24 December 2014

Hermann Göring Wife and Daughter in Nürnberg


Image size: 1600 x 1338 pixel. 671 KB
Date: Tuesday, 26 September 1946
Place: Nürnberg, Bayern, Germany
Photographer: Unknown

Edda Göring and her mother, Emmy Göring, receive a handwritten letter from Hermann Göring in his death cell at Nürnberg. An illustration from David Irving book "Nuremberg, the Last Battle". Edda is the only daughter of Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring and Emmy Göring. Before married, Emmy (birth name Emma Johanna Henny Sonnemann) had been an actress. After marrying Göring in 10 April 1935, she became Germany’s first lady, since Hitler had no wife at the time. Emmy Göring was a genuinely gracious woman with a naive charm. Edda was born in 2 June 1938 and grew up in Berlin. This photograph of Edda and Emmy (and Mr. postman!) was taken in Nürnberg on 26 September 1946, during the war crimes trial. Nineteen days later, Hermann Göring took his own life a day before his scheduled execution. At that time Edda was eight years old. After the trial Edda and her mother spent four years in an Allied prison camp. Years later, her mother would say it was the hardest time of their lives. After being released they lived in Münich. Emmy died in 1973. In 1991 Gerald Posner published some quotes from Edda in his book "Hitler’s Children". Edda complained that after the war "the government was terrible. They didn’t even let me keep [my father’s] wartime medals. The Americans stole his special baton." Edda was very much anti-America and probably blamed America in particular for her father’s death. She rejected the overwhelming evidence that her father was involved with the war crimes. In Posner’s book Edda was quoted as saying, "My only memories of him are such loving ones, I cannot see him any other way. I actually expect that most everybody has a favorable opinion of my father, except maybe in America. He was a good father to me."
 

Source:
http://fpp.co.uk/shop/Wuest/Taufbecher_Eddas/index.html
http://home.earthlink.net/~earthmath17/top_children.htm



American Armada at Ulithi Atoll


Image size: 1600 x 1215 pixel. 460 KB
Date: Monday, 1 January 1945
Place: Ulithi Atoll, Caroline Islands, Western Pacific Ocean
Photographer: Unknown

Vast array of American warships just offshore of naval base on Mogmog Island in the Ulithi Atoll, part of the Caroline Islands, 1 January 1945. Ulithi Atoll itself are home to the 3rd Fleet in late 1944. The land in the foreground is one of several depot islands surrounding the anchorage. After World War II many battleships were intentionally sunk rather than taken elsewhere to disassemble. These iron bohemoths lie at the bottom of the Atoll and as they rust their iron content leaks into the seawater changing the very chemistry of the nutrient-poor tropical waters. The occupation of Ulithi by US Naval Fleets during the war changed the Islanders’ way of life dramatically. Entire islands were razed to the ground to make room for Allied Troops. Imported food, culture and language changed the traditional ways of these remote islands. After the war a surplus of boats, fuel, and new technologies like spear-guns radically altered the effectiveness of the Islanders’ fishing techniques.


Source:
http://ulithimarineconservation.ucsc.edu/?page_id=435
http://www.warbirdinformationexchange.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=52966

10 December 2014

Canadian AA Crew with Bofors Gun in Normandy on D-Day


Image size: 1562 x 1600 pixel. 857 KB
Date: Tuesday, 6 June 1944
Place: Bernières-sur-Mer, Juno Beach, Normandy
Photographer: Unknown

Photograph of four soldiers from 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Sergeant Traplin, Bombardier Heldon, Bombardier Blank and Sergent Kennedy with their Swedish-made 40mm/L60 Bofors Anti-Aircraft Gun after shooting down a Luftwaffe aircraft over the beachhead near their emplacement at Bernières-sur-Mer near Juno Beach (Normandy), 6 June 1944. At the time of the photo German Luftwaffe war planes were still active in the area. 30,000 Canadians had been landed, and 340 lost their live in the battles for the beachhead. The person to the rear of the position facing left is using the British-designed Stiffkey Sight, a mechanical computer that moved the gunners sights to account for leading a fast moving target. The Bofors gun in mobile form was commonly towed by either a GMC or Dodge 6x6 truck, and had a total crew of 8 including truck crew to include truck driver, gunner, two loaders, direction setting, elevation setter, radio operator and the gun commander.


Source:
http://www.stolly.org.uk/ETO/index34.html
http://ww2colorfarbe.blogspot.com/2014/12/canadian-anti-aircraft-gun-crew-at.html


06 December 2014

Small Briefing of German Officers Before Stalingrad


Image size: 1600 x 1030 pixel. 384 KB
Date: Sunday, 21 June 1942
Place: Kalmuck Steppe, Northwest Caspian Sea, Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

 Small briefing in the Kalmuck/Kalmyk Steppe of a German Army company commander (Kompaniechef) with the rank of Oberleutnant (left) and his platoon commander (Zugführer) with the rank of Leutnant on their drive to Stalingrad, Russia, 21 June 1942. The 6. Armee began its involvement in the Russian Campaign as the spearhead of Heeresgruppe Süd (Army Group South). Shortly after being promoted to Field Marshal, Walther von Reichenau (Oberbefehlshaber 6. Armee) died in an aircraft accident while being transported to a hospital after a heart attack in January 1942. He was succeeded by his former chief of staff, General der Panzertruppe Friedrich Paulus. Paulus led the 6. Armee to a major victory at the Second Battle of Kharkov during the spring of 1942. This victory also sealed the 6. Armee's destiny because it was selected by the OKH for the attack on Stalingrad. On 28 June 1942, Heeresgruppe Süd began Operation Blau; the German Army's summer offensive into southern Russia. The goals of the operation were to secure both the oil fields at Baku, Azerbaijan, and the city of Stalingrad on the river Volga to protect the forces advancing into the Caucasus. After two months, the 6. Armee reached the outskirts of Stalingrad on 23 August 1942. On the same day, over 1,000 aircraft of the Luftwaffe's Luftflotte 4 bombed the city, turning it into a massive inferno. Destroyed in a matter of hours, Stalingrad was now a charnel house; defended by the weak Soviet 62nd Army under the command of General Vasily Chuikov. Despite having the initiative, the 6. Armee failed to obtain a quick victory. The Red Army put up determined resistance, taking the fight to the rubble-clogged city streets. Though having almost complete air superiority over Stalingrad, and with more artillery pieces than the Soviets, progress was reduced to no more than several meters a day. Soviet casualties in the ghastly urban fighting were horrendous, while German casualties were just as appalling. Eventually, by mid November, the 62nd Army had been pushed to the banks of the Volga; holding only three small bridgeheads along the riverfront. However, despite continued fighting, the 6. Armee was unable to eliminate the remaining Soviet troops holding out in Stalingrad.


Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6th_Army_%28Wehrmacht%29
http://ww2colorfarbe.blogspot.com/2014/12/german-officers-on-drive-to-stalingrad.html

05 December 2014

SS Division Wiking Award Ceremony for Panzertruppen


Image size: 1600 x 1009 pixel. 350 KB
Date: Friday, 19 May 1944
Place: Kholm, Kholmsky District, Novgorod Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

The photo is taken on May 19, 1944 at Cholm from an awards ceremony for the SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 of 5. SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking". From left to right: SS-Sturmbannführer Paul Kümmel (Kommandeur I.Abteilung / SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 "Wiking"), SS-Standartenführer Johannes Mühlenkamp (Kommandeur SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 "Wiking"), SS-Obersturmführer Kurt Schumacher (Führer 3.Kompanie / I.Abteilung / SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 "Wiking"), SS-Untersturmführer der Reserve Paul Senghas (Zugführer in 1.Kompanie / I.Abteilung / SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 "Wiking"), and unidentified SS-Oberscharführer (possibly also from I.Abteilung / SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 "Wiking"). The 5.SS-Panzer-Division Wiking´s Panzer Commander Johannes "Hannes" Rudolf Mühlenkamp (1910 – 1986) was promoted SS-Standartenführer on April 20 1944. On August the same year, he was given the command of the division. He always led from the front and commanded Wiking until October 1944. Then, Mühlenkamp was promoted Inspector of Waffen-SS Panzer troops in the SS-Führungshauptamt. Johannes Mühlenkamp held the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves that reflected not only his achievements but also those of his men. To the European volunteers under his command he was a figurehead who was often to be found standing over his panzer, his face covered in dust, leading them into battle.


