7 Jan. 46

"The Military Commission met at Rome, Italy, on 8 October 1945, and proceeded with the trial of the case of the United States versus Anton Dostler. The trial of this case consumed 4 days, and the findings and sentence were announced on the morning of 12 October 1945. The charge and specification in this case are as follows:

"Charge: Violation of the law of war.

"Specification: In that Anton Dostler, then general, commanding military forces of the German Reich, a belligerent enemy nation, to wit the 75th Army Corps, did, on or about 24 March 1944, in the vicinity of La Spezia, Italy, contrary to the law of war, order to be shot summarily, a group of United States Army personnel consisting of two officers and 13 enlisted men who had then recently been captured by forces under General Dostler, which order was carried into execution on or about 26 March 1944, resulting in the death of the said 15 members of the Army of the United States ... " — and a list of names follows.

"I was present throughout the entire proceeding. I heard all the testimony and I am familiar with the records in this case. The facts developed in this proceeding are as follows:

"On the night of 22 March 1944 two officers and 13 enlisted men of the 2677th Special Reconnaissance Battalion of the Army of the United States disembarked from some United States Navy boats and landed on the Italian coast near Stazione di Framura. All 15 men were members of the Army of the United States and were in the military service of the United States. When they landed on the Italian coast, they were all properly dressed in the field uniform of the United States Army and they carried no civilian clothes. Their mission was to demolish a railroad tunnel on the main line between La Spezia and Genoa. That rail line was being used by the German forces to supply their fighting forces on the Cassino and Anzio beachhead fronts. The entire group was captured on the morning of 24 March 1944 by a patrol consisting of Fascist soldiers and a group of members of the German Army. All 15 men were placed under interrogation in "La Spezia and they were held in custody until the morning of 26 March 1944, when they were all executed by a firing squad. These men were never tried nor were they brought before any court or given any hearing; they were shot by order of Anton Dostler, then general commanding the 75th German Army Corps.

"Anton Dostler took the stand' in this case and testified, by way of defense, that he ordered the 15 American soldiers to