26 April 2013

Oberleutnant Franz Ludwig Discussing Strategy With His Men

Image size: 1113 x 1600 pixel. 501 KB
Date: Saturday, 8 July 1944
Place: Bois de Bavant, Normandie, France
Photographer: Kriegsberichter Scheck from PK (Propaganda-Kompanie) 698

Oberleutnant Franz Ludwig  (Chef 2.Batterie/Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 1346) discussing the strategy with his men minutes after he knocked-out his 16th victim, a British tank, at Bois de Bavant, which is situated right up towards the coast near Ranville/Pegasus Bridge, Normandy, in 8 July 1944 (some sources said as 10 July 1944). Behind them is Sturmgeschütz III 7,5cm Stu.K. 40 mit Topfblende Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 142/1) with 16 kill rings (panzerabschuße). StuG III has the "saukopf" mantlet and "waffle plate" zimmerit under all the foliage. Previously, Ludwig (born in 24 January 1913) had received Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes in 24 June 1944, but he would died in combat a few months later in 14 August 1944. In the battle of Normandy, his unit were attached to the regular German infantry division, 346. Infanterie-Division (this division operated in the British sector east of Orne, Normandy, from as early as the 7th of June 1944, and largely destroyed at Falaise-Gap. Later rebuilt in Holland). 10 StuG III were transferred to the division in 10 May 1944, before the Allied landing. The above moment (photographed by Kriegsberichter Scheck from Propaganda-Kompanie 698) also published in the German newsreel, "Die Deutsche Wochenschau" (as it seemed to be often the routine to have photographers and cinematographers working in teams - on both sides of the lines). Please note that Ludwig's men wears two different uniforms: StuG wrapper with skull collar patches and collar litzen.  There was some uniform order that the traditional style collar tabs were to replace the "death's head" collar tabs for assault-gun crew (Sturm-Artillerie) uniform. It wasn't enforced so that's why you see both types of collar tabs in these units. For the video of the ceremony please click HERE

Book "Defending Fortress Europe: The War Diary of the German 7th Army in Normandy, 6 June to 26 July 1944" by Mark J. Reardon
Bundesarchiv photo collection
Photo courtesy of Doug Banks

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