27 November 2013

Marine War Dog and Handler


Image size: 1600 x 1098 pixel. 425 KB
Date: Friday, 14 January 1944
Place: Cape Torokina, Bougainville, Solomons
Photographer: Unknown

1st Marine War Dog Platoon's Private First Class John Kleeman and Caesar, serial 05H, an 87-pound (39.4-kilogram) German Shepherd. Growing up in the Bronx, Caesar's natural skill was enhanced by his runs to the store for his owners, three brothers. They turned him over to the Dogs for Defense program the same day they signed up. The dog was recruited into the US Marine Corps and trained at Camp Lejune, the Corps's dog handling training center. Caesar trained with Kleeman and Private First Class Rufus Mayo. They landed with the 1st Marine War Dog Platoon on Bougainville on November 1, 1943. On November 2, Caesar ran eleven runs, totaling 31 miles (50 kilometers) under fire between a 250-patrol of 2nd Marine Raider Regiment's Company M and the Regimental Command Post. Torrential rains had knocked out the radios, and telephone wire had yet to be run. On D+3, Mayo had control of the dog at the front line, and Kleeman was back at the Regimental Headquarters. Caesar leapt from Mayo's foxhole where he was sleeping and charged approaching Japanese infiltrators. Mayo called him back, and the Japanese shot Caesar, one bullet close to the heart. A firefight broke out and Caesar ran, wounded, all the way to Kleeman at headquarters. The surgeon decided to leave the bullet near the heart as an operation would be too risky. Caesar returned to duty in three weeks. 1st Marine War Dog Platoon left Bougainville on January 23, 1944. His story was widely and incorrectly reported as attacking a Japanese soldier with a grenade. Caesar was sent on a bond tour stateside where he was embraced by actress Heddy Lamar. The photo is most likely staged.

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1071

Italian Troops March Past Mussolini Poster in Ethiopia


Image size: 1600 x 931 pixel. 317 KB
Date: Wednesday, 1 January 1936
Place: Ethiopia
Photographer: Unknown

Italian troops march past billboard of Fascist Dictator Benito Mussolini during 1936 invasion. Humiliated by a defeat at Adwa by Ethiopian troops in 1896, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie was one of the few African leaders who ruled without European colonial interference. Yet, Ethiopia was heavily influenced by Italy. Fueled by the need for revenge and expansion by colonization, Mussolini sent his newly mechanized legions under the command of Comando Supremo (Itallian Army) Field Marshal Rodolfo Graziani across the Abyssinian border from Italian Somaliland and Eritrea on October 3, 1935. In 3 days Adwa was engulfed. By November Italians were 80 miles into Abyssinia. Resistance was heavy throughout the country. Graziani destroyed the Intelligentsia, and killed many Coptics in reprisal for partisan attacks. Field Marshal Pietro Badoglio (1871-1956) took command later in 1935 and immediately ordered gas attacks to quell the unrest. On May 5, 1936, the Italian army marched into the capital of Addis Ababa and Ethiopia surrendered. On June 30, 1936, Selassie, who escaped the invading Italians, spoke before the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, in protest of the attack, despite Italian attempts to interrupt his speech. "It is us today. It will be you tomorrow." he warned. The League of Nations condemned Italy's aggression and imposed minor economic sanctions in November 1935. Under the Neutrality Act, the United States stopped arms trade with both sides on October 5 and tried to limit exports of oil and other materials to normal peacetime levels on February 29, 1936. On October 9, 1935, the United States, not part of the League, refused to cooperate with any League action. The League sanctions were lifted on July 4, 1936 when Italian East Africa, Africa Orientale Italiana (AOI), was formed by Italy. in 1940, AOI was virtually isolated from Italy: the maritime transports were totally cut off, and supplies could arrive only from air, although always in dismal quantities. On March 27, 1941 the stronghold of Cheren was captured by the British troops after a strenuous defence from general Orlando Lorenzini. Eritrea was lost when the town of Massaua surrendered on April 8. The war was effectively lost on May 1941, when the Fascists at Amba Alagi under viceroy Amedeo di Savoia surrendered in face of overwhelming Allied troops. The last Italian force under General Guglielmo Nasi at Gondar surrendered on November 28, 1941.

