23 May 2019

Motor Units of LSSAH at Amsterdam (1940)

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Date: Thursday, 16 May 1940
Place: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Photographer: Unknown

On 16 May 1940, German troops marched into Amsterdam, including a Zündapp type KS 600 belong to motor units of Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (motorisiert). In early 1940 the LSSAH was expanded into a full independent motorized infantry regiment and later a Sturmgeschütz (Assault Gun) battery was added to their establishment. The regiment was shifted to the Dutch border for the launch of Fall Gelb. It was to form the vanguard of the ground advance into the Netherlands, tasked with capturing a vital bridge over the IJssel, attacking the main line of defense at the Grebbeberg (the Grebbeline), and linking up with the Fallschirmjäger of Generaloberst Kurt Student's airborne forces, the 7.Flieger-Division and the 22.Luftlande-Infanterie-Division. Fall Gelb—the invasion of France and the Low Countries—was launched on 10 May 1940. On that day, the LSSAH crossed the Dutch border, covered over 75 kilometres (47 mi), and secured a crossing over the IJssel near Zutphen after discovering that their target bridge had been destroyed. Over the next four days, the LSSAH covered over 215 kilometres (134 mi), and upon entering Rotterdam, several of its soldiers accidentally shot at and seriously wounded General Student. After the surrender of Rotterdam, the LSSAH left for the Hague, which they reached on 15 May, after capturing 3,500 Dutch soldiers as prisoners of war. After the surrender of the Netherlands on 15 May, the regiment was then moved south to France through Amsterdam.

Source :
"May 1940: The Battle for the Netherlands" by Herman Amersfoort and Piet Kamphuis

22 May 2019

The First Arrival of German Delegation to Montgomery's Headquarter

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Date: Thursday, 3 May 1945
Place: Lüneburger Heide, Hamburg, Germany
Photographer: Captain E.G. Malindine

The first arrival of the German delegation to the headquarters of the British 21st Army Group in the Lüneburger Heide (Luneburg Heath), east of Hamburg, to discuss a ceasefire on May 3, 1945. The Germans offer to surrender the Heeresgruppe Vistula - who was surrounded by Soviet troops - to the Allies, was rejected by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery (Commander of the 21st Army Group), because he wanted the unconditional surrender of German troops in the north-west Germany, as well as in the Netherlands and Denmark. The German delegation replied that they were not given the power to determine this, and had to negotiate it first with their leader, Großadmiral Karl Dönitz (the successor to Hitler who committed suicide a few days earlier). Finally Montgomery allowed them to return home, and gave 24 hours for the answers to be given. This photo was taken by Captain E.G. Malindine (British No. 5 Army Film and Photographic Unit) and shows Marshal Montgomery standing second from the left, while the German delegation starts with their leader Generaladmiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg (Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine) who holding the document in the middle, followed to the right as follow: General der Infanterie Eberhard Kinzel (Chef des Generalstabes Operationsstab Nord), Konteradmiral Gerhard Wagner (Admiral z.b.V. Beim Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine), and Major i.G. Hans Jochen Friedel (half visible, Stabsoffizier Operationsstab Nord).

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20 May 2019

The Capitulation of Greek Forces to SS Leibstandarte

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Date: Sunday, 20 April 1941
Place: Katara Pass, Northern Greece
Photographer: Unknown

SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Josef "Sepp" Dietrich (Kommandeur Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler) negotiated the capitulation of Greek Armed Forces along with the Greek military representatives sent by Lieutenant-General Georgios Tsolakoglu (Commander Army of Epirus). The handsome officer at left is SS-Hauptsturmführer Max Wünsche (Adjutant Kommandeur Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler). This photo was taken at Katara mountain range, Greece, on April 20, 1941. Representatives from the Greek side are, from nearest to the camera: Lieutenant-Colonel Georgios Lagas, Colonel Nikolaos Balis, Major Vlachos, and an unidentified Lieutenant. In the account of that day from Rudolf Lehmann’s 'The Leibstandarte' Volume 1, the II.Bataillon / Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (motorisiert) led by SS-Hauptsturmführer Erwin Horstmann were surmounting the Katara mountain range on their way to Joanina. Before the summit, SS-Untersturmführer Jupp Diefenthal came careering down in a motorcycle combination with a Greek soldier in the side car who was holding a white flag of surrender. Relaying to Horstmann that he had been approached by the Greeks who were anxious to discuss surrender terms, Dietrich was immediately wired to come up himself to conduct the discussions. SS-Untersturmführer Ralf Tiemann was also dispatched back down to Hani-Murgani to escort Dietrich up accompanied by SS-Hauptsturmführer Max Wünsche. They arrived to see the soldiers from both sides standing casually about playing cards etc and a giant swastika hung from the road. Dietrich went to talk to the ‘parlementaires’ who were no doubt Greek Officers and they told him he would need to travel 15km west to Vontonosi where the HQ of General Tsolakoglou’s was situated. Tiemann than states the Wünsche was dispatched to inform Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm List in person of the developments while Dietrich and a small entourage drove on to the HQ. Tiemann states that he took over Wünsche’s duties in his absence and further relates that they arrived to be greeted personally by Tsolakoglou outside his HQ.

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18 May 2019

Chinese Generals Chiang Kai-Shek and Long Yun

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Date: Saturday, 27 June 1936
Place: China
Photographer: Unknown

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, right, Chairman of the National Military Council, Chairman of the Nationalist Government of China, and President of the Republic of China, with General Long Yun, left, Warlord and Governor of the province of Yunnan, Nanking, on June 27, 1936. Many Chinese commanders had enjoyed regional autonomy too long to risk their lives and power merely at Chiang Kai Shek’s command. Governor Han Fuju, for example, ignominiously abandoned Shandong province to the Japanese, although he, in contrast to most, paid for his disregard of Chiang’s orders with his life. He was executed in January 1938. Kuomintang's Army was not, however, a united, national army, but a coalition of armies which differed in degrees of loyalty to the central government as well as in training, equipment and military capabilities. Long Yun, governor of Yunnan, for example, resisted central government encroaches upon his provincial power; Governor Yan Xishan, commander of the Second War Zone in North China and vice chairman of the Military Council, ruled his native Shanxi as an autonomous satrapy. He prohibited units of the Central Army from entering his war zone. Since 1941, Yan had even maintained close and amiable relations with the Japanese invader.

