Sunday, December 28, 2014

Polish Flying Ace Jan Zumbach and Fellow Fighters from 303rd Polish Squadron

From left to right: Polish flying ace and Squadron Leader Jan Zumbach (13 kills), Wing Commander Stefan Witorzeńć (5 kills) and Flight Lieutenant Zygmunt Bieńkowski (1 kill). They're from 303rd Polish Fighter Squadron of Royal Air Force (Polish Fighter Squadron badge on the left, white circle with red stripes). During the Battle of Britain, September to October 1940, this squadron is famous for claiming the highest number of enemy (German Luftwaffe) kills of all fighter squadrons then in operation! The squadron was disbanded in December 1946. While servicing in the 303rd, Zumbach used three Supermarine Spitfires Mk.Vb with the Donald Duck art, and all of them were coded with RF-D but had different serials: The Spitfire Mk.Vb EN951, BM144 and EP594. The picture itself was taken in Northolt Airfield, September 1942, and showing a Spitfire Mk.Vb BM144 RF D of S/Ldr Jan Zumbach


Source:
http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/polish-flying-ace-jan-zumbach-of-the-303-kosciuszko-polish-news-photo/79155636

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Luftwaffe Pilot Ready to Fly

This picture was first published in "Die Wehrmacht" magazine Nr.11, 27 may 1942 edition and showing an unknown Luftwaffe pilot sits atop of his Messerschmitt Bf 109 while preparing himself for action against the enemy, May 1942. He is wearing one of the few different sets of uniforms and combat flying suits used by the German fighter pilots during the war. Looks like a light windbreaker, which are very rare nowadays but apparently popular during the first half of the war on the Eastern front. Sometimes they also wore Privately purchased leather jackets. These are the famous 'Eastman' or 'Hartmann' jackets. Some were off the rack, some were specifically tailored. Photographs of several pilots wearing similar jackets may give the impression that these were issued-they were not, at least officially. They simply conformed to the same basic design principles, those of a civilian cycling, or flight jacket



Source:
Book "Luftwaffe at War: Luftwaffe Aces of the Western Front" by Robert Michulec
http://www.thefedoralounge.com/showthread.php?58845-A-short-guide-to-Luftwaffe-flight-jackets

Luftwaffe Ace Hans-Joachim Marseille

Oberleutnant Hans-Joachim Marseille, Staffelkapitän 3.Staffel / I.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27) "Afrika", posed for the studio camera of Heinrich Hoffmann Firm in the day he received the coveted Schwerter zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub #12 (Swords for the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves) from Adolf Hitler, 28 June 1942 (Marseille already received the telegram from 18 June 1942). On 3 June he achieved his 75th victory, and on 17 June his 101st victory, which made him the most efficient fighter pilot of the Western Front and brought him the Eichenlaub in 6 June 1942 and Schwertern in 18 June, only a couple of days later! There is no doubt that he is the best German ace at this time. Moreover, he was also the most famous and popular German pilot who achieved enormous successes against the Britsih flyers. Marseille was described by Adolf Galland, the most senior German ace, with these words : "He was the unrivaled virtuoso among the fighter pilots of World War II. His achievements were previously considered impossible."



Source:
Book "Luftwaffe at War: Luftwaffe Aces of the Western Front" by Robert Michulec

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

American Warships at Ulithi Atoll

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

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Göring Family in Nürnberg at the Time of the Trial

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.