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii107

Allied Prisoners of War Sort Confiscated Equipment on Bataan


Image size: 1600 x 1295 pixel. 777 KB
Date: Saturday, 11 April 1942
Place: Mariveles, Philippines
Photographer: Manuel Alcantara

Japanese guards supervise American and Filipino prisoners of war sorting through captured equipment confiscated by the Japanese at Mariveles Airfield. Although Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma's 14th Army had expected 25,000 prisoners of war, they were greeted by more than 75,000 (66,000 Filipinos and 11,796 Americans) starving and malaria-stricken captives at Bataan. During the battle, only 27,000 of these men were listed as "combat effective" despite rampant malaria. The Japanese army met great difficulties in transporting these prisoners from the beginning. Most Allied prisoners were forced together either on the airfield or at the Little Baguio motor pool, and were frisked for their valuables. Some lost food and canteens; others retained them. Some lost hats and helmets, which would have Any japanese money or manufactured goods resulted in death or violence. Beatings for no apparent reason were commonplace, and all witnessed varying degrees of wanton cruelty. Counted off in ranks of four and marching companies of one hundred, their ordeal began on April 10, 1942. The road from Mariveles on the tip of Bataan to Orani was unimproved, deep in dust and excrement. Pitifully few of the wounded survived, falling by the wayside, bayoneted or beheaded, or ground into pulp beneath enemy tanks and trucks. Distributing food was also almost impossible as many were fed nothing, and the Allied prisoners were already hungry from lack of food during the battle. 4,000 sick or wounded captives had to stay behind to be treated by the Japanese at Bataan.


Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1069

26 November 2013

Oberst Richard Koll in his Panzerbefehlswagen III 'RO6'


Image size: 1600 x 1108 pixel. 561 KB
Date: October 1941
Place: Vyazma, Smolensk Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Helmut Ritgen

October 1941: Oberst Richard Koll (7 April 1897 - 13 May 1963), commanding officer of Panzer-Regiment 11 / 6.Panzer-Division, and at that period the combined tank strength of both 6. and 7. Panzer-Division, in a confident pose in the cupola of his Panzerbefehlswagen III 'RO6' - note detail of frame aerial. At the right is the CO's signals officer (Nachrichtenoffizier), wearing earphones (kopfhörer). A pole aerial rises behind the Gefreiter standing at the left. Koll received Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) in 15 July 1941. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Richard Koll was captured by British troops in 1945 and was released in 1946. His last rank is Generalleutnant.

Source:
Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Koll

25 November 2013

Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 of Feldwebel Fritz Dinger


Image size: 1600 x 958 pixel. 389 KB
Date: October 1941
Place: Sologubowka, Leningrad, Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

Both photos on this page show the Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 “Weiss 4” Werknummer 7187 of Feldwebel Fritz Dinger of 4.Staffel / Jagdgeschwader 53 (Ritterkreuz 23 December 1942, KIA 27 July 1943 by shrapnel). On October 5th 1941, after sustaining damage in aerial combat, Feldwebel Dinger belly landed his aircraft near Sologubowka, 40 kilometres south-east of Leningrad, not far from Mga. This happened before the first snow had fallen. Because the aircraft was not recovered fast enough, it was covered with snow when the winter set in mid October. This was of course a welcome sight for troops passing by and therefore several pictures exist of Feldwebel Dinger’s belly landed aircraft. Interesting is that, due to lack of direct sunlight, the picture above doesn’t clearly show the yellow engine cowling and fuselage band. The picture below, taken with sunlight, clearly shows these details. Notice also the unusual shape of the aircraft’s tactical number. On the rudder the 10 victory bars (fliegerabschüsse) can be seen which Feldwebel Dinger had accumulated since the beginning of the Russian campaign.

Source:
Luftwaffe im Focus - Edition No.1 2002


Damaged Aircraft of Feldwebel Heinrich Klöpper


Image size: 1600 x 1153 pixel. 639 KB
Date: Saturday, 26 July 1941
Place: Smolensk, Smolensk Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

On July 26th 1941, at the beginning of the Russian campaign (Unternehmen Barbarossa), Feldwebel Heinrich Klöpper of 11.Staffel / Jagdgeschwader 51 belly landed his Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2 “rote” in the Smolensk area. Note the cross as IV. Gruppe symbol, only used by IV./JG 51. At this time only eight victory bars could be seen on the vertical stabilizer. This number would rise soon. Heinrich Klöpper achieved 94 victories until his death on November 29th 1943, at that time Staffelkapitän of 7.Staffel / Jagdgeschwader 1. 82 of his victories were achieved by JG 51 (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 4 September 1942). It is not clear if the report of a belly landing of Bf 109 F-2, Werknummer 8945 of 11./JG 51 with 80% damage on 27 July 1941 is identical with the belly landing of Feldwebel Klöpper on 26 July 1941. The picture does not show an 80% damage.