Source:
http://stabswache-de-euros.blogspot.com/2011/05/copyright-and-license-all-text-articles_29.html

Benito Mussolini Speaks with Wilhelm Keitel at Feltre Airfield


Image size: 1028 x 1600 pixel. 409 KB
Date: Monday, 19 July 1943
Place: Feltre, Belluno, Veneto, Italy
Photographer: Walter Frentz

Il Duce Benito Mussolini speaking with Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel (Chef des Oberkommando der Wehrmacht) at Feltre airfield (Northern Italy) before Keitel leaves for Berlin. The picture was made by Walter Frentz in the evening of 19 July 1943. Only a couple of days later (24 July 1943), the Italian dictator would be defeated in the vote at the Grand Council of Fascism, and the King Victor Emmanuel had him arrested the following day. On 12 September 1943, Mussolini was rescued from prison in the Gran Sasso raid by German special forces led by the daring Otto Skorzeny. In late April 1945, with total defeat looming, Mussolini attempted to escape north, only to be quickly captured and summarily executed near Lake Como by Italian partisans. His body was then taken to Milan where it was hung upside down at a service station for public viewing and to provide confirmation of his demise. In this picture Keitel holding his Interimstab (baton), while in his uniform we can see his Italian Grand Cross of the Military Order of Savoy, awarded to him by King Victor Emmanuel on 24 April 1942, along with Großadmiral Erich Raeder


Source:
https://www.ullsteinbild.de/ullstein-webshop/workbench.html?queryWord=walter+frentz&newTitle=ullstein+bild+|+Search%3A+walter+frentz&qwAction=searchQueryWord&viewMode=tile

03 December 2014

Adolf Hitler on his Release from Landsberg Prison


Image size: 1600 x 982 pixel. 550 KB
Date: Saturday, 20 December 1924
Place: Landsberg Prison, Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria, Germany
Photographer: Heinrich Hoffmann

Adolf Hitler, age 35, wearing trench coat posed beside a gray Marcedes-Benz 11/40 (model number RIO 4346) on his release from Landsberg Prison, on December 20, 1924, after serving only nine months. He had been charged and convicted for high treason for attempting to seize power in Germany in the failed Munich Putsch coup the previous year. He spent 264 days behind bars in total. It was in this period that Hitler wrote the book that would become the literary backbone to Nazi ideology: "Mein Kampf", or "My Struggle". It was written with the help of Rudolf Hess, his deputy, who had also been involved in the Putsch and sent to prison. A combination of Hitler’s personal story and political ideology, Mein Kampf set out Hitler’s vision for Germany’s future, including the extermination of the Jewish people. Eventually ran to two volumes. A Landsberg prison official reportedly said Hitler hoped the profits from the tract would enable him “to fulfill his financial obligations and to defray the expenses incurred at the time of his trial”. Eight years later, Hitler would be sworn in as Chancellor of Germany, in 1933.


Source:
http://www.hermann-historica.de/auktion/hhm63.pl?db=kat63_r.txt&f=ZAEHLER&c=64&t=temartic_R_D&co=1
http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/06/world-war-ii-before-the-war/100089/

US Rangers Aboard their Landing Craft Before Normandy Invasion


Image size: 1600 x 1091 pixel. 563 KB
Date: Saturday, 3 June 1944
Place: Weymouth Harbour, Dorset, England
Photographer: Unknown

U.S. Rangers from E Company, Fifth Ranger Battalion, aboard their landing craft on Weymouth Harbor, Dorset (England), waiting for the signal to sail to the coast of Normandy, 3 June 1944. In the foreground, they are, clockwise from far left, First Sergeant Sandy Martin, Technician Fifth Grade Joseph Markovich, Corporal John Loshiavo and Private First Class Frank Lockwood, with their Bazooka, Garand rifle, 60-mm mortar and Lucky Strikes. Before they boarded their vessel, these Rangers — four of perhaps 160,000 soldiers who would cross the English Channel — were penned up, away from public view, in camps policed by British officers in machine-gun towers. As they waited for their signal, soldiers of Operation Overlord hurled Army knives at playing cards nailed onto trees, played softball and, ducking into an entertainment tent, watched “Girl Crazy,” starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. But their nerves were strained; sometimes they fought one another with fists. They knew the lethal odds that faced them on the Normandy beaches. Then Martin, Markovich, Loshiavo and Lockwood were in their landing craft. One soldier insisted that these boats were designed to induce “a sense of physical discomfort, seasickness and physical degradation” so that the men would “land in such an angry condition as to bring destruction, devastation and death upon any person or thing in sight or hearing.” About 2,500 Americans were killed in the D-Day effort to make the world safe for freedom. One of them was Sandy Martin, who lies buried in the American cemetery on the bluff that looks down on Omaha Beach


Source:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/15/upshot/seventy-years-ago-next-month-came-fury-and-death-on-d-day.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=0
http://ww2colorfarbe.blogspot.com/2014/12/us-rangers-aboard-their-landing-craft.html

02 December 2014

Adolf Hitler Laughing at a Vacation in Harz Mountains


Image size: 1600 x 1323 pixel. 733 KB
Date: 17-21 July 1935
Place: Harz mountains, Germany
Photographer: Heinrich Hoffmann

Original postcard caption "Eine lustige Erholungsstunde während der Fahrt" (A funny recreation hour in motion). Adolf Hitler (Führer und Reichskanzler) sitting on a bench and laughing while listening to a humorous accordeon plays performed by Arthur Kannenberg, Hitler's chief butler (Küchenchef). This picture was taken by Hitler personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, during a trip to the Harz mountains (Northern Germany), 17-21 July 1935. The man sitting with Hitler (and also laughing with him) is Adolf Wagner (Gauleiter München-Oberbayern). The Führer was said to be particularly fond of a couple jokes and told the best ones over and over. One joke that Hitler liked to tell was at the expense of his pompous Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring, a man forever designing himself new uniforms and giving himself new orders and decorations. “One day,“ Hitler used to say, “Mrs. Göring came into the bedchamber and found her husband waving his Field Marshall‘s baton over his underwear. 'Hermann, darling, what are you doing?‘ she enquired. Göring answered, 'I am promoting my underpants to overpants!'"

Source:
http://collections.yadvashem.org/photosarchive/en-us/62360.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1028813/Hitler-comedian-The-Nazi-leaders-bodyguard-reveals-different-dictator.html
http://elektra.bsb-muenchen.de/jsp/frames/documentframe.jsp;jsessionid=6A326AED71185862B8D368590DD77E36?database=BILDARC@BSBBild$1&position=1&timeout=10
http://www.germanpostalhistory.com/php/viewitem.php?itemid=52733&germany%20cover=search&#littlepic0


26 November 2014

Raising the American Flag on Iwo Jima


Image size: 1600 x 1223 pixel. 392 KB
Date: Friday, 23 February 1945
Place: Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, Bonin Islands, Japan
Photographer: Joe Rosenthal