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17 May 2019

Soldiers of 502nd PIR Donning the Equipment

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Date: Monday, 5 June 1944
Place: England
Photographer: Unknown

“Suiting up” - two members of the U.S. 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (502nd PIR) of 101st Airborne Division donning equipment on the evening of June 5, 1944, in preparation for boarding a C-47. Notice the white residue typical of CC2. CC-2 Chloramide or CC2 chemical (to "protect" the uniform) was invented during the 1930’s although wide use impregnating garments doesnt begin really, until early in World War II. The 6,670 paratroopers of the 101st Airborne would be delivered in 432 C-47s, with most troopers jumping between 01:00 and 02:00 hours. The Air Corps called this the “Albany mission.” The 82nd Airborne would begin jumping after the 101st was on the ground, with most of their personnel landing between 02:00 and 03:00. The 82nd was delivered in 369 C-47s. This was known as the “Boston mission.” The drop zones for both divisions were all located in the Cotentin Peninsula, behind Utah Beach and south of the port city of Cherbourg. Although Commonwealth forces deployed their own paratroopers of the British 6th Airborne Division closer to Caen, no American paratroopers were dropped behind Omaha Beach.

Source :
"101st Airborne: The Screaming Eagles in World War II" by Mark Bando

09 May 2019

German Prisoners at Enfidaville Tunisia

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Date: Wednesday, 12 May 1943
Place: Enfidaville, Tunisia
Photographer: Unknown

Photo from 12 May 1943, Enfidaville, Germans surrendering to New Zealand troops. Mixed emotions printed on the faces of the prisoners and their captors. For some anger and disappointment, for others relief "their war was over." The battle of Enfidaville (19-21 April 1943) was the Eighth Army's last significant battle in North Africa, and saw them fail to break through unexpectedly tough Axis resistance in the mountainous terrain around Enfidaville. After forcing the Axis troops to abandon the Gabes Gap (6 April 1943) the Eighth Army pushed north further into Tunisia. Sfax fell on 10 April, and in the process Monty won a bet with Eisenhower that the port would fall by 15 April. His prize was a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, which he insisted on collecting and used as his personal transport for the rest of the war. X Corps captured Sousee on 12 April and reached the outskirts of Enfidaville on 13 April. This was the eastern end of the Axis 'Last Stand' line, which ran north-west from Enfidaville towards Pon de Fahs, Medjez el Bab and Sedjenane. On 20 and 21 April there were heavy counterattacks, led by General Bayerlein, the commander of the German forces in the 1st Italian Army. The British were able to take Takrouna and part of Djebel Garci, twelve miles inland, but at heavy cost. The counterattacks and the heavy losses inland helped convince Montgomery that there was no point going on with the battle. The defenders had a series of strong positions, and were clearly willing to fight to hold onto them. On 21 April the Eighth Army attack was suspended, although at that point the plan was to renew the attack along the coast after four days.

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06 May 2019

Captured Afrikakorps after the Battle of Sened

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Date: Saturday, 27 February 1943
Place: Sened Station, Gafsa Governorate, Tunisia
Photographer: Unknown

This photo shows four captive prisoners of the famed German Afrikakorps that caught in the attack of the US forces (from the 168th Infantry Regiment) to the German-Italian defense position around the Sened train station, southern Tunisia, on February 27, 1943. They are all under 25 years old, while unarmed soldiers told the Allied guards that he was only 20. The position of the Axis defense forces in Sened itself was finally captured by the American troops on March 21, 1943 after going through a fierce battle. In the end, 152 German and Italian soldiers became prisoners of war (including an Italian general). Meanwhile, the same number was also recorded for those who were killed and injured. The capture of Sened Station has paved the way for American forces to master the next larger target: City of Maknassy. In addition, this success was very meaningful for the 168th Infantry Regiment (led by Colonel Thomas Drake), because this were their very first battle against the Axis forces!

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05 May 2019

General John Crocker with Soviet Delegation

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Date: Friday, 28 July 1944
Place: Somewhere in France
Photographer: Unknown

Lieutenant-General John Crocker (left, Commanding Officer of British I Corps) with members of a visiting Soviet delegation, 28 July 1944. Crocker (4 January 1896 - 9 March 1963) was not much of a talker and he was a lousy self-promoter because of it. Yet he was one of the most important British soldiers of the Second World War, commanding a corps in North Africa and subsequently being assigned “the most ambitious, the most difficult and the most important task” of any Allied corps commander during Operation Overlord. His influence was not limited to the period of the war either. He was intimately involved with the development of British armoured forces during the 1920s and 1930s, and after the war he oversaw the production of the doctrine and training publications that would guide the British Army for much of the Cold War. He also served as Commander-in-Chief Middle East Land Forces, and he finished his career as Adjutant-General to the Forces. Field Marshal Montgomery would have preferred it if Crocker had retired as Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS), but in 1949 Prime Minister Clement Atlee chose Sir William Slim for the post instead.

Source :
"Corps Commanders: Five British and Canadian Generals at War, 1939-45" by Douglas E. Delaney

04 May 2019

A Change of Command Ceremony of SS Division Wiking

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Date: Saturday, 20 May 1944
Place: Lublin, Poland
Photographer: Unknown

A change of command ceremony for the III.Bataillon of SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment "Germania" / 5.SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking" on 20 May 1944. The entire battalion is present in a U-shaped formation, only partially visible in this photograph taken on the football field at the Lublin army barracks in Poland. The ceremony is seconds away from starting, and waiting in the wings at stage right to begin the transfer before their men are three commanding officers: The center officer is SS-Sturmbannführer Hans Dorr (Kommandeur SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment "Germania"). On the left is SS-Sturmbannführer Franz Hack, the out-going battalion commander who was moving up to take command of Wiking’s Westland Regiment. On the right is SS-Sturmbannführer Paul Kümmel, the new commander of the III. Bataillon, who was a commander of I.Abteilung / SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 "Wiking" before. Starting with Dorr, each of the officers in turn addressed the men of the III.Bataillon, who were fresh off from participating in the battles for the relief of the surrounded city of Kovel. The two halftracks is Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf.D.