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

Monday, December 22, 2014

Luftwaffe Motorcyclist with Fw 189 in the Backgorund

This photo, which looks prepared, is probably made for the german war propaganda. A Luftwaffe motorcyclist in front of Zündapp Ks 600 with sidecar reads a letter from home as a Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu ("Eagle Owl") roars into the skies. The aircraft is a German twin-engine, twin-boom, three-seat tactical reconnaissance and army cooperation aircraft. Compared to contemporary aircraft, the Fw 189 looked a little odd. Only after very successful flights tests and trials was the Fw 189 reluctantly ordered in small quantities to serve as a standard reconnaissance aircraft. Its existence was unknown to the Allies until 1941 even though several different prototypes had flown well before the war. Called the "Flying Eye" of the German army, the Fw 189 succeeded on the Eastern Front beyond the most optimistic predictions. Its superb handling and agility made it a very difficult and elusive target for enemy fighters. Its phenomenal toughness was demonstrated by Fw 189s returning to bases safely with one tail shot or torn off by Soviet ramming attacks. Attempts were made to build special attack variants with small strong nacelles, but they were unsatisfactory. Ten Fw 189B trainers were specially manufactured and had a conventional nacelle with side-by-side dual controls in a normal cockpit, and above the trailing edge there was an observer. The Fw 189A-3 also had dual-controls but the normal "glasshouse" housing the crew. Gradually only the French factories with assembly at Bordeaux–Mérignac (the Dassault Mirage plant today) were producing the Fw 189, and they stopped as the Allies closed in during 1944. Many different models and a number of developments with more powerful engines were built, but only the basic types of A-1, A-2 (more armament) and A-3 appeared in substantial numbers. The production total of all versions numbered 846


Source:
http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/478670-An-Old-Owl-s-Story-Forums

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Theodor Weissenberger Showing Off His Kills

Petsamo airfield (Finland), August 1943. Oberleutnant Theodor "Theo" Weissenberger (Staffelkapitän 7.Staffel / III.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 5 "Eismeer") points to his Eichenlaub zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes award for staggering accomplishments in the air (so far 112th confirmed aerial victories!). The abschußbalken (victory bars) with the awards is painted on the rudder of his personal aircraft, a Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2 (Werknummer 13912). A Hanhart Luftwaffe Fighter Pilot Chronograph Wristwatch is clearly visible in his pointing hand. Weissenberger flew more than 500 combat missions claiming 208 enemy aircraft shot down. 175 of his victories were in the East and 33 in the Western Front (with 25 victories over the Normandy front, including some 7 heavy bombers, and 8 victories while flying the Me 262). Among his best days are five victories on 7 June, 1944; all five P-47's one at Breteuil, and two SW of Montdidier, and two in the Beauvais area. A triple victory, all 3 P-47's on 12 June, 1944, one at Vernon, one at Gasny and one at Gisors. A double victory on 7 July, 1944; both P-47's at Rosieres-Santerre. As a former Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter-bomber pilot, he was also credited with fifteen locomotives, two flak installations, and numerous ground targets destroyed! Despite his excellent talents as a fighter pilot, Weissenberger's casual often "non-military" attitude and demeanour meant he often got into trouble with his superiors regarding discipline. He became a motor racing driver after the war and was killed at the infamous Nürburgring circuit on 10 June 1950, when his BMW-powered single seater crashed on the first lap of the XV Eifelrennen motor race


Source:
Book "Luftwaffe Officer Career Summaries Section S-Z" by y: Henry L. deZeng IV and Douglas G. Stankey 
http://www.aircrewremembered.com/KrackerDatabase/?q=weissenberger
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_Weissenberger
http://historypreservation.com/hpassociates/pilot.php

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Painting Victory Bars

Reputedly identified as Oberfeldwebel Franz Dietrich Fadenau is showing painting "kill marks" on the tail of his Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2. This photo was taken at the Eastern front in 1942. So far 12 abschußbalken visible: 8 on the Eastern Front (note the red star), while the rest were English or French aircraft. Later Fadenau got shot down as he was on the way home from a mission. His body was never found. Abschußbalken, or victory bars, usually painted on the rudders (of Bf 109s and Bf 110s alike). Also common was the custom of painting the propeller spinners in Staffel-specific colours. Bright-coloured rudders and engine cowlings, in turn, helped to quickly distinguish friend from foe in the heat of an air battle. The image presented here are from the book "Fliegende Front" by Hauptmann Walter Eberhard Freiherr von Medem and published in 1942 by Verlag "Die Wehrmacht" KG. in Berlin. The book must be regarded as typical propaganda material to show the German population how well the war was progressing. "Die Wehmacht" itself published a series of other propaganda books during the war. They also released sets of photo postcards from the war


Source:
http://www.asisbiz.com/Battles/camouflage.html
http://www.letletlet-warplanes.com/2013/04/25/luftwaffe-colour-propaganda-photos/nggallery/page/1
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/4222193375219323/