U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment of the Fifth Division raise the American flag atop Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945. Joe Rosenthal, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his immortal image of six World War II servicemen raising an American flag over battle-scarred Iwo Jima. On orders from Colonel Chandler Johnson—passed on by Captain Dave Severance—Sergeant Michael Strank, Corporal Harlon H. Block, Private First Class Franklin R. Sousley, and Private First Class Ira H. Hayes (all four from the Second Platoon, Easy Company) spent the morning after the first flag raising laying a telephone wire to the top of Mt. Suribachi. Severance also dispatched Private First Class Rene A. Gagnon, a runner, to the command post for fresh SCR-300 walkie-talkie batteries. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Albert Theodore Tuttle had found a larger (96-by-56 inch) flag in nearby Tank Landing Ship USS LST-779. He made his way back to the command post and gave it to Johnson. Johnson, in turn, gave it to Rene Gagnon, with orders to take it up to Lt. Schrier on Mt. Suribachi and raise it. The official Marine Corps history of the event is that Lt. Tuttle received the flag from Navy Ensign Alan Wood of USS LST-779, who in turn had received the flag from a supply depot in Pearl Harbor. However, the Coast Guard Historian's Office recognizes the claims made by former U.S. Coast Guardsman Quartermaster Robert Resnick, who served aboard the USS Duval County (USS LST-758) at Iwo Jima. "Before he died in November 2004, Resnick said Gagnon came aboard LST-758 the morning of February 23 looking for a flag. Resnick said he grabbed one from a bunting box and asked permission from commanding officer Lt. Felix Molenda to donate it. Resnick kept quiet about his participation until 2001." The flag itself was sewn by Mabel Sauvageau, a worker at the "flag loft" of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Although former Easy Company commander, Capt. Severance, had confirmed that the second larger flag was in fact provided by Alan Wood, former Second Battalion adjutant, Lt. G. Greeley Wells, who was officially in charge of the battalion's flags including the two American flags flown on Mount Suribachi, stated in the New York Times in 1991: that Lt. Col. Johnson ordered him (Wells) to get the second flag, that he (Wells) sent Marine runner Rene Gagnon to the ships on shore for the flag, and that Gagnon returned with a flag and gave it to him (Wells), and that Gagnon took this flag up Mt. Suribachi with a message for Schrier to raise it and send the other flag down. Wells stated that he received the first flag back from Gagnon and secured it at the Marine headquarters command post. Wells also stated, he had handed the first flag to Lt. Schrier to take up Mouint Suribachi. The Marines reached the top of the mountain around noon, where Gagnon joined them. Despite the large numbers of Japanese troops in the immediate vicinity, the 40-man patrol made it to the top of the mountain without being fired on once, as the Japanese were under bombardment at the time. Rosenthal, along with Marine photographers Bob Campbell and Bill Genaust (who was killed in action after the flag-raising), were climbing Suribachi at this time. On the way up, the trio met Lowery, who photographed the first flag-raising. They considered turning around, but Lowery told them that the summit was an excellent vantage point from which to take photographs. Rosenthal's trio reached the summit as the Marines were attaching the flag to an old Japanese water pipe. Rosenthal put his Speed Graphic camera on the ground (set to 1/400th of a second shutter speed, with the f-stop between 8 and 16) so he could pile rocks to stand on for a better vantage point. In doing so, he nearly missed the shot. Along with Navy Pharmacist's Mate Second Class John H. Bradley, the five Marines began raising the U.S. flag. Realizing he was about to miss it, Rosenthal quickly swung his camera up and snapped the photograph without using the viewfinder. Ten years after the flag-raising, Rosenthal wrote: "Out of the corner of my eye, I had seen the men start the flag up. I swung my camera and shot the scene. That is how the picture was taken, and when you take a picture like that, you don't come away saying you got a great shot. You don't know." Bill Genaust, who was standing almost shoulder-to-shoulder with Rosenthal about thirty yards away, was shooting motion-picture film during the second flag-raising. His film captures the second event at an almost-identical angle to Rosenthal's famous shot. Of the six men pictured – Michael Strank, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, John Bradley, and Harlon Block – only three (Bradley, Gagnon, and Hayes) survived the battle. Strank was killed on March 1, six days after the flag-raising, when a shell, likely fired from an offshore American destroyer, tore his heart out; Block was also killed on March 1, by a mortar, a few hours after Strank was killed; Sousley was shot and killed by a sniper on March 21, a few days before the island was declared secure.


Source:
http://dataomaha.com/media/news/2014/iwo-jima/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raising_the_Flag_on_Iwo_Jima


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25 November 2014

German Motorcycle Immobilized by Russian Mud


Image size: 1600 x 922 pixel. 352 KB
Date: Monday, 1 September 1941
Place: Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

Two Kradmelder ("Despatch Rider") struggle with their Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft (Bavarian Motor Works Incorporated, or BMW) R75 motorcycle with sidecar during the Rasputitsa (Russian for "time without roads") in Fall 1941. Their Mantels (Rubberized Coats) are better protection against the mud then the average Landser (soldier) but they are still covered in it. As the Germans attempted to conquer Moscow before the snow fell, massive rains turned the dry steppe into a quagmire. Wilhelm Pruller (1916- ), a Sergeant in the 9th Panzer Division, wrote in his diary in July 1941, "We spent the night in the open. We made ourselves dugouts and covered them with sailcloth. After midnight it began to rain, and we couldn't stand it much longer in these holes. Wet and shivering with the cold, we waited for morning...When I see even at this time of how our vehicles, after it's rained a little, can barely make the grade, I just can't imagine how it will be in autumn when the rainy period really sets in...Yesterday it began to rain, and it hasn't stopped yet. It's enough to make you desperate." On August 4, 1941, a German Corporal wrote home, "The roads here are incredibly bad. At times of rainy weather hardly passable; fatiguing for man and horse. In general, you cannot get through any more with a motorcycle or auto." The BMW R75, of which 18,000 were made from 1941 to 1944, was one of the few vehicles that might make it out of a sticky bog, but the cloying mud went on for miles, and the mud stopped engines from running and exhausted horses and men. Germans and Russians alike were covered in mud until the winter freeze allowed movement again in November; soon after that, heavy snows set in. Some of the Red Army units had anti-freeze and winter uniforms, but the Germans did not. The ability to maneuver in Winter weather would give the Red Army's offensive an advantage. Two Kradmelder ("Despatch Rider") struggle with their Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft (Bavarian Motor Works Incorporated, or BMW) R75 motorcycle with sidecar during the Rasputitsa (Russian for "time without roads") in Fall 1941. Their Mantels (Rubberized Coats) are better protection against the mud then the average Landser (soldier) but they are still covered in it. As the Germans attempted to conquer Moscow before the snow fell, massive rains turned the dry steppe into a quagmire. Wilhelm Pruller (1916- ), a Sergeant in the 9th Panzer Division, wrote in his diary in July 1941, "We spent the night in the open. We made ourselves dugouts and covered them with sailcloth. After midnight it began to rain, and we couldn't stand it much longer in these holes. Wet and shivering with the cold, we waited for morning...When I see even at this time of how our vehicles, after it's rained a little, can barely make the grade, I just can't imagine how it will be in autumn when the rainy period really sets in...Yesterday it began to rain, and it hasn't stopped yet. It's enough to make you desperate." On August 4, 1941, a German Corporal wrote home, "The roads here are incredibly bad. At times of rainy weather hardly passable; fatiguing for man and horse. In general, you cannot get through any more with a motorcycle or auto." The BMW R75, of which 18,000 were made from 1941 to 1944, was one of the few vehicles that might make it out of a sticky bog, but the cloying mud went on for miles, and the mud stopped engines from running and exhausted horses and men. Germans and Russians alike were covered in mud until the winter freeze allowed movement again in November; soon after that, heavy snows set in. Some of the Red Army units had anti-freeze and winter uniforms, but the Germans did not. The ability to maneuver in Winter weather would give the Red Army's offensive an advantage.


Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery/wwii0233

20 November 2014

German Soldiers Move into Burning Russian Villages


 Image size: 1600 x 995 pixel. 534 KB
Date: Thursday, 26 June 1941
Place: Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

German Schnelltruppen (Fast Troops) disembark from Hanomag Mittlere Schutzenpanzerwagen Ausf D (Medium Armored Cars Model D) SdKfz 251/10 (background) and 251/1 half tracks to attack a Russian village during the opening days of Operation Barbarossa, 26 June 1941. The 251/1, mounting three MG34 machine guns, was the standard armored personnel carrier for the soldiers to keep pace with the armored columns. The Schnelltruppen, later designated Panzergrenadiers in 1943, were trained to fight mounted in their vehicles or dismounted as regular infantry. The 251/10 mounted a 37mm (1.46 inch) Pak 36 cannon for light anti-tank and infantry artillery support. Each Schnelltruppe Zug (Platoon) would have three 251/1s and one 251/10. Each 251/1 could carry ten soldiers and two drivers. In combat, the 251s would be kept in reserve for mobile operations. When ordered to attack, the drivers would seek maximum tactical cover from hills and foliage to approach the target. When the point of disembarkation was reached, the commander would shout "Abspringen!" (Bale Out!) and the ten soldiers would take two MG34 machine guns and form a Schutzenkette (firing line) with the guns at the center with the squad leader or on the flanks. 16,000 Hanomag SdKfz 251s were built between 1939 and 1945; many were used in other roles, such as anti-aircraft, rocket platforms, or searchlights. While the 251 was a flexible platform, all these other uses distracted from the troop carrying role. Only one-third of Panzergrenadiers were carried into combat.