Source:
Luftwaffe im Focus - Edition No.1 2002


23 November 2013

Panzerbefehlswagen III 'RO6' of Oberst Richard Koll in a Russian Village


Image size: 1600 x 1068 pixel. 412 KB
Date: Thursday, 2 October 1941
Place: Vyazma, Smolensk Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Helmut Ritgen

Panzerbefehlswagen III 'RO6' of Oberst Richard Koll (Kommandeur of Panzer-Brigade Koll) on 2 October 1941, advancing towards a bridge in a typical of Russian village. Modellers are recommended to study details of buildings and roadbed! During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945, Vyazma became a battlefield between the Red Army and the Wehrmacht during the Battle of Moscow. It became the centre of a Red Army pocket after it was encircled by the 3rd and 4th Panzer armies. Vyazma was occupied by the German army between October 7, 1941 and March 12, 1943.

Source:
Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vyazma

6. Panzer-Division Panzer Convoy


Image size: 1600 x 1019 pixel. 609 KB
Date: October 1941
Place: Vyazma, Smolensk Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Helmut Ritgen

Blurred but interesting shot of 6. Panzer-Division's second echelon passing through the supply convoys of the first echelon - the large number of vehicles visible in this photograph is the reminder of the enormous logistic 'tail' necessary to keep an armoured division moving. The Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) on the right carries air recognition flag draped over the crew bedrolls on the rear deck. Note wooden stakes marking the edges of the rollbahn!

Source:
Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen

21 November 2013

Extraordinary Tank Hunter Werner Wrangel


Image size: 989 x 1600 pixel. 728 KB
Date: Saturday, 6 March 1943
Place: Unknown
Photographer: Unknown

This picture of Werner Wrangel was signed on 6 March 1943, only a few weeks after he got a Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross)! Wrangel (born 24 March 1922 in Lasbeck, Germany) was a Gefreiter in the German Wehrmacht during the Second World War, who received three of Germany's highest military decorations during a single combat action, and he was the only person ever to do so! Wrangel received the Iron Cross 2nd class, Iron Cross 1st Class, and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross simultaneously on 8 February 1943 for outstanding valour in repulsing a Soviet tank attack virtually single-handedly, thereby saving the lives of hundreds of his comrades. Additionally, he received the Infantry Assault Badge (Sturmabzeichen) in silver. At the time he served as a Richtschütze with 1.Kompanie / Panzer-Jäger-Abteilung 160 / 83. Infanterie-Division / VI.Armeekorps / 9.Armee / Heeresgruppe Mitte. Wrangel died in combat in 24 March 1945 near Trebur, Germany. A German newspaper from 1943 reported about the incident as follows (approximate translation from German): "In a nightly battle near Veliky Luki in December 1942, during a snow storm raging at minus 25 degrees celsius, Wrangel operated an 4,7 cm mittlere Panzerabwehrkanone 36(t) L/43,4 anti-tank gun at a frozen hilltop. His gun held a position that formed the link to an otherwise completely cut-off German Kampfgruppe that came under attack from a numerically far superior Soviet attack aimed at halting a German effort to relieve the cut-off Kampfgruppe. During the Soviet attack, consisting of a massed infantry assault supported by tanks and heavy artillery, Wrangel held his fire until the enemy heavy tanks were within less than 200 to 60 meters. Wrangel and his gun crew managed to destroy first three, then four, then another four Soviet heavy tanks scoring direct hits, until their gun is jammed. All the while, man-to-man fighting between German and Soviet infantry was happening all around the position and enemy artillery fire was coming closer and closer. When some of the gun crew were wounded, Wrangel rushed to the infantry to get some regular soldiers to assist him in operating the gun. After a hit by a high-explosive round to the gun's protective shield, again some of the crew were injured, but they desperately fought on. An additional six Soviet tanks were destroyed by Wrangel's gun by holding fire first and hiding, allowing Wrangel to shoot the tanks in the rear. At every shot fired, the gun blasted backward off the hilltop covered in frozen snow, and had to be pushed up the hill back into position again under the most appalling weather conditions. Wrangel literally fought until the last round had left his gun, which led him to his next task: destroying their own anti-tank gun in order to prevent capture by the Soviets. This task was also accomplished successfully. By Wrangel's singlehanded action, a strong Soviet assault was repulsed, allowing the entire Kampfgruppe M. to withdraw from its encirclement to new positions, thereby being able to take all of their wounded with them who would have otherwise fallen into enemy hands. Additionally, he ensured that his gun did not fall into enemy hands after they retreated from the position. He personally destroyed seventeen enemy heavy tanks in the engagement. For his truly exceptional actions, Werner Wrangel was awarded the three highest decorations available to German soldiers during the Second World War in one single night: the Sturmabzeichen (Infantry Assault Badge) in Silver, the Iron Cross Second Class for personal bravery, the Iron Cross First Class for the single-handed destruction of ten enemy heavy tanks, and the Knights Cross to the Iron Cross for saving the lives of hundreds of comrades and the preservation of the fighting power of an entire Kampfgruppe."