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23 April 2019

German POWs Trudge Past a Sherman Tank

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Date: Friday, 19 January 1945
Place: Höngen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Photographer: Unknown

German prisoners trudge past a Sherman tank of the British 8th Armoured Brigade in a German frontier village of Höngen, 19 January 1945, during Operation Blackcock. Operation Blackcock was the code name for the clearing of the Roer Triangle formed by the towns of Roermond, Sittard and Heinsberg. It was conducted by the British Second Army between 14 and 26 January 1945. The objective was to drive the German 15th Army back across the Rivers Rur and Wurm and move the frontline further into Germany. The operation was carried out under command of Lieutenant General Neil Ritchie's XII Corps, by three divisions, the 7th Armoured Division, the 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division and the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division. The operation, named after the Scottish black male grouse, is relatively unknown despite the sometimes fierce battles that were fought for each and every village and hamlet within the "Roer Triangle". 

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22 April 2019

The Surrender of the Dutch Forces to the Japanese at Kalidjati

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Date: Sunday, 8 March 1942
Place: Kalidjati Airfield, Subang, West Java, Netherlands East-Indies
Photographer: Unknown

The surrender of the Netherlands East-Indies to the Japanese at Kalidjati military airport, Subang, West Java, on 8 march 1942 The Governor General of the Netherlands East-Indies had ordered to avoid armed conflict in the city of Bandung, crowded as it was with refugees. With the invading Japanese forces already in Lembang and Buitenzorg, a few miles away,  the commanding officers had no choice but to surrender. The negotiations took place on March 8, 1942 at Kalidjati airfield. Thoughtful as always the Japanese had lined the road to Kalidjati with hundreds of corpses of those killed in the defence of this airfield! Lieutenant General Hein Ter Poorten surrendered unconditionally to General Hitoshi Imamura and after a few more days all fighting in Java ceased. But in other places the fight went on longer. Sumatra KNIL forces capitulated on March 29 and the Australians and Dutch on Timor continued a guerrilla war for several months.

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20 April 2019

German Troops Push into Barrikady Gun Factory

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Date: Friday, 16 October 1942
Place: Stalingrad, Soviet Union
Photographer: Kriegsberichter Kurt Heine

Infanterie-Regiment 577 of 305. Infanterie-Division, supported by Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.E assault gun of Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 245, push into the Barrikady gun factory from the north of Stalingrad on 16 October 1942. The collapsed building is the warehouse on the northwest side of the factory. Assault guns supported the infantrymen as they pushed into the chaotic tangle of railway sidings, gutted warehouses and stacks of gun barrels that lined the western edge of the Barrikady Gun Factory, the assault guns in turn being guided on to their targets by the soldiers. The large-scale German attack on that day sweeping south through the brickworks and into the factory. Despite the menacing bulk of the factory’s workshops, progress was quite good. The panzers of 14. Panzer-Division suffered an initial setback when they lost 17 of their number to dug-in T-34s. Nevertheless, by the end of the day, the overall balance favoured the attackers: a large section of the gun factory was in German hands, as was a lengthy stretch of the Volga cliffs east of the brickworks and tractor factory. These operational successes were not as apparent to the weary infantrymen as was the loss of so many long-time comrades. 305. Infanterie-Division lost 1 officer and 30 men killed, 5 officers and 74 men wounded, and 1 officer and 13 men missing; 14. Panzer-Division lost 2 officers and 21 men killed, 4 officers and 121 men wounded, and 2 men missing. The photographer was Kriegsberichter Kurt Heine, and most of his photos were taken in November 1942 around the Barrikady Factory ruins.

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"Island Of Fire: The Battle For the Barrikady Gun Factory In Stalingrad November 1942 - February 1943" by Jason D. Mark

German Convoy in Amsterdam 1940

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Date: Thursday, 16 May 1940
Place: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Photographer: Unknown

16 May 1940. German troops, after the capitulation of the Dutch Armed Forces, on the Reguliersbreestraat and Rembrandtplein in the center of Amsterdam, on their way to Utrecht. In the background we can see the Munttoren ("Mint Tower") or Munt. It stands on the busy Muntplein square, where the Amstel river and the Singel canal meet, near the flower market and the eastern end of the Kalverstraat shopping street. On the left is cafeteria Heck’s Popularis. Despite being neutral, the Netherlands in World War II was invaded by Nazi Germany on 10 May 1940, under orders of Adolf Hitler. On 15 May 1940, one day after the bombing of Rotterdam, the Dutch forces surrendered. The Dutch government and the royal family saved themselves by going to London. Princess Juliana and her children moved on to Canada for additional safety. The Netherlands was placed under German occupation, which endured in some areas until the German surrender in May 1945. Active resistance was carried out by a minority, which grew in the course of the occupation. The occupiers deported the majority of the country's Jews to Nazi concentration camps.

Source :
"May 1940: The Battle for the Netherlands" by Herman Amersfoort and Piet Kamphuis

16 April 2019

Dutch SS Ceremony in Utrecht

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Date: Sunday, 11 May 1941
Place: Utrecht, Netherlands
Photographer: Unknown

Dutch SS ceremony in Utrecht, 11 May 1941. On 11 September 1940 the NSB (Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging in Nederland) formed the Nederlandsche SS (Dutch SS), it had up to 7,000 members. Himmler's vision for a Germanic SS started with grouping the Netherlands, Belgium and north-east France together into a western-Germanic state called Burgundia which would be policed by the SS as a security buffer for Germany. In 1940, the first manifestation of the Germanic SS appeared in Flanders as the Allgemeene SS Vlaanderen to be joined two-months later by the Dutch Nederlandsche SS and in May 1941 the Norwegian Norges SS was formed. The final nation to contribute to the Germanic SS was Denmark, whose Germansk Korpet (later called the Schalburg Corps) came into being in April 1943. For the SS, they did not think of their compatriots in terms of national borders but in terms of Germanic racial makeup, known conceptually to them as Deutschtum, a greater idea which transcended traditional political boundaries. While the SS leadership foresaw an imperialistic and semi-autonomous relationship for the Nordic/Germanic countries like Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway as co-bearers of a greater Germanic empire, Hitler refused to grant them the same degree of independence despite ongoing pressure from ranking members of the SS.