Source:
http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/07/world-war-ii-operation-barbarossa/100112/
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery/wwii0207

19 November 2014

Adolf Hitler Inspecting Gustav


Image size: 1600 x 1233 pixel. 601 KB
Date: Sunday, 4 April 1943
Place: Reichswerke Hermann Göring, Linz, Germany
Photographer: Walter Frentz

This picture was taken by Walter Frentz in 4 April 1943 at Reichswerke Hermann Göring, Linz (Germany), when Hitler visited the Eisenbahngeschütz 80 cm Kanone Schwerer Gustav. FLTR: Generalleutnant Walter Buhle (Chef vom Heeresstab im Oberkommando der Wehrmacht), Ingenieur Erich Müller (Wehrwirtschaftsführer), Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel (Chef des Oberkommando der Wehrmacht), Reichsleiter Martin Bormann (Stabsleiter im Amt des Stellvertreters des Führers), Adolf Hitler (Führer und Reichskanzler), Prof.Dr.-Ing.Albert Speer (Reichsminister für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion), and SS-Gruppenführer Julius Schaub (not visible in this picture, Chefadjutant des Führers Adolf Hitler). Schwerer Gustav (Heavy Gustaf or Great Gustaf) was the name of a German 80 cm K (E) railway gun. It was developed in the late 1930s by Krupp as siege artillery for the explicit purpose of destroying the main forts of the French Maginot Line, the strongest fortifications then in existence. The fully assembled gun weighed nearly 1,350 tonnes, and could fire shells weighing seven tonnes to a range of 47 kilometres (29 mi). The gun was designed in preparation for the Battle of France, but was not ready for action when the battle began, and in any case the Wehrmacht's Blitzkrieg offensive through Belgium rapidly outflanked and isolated the Maginot Line's World War I-era static defenses, forcing them to surrender uneventfully and making their destruction unnecessary. Gustav was later employed in the Soviet Union at the siege of Sevastopol during Operation Barbarossa, where among other things, it destroyed a munitions depot buried in the bedrock under a bay. The gun was moved to Leningrad, and may have been intended to be used in the Warsaw Uprising like other German heavy siege pieces, but the rebellion was crushed before it could be prepared to fire. Gustav was destroyed near the end of the war in 1945 to avoid capture by the Red Army. It was the largest-calibre rifled weapon ever used in combat, the heaviest mobile artillery piece ever built in terms of overall weight, and fired the heaviest shells of any artillery piece. It is only surpassed in calibre by the British Mallet's Mortar and the American Little David mortar (both 36 inch; 914 mm).


Source:
http://elektra.bsb-muenchen.de/servlet/Top/frames/hitsframe#bildarc
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwerer_Gustav

18 November 2014

Adolf Hitler Inspecting Dora


Image size: 1600 x 1133 pixel. 387 KB
Date: Friday, 19 March 1943
Place: Rügenwalde, Pomerania, Germany
Photographer: Walter Frentz

On 18-19 March 1943 Hitler visited the town of Rügenwalde/Pomerania (Germany) to see the 80 cm. Eisenbahngeschütz "Dora", the largest gun in the world. While Hitler was there the gun fired two granates. This picture was taken in 19 March 1943 by Walter Frentz and shows, from left to right: General der Artillerie Alfred Jodl (Chef Wehrmacht-Führungsamt), SS-Oberführer Prof. Dr.-Ing. e.h. mult. Ferdinand Porsche (Vorsitzender der Panzerkommission), Generaloberst Heinz Guderian (Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen), Generalleutnant Walter Buhle (Chef vom Heeresstab im Oberkommando der Wehrmacht), Adolf Hitler (Führer und Reichskanzler), Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel (Chef des Oberkommando der Wehrmacht), Hauptdienstleiter Dipl.-Ing. Karl-Otto Saur (Staatssekretär im Reichsministerium für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion), and SS-Gruppenführer Julius Schaub (Chefadjutant des Führers Adolf Hitler). Dora was the second giant railway gun to be produced by Germany. It was deployed briefly against Stalingrad, where the gun arrived at its emplacement 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) to the west of the city sometime in mid-August 1942. It was ready to fire on 13 September. It was quickly withdrawn when Soviet encirclement threatened. When the Germans began their long retreat they took Dora with them. Dora was broken up before the end of the war, being discovered in the west by American troops some time after the discovery of Schwerer Gustav.


Source:
http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/heavy-gustav-hitler-generals-inspecting-largest-caliber-rifled-weapon-ever-used-combat/

17 November 2014

Muslim Members of Handschar Division at Prayer during their Training in Germany


Image size: 1600 x 1086 pixel. 301 KB
Date: Tuesday, 9 November 1943
Place: Neuhammer, Silesia, Germany
Photographer: SS-Kriegsberichter Falkowski

Muslim soldiers from 13. SS-Freiwilligen-Bosnien-Herzegowina-Gebirgs-Division (Kroatien) at their morning prayer during Eid al Fitr celebration in Truppenübungsplatz (Training Ground) Neuhammer, 9 November 1943. The prayer was led by SS-Sturmbannführer Abdulah Muhasilović, the official Imam of the division, while behind him are two muslim officers from Handschar. Muhasilović would be replaced by SS-Obersturmführer Halim Malkoč in 21 October 1944 after led a mutiny at Cerna). The Division itself had at least nine Bosnian Muslim officers, the highest ranking of whom was SS-Obersturmbannführer Husejin Biščević Beg, who had been a Muslim officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army when Bosnia was under occupation. The romantic notions that Himmler had about the Bosnian Muslims were probably significant in the division’s genesis. He was personally fascinated by the Islamic faith and believed that Islam created fearless soldiers. He envisioned the creation of a Bosnian SS division constituted solely of Bosnian Muslims in a manner similar to the Bosnian divisions of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. Many of these soldiers came from Bosnia, and it was a conscious decision to fight the Communist Partisans and the nationalist Chetniks. The Nazis tried to cater to the Muslim religious needs of their recruits, but the soldiers themselves cared more about protecting their homeland (as promised by the Nazis), than anything else the SS and Himmler told them about racial equality/superiority to the inferior Jews. Riots and desertions were commonplace among the soldiers, often to the Communist Partisans led by Josip Broz Tito, who promised the soldiers amnesty if they joined the Partisans. The soldiers were only interested in protecting their homeland in Bosnia, so any incursions into Croatia or Serbia to help the Nazi allies or war effort there met with consternation among the soldiers, and even more desertions.


Sources:
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1977-137-20
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1977-137-20,_Bosnische_SS-Freiwillige_beim_Gebet.jpg
http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/muslim-waffen-ss-13th-division-1943/

16 November 2014

Panzer 38(t) and Panzer II on the Move


Image size: 1600 x 1170 pixel. 302 KB
Date: Saturday, 1 June 1940
Place: France
Photographer: Unknown

Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) (SdKfz 140), extreme left, and Panzerkampfwagen II (SdKfz 121) climbing a grade, right, on the move. This is a rare color shot, which may be staged for the German war photographer. Please note that these two tanks have a clean rear deck and the helmets hanging over the side and rear of the Panzer II! It was taken in 1-10 June 1940 during the breakout of 7. Panzer-Division (Generalmajor Erwin Rommel) out of a valley near the Somme river. Originally the picture was published in the book "Entscheidende Stunden", a German propaganda book printed in 1941. When the Germans annexed the whole of Czechoslovakia, they took over management of the Skoda arms works. Skoda had developed the 38(t), which the Czechs called the LT-38, in 1935 and the first orders, for export, were placed in 1938. The Germans took over the production run, substituting the 38(t) for their PzKpfw III in the Panzer Divisions. It was armed with two 7.92mm machine guns and a 37mm main gun. At the time of the Invasion of France in 1940 Czech tanks made up a quarter of the Germans' panzer forces. The small turret didn't allow the tank to be upgraded, and production of the 38(t) ceased in 1942. the chassis was adapted into a number of successful self-propelled guns and tank destroyers. In combat, the Panzer II units would scout for the Panzer III and 38(t) units, identifying targets, troop strength and weak points for the heavier tanks to exploit. The Panzer II could not stand up to the Soviet heavy tanks and losses were high. Many crews fitted their vehicles with additional armor in the field.


Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery/wwii0116
http://www.ww2incolor.com/german-armor/ajr.jpg.html

Sepp Dietrich Receiving Brillanten from Hitler


Image size: 1600 x 1065 pixel. 462 KB
Date: Thursday, 10 August 1944
Place: Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, Ostpreußen/East Prussia (Germany)
Photographer: Unknown photographer from Heinrich Hoffmann firm

Presentation of the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwerter und Brillanten #16 (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds) to SS-Oberstgruppenführer und Panzer-Generaloberst der Waffen-SS Josef "Sepp" Dietrich (Oberbefehlshaber 5. Panzerarmee) by Adolf Hitler (Führer und Reichskanzler). Dietrich already received the formal confirmation from 6 August 1944, and he got this highest bravery medal Germany could ever give for his performances at the Battle of Normandy as Kommandierender General I. SS-Panzerkorps. This picture was taken by one of the photographer from Heinrich Hoffmann firm in 10 August 1944 at Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze (Rastenburg). In the background are SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS Hermann Fegelein (blocked, Verbindungsoffizier der Waffen-SS zum Führerhauptquartier) and SS-Hauptsturmführer Otto Günsche (Persönlicher Adjutant Adolf Hitler).


Source:
Book "Fotos aus dem Führerhauptquartier" from Hermann Historica München

Sepp Dietrich Received by Hitler


Image size: 1600 x 1060 pixel. 519 KB
Date: Thursday, 10 August 1944
Place: Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, Ostpreußen/East Prussia (Germany)
Photographer: Unknown photographer from Heinrich Hoffmann firm

This picture was taken in 10 August 1944 outside the bomb shelter at Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze (Rastenburg), before Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwerter und Brillanten #16 (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds) award ceremony for SS-Oberstgruppenführer und Panzer-Generaloberst der Waffen-SS Josef "Sepp" Dietrich (Oberbefehlshaber 5. Panzerarmee) by Adolf Hitler (Dietrich already received the formal confirmation from 6 August 1944). Wearing the new rank insignia for his 1 August 1944 appointment to SS-Oberstgruppenführer, Sepp Dietrich is received by Adolf Hitler (Führer und Reichskanzler), who extends to him his left hand because his right hand was seriously affected by the assassination attempt on 20 July 1944. In the background are SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS Hermann Fegelein (Verbindungsoffizier der Waffen-SS zum Führerhauptquartier), SS-Hauptsturmführer Otto Günsche (blocked, Persönlicher Adjutant Adolf Hitler), and SS-Sturmbannführer Heinrich "Hein" Springer (Verbindungsoffizier der Waffen-SS im Oberkommando der Wehrmacht). Left: in the front of communication center called AnnaBu16 (partially still exists). Far right: driver's garages (still exists).

Source:
Book "Fotos aus dem Führerhauptquartier" from Hermann Historica München
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=46430&p=2016678#p2016678

08 November 2014

Sepp Dietrich After Brillanten Award Ceremony


Image size: 1076 x 1600 pixel. 463 KB
Date: Thursday, 10 August 1944
Place: Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, Ostpreußen/East Prussia (Germany)
Photographer: Unknown photographer from Heinrich Hoffmann firm

This picture was taken in 10 August 1944 outside the bomb shelter at Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze (Rastenburg), after Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwerter und Brillanten #16 (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds) award ceremony for Sepp Dietrich by Adolf Hitler (Dietrich already received the formal confirmation from 6 August 1944). In this day he also officially got promoted from SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS to SS-Oberstgruppenführer und Panzer-Generaloberst der Waffen-SS, in which one additional pips is pinned to his schulterklappen (shoulder boards) and kragenspiegel (collar tabs). Same with the formal confirmation for his Brillanten, Dietrich already received the telegram confirmation for his promotion from 1 August 1944. We can see that the Commanding General of I. Panzerkorps is now wearing SS-Oberstgruppenführer schulterklappen/kragenspiegel in his uniform, also Brillanten in his necks - compared with this picture that was taken before verleihung (ceremony). Background of the picture is totally faked. Right side probably communication center (partially still exists), left "guest air shelter" (partially still exists) or "all purpose air shelter in the zone 2" (partially still exists).

Source:
Book "Fotos aus dem Führerhauptquartier" from Hermann Historica München
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=46430&p=2016678#p2016678

Sepp Dietrich Before Brillanten Award Ceremony


Image size: 1600 x 1049 pixel. 463 KB
Date: Thursday, 10 August 1944
Place: Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, Ostpreußen/East Prussia (Germany)
Photographer: Unknown photographer from Heinrich Hoffmann firm

This picture was taken in 10 August 1944 outside the bomb shelter at Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze (Rastenburg), before Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwerter und Brillanten #16 (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds) award ceremony for Sepp Dietrich by Adolf Hitler (Dietrich already received the formal confirmation from 6 August 1944). In this day he also officially got promoted from SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS to SS-Oberstgruppenführer und Panzer-Generaloberst der Waffen-SS, in which one additional pips is pinned to his schulterklappen (shoulder boards) and kragenspiegel (collar tabs). Same with the formal confirmation for his Brillanten, Dietrich already received the telegram confirmation for his promotion from 1 August 1944. We can see that the ex-Commanding General of I. Panzerkorps still has SS-Obergruppenführer schulterklappen/kragenspiegel in his uniform. From left to right: SS-Oberstgruppenführer und Panzer-Generaloberst der Waffen-SS Josef "Sepp" Dietrich (Oberbefehlshaber 5. Panzerarmee), SS-Hauptsturmführer Otto Günsche (Persönlicher Adjutant Adolf Hitler), SS-Sturmbannführer Erich Kempka (Hitlers Fahrer), SS-Hauptsturmführer Hermann "Bibl" Weiser (Adjutant I. SS-Panzerkorps), and SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS Hermann Fegelein (Verbindungsoffizier der Waffen-SS zum Führerhauptquartier). The picture was taken in the front of so called "guest air shelter", Hitler's temporary office in the summer 1944 (partially still exists).


Source:
Book "Fotos aus dem Führerhauptquartier" from Hermann Historica München
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=46430&p=2016678#p2016678

05 November 2014

U-Boat Crew Yelled for Help after his Ship was Sunk


Image size: 1600 x 1306 pixel. 1.03 MB
Date: Saturday, 17 April 1943
Place: North Atlantic, Southwest of Ireland, in position 47.53N, 22.04W
Photographer: Jack January

The official Caption is "NAZI SEEKS AID: One of the Germans to escape, when a Coast Guard convoy cutter sank their submarine in the Atlantic, this Nazi lifts hands and voice in a plea for help." The picture itself was taken on 17 April 1943 by Jack January (Photo No. 1567). The German sailor was identified as Obersteurmann Helmut Klotzsch (born 12 February 1914) from U-175.  Some of the U-175's crew later joked that while still on board of the U-boat - just prior to abandoning ship - Klotzsch ordered the men not to call out for assistance once they entered the water! He was then rescued by USCGC (United States Coast Guard Cutter) Spencer. U-175 (commanded by Korvettenkapitän Heinrich Bruns) from 10. Unterseebootsflottille was sunk while preparing to attack Convoy HX-233. USCGC Spencer detected U-175 ahead of the convoy and conducted two depth charge attacks. Forty minutes later the boat was forced to surface and was scuttled by her crew. Spencer and USCGC Duane rescued 44 survivors


Sources:
United States National Archives (NARA). Identification Code: 26-G-1567
http://historisches-marinearchiv.de/projekte/crewlisten/ww2/ergebnis.php
http://www.uboatarchive.net/U-175Rescue.htm
http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/spencervsu175.asp
http://ww2db.com/image.php?image_id=2262

08 September 2014

Sturmgeschutz III ausf B (SdKfz 142) Fords a River


Image size: 1600 x 1014 pixel. 574 KB
Date: Tuesday, 1 July 1941
Place: Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

Sturmgeschutz III ausf B (SdKfz 142) fords a river. The thirty StuG III ausf A operational during the Battle of France were successful enough to make changes to the design. The ausf B had 400mm (15.7 inch) tracks and improved the suspension and transmission. The low velocity 75mm (3 inch) KwK 37 L/24 main gun was designed to attack fortifications. 320 StuG III ausf B were built between June 1940 and May 1941. They armed seven Sturmartillerie batteries and four Sturmartillerie Abteilung (Assault Artillery Battalions). The 2nd Sturmartillerie Abteilung fought with StuG III ausf B in Yugoslavia and Greece, and the 6th Sturmartillerie Abteilung fought in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery/wwii0166

