I'm currently researching events around Kampfgruppe Peiper and the 30th Division at Stavelot/La Gleize/Stoumont. There are several instances where GI's state that the SS were "hopped up" on something. I think GI's would know what they were talking about since Benzedrine was available over the counter in the US at that time. Most of them had probably used it themselves or knew people that used it and could recognize the effects.
The German army was issuing an amphetamine under the trade name of Pervitin at that time, unfortunately most of the info about Pervitin on the web comes from a sensationalistic Daily Mail article (plagiarized from an earlier Der Spiegel article) that paints a picture of drug crazed Nazi's...
Yet, one of the points made in the Daily Mail (and Der Spiegel) articles is that by late in the war Pervitin was part of the first aid kit that every German soldier carried. Does anyone know if that is true? It's one thing if a doctor or medic is handing out a tablet or two when needed, it's quite another if each soldier had an entire bottle in his pack to use whenever he felt he needed it.
In the background information I've collected there are some rather strange events that long term use of amphetamines might explain. For instance, not only in Kampfgruppe Peiper, but in the other 1st SS Kampfgruppe's trying to break through to Peiper, Germans repeatedly accuse Belgian civilians of directing artillery fire on them. This is rather ridiculous since they had US troops (with artillery observers) all around them, so why blame the civilians unless you were completely lost in paranoia? This paranoia about the civilians may explain the several massacres of civilians in that battle. Peiper himself had to be talked out of shooting some civilians in La Glieze by an angry Belgian civilian who convinced him that the civilians hiding in basements had no reason to call in artillery strikes on themselves, even if they had the means to do so. Peiper accepted this finally, but some of his subordinates in adjacent areas did shoot civilians for "cooperating" with the Americans.
It should be noted that this part of Belgium was very much pro-German. The towns and place names are German, many of the people have German surnames and many of the young men were off in the German army.
Of course, sleeplessness and battle fatigue in itself might explain the behavior, but if so you'd expect to see the same behavior exhibited on both sides in that battle. The GI's in the 30th and 82nd had little to no sleep from 16 December through the 25th, but they didn't run into Belgian homes and massacre the inhabitants on the grounds they were calling in artillery strikes on them.
Also, there is a well documented episode where Jochen Peiper sits up all night talking with captured American Lieutenant Colonel Hal McCown. This isn't an interrogation, but a bull session about war, politics, life in general - but it's also well documented that Peiper hadn't slept in at least six or seven days. It's the first relatively quiet night he's had, yet he chooses to talk all night with McCown rather than grab a few hours sleep. Instead, both he and his adjutant are all aflutter about McCown, referring to him in the most superlative terms; "A real front soldier from a division of real front soldiers." That sounds very much like the "I love you - I hate you" ups and downs of somebody on amphetamines.
All of this is very subjective, but interesting nonetheless. If German troops were using Pervitin for days at a time, they certainly would begin to exhibit the symptoms of amphetamine abuse. Wild mood swings and a breakdown in reasoning ability.
So, does anyone know if Pervitin was actually part of the German first aid kits by this point in the war? I don't really trust Der Spiegel on that claim, yet it does make sense since amphetamines were just viewed as "pep pills" and available both in the US and Europe without prescription.