Saturday, December 13, 2014

German Mortar Training

A German mortar crew prepares to fire the 8cm schwere Granatwerfer 34 during training. After 1942 German Mortars and range chart were attached to the middle of the tube below the collar. This enabled them to correctly - not only tell the number of charge Increments on the round to use - but also the elevation for the tube (the US Troops in Iraq used the white line down the centre of the tube as did the Germans). This was for accurate laying of the mortar . Most German mortar Crews carried shovels to dig in the baseplate . They were trained bed in the baseplate quickly . Mortars caused more casualties in Normandy than any other weapon . The main reason why was that their is no incoming sound, so no warning to take cover


Source:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=28557
http://thirdreichcolorpictures.blogspot.com/2010/07/german-mortars-in-color.html

Friday, December 12, 2014

Messerschmitt Me 323 Parked at Airfield

Messerschmitt Me 323D "Gigant" (Giant) heavy transport at rest in an unknown airfield in 1943. Aircraft in the background appeared to be Heinkel He 111 medium bombers. The first unit equipped with the Me 323 and formed during November 1942 was I./KG.zbV (I.Gruppe / Kampfgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung) that had nine aircraft, and became operational in the Middle East, where a second unit II./KG.zbV 323 was formed in March 1943. These units operated between North Afrika and Trapani, Sicily, supplying Erwin Rommel's Afrikakorps. On April 22, 1943 there was a disastruos loss when 21 Me 323's were shot down by Allied aircraft!


Source:
https://www.pinterest.com/judah55/wwii-me-323-gigant-transport/

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Canadian Anti-Aircraft Gun Crew in Normandy

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.akg-images.co.uk/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&VBID=2UMESQJWAX3D0
http://www.stolly.org.uk/ETO/index34.html

Canadian Anti-Aircraft Gun Crew at Normandy

 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.akg-images.co.uk/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&VBID=2UMESQJWAX3D0
http://www.stolly.org.uk/ETO/colourphotoofcanadian40mmboforsaagunandcrew2.html

Woman Worker in the Douglas Aircraft Company Plant

Woman worker in the Douglas Aircraft Company plant, October 1942. This girl in a glass house is putting finishing touches on the bombardier nose section of a B-17F navy bomber, Long Beach, California. Notice the headscarf to stick her hair up which was a common thing to do amongst these girls and even a bit fashionable within the factories. She's one of many capable women workers in the Douglas Aircraft Company plant. Better known as the "Flying Fortress," the B-17F is a later model of the B-17 which distinguished itself in action in the South Pacific, over Germany and elsewhere. It is a long range, high altitude heavy bomber, with a crew of seven to nine men, and with armament sufficient to defend itself on daylight missions.


Source:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Woman_worker_in_the_Douglas_Aircraft_Company_plant1942.jpg

General Hermann-Meyer Rabingen with his US-Made Staff Car

Generalleutnant Hermann-Meyer Rabingen standing in a beautiful US-made Buick Special serie 60 (1938) model 66C 4-passenger Convertible Coupe staff car with the license plate WH (Wehrmacht Heer) 707165, while his driver posed beside him. In World War II, the Wehrmacht used every vehicle available, whatever the country of origin, to fill in their transport/staff car needs. Virtually any of US origin cars or trucks from 1935-1941 could be found in the German vehicle inventory in one theatre of war or another. In the non combat zones, vehicles could be found in their original colour or oversprayed with military paint that was available, while for the tyres/tires, most of the high line cars had white wall tyres that were over-painted with what ever colour the unit that took over the vehicle had available.


Source:
Photo collection Akira Takiguchi
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=170587
http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6701687&postcount=1712

Tiger from sPz.Abt.506 in Russia

Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger (8,8 cm L/56) Ausf. E (Sd.Kfz. 181) of schwere Panzer Abteilung 506 in Russia, 1944. Note that both the MG 34 machine gun is coated in the red clothing to keep the dust out of it (and the 8.8cm KwK 36 L/56 main gun is covered also). An awful lot of dust in Summer on Russian roads! This heavy tank has all steel road wheels that were not used in 1943 (before January 1944 rubber rimmed wheels were used). It advance with all the hatches open - and 4 out of 5 crew (except the driver) got out of the armored, probably to cool off. This photograph has been retouched: look at the shadow of the gun and the "fork" at the end of it!