07 September 2014

SS Soldiers Playing with Squirrel


Image size: 1600 x 1165 pixel. 131 KB
Date: January-August 1941
Place: Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

Two members of the SS-Division Totenkopf playing around and feeding a squirrel in their spare time. The book "Soldaten - Kämpfer - Kameraden. Marsch und Kämpfe der SS-Totenkopf-Division" volume 1 page 288 by Wolfgang Vopersal mentioned that the officer is SS-Obersturmführer Reinhold Wilhelm August Löw, while the non-commissioned officers who accompanied him is SS-Hauptscharführer Hamke. It also added that the squirrel was a pet of the company which they are assigned (3.Kompanie / SS-Totenkopf-Infanterie-Regiment 2). From the data on Löw we can note that this photo was taken in the period between January 1941 (promotion to SS-Obersturmführer) up to August 1941 (promotion to SS-Hauptsturmführer and Chef 3.Kompanie / SS-Totenkopf-Infanterie-Regiment 3). The Officer that was born on May 30, 1913 in Kubach would fall a few months later (November 28th 1941) at Kirillowschtschina (Russia), just days after being appointed as a Chef of 3.Kompanie / SS-Kradschützen-Bataillon 3


Source:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=193566&p=1894247#p1894247



26 July 2014

Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) of 6. Panzer-Division


Image size: 1600 x 1102 pixel. 370 KB
Date: Tuesday, 1 July 1941
Place: Soviet Union
Photographer: Kriegsberichter Scherl

Panzergrenadier of the 6. Panzer Division board Panzerkampfwagen 35(t)s during Operation Barbarossa, in the background is a Panzerkampfwagen IV. The Skoda Works in Pilzen, Czechoslovakia's major arms manufacturer, built the light tank model 35 starting in 1936 and successfully exported it to a number of countries prior to the German annexation in April 1939. Initially it had developmental troubles with its innovative pneumatic steering that relieved stress on the driver but eventually the LT-35 had an well-regarded reputation. After Czechoslovakia was incorporated into the Reich, the LT-35 was replaced with the LT-38 on the manufacturing lines. Designated as the Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) ("t" for Tschech - Czech) it was used as an equivalent to the Panzer III, because it was armed with a 37mm (1.46 inch) main gun and two 7.92mm (.31 caliber) machine guns. However the tank was not as capable, with a less capable gun and lighter armor. 219 were taken into the Wehrmacht for operations in Poland and France. 105 were issued to the 6th Panzer in Summer 1941, making up the bulk of the unit's tank strength for Operation Barbarossa in June 1941. Already obsolete, the 37mm main gun could not penetrate the Soviet KV and T-34 tanks. The pneumatic steering, not designed for Russian winters, broke down in the cold. The men of 6th Panzer took to using blowtorches to unfreeze their transmissions and engines, which caused more than one vehicle to explode or burn. On December 10, 1941, the last tank, nicknamed "Anthony the Last," was lost. The dwindling cadre of panzertruppen called the unit "6th Panzer of the foot" and relied on over 1,000 panje (Russian horse) wagons for carrying their remaining equipment when all their vehicles were lost. By January 1942 only 1,000 men (out of some 16,000 at the start of Operation Barbarossa) and three guns were operational, but 6th Panzer kept the supply lines open for 9th Army in Rzhev open, allowing the Wehrmacht to regroup and attack in the Spring. 6th Panzer was rested and refitted with Panzer IIIs in France, but was rushed back to the Soviet Union when Stalingrad was surrounded in November 1942.


Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery/wwii0073

25 July 2014

German Troops Prepare to Clear Houses


Image size: 805 x 1600 pixel. 466 KB
Date: Tuesday, 1 July 1941
Place: Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

German soldiers prepare for urban combat during Operation Barbarossa. One is carrying a Mauser-manufactured P08 Luger, Stielhandgrate 24, and a belt of 7.92mm (.32 caliber) ammunition for a Maschinengewehr 34 (MG34) machine gun. The other is checking the action on his Mauser Karabiner 98 Kurz. Reichsklanzler (Reichchancellor) Adolf Hitler repeatedly ordered that urban combat be avoided; at Kiev, Leningrad and Moscow, he refused permission to send German forces into cities. Nevertheless, German troops had to clear various villages, towns and cities during Operation Barbarossa. The Germans were fully committed to urban warfare in 1942 during the Battle of Stalingrad.


Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery/wwii0219

Char B1 Flammenwerfer Before Operation Barbarossa


Image size: 1600 x 1190 pixel. 334 KB
Date: Monday, 23 June 1941
Place: Lwow Voivodeship, Poland
Photographer: Unknown

French-designed Char B1 bis tanks (Flammwagen auf Panzerkampfwagen B2 (F) in German service) of Panzerabteilung (F) 102 captured by the Germans in the Battle of France move up to the front during Operation Barbarossa. These tanks have been modified with the same flammenwerfer-Spritzkopf (flamethrower spray head) system designed for the Panzer II in the place of the hull-mounted 75mm (3-inch) main gun. The Germans took as much captured equipment as they could from occupied countries. Reichskanzler (Reichchancellor) Adolf Hitler, shown the plans for the Panzer II flammenwerfer, wanted a heavier armored vehicle for flame operations. The French Char B1 bis was already being used as a police tank around the German-held territories, and the Germans had taken over the maintenance facilities to paint the tanks in German colors and markings and repair them. On May 26, 1941, Hitler approved the formation of Panzerabteilung (F) 102 consisting of two Schwere Flammkompanie (Heavy Flame Companies) of 12 flammenwerfer tanks and three unmodified Char B1 bis with the 75mm gun still in place. This unit was to work closely with the German Pioneeren (combat engineers) reducing Soviet fortifications. Serving under Armee-Oberkommando 17, Panzerabteilung (F) 102 was attached to the 296th Infantry Division for the assault on Wielki Dzial Mountain, Poland (now Ukraine), one of many border fortresses established by the Soviets. On June 29, the flammpanzers, supported by 88mm (3.5 inch) flak guns firing depressed against surface targets, attacked the Soviet positions on June 29, losing three flammpanzers. On July 27, Panzerabteilung (F) 102 was disbanded, but sixty Panzerkampfwagen B2 (F) were modified with a new pressurized flamethrower system and served with Panzerabteilung 223 (Eastern Front); Panzerbrigade 100 (Western Front); and SS "Prinz Eugen" (Yugoslavia). Panzerkampfwagen B2 (F) flammpanzers were encountered by Allied paratroopers at Osterbeek during Operation Market-Garden.

07 June 2014

Erich Brandenberger and Erich von Manstein a Day Before Operation Barbarossa


Image size: 1600 x 1030 pixel. 272 KB
Date: Saturday, 21 June 1941
Place: East Prussia, Germany
Photographer: Kriegsberichter Koch from PK (Propaganda-Kompanie) 694

General der Infanterie (later Generalfeldmarschall) Fritz Erich von Manstein (November 24, 1887-June 9, 1973), Kommandierender General LVI.Armeekorps (motorisiert) / Panzergruppe 4 / Heeresgruppe Nord, and Generalmajor (later General der Panzertruppe) Erich Brandenberger (July 15, 1892-June 21, 1955), Kommandeur 8.Panzer-Division / LVI.Armeekorps (motorisiert) at left, plan the advance to the bridges over the Dubissa River at Airogola, Lithuania, on the opening day of Operation Barbarossa. The Dubissa River viaduct was a necessary step to capturing the bridges at Dvinsk, Latvia; those bridges gave the Germans access to Leningrad, Belorussia and Central Russia. 8th Panzer Division was tasked with securing bridges along the route to Dvinsk. Manstein wrote in his memoirs, "On the very first day [56th Panzer Corps] had to thrust fifty miles into enemy territory in order to capture the crossing over the Dubissa at Airogola. I knew the Dubissa sector from World War I. What we should find there was a deep, ravined valley whose slopes no tank could negotiate. In the First World War our railway engineers had labored there for months on end to span the gap with a masterly construction of timber. If the enemy now succeeded in blowing up the big road viaduct at Airogola, the corps would be hopelessly stuck and the enemy would have time on the steep far bank of the river to organize a defense which would in any case be extremely difficult to penetrate. That we could thereafter no longer expect to make a surprise descent on the Dvinsk bridges was perfectly obvious. The Airogola crossing was indispensable as a springboard. Excessive though Corps [Headquarters] requirements may appear to have been, 8th Panzer Division (General Brandenberger), with which I spent most of the day, still fulfilled its task. After breaking through the frontier positions and over-running all enemy resistance further back, it seized the Airologa crossing with a reconnaissance force by the evening of 22nd June. 290th [Infantry] Division followed, marching at record speed; and 3rd Motorized Infantry Division, which had started moving over the Memel at Noon, was directed towards a crossing south of Airogola. The first step had succeeded." By the end of the first day, 56th Panzer Corps had driven all the way to Dvinsk and seized those bridges, allowing Army Group North to head for Leningrad while occupying Latvia by July 10, 1941. 