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11 April 2019

Eisenhower Chats with Paratroopers Before D-Day

Image size: 1600 x 1284 pixel. 368 KB
Date: Monday, 5 June 1944
Place: RAF Greenham Common, Berkshire, England
Photographer: Unknown

One of the most iconic photographs of World War II, and of General Eisenhower, this image is forever linked with June 6th D-Day Landing. The photograph was actually taken the evening before the June 6th operations for the allied assault on Normandy, also known as "D-Day." In an English airfield in Greenham Common, members of the 101st Airborne were being briefed for their operation to jump from their gliders in the early hours of June 6th behind Utah beach. General Eisenhower left his command post and drove down to Greenham to spend time with the men of the 101st and 82nd before their jump. Eisenhower had been advised by his tactical air commander that 50 percent of the paratroopers would be dead before they hit the ground, and that 70 percent of the gliders would be lost in the initial air assault. British Air Marshall Trafford-Leigh Mallory warned Eisenhower to cancel the drop on Utah Beach, that in his opinion it would result in the “futile slaughter” of two airborne divisions. Though Eisenhower agonized over the projected heavy casualties, he decided to go ahead with the air drop that would spearhead the invasion. In the snapshot, the general has an intense look on his face and appears as if he could be giving a rousing speech, speaking to a young paratrooper with 23 around neck. That young man was LT. Wallace "Wally" Strobel. But actually, they were talking about fishing. Eisenhower asked where Strobel was from and he replied "Michigan, Sir." "How is the fishing in Michigan?" Eisenhower asked. Strobel replied, "It's great, sir." Eisenhower then said he had visited the state several times himself and that it was a beautiful state. Before moving on, Eisenhower ended with "Go, Michigan." According to Strobel's wife, when the planes took off early the next morning, Eisenhower was standing on the tarmac watching. Wally Strobel survived D-Day, the invasion of Europe and the rest of the war. He returned to Michigan and eventually died of respiratory failure at the age of 77. Servicemen from every unit in the U.S. military have claimed to be in this photo - one of the most famous of World War Il. The paratroopers in this series taken at Greenham Common on June 5, 1944, are all members of the 'E' and 'D' Company of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment / 101st Airborne Division. Anyone saying they are in it who was not a member of that organization is making a fraudulent claim. Left to right: Hans Sannes D/502, Bill Bowser E/502, General Eisenhower, Ralph Pombano E/502, Schuyler Jackson HQ/502, Bill Hayes E/502, Carl Vickers D/502, Lieutenant Wallace Strobel (“23” sign around neck) E/502, Henry Fuller E/502, Bill Boyle E/502, and William Noll E/502. U.S. Army.

Source :
"101st Airborne: The Screaming Eagles in World War II" by Mark Bando

17 February 2019

Tank of SS Prinz Eugen in Split Croatia

Image size: 1600 x 1018 pixel. 151 KB
Date: Monday, 27 September 1943
Place: Split, Croatia, Yugoslavia
Photographer: Dr. Gruber

Armoured units of the SS-Freiwilligen-Gebirgs-Division "Prinz Eugen" and the Grenadier-Regiment 92 passing through the streets of the newly-captured city of Split, Croatia, during Operation Achse. In the foreground: A French-built Hotchkiss H38 tank (captured by the Germans after 1940) of the "Prinz Eugen" Division's armoured company, photographed from a vehicle of the 92nd Grenadier Regiment. Operation Achse (German: Fall Achse, "Case Axis"), originally called Operation Alaric (German: Unternehmen Alarich), was the codename for the German plan to forcibly disarm the Italian armed forces after the armistice with the Allies in 1943. Several German divisions had entered Italy after the fall of Benito Mussolini in July 1943, while Italy was officially still an ally of Germany, despite the protests of the new Italian government under Pietro Badoglio. The Armistice of Cassibile was made public on 8 September. German forces moved rapidly to take over the Italian zones of occupation in the Balkans and southern France, and to disarm Italian forces in Italy. In some cases, the Italian troops, that had no superior orders and suffered many desertions, resisted the Germans, most notably in the Greek island of Cephalonia, where over 5,100 men of the 33rd Acqui Division were massacred after running out of ammunition and surrendering; in Rome, after the royal family and the government had fled, a disorganized defense by the Italian troops stationed around the capital was unable to defeat the German attack. Additionally, individual soldiers or whole units, like the 24th Pinerolo Division in Thessaly, went over to the local resistance movements. Only in Sardinia, Corsica, Calabria and in the southern part of Apulia were Italian troops able to offer successful resistance and hold off the Germans until relieved by the arrival of the Allies.

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16 February 2019

American Gunner Minutes Before His Death

Image size: 1600 x 1042 pixel. 141 KB
Date: Wednesday, 18 April 1945
Place: Leipzig, Sachsen, Germany
Photographer: Robert Capa

