Little Known Story of 3 German Spies Executed for Their Roles in the Battle of the Bulge (10 Pics)

The 3 spies were Günther Billing,
Manfred Pernass,
And Wilhelm Schmidt.
These 3 men were part of Operation Grief, which was a planned mission conceived by Adolf Hitler and run by the SS. German soldiers/spies who spoke English with no accent were to use captured US uniforms, weapons, and vehicles to secure the bridges over the Meuse river in Belgium. This was to occur during an expected Allied retreat when the battle commenced. Securing the bridges would be vital for any German advance before the Allies could destroy them. They were also suppose to create mass confusion and mistrust among allied soldiers.
The operation had problems from the beginning. The Germans had a severe lack of US equipment and uniforms, which limited how many men they could use for each bridge capture. Not only that, but plans for the operation were actually captured by the Allies on the first day of the German offensive on December 16, 1944. Still, if the 1st SS Panzer Division broke through as they planned within a few days, the spies would have a foothold on the bridges and the Germans could retake key oil fields. NOTE: In this picture they are placing a white dot on Wilhelm Schmidt for the firing squad to target.
The 1st SS Panzer Division assault did not reach its objectives. This left the German spies way behind enemy lines unable to gain support or fall back. Knowing the main objective was to fail, they moved to their secondary objective, which was causing great confusion among the Allies.
Originally, the secondary objective succeeded, but not by much of the things the spies did. The Allies, deciphering the intel of the captured plans, now knew Germans had infiltrated their lines posing as Americans and this caused great confusion. Soldiers started questioning fellow soldiers right and left looking for spies.
On the day of their capture, Billing, Pernass and Schmidt were driving a US jeep and reached a military checkpoint in Belgium on December 17, 1944. They failed to give the correct password and were arrested. They had perfect US accents, IDs, clothes, everything, but were unable to verify details they should have known given their supposed US ranks, positions, and unit. They used the names Charles W. Lawrence, Clarence van der Wert, and George Sensenbach.
During interrogation they were discovered to be a commando team on their way to another objective, planning to cause more confusion behind Allied lines. That objective is unknown. Once no more information could be gathered, and as the Battle of the Bulge raged on, it was decided to give them a military trial.
The trial was quick, and all 3 were found guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad. They were caught December 17, 1944, and executed December 23, 1944. There graves are side by side near 39,000 other Germans who died in the war in Lommel, Belgium, near the Dutch border. At the last second before the execution, Billing shouted in English "Long live our Führer Adolf Hitler".
Little Known Story of 3 German Spies Executed for Their Roles in the Battle of the Bulge (10 Pics) Little Known Story of 3 German Spies Executed for Their Roles in the Battle of the Bulge (10 Pics) Reviewed by Your Destination on March 22, 2018 Rating: 5

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