Source:
frankandfrank photo collection
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werner_Wrangel
http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/showthread.php?t=41136


15 November 2013

Messerschmitt Bf 109 of LG 2 Belly Landed at Liege


Image size: 1600 x 1038 pixel. 589 KB
Date: May 1940
Place: Luik, Liege, Belgium
Photographer: Unknown

Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 “black 2”, Werknummer 703 of 2.(J)/Lehrgeschwader 2. Picture taken in the area of Luik/Liege, soon after the beginning of the offensive in the West on May 10th 1940. This could be the Bf 109 of Unteroffizier Friedrich Möller who, after returning from a mission, had to belly land his aircraft due to lack of fuel on May 10th 1940. The “Emil” carries the standard 1940 camouflage and the “tophat” emblem of 2.(J)/LG 2. The aircraft was delivered to the Erla factory in Leipzig on June 3rd with 23% damage. After being repaired the Bf 109 was flown by Hauptmann Josef Fözö, Gruppenkommandeur of II.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 51, in the autumn of 1940.

Source:
Luftwaffe im Focus - Edition No.1 2002

New Focke-Wulf Fw 190 For JG 51


Image size: 1577 x 1600 pixel. 728 KB
Date: September 1942
Place: Jesau, Ostpreußen, Germany
Photographer: Unknown

Picture taken at Jesau/East Prussia in September 1942 where the I.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51) switched from Messerschmitt Bf 109 to Focke-Wulf 190 A-3 within a couple of days. The Gruppe was pulled back from the Eastern Front early September for retraining on the Fw 190. After a few days they returned to the front with their new aircraft and were operational again on September 6th. Note the yellow under cowling and the emblems of JG 51 and I./JG 51, which have already been applied. The Fw 190 A-3 has no ETC yet. The Fw 190 A-3/U3 was the first of the Jabo (Jagdbomber), using an ETC-501 centre-line bomb rack able to carry up to 500 kg (1,100 lb) of bombs or, with horizontal stabilising bars, one 300 L (80 US gal) drop tank. The U3 retained the fuselage-mounted 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17s and the wing-mounted 20 mm MG 151 cannon, with the outer MG FF being removed.

Source:
Luftwaffe im Focus - Edition No.1 2002
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focke-Wulf_Fw_190

05 November 2013

Boeing XB-29 Superfortress in Flight


Image size: 1600 x 1068 pixel. 387 KB
Date: Tuesday, 1 June 1943
Place: Wichita, Kansas, United States
Photographer: Unknown

Boeing XB-29-BO number 41-18335, the last of three XB-29s built, in flight. The third Boeing XB-29, Model 345, nicknamed "Gremlin Hotel," incorporated extensive upgrades. after the second XB-29 crashed into the Frye Meat Packing Plant factory and killed killing test pilot Eddie Allen, eleven aircrew and nineteen civilians, trying to return to Boeing Field, Gremlin Hotel received improved Wright Cyclone new engines and many redesigned features. Senator Harry S. Truman, leading the Congressional committee to investigate wartime corruption and overcharging, found that Boeing's engine suppliers were using substandard parts. The engine problems were not fully fixed until after the war. Later this aircraft was used to develop the B-29 assembly line. It crashed during further flight testing.