Source:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203017921397594&set=gm.754770067892690&type=1

Monday, December 8, 2014

Erwin Rommel and his Italian Allies

General Erwin Rommel speaking with his Italian allies. In the middle is Sonderführer Dr. Ernst Franz, Rommel's interpreter. Franz recalls how, after an elite Bersaglieri position was overrun, their commander tearfully pleaded with Rommel: “Believe me, my men are not cowards.” And Rommel replied, “Who said anything about cowards? It’s your superiors in Rome who are to blame! Sending you into action with such miserable weapons.” (Some units in the Axis defence line were equipped with artillery captured from the Austrians in the First World War: quite useless against modern armor!)


Source:
Book "The Trail of the Fox: Life of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel" by David Irving
Photo collection Akira Takiguchi
http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6703856&postcount=1715

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Luftwaffe Officer Playing Cards and Smoking in the Desert

This picture was first published in the 1943 book "Balkenkreuz Über Wüstensand: Falbbirderwerk des Deutschen Afrikakorps" (The Balkan Cross over Desert Sand: A Color Picture Book of the German Africa Corps) by Gerhard Stalling. It shows a Luftwaffe officer with the rank of Oberleutnant playing cards in the North African desert with cigarette in his mouth. Pretty sloppy don't you think, when we know that he is actually a medical officer (note the serpent-entwined rod in his schulterklappen!). The equivalent rank for the Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant) in the medical service is Oberarzt. Looks like he had seen action for some time, based from the Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse ribbon in his uniform. He also wears a Luftwaffe version of "knautschmütze" (crusher cap) which, basically a crushed schirmmütze (visor cap)


Source:
Book "Balkenkreuz Über Wüstensand: Falbbirderwerk des Deutschen Afrikakorps" by Gerhard Stalling
http://lescolverts.forumactif.org/t135p45-la-luftwaffe-en-couleurs

Saturday, December 6, 2014

German Officers on the Drive to Stalingrad

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

Major Gerhard Barkhorn

Major Gerhard Barkhorn (20 March 1919 - 11 January 1983) posed with the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern (vorschlag nummer 52) which he received in 2 March 1944 as a Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of II.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52) / VIII.Fliegerkorps / Luftflotte 4, after achieved his 250th aerial victory on 12 February 1944, the second to do so after Walter Nowotny. Despite being the second highest scoring pilot in aviation history, Barkhorn was not awarded the Brillanten to his Ritterkreuz after achieving his 300th victory on 5 January 1945. Barkhorn flew 1,104 combat sorties and was credited with 301 victories on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Red Air Force piloting the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9. He flew with the famed Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52—Fighter Wing 52), alongside fellow aces Hartmann and Günther Rall, and Jagdgeschwader 2 (JG 2). Less than two weeks later he left JG 52 on the Eastern Front and joined Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3), defending Germany from Western Allied air attack


Source:
http://www.historicalwarmilitariaforum.com/index.php?app=core&module=search&do=search&fromMainBar=1

Friday, December 5, 2014

B-17 Bombers Flying Back to Base after Mission

A rare and candid original color photograph showing an American bombardier in his B-17 Flying Fortress, flying back to the base following a mission with other B-17 bombers of the 96th Bombardment Group seen ahead (1943). He is looking over his shoulder talking to the navigator whose desk is located out of the picture to the left. Photo most likely taken by the cheek gunner At the start of the bombing campaign against Germany, B-17's flew unaccompanied. Later in the war they would have "little friends" as fighter escorts - such as P-51 Mustang fighters - on their bombing missions. This was very effective, cutting bomber losses substantially. The fighters didn't just stay with the bombers; on many missions they would fly ahead of the bombers, attacking German fighters before they were able to take-off to attack the bombers.


Source:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=757028997723030&set=gm.343565852495511&type=1
https://www.flickr.com/photos/konabish/sets/72157629764383634/detail/

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Benito Mussolini and Wilhelm Keitel

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

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Eduard Dietl During Operation Silver Fox

General der Gebirgstruppe Eduard Dietl (Kommandierender General Gebirgskorps Norwegen) with German and Finnish officers in the northern Russian tundra, July 1941. In 29 June 1941, Dietl was placed in command of Operation Silver Fox (Unternehmen Silberfuchs), a joint German–Finnish military operation plan during World War II, though it was mainly operated and engaged by Germans. Its main goal was the capture of the key Soviet port at Murmansk through attacks from Finnish and Norwegian territory. The operation had three stages. Operation Reindeer (Rentier) was the initial attack by German forces from Norway to secure the area around Petsamo. The follow-up operations, Operation Platinum Fox (Platinfuchs) from the north by Army Norway (AOK Norwegen) and Operation Arctic Fox (Polarfuchs) by XXXVI Mountain Corps together with units from the Finnish III Corps, aimed to capture the vital port of Murmansk afterwards. The operation was unsuccessful and Murmansk continued to operate throughout the war.