Leipzig, 18 April 1945, Private First Class Raymond J. Bowman (right) of “D” Company, 23rd Infantry Regiment and his fellow comrade, Lehmann Riggs, set up their .30 Browning machine gun on an open balcony in order to provide cover for the American troops of the 2nd US Infantry Division, who were advancing over a bridge. This balcony had an unobstructed view on the bridge however this same clear view would turn out to be a deadly mistake for Pfc. Raymond J. Bowman. After taking half of the city, the commanding officer ordered the heavy weapons squad to climb to the third floor of the Jahnallee apartment building (nr. 61). Together with them was famed war photographer Robert Capa. Capa, who was standing just a few feet away from Raymond Bowman when all of this occurred, would later have these photographs published in the May 14, 1945 issue of Life magazine, under the headline “Americans Still Died.” However the identity of the men in the picture was a mystery. It was only after Lehmann Riggs himself shared his memories of that day and the family of Raymond J. Bowman, who identified him by the pin bearing his initials on his collar, that the mystery was solved and later revealed. “We had to go across these bridges to get to the other side of the city. They had blocked the bridges with burned-out tanks and streetcars, anything that would obstruct us from going across. There was a park in front of this building, and they were dug in and we couldn’t see them. We had orders to go up to the third floor of this apartment building and set up our guns to spray that area out there in the park to try to keep them pinned down until our troops could cross that bridge.“, said Lehmann Riggs. Adding “We only fired with one person at a time, and we alternated…one person being exposed all the time. I had just been firing the gun, and I just stepped back off the gun and he had taken over. In 30 seconds, I happened to look up and see the bullet pierce his nose. The bullet that hit him killed him, ricocheted around the room, and it’s a miracle that it didn’t hit me. As soon as he got hit, somebody had to take the gun. I had to jump over him and start firing the gun.” Raymond J. Bowman was born in Rochester, New York on April 2, 1924, the fifth of seven children. After graduating high school, Bowman was drafted into the United States Army on June 21, 1943. While serving in Company D of the 23rd Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division. In January 1944, he was sent overseas to the United Kingdom in preparation for Operation Overlord. Raymond J. Bowman served in France, where he was wounded in action on August 3, 1944. He went on to fight during the Battle of the Bulge and the final battles in Germany. He was decorated with a Bronze Star Medal, an Army Good Conduct Medal and two Purple Hearts. Robert Capa recalled in an interview in 1947: “So it made no sense whatsoever but he (Bowman) looked so clean cut, like it was the first day of the war and he was very earnest. So I said ‘All right, this will be my last picture of the war.’ And I put my camera up and took a portrait shot of him, and while I shot my portrait of him he was killed by a sniper. It was a very clean and somehow a very beautiful death.“ In 2015, the city of Leipzig voted to name the street in which the apartment building is located to “Bowmanstraße”, in honor of Raymond J. Bowman. The renaming took place on April 17, 2016. The apartment building (called Capa House) now contains a small memorial with Capa’s photographs and information about Bowman.

Minutes prior to his death, Raymond J. Bowman (seen left now) with his fellow comrade Lehmann Riggs (on the right). 

Pfc. Raymond J. Bowman after he was struck by the German sniper

 Pfc. Raymond J. Bowman after he was struck by the German sniper. Another soldier of his squad takes over the machine gun

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15 February 2019

Charles Foulkes and Harry Crerar in Dieppe

Image size: 1600 x 1160 pixel. 505 KB
Date: Sunday, 3 September 1944
Place: Dieppe, Seine-Maritime, Normandy, Northern France
Photographer: Unknown

Charles Foulkes (hand on windshield) stands with his patron and protector, Harry Crerar, outside the Mairie in Dieppe, 3 September 1944. When the war broke out, Foulkes was a major with the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division. In September 1940, he was appointed General Staff Officer Grade 1 with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and General Crerar noted his outstanding ability and broad tactical knowledge. Lieutenant General Harry Crerar had once described Foulkes as possessing “exceptional ability; sound tactical knowledge; a great capacity for quick, sound decision; energy and driving power.” But on the eve of his first battle, he seemed hesitant and uncertain. At forty-one, Foulkes was a contemporary of Guy Simonds. Both Royal Military College graduates and Permanent Force officers, they started the war as majors and enjoyed subsequent rapid promotion. Similarities ended there. Foulkes was a Crerar favourite, who advanced through staff positions to brigadier.

Source :
"Corps Commanders: Five British and Canadian Generals at War, 1939-45" by Douglas E. Delaney

14 February 2019

General Leese Speaking with Canadian NCO in Italy

Image size: 1600 x 1442 pixel. 443 KB
Date: Friday, 8 September 1944
Place: Somewhere in Italy
Photographer: Unknown

Eighth Army Commander, Lieutenant-General Sir Oliver Leese speaking with Regimental Sergeant Major G.D. Gilpin, 1st Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, Italy, 8 September 1944. The vehicle is a Humber Super Snipe staff car, "The Old Faithful" of Monty (Census No. M239459). The running boards are already deleted. Leese commanded the Eighth Army at the fourth and final battle of Monte Cassino in May 1944 (when the bulk of the Eighth Army was switched in secret from the Adriatic coast to Cassino to strike a joint blow with the U.S. Fifth Army under Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, who Leese disliked working alongside) and for Operation Olive on the Gothic Line later in 1944. His rank of lieutenant general was made permanent in July 1944. The 1st Field Regiment itself landed in Sicily in July 1943 and in Italy in September 1943, providing field artillery support for the 1st Canadian Infantry Division. In March 1945 the regiment moved with the 1st Canadian Corps to North West Europe where it served until the end of the war.24 The overseas regiment was disbanded on 25 August 1945.

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"Corps Commanders: Five British and Canadian Generals at War, 1939-45" by Douglas E. Delaney

13 February 2019

John Crocker and Rod Keller in Normandy

Image size: 1600 x 1314 pixel. 630 KB
Date: Sunday, 25 June 1944
Place: Normandy, Northern France
Photographer: Unknown

Lieutenant-General John Crocker (right) speaking with the troubled commander of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, Major-General Rod Keller, 25 June 1944. Ten days after this photo was taken, Crocker - the Commanding General of the British I Corps - recommended that Keller be relieved of his command. Major-General Keller himself was popular with his troops, who appreciated his manners and outspoken language; however, a drinking problem and several breaches of security measures before D-Day cost him the support of both his superior officers and his own staff. During the first month ashore in Normandy, it was noted he was "jumpy and high strung". His immediate superiors in I British Corps and 2nd British Army considered him unfit to command the division, but Lieutenant General Guy Simonds, who was scheduled to command II Canadian Corps upon its activation in Normandy, held off on making a decision about his relief, even refusing a resignation by Keller who himself admitted to the strain. During the Battle for Caen, Keller handled Operation Windsor poorly, sending a reinforced brigade in to handle a divisional operation and delegating the planning to one of his brigadiers. Keller was also reportedly shell-shy by August, and rumours began to spread among the division that "Keller was yeller." Despite the continued complaints from above and below, Simonds, and General Harry Crerar, another of his admirers, refused to relieve him. Fate intervened when he was wounded by friendly fire on 8 August 1944. US bombers accidentally carpet bombed his divisional headquarters during Operation Totalize. Keller received no further active military command. He died ten years later, in 1954, while visiting Normandy

