BLOCKING KAMPFGRUPPE PEIPER: The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the Battle of the Bulge

Being there . . . . in the Ardennes to watch Hitler concentrate and launch all his reserves for a final desperate gamble to stop the Allied armies from invading the German homeland – –


Casemate Publishers’ “BLOCKING KAMPFGRUPPE PEIPER: The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the Battle of the Bulge”, by Frank van Lunteren may well be the most meticulously researched and documented history yet written of the epic battle of World War II. The heroic action in scale or mold, on the Allied side, was unflinching, unparalleled, and unequivocal. Utilizing diaries, letters, battle reports, and interviews, author van Lunteren catapults us into the core of the triumphant 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment to fight alongside pure courage and bravery.

Reviewed and Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi

“BLOCKING KAMPFGRUPPE PEIPER – – the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the Battle of the Bulge”, by Frank van Lunteren. Casemate Publishers: 2022, 332 pages, sc; $24.95.

By Christmas Day, 1944, the Germans had punched an 80km (50 miles) indentation in the Allied lines from central Luxembourg through southern Belgium, establishing a pointing thrust toward Brussels and the port of Antwerp. This salient became known as the “Bulge”. With St. Vith taken and Bastogne besieged, Hitler’s last reckless gamble was on the verge of paying off.

But the Fuhrer and his parasitic flattering generals in the OKW, the High Command of the Armed Forces, and OKH, Army High Command, knew nothing of the bravery of Colonel Reuben Tucker’s elite 504th Parachute Infantry committed to block the SS advance. In short, Hitler was concentrating his final reserves of 25 divisions of a grand total of 275,000 men, 1,900 heavy artillery pieces and 950 tanks and armored vehicles against the US First Army’s six divisions of less than 83,000 men, 394 artillery pieces and 420 armored vehicles.

Within 48 hours of Tucker’s arrival and his 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the Americans were aggressive attacking, eventually forcing SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Jochen Peiper’s Panzergrenadiers of the Fuhrer’s Battle Group to withdraw! Once again, the Allied armies moved forward to poise themselves on the Rhine to cross into the German homeland from the west. Hitler’s desperate roll-of-the-dice gamble lost for several reasons, one of the most important having been blocked by the 504th.

Armed with ample unpublished personal photos, measured well-drawn maps, and selected appendices and chapter notes, “Blocking Kampfgruppe Peiper – – the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the Battle of the Bulge” is a splendid, nay, superlative regimental study. It is virtually a day-by-day chronicle, focusing upon the soldiers in batteries, companies and smaller groups and units and their defiant resoluteness. In addition, author Frank van Lunteren provides a rare personality profile of the 29-year-old SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Peiper who led the infamous Kampfgruppe that committed the murderous Malmedy Massacre.

In late 1944, Peiper commanded a 5,000-troop task force built around his 1st SS-Pz Regt. Spearheading Sepp Dietrich’s 6th Pz Army, he found himself near Malmedy on December 17, 1944, when his soldiers captured Battery B, 285th Fa Observation Bn. But that meant Peiper was now bogged down by what he didn’t want, more than a hundred captured Americans. Some of Peiper’s officers and soldiers corralled and, under armed guard, escorted them into a snow-covered field and shot 71 of them to death. The unadulterated atrocity was not of the 129 Americans initially reported. The others all fell, feigning death, and survived.

Highly respected historian Frank Van Lunteren, born, raised, and educated in Arnhem, the Netherlands, offers readers a brilliant, enthralling close-in view of the 504th P.I.R. during the bitter Battle of the Bulge. Using his 20 years of dedicated research, much hitherto unavailable material, the author offers readers the most comprehensive account ever written about a triumphant, glorious US regiment in one of the most ferocious battles ever fought by the US Army.

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