Source:
http://www.historicalwarmilitariaforum.com/topic/6937-ritterkreuztr%C3%A4ger-photos-in-color-thread/page-45#entry39196

Eduard Dietl with German and Finnish Officers

General der Gebirgstruppe Eduard Dietl (Kommandierender General Gebirgskorps Norwegen) with German and Finnish officers in the northern Russian tundra, July 1941. In 29 June 1941, Dietl was placed in command of Operation Silver Fox (Unternehmen Silberfuchs) which targeted Russian ports and railroads east of Finland. The operation saw initial success, but the invasion forces very quickly became burdened by the harsh and unfamiliar terrain, and became stagnant by September 1941


Source:
http://www.historicalwarmilitariaforum.com/topic/6937-ritterkreuztr%C3%A4ger-photos-in-color-thread/page-45#entry39196

Generaloberst Eduard Dietl in a Studio Portrait

Generaloberst Eduard Dietl (21 July 1890 - 23 June 1944) in a studio portrait made in 1943 by Walter Frentz. He was a son of a finance professional, and also a World War I veteran. As a Leutnant (Second Lieutenant) and a company commander, he distinguished himself in leadership and bravery. During the interwar years, he became a member of the Nazi party, and was a key figure of the Nazi party in Münich. As the war broke out in Europe, Dietl led the 3. Gebirgs-Division during the invasion of Poland, then led the same unit in the invasion of Norway. For his achievements in Poland and Norway, Dietl became the first man to be awarded Eichenlaub zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross) on 19 Jul 1940. On the same date, he was also promoted to the rank of General der Gebirgstruppe. Dietl was well-liked by his men, who affectionally nicknamed him "Buffel", or "Buffalo", for his tough personality. In June 1941, he was placed in command of Operation Silver Fox which targeted Russian ports and railroads east of Finland. The operation saw initial success, but the invasion forces very quickly became burdened by the harsh and unfamiliar terrain, and became stagnant by September 1941. He was named the commander of all German forces in the Finland theater in Januari 1942. Dietl died in a plane crash in Slovenia in June 1944.


Source:
http://www.historicalwarmilitariaforum.com/index.php?app=core&module=search&do=search&fromMainBar=1
https://www.ullsteinbild.de/ullstein-webshop/workbench.html?queryWord=eduard+dietl&newTitle=ullstein+bild+|+Search%3A+eduard+dietl&qwAction=searchQueryWord&viewMode=tile
http://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=135

Generaloberst Eduard Dietl

Generaloberst Eduard Dietl (21 July 1890 - 23 June 1944) in a studio portrait made in 1943 by Walter Frentz. He was a son of a finance professional, and also a World War I veteran. As a Leutnant (Second Lieutenant) and a company commander, he distinguished himself in leadership and bravery. During the interwar years, he became a member of the Nazi party, and was a key figure of the Nazi party in Münich. As the war broke out in Europe, Dietl led the 3. Gebirgs-Division during the invasion of Poland, then led the same unit in the invasion of Norway. For his achievements in Poland and Norway, Dietl became the first man to be awarded Eichenlaub zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross) on 19 Jul 1940. On the same date, he was also promoted to the rank of General der Gebirgstruppe. Dietl was well-liked by his men, who affectionally nicknamed him "Buffel", or "Buffalo", for his tough personality. In June 1941, he was placed in command of Operation Silver Fox which targeted Russian ports and railroads east of Finland. The operation saw initial success, but the invasion forces very quickly became burdened by the harsh and unfamiliar terrain, and became stagnant by September 1941. He was named the commander of all German forces in the Finland theater in Januari 1942. Dietl died in a plane crash in Slovenia in June 1944.