Source :
"Corps Commanders: Five British and Canadian Generals at War, 1939-45" by Douglas E. Delaney

12 February 2019

German Soldiers Surrender at Vilnius (1944)

Image size: 1600 x 1048 pixel. 714 KB
Date: Tuesday, 11 July 1944
Place: Vilnius, Lithuania
Photographer: Fyodor Kislov

German soldiers surrender to the Red Army in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, 11 July 1944. The picture was taken by Fyodor Kislov. During the battle for the city, the Soviet 5th Army and 5th Guards Tank Army engaged the German garrison of Fester Platz Vilnius (consisting of Grenadier-Regiment 399 and Artillerie-Regiment 240 of the 170. Infanterie-Division, Grenadier-Regiment 1067, a battalion from the Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 16, the anti-tank battalion of the 256. Infanterie-Division, and other units under the command of Luftwaffe Generalmajor Rainer Stahel. The Soviet 35th Guards Tank Brigade initially took the airport, defended by the battalion of paratroopers; intense street-by-street fighting then commenced as the Soviets attempted to reduce the defence. While the German aim of holding Vilnius as a Fester Platz or fortress was not achieved, the tenacious defence made a contribution in stopping the Red Army's drive west for a few precious days: most importantly, it tied down the 5th Guards Tank Army, which had been instrumental in the initial successes of the Red Army during Operation Bagration. This delay gave German forces a chance to re-establish something resembling a continuous defence line further to the west. Hitler recognised this achievement by awarding Stahel the 76th set of the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross awarded during the war. Nevertheless, the outcome fell far short of what the German command had hoped for, and the continuous frontline that was established only held for a short time. Without the traffic network based on Vilnius, the German position in the southern Baltics was untenable. By the end of July, the 3rd Belorussian Front was ordered to conduct the Kaunas Offensive Operation to further extend the gains of Operation Bagration.  

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11 February 2019

British War Correspondent in Holland (1944)

Image size: 1181 x 1600 pixel. 85,7 KB
Date: Sunday, 29 October 1944
Place: Tilburg, Netherlands
Photographer: Unknown

This picture shows a photographer accompanying the British 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division at Tilburg, Netherlands, 29 October 1944. He wore the British Cap (Service Cap) with the British badge for war correspondents. For his pants, he wore a Battledress 37/40 Pattern 37/40 with the British Army leggings and boots. He also wore a USA M1942 parachute jacket in ocher color, shoulder pads with sleeves that bear the insignia with the letters "British War Correspondent". The camera is a German photographic Rolleiflex Automat Type 1B or Type 2 with lens hood attached to the lens. The 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division was an infantry division of the British Army that served with distinction in both World War I and World War II. In World War I the 15th (Scottish) Division was formed from men volunteering for Kitchener's Army and served from 1915 to 1918 on the Western Front. The division was later disbanded, after the war, in 1919. In World War II it was reformed as the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division on 2 September 1939, the day before war was declared, as part of the Territorial Army (TA) and served in the United Kingdom and later North-West Europe from June 1944 to May 1945.

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10 February 2019

SS Paratroopers with Captured British and US Flags

Image size: 1600 x 750 pixel. 192 KB
Date: Thursday, 25 May 1944
Place: Drvar, Croatia, Yugoslavia
Photographer: Unknown

Paras of SS-Hauptsturmführer Kurt Rybka's SS-Fallschirmjäger-Bataillon 500 posing with trophies flags captured during its daring but unsuccessful parachute assault on Marshal Josip Broz Tito's communist partisan headquarters in Drvar, Yugoslavia, on 25 May 1944. Tito and the communist partisans were financed and assisted primarily by the British and the USA. Over 700 of the 1,000 personnel who participated in this operation, known as Rösselsprung, were killed or wounded. The SS-Fallschirmjägerbataillon 500 was a parachute unit of the Waffen-SS made up of an equal percentage of volunteers from both regular Waffen-SS troops, and more specifically, from officially disgraced Waffen-SS officers and enlisted men who wished to redeem themselves under fire. In other words, it was a unit where dishonored officers and men convicted by courts-martial of minor infractions and currently in disciplinary straits could redeem their soldierly honor by participation in hazardous duties and operations. The first gathering of recruits was at Chlum in Czechoslovakia in October 1943. The SS paras wore standard Waffen-SS tunics and caps with Luftwaffe-issue jump smocks, trousers, boots and M38 helmets. Most of the volunteers appear to have removed the Luftwaffe breast eagles from their smocks. The training was completed at the beginning of 1944. The battalion often acted as a 'fire brigade' in the defense of the Baltic States. The brave paratroopers of the SS-Fallschirmjägerbataillon 500 who survived long enough to see the formation of the SS-Fallschirmjägerbataillon 600 were given back their previous ranks and the right to wear the SS sig rune on 9 November 1944. At least five Scandinavians are known to have served in this battalion. Two companies of the later battalion took part in the Ardennes offensive in December 1944 as a part of the Austrian SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny's 150.SS-Panzer-Brigade wearing American uniforms and using American equipment. Only 180 out of 3,500 Waffen-SS paratroopers survived the war!

