Execution of German Spies

A U.S. military policeman prepares Corporal Wilhelm Schmidt, 24, for the firing squad. With two other German spies, Officer-Cadet Guenther Billing, 21, and Sergeant Manfred Pernass, 23, Schmidt was shot after a court-martial by American authorities in Belgium during the Ardennes offensives. Three Germans were captured wearing American uniforms, armed with American weapons and driving an American jeep during the ill-fated enemy offensive in December 1944. They failed to give the password of any proper identification when stopped and admitted that their mission was to locate and sabotage communications and reconnoitre bridges and roads over the Meuse. Specially trained for espionage, the men had familiarized themselves with the American accent by mingling with U.S. prisoners of war in Germany.

An American soldier pins pieces of white linen over the hearts of three German spies
who are about to be executed


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