Source:
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-209-0086-12
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-209-0086-12,_Russland-Nord,_Erich_von_Manstein,_Brandenberger.jpg
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery/wwii0228

06 June 2014

German Troops Remove Communist Red Star


Image size: 1600 x 1105 pixel. 574 KB
Date: Friday, 18 July 1941
Place: Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

German troops remove the Soviet "Red Star" emblem from a newly occupied building. The same month as this photo was taken, the Germans created the "Reichsministerium für die besetzten Ostgebiete" (Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories) under Alfred Rosenberg (January 12, 1893 - October 1946). Rosenberg oversaw Reichskommissars who were given parts of the occupied Soviet Union to administer. While Reichskommissars had different, usually self-serving agendas, they all started immediate arrests and deportations. Ghettos for Jews were established in Minsk, Riga, Lvov and elsewhere. Einsatzgruppen arrived in the occupied territories to begin shooting Jews. Many nationalities like Lithuanians, Estonians, Byelorussians, Ukrainians and others, some of whom suffered greatly under Stalinism, expected the Germans to provide better treatment than the Soviets. Not only were they quickly disabused of this idea, they were often paid less under Nazism than Communism, worked longer hours, and had much less access food and consumer goods. The Reichskommissars were shipping everything they could to Germany. The Reichskommissar's actions led to thousands of Soviets joining partisan bands roaming the occupied territories. Rosenberg argued with other Nazi leaders that embracing the anti-Communism of Stalin's oppressed would strengthen the German war effort. Rosenberg, intellectual and uncharismatic, was unable to change German policies; instead he bought into Hitler's war of annihilation. He became a major architect of the Holocaust, directly or indirectly killing millions of Jews and Soviet prisoners of war. Rosenberg was hanged after his conviction in the Nuremberg Trials.

Source:
Associated Press photo
http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/07/world-war-ii-operation-barbarossa/100112/
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery/wwii0214

01 April 2014

Ritterkreuz Award Ceremony for Sturm-Abteilung "Koch"


Image size: 1600 x 1208 pixel. 572 KB
Date: Monday, 13 May 1940
Place: Führerhauptquartier "Felsennest" , Rodert near Bad Münstereifel, Nordrhein-Westfalen, germany
Photographer: Unknown

Adolf Hitler posed with Fallschirmjäger officers at a Ritterkreuz award ceremony for 12 member of Sturm-Abteilung "Koch" / 7.Flieger-Division of the Eben Emael raid. The ceremony was held at Führerhauptquartier "Felsennest" , Rodert near Bad Münstereifel, Euskirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, on 13 May 1945. First row from left to right : Leutnant Egon Delica (stellvertreter Führer Sturmgruppe "Granit". RK 12 May 1940), Hauptmann Walther Koch - RK 10.05.1940 (Kommandeur Sturm-Abteilung "Koch". RK 10 May 1940), Adolf Hitler (Führer und Reichskanzler), Leutnant der Reserve Joachim Meißner (stellvertreter Führer Sturmgruppe "Eisen". RK 12 May 1940), and Oberleutnant Gustav Altmann (Führer Sturmgruppe "Stahl". RK 12 May 1940). Second row from left to right : Oberleutnant Rudolf Witzig (Führer Sturmgruppe "Granit". RK 10 May 1940), Oberleutnant der Reserve Otto Zierach (Chef des Stabes Sturm-Abteilung "Koch". RK 15 May 1940), Leutnant der Reserve Helmut Ringler (MG-Halbzugführer in der Sturmgruppe "Stahl". RK 15 May 1940), Oberleutnant Walter Kiess (Chef Lastensegler-Kommando in der Sturm-Abteilung "Koch". RK 12 May 1940), and Oberarzt Dr. Rolf Jäger (Truppenarzt in der Sturm-Abteilung "Koch". RK 15 May 1940). Other three member of Sturm-Abteilung "Koch" that do not appear in the photograph : Feldwebel Helmut Arpke (Sturmgruppe "Stahl". RK 13 May 1940), Leutnant Martin Schächter (Führer Sturmgruppe "Eisen", wounded in action and at the hospital, RK 12 May 1945), and Leutnant Gerhard Schacht (Führer Sturmgruppe "Beton". RK 12 May 1940).

Source:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=29879&start=2310

US Army 37th Infantry "Buckeye" Division Returns to the United States


Image size: 1600 x 1274 pixel. 492 KB
Date: Thursday, 6 December 1945
Place: San Francisco, California, United States of America
Photographer: Unknown

The 37th Infantry (Ohio National Guard "Buckeye") Division returns to the United States on USS General William Mitchell (AP-114). The 37th arrived in the Fiji Islands in June 1942 to fortify the islands against possible invasion. The division moved to Guadalcanal in April 1943. Two battalions joined the Marines on Munda, New Georgia, July 5, 1943, while the remainder of the division landed, July 22, and assisted the 43d Infantry Division in taking Munda airfield in heavy fighting. After mopping up on New Georgia, the division returned to Guadalcanal, September 9, 1943, for rest and rehabilitation. Relieving Marine units on Bougainville, November 8-19, 1943, the 37th took over the perimeter defense of the area, constructed roads and bridges and engaged in extensive patrol activity. In March 1944, two Japanese divisions made eight major attacks, but division lines held. In April patrols cleared the Laruma Valley area of major enemy units. The division remained on Bougainville and trained for the Luzon campaign. Landing with the Sixth Army on the beaches of Lingayen Gulf, January 9, 1945, the 37th raced inland against slight resistance to Clark Field and Fort Stotsenburg where fierce resistance delayed capture of those objectives until January 31. The division continued to drive to Manila against small delaying forces, and entered the city's outskirts, February 4. Upon crossing the Pasig River, it ran into bitter Japanese opposition, and it took heavy street fighting to clear the city by March 3, 1945. After garrison duty in Manila, March 5-26, the division shifted to the hills of Northwest Luzon, where heavy fighting culminated in the capture of Baguio on April 26. Rest and rehabilitation during May were followed by action in June in the Cagayan Valley against deteriorating Japanese resistance. With the end of hostilities on August 15, the division was concerned with the collection and processing of prisoners of war, leaving November 1945 for the States and demobilization on December 18. 

Source:
http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/ddn_archive/2011/11/10/veterans-day/
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1149

Panzerkampfwagen II ausf C on Manoeuvre


Image size: 1600 x 903 pixel. 348 KB
Date: Friday, 1 November 1940
Place: Germany
Photographer: Unknown

Panzerkampfwagen II ausf C (abbreviated PzKpfw II: armored combat vehicle, version C) also known as Sonderkraftfahrzeug 121 (abbreviated SdKfz: Special Ordnance Vehicle). At the time this photo was taken, the Panzertruppen was expanding, adding whole new divisions in preparation of the invasion of the Soviet Union. 1113 of the Panzer II A/B/C models were built from March 1937 through April 1940 by Alkett, FAMO, Daimler-Benz, Henschel, MAN, MIAG, and Wegmann. These models were almost identical and were used in service interchangeably. This was the most widespread tank version of the Panzer II. It was armed with a 20mm rapid fire cannon and a 7.92mm machine gun. In 1940 the Panzer II and the Czech designed 35t and 38t made up the bulk of the German armor formations. They were inferior to the French medium tanks like the Char B1bis, but with radio communications and employed en masse they could defeat the French armor. With the experience in Poland and France, additional armor plates were added as losses to antitank weapons were higher than expected. When Operation Barbarossa began in June 1941, the Panzer II (and III) were outclassed by the Soviet T-34, and while new Panzer IIs were produced through 1944, they served in reconnaissance roles and not as antitank weapons. The chassis was adapted to a range of antitank weapons, called the Marder II, mounting a 75mm gun in an open turret. They were moderately successful when employed by a trained crew, but lacked protection from artillery or small arms. The Panzer II was still fighting seven years later when Germany surrendered. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii115