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08 February 2019

Ritterkreuz Award Ceremony for Michael Wittmann and Bobby Woll

Image size: 1281 x 1600 pixel. 406 KB
Date: Friday, 14 January 1944
Place: Vinnitsa, Ukraine, Eastern Front
Photographer: Unknown

On 14 January 1944, panzer ace Michael Wittmann was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) along with his gunner, Bobby Woll, for their achievements which have so far destroyed 88 enemy tanks. The presentation was made at Vinnitsa, Ukraine, by his divisional commander SS-Oberführer Theodor "Teddy" Wisch, who also nominated him for the Eichenlaub to his Ritterkreuz. This picture shows Wittmann with his crew, from left to right. SS-Panzerschütze Werner Irrgang (Funker), SS-Rottenführer Bobby Woll (Richtschütze), SS-Untersturmführer Michael Wittmann (Zugführer in 13.Kompanie (schwere) / IV.Abteilung / SS-Panzer-Regiment 1 / 1.SS-Panzer-Division "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler"), SS- Panzerschütze Sepp Rößner (Ladeschütze), and SS-Sturmmann Eugen Schmidt (Fahrer). Behind them is Wittmann's Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger I Ausf.F "S04", with 88 victory rings on its barrel. Actually the Ritterkreuz recommendation sent by Divisionskommandeur Wisch to the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) on 10 January 1944 "only" included Wittmann's winnings as 66 tanks, but something incredible happens: in the four day span between the submission of the proposal to the official approval notification, this tank master went berserk and destroyed no fewer than 22 additional tanks to hoist his winning score to a total 88!

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Bombing of Blauwburgwal Amsterdam (1940)

Image size: 1600 x 1052 pixel. 637 KB
Date: Friday, 11 May 1940
Place: Blauwburgwal, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Photographer: Cas Oorthuys

This picture shows the building in Blauwburgwal that was struck by a bomb causing severe structural damage. The bomb came from a German Aircraft which was hit by flak over Sloterdijk. It continued its flight, but The pilot decided to release two bombs in case the plane crashed. One of the bombs bounced over the bridge into the water of the Blauwburgwal, the other hit the houses on the corner. Twelve buildings were destroyed and forty-four people lost their lives. This was very much a one-off: the speed of the German occupation meant that Central Amsterdam was hardly damaged at all, though the incident at Blauwburgwal alone cost 44 lives. Blauwburgwal is Amsterdam shortest canal, no more than 100 meters in length and connects the two innermost canals, Singel and Herengracht

Source :
"May 1940: The Battle for the Netherlands" by Herman Amersfoort and Piet Kamphuis
"The Rough Guide to Amsterdam" by Rough Guide

07 February 2019

Practice Jump Before D-Day

Image size: 1600 x 1138 pixel. 580 KB
Date: Saturday, 13 May 1944
Place: Ramsbury, Wiltshire, England
Photographer: Joseph Pangerl

Practice jumps by the Allied paratroopers were common in the months preceding D-Day; this night jump on Douglas C-47 aircraft was made on 13 May 1944. The troopers pictured are members of Headquarters 3.Company / 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (3/502 PIR). From left to right, on the left side of aisle: Captain Edward “Poop” Barrett (S-3 of 3/502), Dell Winslow, Sergeant 1st Class Harwell Cooper, two unknown, Joe Lofthouse, and Bill Cady. Standing at the end of the aisle: unknown and George J. Schwaderer. On the right side of aisle, from right to left: Lieutenant Corey Shepard, Fitzgerald, “Eddie” Edwards, Virgil Thornton, two unknown, Kenneth Cordry, and unknown. The Allies are aware that the greatest weakness of the airborne units lies in their lack of firepower. Equipped with small arms, they are not theoretically capable of fighting against an opponent with heavy armored vehicles. Thus, airborne units are to receive the support of gliders troops: the latter are armed with anti-tank guns, Jeep light vehicles and heavy machine guns,  equipment for sappers. Signal Corps via Joseph Pangerl.

 Another view taken in the same plane, same jump, with Dell Winslow (3/502 Battalion clerk) standing in foreground. This night exercise resulted in many jump- landing injuries that cost the 101st Airborne more than one hundred troopers who would have dropped into Normandy but had to be put out of the lineup. H/502 jumped over the town of Ramsbury, England, and some troopers landed on rooftops or on the hard cobblestone streets!

Source :
"101st Airborne: The Screaming Eagles in World War II" by Mark Bando

06 February 2019

KNIL Marching in Australia

Image size: 1600 x 1190 pixel. 427 KB
Date: Monday, 14 June 1943
Place: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Photographer: Unknown photographer from Herald Newspaper

Melbourne, Victoria (Australia), 14 June 1943. Watched by a small boy waving an Australian flag, troops of the K.N.I.L. (Netherlands East Indies Army) move along Swanston Street during the United Nations Flag Day march through the city. During the Dutch East Indies campaign of 1941–42, most of the KNIL and other Allied forces were quickly defeated. Most European soldiers, which in practice included all able bodied Indo-European males, were interned by the Japanese as POWs. 25% of the POWs did not survive their internment. A handful of soldiers, mostly indigenous personnel, mounted guerilla campaigns against the Japanese. These were usually unknown to, and unassisted by, the Allies until the end of the war. During early 1942, some KNIL personnel escaped to Australia. Some indigenous personnel were interned in Australia under suspicion of sympathies with the Japanese. The remainder began a long process of re-grouping. In late 1942, a failed attempt to land in East Timor, to reinforce Australian commandos waging a guerrilla campaign ended with the loss of 60 Dutch personnel. Four "Netherlands East Indies" squadrons (the RAAF-NEI squadrons) were formed from ML-KNIL personnel, under the auspices of the Royal Australian Air Force, with Australian ground staff. KNIL infantry forces (much like their counterparts in the UK), were augmented by recruitment among Dutch expatriates around the world and by colonial troops from as far away as the Dutch West Indies. During 1944–45, some small units saw action in the New Guinea campaign and Borneo campaign.

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KNIL Soldiers with Captured Japanese Flag

Image size: 1600 x 1121 pixel. 583 KB
Date: Sunday, 1 March 1942
Place: Koningsplein Station, Batavia, Dutch East Indies
Photographer: Unknown

Mix Soldiers (European and locals) of the 10th Battalion / 1st Infantry Regiment / 1st Infantry Division of K.N.I.L. (Koninklijk Nederlandsch-Indisch Leger) after the retreat from Zuid-Sumatra at the Koningsplein Station in Batavia on 1 March 1942. Despite this retreat the soldiers pose triumphantly with a Japanese flag seized between Palembang and Oosthaven. The soldier on the right is wearing the K.N.I.L. helmet with emblem manufactured at Verblifa. The rest of the soldiers are wearing the K.N.I.L. helmet without emblem manufactured at Milsco. At that time, the battalion was commanded by Major de Vries; the regiment was commanded by Colonel Struivenberg; the division was commanded by Major-General W. Schilling, and the overal K.N.I.L. forces was commanded by Lieutenant-General Hein Ter Poorten.

