I'll Bet You Never Heard of This




On December 16th, German artillery began shelling the Schonberg area.

With reports of rapid German infantry and armored progress, the 333rd

FAB was ordered to displace further west but to leave ‘C’ Battery and

Service Battery in position to support the 14th Cavalry and 106th Division.


By the morning of December 17th, these two positions were rapidly overrun

by the advancing German troops and armor. While many personnel tried to

escape through Schonberg, eleven men of the Service Battery went overland

in a northwest direction in the hopes of reaching American lines.


At about 3 pm, they approached the first house in the nine-house hamlet of

Wereth, Belgium, owned by Mathius Langer.


The men were cold, hungry, and exhausted after walking cross-country through

the deep snow. They had two rifles between them. The family welcomed them

and gave them food. But this small part of Belgium did not necessarily welcome

Americans as “Liberators.†This area had been part of Germany before the First

World War and many of its citizens still saw themselves as Germans and

not Belgians.


The people spoke German but had been forced to become Belgian citizens

when their land was given to Belgium as part of the First World War

repatriations. Unlike the rest of Belgium, many people in this area welcomed

the Nazis in 1940 and again in 1944, because of their strong ties to Germany.

Mathius Langer was not one of these.


At the time he took the Black Americans in he was hiding two Belgian deserters

from the German Army and had sent a draft age son into hiding, so the Nazis

would not conscript him. A family friend was also at the house when the

Americans appeared. Unfortunately, unknown to the Langers

she was a Nazi sympathizer


About an hour later, a German patrol of the 1st SS Division, belonging to

Kampfgruppe Hansen arrived in Wereth. It is believed Nazi sympathizer

informed the SS that there were Americans at the Langer house. When the

SS troops approached the house the eleven Americans surrendered quickly,

without resistance.


The Americans were made to sit on the road, in the cold, until dark. The

Germans then marched them down the road. Gunfire was heard during the

night. In the morning, villagers saw the bodies of the men in a ditch. Because

they were afraid that the Germans might return, they did not touch the

dead soldiers.


The snow covered the bodies and they remained entombed in the snow

until mid- February when villagers directed a U.S. Army Grave Registration

unit to the site. The official report noted that the men had been brutalized,

with broken legs, bayonet wounds to the head, and fingers cut off. Prior to

their removal an Army photographer took photographs of the bodies to

document the brutality of the massacre.


An investigation was immediately begun with a “secret†classification.

Testimonies were taken of the Graves Registration officers, the Army

photographer, the Langers and the woman who had been present

when the soldiers arrived. She testified that she told the

SS the Americans had left!The case was then forwarded to a

War Crimes Investigation unit. However the investigation showed that

no positive identification of the murderers could be found (i.e. no

unit patches, vehicle numbers, etc) only that they were from the

1st SS Panzer Division.


By 1948 the “secret†classification was cancelled and the paperwork filed

away. The murder of the Wereth 11 was seemingly forgotten and unavenged!


Seven of the men were buried in the American Cemetery at Henri-Chapelle,

Belgium, and the other four were returned to their families for burial after the

war ended. The Wereth 11 remained unknown, it seemed, to all but their

families until 1994


Herman Langer, the son of Mathius Langer, who had given the men food and

shelter, erected a small cross, with the names of the dead, in the corner of

the pasture where they were murdered, as a private gesture from the

Langer family.


But the memorial and the tiny hamlet of Wereth remained basically obscure.

In a tiny hamlet with no school or shops there were no signs on the roadways

to indicate the memorial, and it was not listed in any guides or maps to the

Battle of the Bulge battlefield. Even people looking for it had trouble finding

it in the small German speaking community.


In 2001, three Belgium citizens embarked on the task of creating a fitting

memorial to these men and additionally to honor all Black GI’s of World War II.

With the help of an American physician in Mobile, Alabama, whose father fought

and was captured in the Battle of the Bulge, a grassroots publicity

and fund-raising endeavor was begun, and has had modest success.


There are now road signs indicating the location of the memorial, and the

Belgium Tourist Bureau lists it in the 60th Anniversary “Battle of the Bulgeâ€

brochures. Three families of the murdered men have been located, including

one U.S. gravesite.


Enough money has been raised to purchase the land the current memorial is

on and further monies are needed to provide for a modest monument, which

can be easily accessed by the public. It is believed that this will be the only

memorial to Black G.I.’s of World War II in Europe. Contributions will be greatly

appreciated and go entirely to the construction and preservation of the

memorial. The dedication of the memorial is planned for the 60th anniversary

year of the Battle of the Bulge in 2004.


The goal is to make the Wereth 11 and all Black G.I.’s “visible†to all Americans

and to history. They, like so many others, paid the ultimate price for our freedom.


Members of the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion killed at Wereth.


(Battery to which they were assigned)


Nathaniel Moss(unk)*

Due W. Turner(svc) *

James A. Stewart(unk) *

Curtis Adams(med) *

George Davis(svc) *

Thomas J. Forte(c- Mess Sgt) *

George W. Moten(hq) *

Mager Bradley(svc)

Robert Green(svc)

William M. Pritchett(svc)

Jim Leatherwood©


* Buried in U. S. Military Cemetery, Henri-Chapelle, Liege, Belgium.


Sgtleo :machinegun::machinegun::machinegun:








It is because of men like yourself that can truly appreciate what a story like this means that I write them. As A true BTDT, you know what my feelings in cases such as this were and why even today I have no use for the Krauts we met during and AFTER the war.


Hopefully some of the younger members of this forum will have a better picture of WW II!!


Thanks for your comment!!!!




Great stuff. Actually I had revealed this to our members here back in July of 2006. Now we can add to it! :armata_PDT_37:

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

What a story I found this link to it



It is great that these men were commemorated. The black-American soldiers sure did their part in WWII.

Ever heard about the 761st Tank Battalion (in Patton's 3rd Army)?

The Germans feared these tankerboys a lot as they sure put up a big fight.

One of them was entitled to a Medal of honor, but because of the "ideology" of the US (a black soldier could not get such a high reward) at that time, he "only" got the DSC.

A real shame really.


The Wereth massacre - and so many more - proved the true identity of Nazism.

I am not saying all soldiers in the Waffen-SS (do not confuse it with Allgemeine SS) were like that, but throughout the Ardennes, they were known for their ruthless and brutal killing of prisoners and civilians.

And then we don't talk about what happened on the Eastern Front.

Too bad that these days, the "extreme right" is putting its ugly head up again.




Yes I am familiar with the 761st. For those who aren't here's a website provided for your education:




Thanks for bringing them up because even though I was aware of them, I do not have links for them in my Black American history section on the main site. Well that will be rectified today.


Here's to our forgotten heroes! :drinkin:

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

I've seen dozens and dozens of links this morning telling me that Morgan Freeman and Dreamworks are planning a movie regarding this unit. According to all the links, it sounded as though the movie was supposed to come out in 2006, but I can't find it anywhere yet. Here's a couple of the links:






Sure would love to see this one!

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

Thank you for the links. :armata_PDT_37:

I am looking forward to that film too.


Those guys did a grand job (as my English friend would say).

But let's also think of the numerous truck drivers, artillerymen, etc who did their part in WWII.




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