11 March 2014

Emblem of U-93


Image size: 1049 x 1600 pixel. 423 KB
Date: December 1940
Place: Lorient, Brittany, France
Photographer: Unknown

This photo of U-93 was taken in December 1940 shortly before the “Hallo, wie geht’s?” (Hello, how’s it going?) emblem was replaced by the new “Devil” emblem. Both the submarine’s paint and the emblem are heavily weathered, and the emblem has even been partly overpainted. Parts of the black and white hand and the word “Hallo” have disappeared. If one speaks of the “Red Devil” emblem to submarine enthusiasts, most automatically think of U-552, the boat in which Kapitänleutnant Erich Topp made a name for himself from 1941 to 1943. But there were many other boats whose commanders selected a “Teufel” (Devil) emblem for their vessels. One of these was the U-93, but prior to this the boat wore another, no less striking emblem. Commissioned by Kapitänleutnant Claus Korth at Krupp’s Germania Shipyard in Kiel on 30 July 1940, after acceptance trials the type VII C joined the 7. U-Flotille (7th Submarine Flotilla) in St. Nazaire. Korth had previously commanded the U-57, a type II C, from December 1938 until May 1940 with the 5th and later the 1st Submarine Flotillas. During that time he completed 11 patrols and his submarine wore an eye-catching “Fackelschwingenden Teufel” (Torch-Swinging Devil) emblem. His new boat would also carry an unusual emblem. And it wasn’t long before a suitable design was on the table. It consisted of a large smiling sun rising behind a black and white wavy band, and beneath this were the words “Hallo, wie geht’s?”. The design was inspired by the Number 1 of the tender Lech, once the mother ship of Korth’s first boat, the U-57. Whenever the U-57 docked, this senior boatswain would greet the crew with “Hello, how’s it going?”. As Kapitänleutnant Korth brought most of U-57’s crew with him to the U-93, the majority of his new boat’s crew was familiar with this hail which now formed part of the boat’s emblem. As well, to the submariners the rising sun of course meant return and survival, following the motto: “Uns geht die Sonne nicht unter” (The sun doesn’t set on us). The “Hallo, wie geht’s?” emblem was worn by U-93 on its first three patrols in autumn 1940. In the weeks following the end of the third patrol on 29 November 1940, however, Kapitänleutnant Korth began to miss his “Roten Teufel” (Red Devil) emblem from the early days. He therefore gave Oberleutnant zur See Götz von Hartmann, assigned to the crew as 1st Watch Officer (1. Wachtsoffizier) in December 1940 and a skilled artist, the task of designing a new devil emblem for U-93. Hartmann’s design depicted a devil with a dip net catching a steamer in which Churchill, the British First Sea Lord, sits smoking a cigarette. Accepted by the captain, in January 1941 this equally striking design replaced the “Hallo, wie geht’s?” emblem on the front of U-93’s conning tower. The boat completed three patrols while wearing this emblem in the spring and summer of 1941. After his sixth patrol Kapitänleutnant Korth stood down and in autumn 1941 transferred command to Oberleutnant zur See Horst Elfe. It is not known if this captain, who had previously commanded U-139, allowed the “Devil” emblem to remain on U-93. It is, however, to be assumed that the new captain was conscious of crews’ sensibilities with regard to the “glücksbringer” (good luck) emblems on their boats. If Oberleutnant zur See Elfe did retain the emblem, it certainly did not have the desired effect for commander or crew. After departing on its second patrol under its new captain the day before Christmas 1941, on 15 January 1942 it was depth-charged and sunk by the British destroyer HMS Hesperus in the North Atlantic north of Madeira at position 36º40’N/15º52’W. Part of the “Gruppe Seydlitz” with U-71 and U-571, it attempted to attack convoy HG 78 between Gibraltar and the Azores but was located and destroyed by the escort. Most of the crew was saved, just six men losing their lives. Concerning the famous “Roten Teufel” emblem of Erich Topp’s U-552, it should be stated here that the devil was no new idea by Topp or a member of his crew. Instead Topp first encountered this devil when he succeeded Kapitänleutnant Claus Korth as captain of U-57, which was wearing the above-described “Torch-Swinging Devil” as boat emblem. In December 1940 Topp adopted the devil for his new boat, the U-552.

Source:
"U-Boot im Focus" magazine 2nd edition - 2007

American Prisoners of War Celebrate the Fourth of July at Camp Casisang


Image size: 1600 x 1067 pixel. 576 KB
Date: Saturday, 4 July 1942
Place: Camp Casisang, Malaybalay, Philippines
Photographer: Unknown

American prisoners of war celebrate the 4th of July in the Japanese prison camp of Casisange in Malaybalay, on Mindanao, P.I. It was against Japanese regulations and discover would have meant death, but the men celebrated the occasion anyway. The Visayan-Mindanao Force under US Army Brigadier General William F. Sharp was composed of the 61st, 81st, and 101st Infantry Divisions of the Philippine Army. Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright, in nominal command of all the Allied Forces in the Philippines, ordered Sharp to surrender on May 9. Sharp complied and most of his men entered captivity at Camp Casisang, Malaybalay, on May 10. Camp Casisang had been a training ground for the Philippine Constabulary. The barracks were of crude construction, some with corrugated steel roofs but most were made of either thatched wood or nipa palm fronds. Water was a scarce commodity and the prisoners were limited to one canteen of water per day for all purposes. One pump was the sole source of water for about 1,000 Americans and 11,000 Filipinos. On August 15, 1942, All Generals, Full Colonels and their orderlies left Camp Casisang. There had been a large number of full Colonels plus five Generals at the camp. One of them was Philippine General Manuel Roxas, who after the war became the President of the Philippines in 1946. The Japanese gathered 268 men and marched them to Bugo where they boarded the Tamahoko Maru on October 3, 1942 for a 3-day voyage to Manila. At Manila they were marched to Bilibid Prison to wait for transportation to Japan. Many did not survive the war. On October 15, 1942 Camp Casisang was closed. All remaining prisoners were moved on the Japanese frieghter Maru 760 to Davao. 

Source:
NARA (National Archives)  #: 111-SC-333290
WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 1301
http://www.defenseimagery.mil/imageRetrieve.action?guid=7d7f71b7d98e8bc85447a111385d630a9e72363d&t=2
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1150

Frostbite Experiments of Unit 1855


Image size: 1600 x 1133 pixel. 300 KB
Date: Friday, 31 January 1941
Place: Hailar, Inner Mongolia, China
Photographer: Unknown

Three Japanese Kempeitai of Unit 1855 guard eight Chinese prisoners during their forced exposure to frostbite. Unit 1855 was a secret Imperial Japanese Army facility that focused on the development of biological weapons during World War II. It was operated by the Kempeitai, the Japanese military police, with the the headquarters in Beijing. Unit 1855 also operated an experimental branch unit based at Chinan, Hopei. The North China Army established Unit 1855 on February 9 1938. The 2,000 soldiers were housed near Bejing's Temple of Heaven. Headed by Imperial Japanese Army Colonel Yeni Nishimura, he reported directly to Major General Dr. Shiro Ishii of the infamous Unit 731. Unit 1855 killed 1,000 people between 1938 and 1945. Eight male Chinese, aging from 15 to 49, were victims of the experiments carried out from January 31 - February 11, 1941 in Inner Mongolia. The men were exposed outdoors to temperatures of about 27 degrees Celsius below zero with some being deliberately wounded or forced to wear wet shoes and clothing. Unit 1855 recorded the victim's reactions. One teenager became "furious" four minutes after the experiment began, wailed 30 minutes later and could no longer feel his feet after one and half hours. Unit 1855's records claimed the experiments were done to learn how to deal with frostbite afflicting Japanese soldiers during the war. The photo was part of unclassified records titled "Results of Japanese Imperial Army Winter Hygienic Research" discovered in Tokyo in 1995. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1148