Source:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/16118167@N04/7473963424/

04 November 2013

P-51s of 352nd Fighter Group Escort B-24Js of 458th Bomb Group


Image size: 1600 x 1257 pixel. 128 KB
Date: Saturday, 1 July 1944
Place: Over North Sea, Normandy, France
Photographer: Unknown

Lt. Bob "Punchy" Powell, in P-51B "PE-P" 42-106914 named "The West 'by Gawd' Virginian" leads P-51Ds of the 8th Air Force, 1st Bombardment Division, 67th Fighter Wing, 352nd Fighter Group, 328th Fighter Squadron, (Bodney Airfield, Norfolk), in escorting Consolidated B-24J-150-CO Liberators of the 8th Air Force, 2nd Bombardment Division, 96th Combat Bombardment Wing, 458th Bombardment Group, (Horsham St. Faith Airfield, Norfolk, England) on a mission to France. The photo was taken during the Normandy Campaign between June 7, 1944 and July 17, 1944. Powell crashed his P-51B on takeoff, July 18, 1944. The B-24Js with "J4" on their fuselages are from the 753rd Bombardment Squadron, and ones with "Z5" are from the 754th. The 753rd's aircraft are from the Azon Project, which used standard 1000-pound (453 kilogram) bombs fitted with radio-controlled fins. The theory was that the plane's bombardier could steer the bomb into the target. However, clear weather was required, often not something found in Northern Europe, even during the summer. The ten missions of Azon Project were ineffective, but the bomb's principle's were sound and it was the basis of many other guided weapons. Azon bombs were also used in the Pacific. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1067

03 November 2013

Fieseler Fi-103 V-1 in Flight


Image size: 1600 x 1277 pixel. 319 KB
Date: Wednesday, 2 August 1944
Place: England
Photographer: Unknown

Fieseler Fi-103 in flight. This was a flying bomb, the Vergeltungswaffe 1, V1 or "Doodlebug". About 5-7000 were launched from France towards London between June 12 and September 1, 1944. They carried nearly a ton of explosive. Many fell short in the coastal counties either because of mechanical failure or defensive measures. The line was within the flight path of these devices; an area known as "Doodlebug Alley," and Tenterden had more incidents (238) than any other district in the country. On August 2, 1944, one of these missiles fell and exploded almost opposite Bodiam Station of the Kent & East Sussex Railway. This resulted in considerable damage to the Station building by way of partially lifting the roof, and blowing in all doors and windows. Lumps of soil from the crater weighing as much as 50 pounds (22.6 kilograms) were cast on to the platform and even over the roof of the Station building into the Goods Yard. Fortunately no one was in the building at the time. Several men were working in the Station Yard and seeing the bomb falling, took refuge under trucks in the Yard and thus avoided injury. The same day, 394 Royal Air Force aircraft - 234 Lancasters, 99 Halifaxes, 40 Mosquitos, 20 Stirlings, 1 Lightning - attacked 1 flying bomb launch site and 3 supply sites in the Pas de Calais, France. Visibility was clear at all targets and good bombing results were claimed. 2 Lancasters of RAF No 5 Group lost from the raid on the Bois de Cassan supply site. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii2001

02 November 2013

Panther from Wiking Bogged Down in Thick Mud


Image size: 1600 x 986 pixel. 319 KB
Date: May 1944
Place: SS-Truppenübungsplatz Heidelager, Pustków, Dębica, Poland
Photographer: Unknown

The photograph on this page show Panzerkampfwagen V Panther '613' from 6. Kompanie / SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 / 5.SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking" - note the number '3' just visible on the turret rear access hatch - bogged in thick mud almost to the top of its wheels, being dragged free by Panther 612. The picture above offers the reader a good view of the exhaust system and the vertically mounted jack. Note that the field modified bracket used to hold the unditching beam, which became an identifying feature of this division's tanks, is not yet present although the beam is clearly visible, strapped to the spare tracks. It is possible - or even likely - that the last of these metal brackets were added before the division left Heidelager, although some 8.Kompanie tanks had them as early as April. The flat, marshy terrain, bordered by woods, is typical of Eastern Poland and what is today Western Ukraine and Belarus.

Source:
Book "Viking Summer; 5.SS-Panzer-Division in Poland 1944" by Dennis Oliver