From the Vault: Peiper on WW2 Tanks

While surfing the CARL (Combined Arms Research Library) Digital Library, we came across a document labeled War experiences of commanders of German Panzer units.  The document is from 1953 and contains accounts by General Sepp Dietrich and Colonel Joachim Peiper, Commander of the First SS Panzer Regiment, First SS Panzer Division, and their involvement in World War II, between 1939 and 1945. The account was written by them for the trial judge advocate while they were awaiting trial for the Malmedy Massacre.  The section written by Dietrich is fairly short and only deals with the large scale strategic situation.  Peiper’s section is longer and deals with specific weapons systems and tactics.    The entire paper can be downloaded as a PDF here.  We have posted below the two pages of material from Peiper that may be of interest to AFV enthusiasts.

Probably the most surprising thing in these two pages is his statement that while  he the considered the Stug III and Jagdpanzer IV good vehicles, he judged the US M10 as superior.  He also seems to hold both the JagdPanther and JagdTiger in low regard.

To anyone that downloads and reads the full PDF, please keep in mind that these two men were part of a criminal organization (the SS) and were guilty of war crimes for with they served jail time.  Their descriptions of the war are rather self serving and their racist world view comes through clearly, especially when describing their Soviet adversaries.  Consider this the closest that Tank and AFV News will ever come to issuing a “trigger warning.”

Pieper on equipmentPieper on equipment 2


  1. cwjian90 says:

    It is interesting that they consider the Panzer IV/70 to be inferior to the GMC M10.


  2. Their accounts are most valuable to anyone who wants to understand WWII and the enemy’s mindset. What Peiper says about the fake reporting and fictitious combat accounts can only make one laugh. Peiper and Dietrich share contempt for their superiors and pretty much admire the Soviets – the Waffen SS were taught to fight like Genghis Khan but then faced the enemy of Asian descent who knew the terrain and had that sort of animal like fight in their blood. That’s just as racist as saying “the Germans are always on time, very precise, into groupthink, have blond hair and like to torture civilians.” Dietrich has a lot of compassion for the people and Peiper should have been a writer – not just a translator. This text should be recommended, not warned against.


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