skills and audacity in battle that he was chosen to lead the German attack in the 1944 Ardennes Offensive, known in Allied circles as the Battle of the Bulge.

Dwight R. Pounds, Ph.D; Col., USAFR (Ret.)

italy 1943