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Focus: SS-Sturmbannführer Joachim Peiper

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Who was this infamous character?

One of three sons of a German army officer, Joachim Peiper was born in Berlin on 30 January 1915. He joined the Hitler Youth with his brother Horst, and the two would also go on to join the SS – with Joachim taking his oath in 1935. He served with Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler from 1936 to 1938, under the command of Sepp Dietrich, before becoming Heinrich Himmler’s adjutant. It was in this role that Peiper was employed for the opening rounds of the war, before being posted to a front line unit as a platoon commander in the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler in May 1940. However, his experience of combat was brief as he rejoined Himmler’s personal staff only a few weeks later.

Peiper would again rejoin Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler shortly after the invasion of the Soviet Union, quickly gaining a reputation as an aggressive company commander. It was during the first months of fighting against the Red Army that Peiper would have the first of several accusations leveled against him of men under his command committing atrocities. During a respite from the action in France in the spring of 1942, Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler was reformed as a Panzergrenadier Division and Peiper was given command of the 3rd Battalion of the 2nd Panzergrenadier Regiment.

Whilst Peiper’s leadership and bravery on the Eastern Front were both officially recognized with him being awarded the Knights Cross in March 1943, a string of accusations regarding the massacre of civilians during this period would later be directed at him and the men under his command. Two months in Italy shortly after the Italian capitulation to the Allies would result in an Italian court sitting in 1968 to trial Peiper for what would become known as the Boves Massacre. His unit was engaged in bitter fighting against the Red Army until the spring of 1944, although Peiper himself was sent home to rest after receiving the Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross from Adolf Hitler himself.

Kampfgruppe X

After the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler was moved to the area around Caen to fight predominantly against British and Canadian forces. Peiper’s unit suffered heavy casualties and he was removed from the front line due to poor health and sent to a military hospital in September. He returned to the front line for his famous command of Kampfgruppe Peiper during the Ardennes Offensive that, whilst unsuccessful, resulted in him being decorated with Swords to his Knights Cross. Peiper retained his front line combat command until the end of the war, when Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler surrendered to US forces.

Peiper was tried for his responsibility for the Malmedy Massacre; whilst not present it was carried out by men under his command. He was sentenced to death by hanging although this was commuted to a life sentence. He was released in 1956, having spent 11 years in prison. He worked in the automobile industry for many years, regularly speaking out against a tirade of accusations concerning his wartime conduct. In July 1976 Peiper’s house in Traves was assaulted by an unidentified group – his corpse was found the next day in the burned ruins.

In Bolt Action

You’ll find full rules for using Peiper within the pages of Battle Of The Bulge campaign book, of course he also comes commanding one of his big cats…

Peiper’s Panther:

Whilst his main front line experiences came from an infantry background, Peiper was also a major advocate of armoured assault.
Peiper may alternatively be fielded as a tank option in games of Tank War, as detailed below.

Cost: 440pts (Veteran)
Weapons: One turret-mounted super-heavy anti-tank gun with coaxial MMG and forward-facing hullmounted MMG
Damage Value: 9+ (medium tank)
Special Rules:
The Panther’s heavy frontal armour was comparable to that of some much heavier tanks, so against shots hitting from the front of the vehicle it counts its damage value as 10+.
Variable respect: If using the armoured platoon commander rules in Tank War, Peiper’s morale bonus to any SS vehicle in his own platoon is +3; to any non-SS Axis unit he gives no morale bonus.
Push Through
Follow Me! (only works on SS vehicles)


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Exclusive Miniature:

As with all Bolt Action books you can get a FREE and exclusive figure for your collection when ordering your Battle of the Bulge campaign book direct from the Warlord Webstore.


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Kampfgruppe Peiper:


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