Source :
"The Dutch Steel Helmet 1916-1946" by Kevin de Joode

05 February 2019

Heer Officer Served in Luftwaffe Field Division

Image size: 1026 x 1600 pixel. 307 KB
Date: Monday, 28 August 1944
Place: Northern France
Photographer: Bernhard Kurth (PK 698)

This photograph was taken on 28 August 1944 in Northern France by Kriegsberichter Bernhard Kurth of PK (Propaganda-Kompanie) 698, and showed a Heer (Army) officer that served in the Luftwaffe Field Division (possibly 19. Feld-Division [L]). He is wearing a Luftwaffe camouflage smock with the Luftwaffe breast eagle on it, while his uniform is still a Heer one. His helmet is also painted with a rough/textured paint. When the Luftwaffe Field Divisions came under Heer control in November 1943 and were re-designated as Feld-Divisionen (L), Heer uniforms were also adopted at this point, though supply was slow and mixed dress was apparently quite common (if photos are anything to go by). The Jäger Regiments of such divisions wore green waffenfarbe, as they had done in Luftwaffe service. To add even more confusion to the mix, some German units wore Italian Camo instead of their regular issue gear, since they thought it looked nice, and was perhaps more effective than what they were originally given.

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The Grave of Oberleutnant Joachim Sonntag at Rzhev

Image size: 1600 x 1017 pixel. 382 KB
Date: Monday, 30 November 1942
Place: Bossino, Belyj, Rzhev Salient, Soviet Union
Photographer: Achim von Bredow

"Half Jew" Oberleutnant Joachim Sonntag’s grave on the Russian front. This picture was taken in the end of November 1942 by Achim von Bredow, a “37.5 percent Jew” according to Nazi law. Sonntag (20 August 1917 - 29 November 1942) was killed in a place about 30 kilometers southeast of Bossino, Belyj, during the Battle of Rzhev against the Red Army. In the fierce battle at Belyj, the Kampfgruppe Krüger - which was part of the 1. Panzer-Division - managed to resist a massive attack by Soviet troops from the 41st Army. Soviet offensive against the Rzhev salient, held by Heeresgruppe Mitte (Army Group Centre), was launched on 25 November 1942. On its western side, Soviet 41st Army units managed to break through the German defences south of Belyj, advancing deep into the German-held front. However, not only did they fail to seize Belyj, defended by 1. Panzer Division’s Kampfgruppe Krüger – which included Panzergrenadier Regiment 113 (Kampfgruppe von Wietersheim, with the bulk of II./SR 113, I./Panzer Regiment 33 from 9. Panzer Division and II./Artillerie Regiment 73), along with two Kampfgruppen from 246. Infanterie Division and 10. Infanterie Division (mot) plus the Füsilier Regiment ‘Grossdeutschland’ – but they also faced stubborn resistance from other elements of 1. Panzer Division. To face the Soviet breakthrough, Kampfgruppe von der Meden was deployed on the eastern bank of the Natscha River. Under the command of Panzergrenadier Regiment 1, it included II./PzRgt 1 (the only tank unit with 1. Panzer Division), I and II./PzGrenRgt 1 and the Kradschützen Bataillon 1. Gruppe Holste, including Panzerjäger Abteilung 37 and Panzer Pionier Bataillon 37, deployed to the south to defend the vital town of Wladimirskoje. These units were to hold their positions until the relief force, made up of 12, 19 and 20. Panzer Divisions, dealt with the enemy breakthrough and restored the defence line. Although the attack by the 41st Soviet Army focused on Belyj, its 1st Mechanized Corps pressed on, and by 27 November had managed to cross the Natscha River in several places to the north and the south of Bossino. Only the stubborness of Kampfgruppe von der Meden’s units, most notably of Kradschützen Bataillon 1, prevented an enemy breakthrough and complete disaster. However, Kampfgruppe von der Meden’s defence line was broken into two; from now on the northern group at Stepankowa could only be supplied via a path opened across the woods. The German situation worsened on 28 November when a new Soviet attack southeast of Belyj broke through the defences and opened the way to the Soviet 47th Mechanized Brigade’s drive north. The stubborn defence put up by the Germans and a slowing in the Soviet attack (particularly with the decision to focus on Belyj) prevented outright disaster, but the German situation gravely worsened. Between 29 and 30 November the gap between Kampfgruppe Kruger at Belyj and Kampfgruppe von der Meden widened, allowing the Soviet 47th Mechanized Brigade to advance north to the Otscha River, before eventually being halted by the Kradschützen Bataillon ‘Grossdeutschland’. To the east, the German front disintegrated, leaving only a series of strongpoints that the Soviets could apparently overrun at will. On 30 November a decisive attack was launched by the Soviet 1st Mechanized Corps. In the morning, following a heavy snowfall, 75th Rifle Brigade and 4th Tank Regiment eventually failed, simply because the German defenders clung to their positions and fought to the last. In four days of combat, II./PzRgt 1 destroyed more than 40 Soviet tanks, and by 30 November it still had two PzKpfw III operational. Although desperate, the German situation was not hopeless. By mid-afternoon the leading elements of 12. Panzer Division joined Kampfgruppe von der Meden’s southern group and counter-attacked the Soviet spearheads at Ssemenzowo, pushing on to Petelino to relieve the encircled Kradschützen Bataillon 1 and eventually linking up with I./PzGrenRgt 1 before nightfall. The Soviet 1st Mechanized Corps switched to the defensive, now aware that the opportunity had been lost and that the German front was going to be restored.

Source :
“Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers” by Bryan Mark Rigg 
"Panzer Divisions: The Eastern Front 1941-43" by Pier Paolo Battistelli