Source:
http://www.historicalwarmilitariaforum.com/index.php?app=core&module=search&do=search&fromMainBar=1
https://www.ullsteinbild.de/ullstein-webshop/workbench.html?queryWord=eduard+dietl&newTitle=ullstein+bild+|+Search%3A+eduard+dietl&qwAction=searchQueryWord&viewMode=tile
http://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=135

US Rangers Aboard their Landing Craft Before Normandy

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://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/10/world-war-ii-the-allied-invasion-of-europe/100160/

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

An American Soldier Sleeps on a Pile of Rocks During the Drive Towards Rome

Casualties of war: An American soldier sleeps on a pile of rocks during the drive towards Rome in May 1944. In his lap is a Carbine .30 M1 rifle. The Italian Campaign was long a bloody and saw the deaths of tens of thousands of soldiers on both sides, as well as many thousands of civilian casualties. The picture was made by LIFE photographer Carl Mydans


Source:
http://life.time.com/history/world-war-ii-in-color-photos-italian-campaign/#5

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Photographers Standing in front of Pappy's Pram

 US Army Air Force Aerial Photographers standing in front of "Pappy's Pram", a B-26B-25-MA Marauder bomber (s/n 41-31802) of 450th Bombardment Squadron / 322nd Bombardment Group / 9th Airforce at the base. They have been on total of 50 missions since operations began during World War II. From left to right: St. James Hinkle (VA), Sgt. Robert Hammerberg (IL), Sgt. Frank Udovich (WI), Sgt. CharlesA. Smith (TX), and St. Wilbur DeGroff (WI). Photo by Frank Scherschel

Source:
http://images.google.com/hosted/life/27e9e8a6fd53f768.html

German Leaders during Prince Paul of Yugoslavia Visit

German leaders gathered in Ehrentribüne during Luftwaffe demonstration in Tiergartenstraße (Berlin) on the occasion of the visit of Prince Regent Paul of Yugoslavia, 2 June 1939. Standing in the front row from left to right: Adolf Hitler (Führer und Reichskanzler), Prince Regent Paul of Yugoslavia (blocked by Göring), Generalfeldmarschall Hermann Göring (Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe), Großadmiral Erich Raeder (Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine), Generaloberst Walther von Brauchitsch (Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres), Generaloberst Wilhelm Keitel (Chef Oberkommando der Wehrmacht), and two diplomats: Konstantin von Neurath (Reichsprotektor in Böhmen und Mähren) and Ernst von Weizsäcker (Staatssekretär des Auswärtigen Amtes), father of the later German Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker. We can see perfectly Göring with the sash and the Grand Cross of the yugoslavian Order of the White Eagle. Raeder and Von Neurath wear the same sash, while Von Brauchitsch wear the blue sash and Grand Cross of the Order of Yugoslavian Crown. Von Weizsäcker wears the Order of Saint Sava. What about Hitler? as was usual, didn't receive any foreign award from his visitor...


Source:
http://elektra.bsb-muenchen.de/jsp/frames/documentframe.jsp;jsessionid=C36D8544B82486086CD013D25FB85958?database=BILDARC@BSBBild$0&position=48&timeout=10
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=153613&start=195
http://gmic.co.uk/index.php/topic/14448-what-awards-did-herman-goering-receive/page-2
http://www.ww2incolor.com/german_leadership/despie35-09_73_3%23.html

Friday, November 28, 2014

Großadmiral Baton Presentation for Erich Raeder

This picture was taken by Hugo Jaeger above Battleship Tirpitz anchored in Wilhelshaven in 1 April 1939, and the occasion was Adolf Hitler's presentation of the Großadmiral (Grand Admiral) baton to Erich Raeder, Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine. It is possible that the man front row on the left is Konteradmiral Günther Lütjens (Führer der Torpedoboote), although the nose does not seem quite right. The one giving the naval salute is Vizeadmiral Wilhelm Marschall (Befehlshaber der Panzerschiffe), while the one two to the right of him, with the goatee, is Admiral Rolf Carls (Kommandierender Admiral Marinestation der Ostsee).


Source:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=150217
http://life.time.com/?N=0&Nty=1&p=0&cmd=tags&srchCat=LIFE&s=hugo+jaeger

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Luftwaffe Ace Hauptmann Joachim "Jochen" Müncheberg

 This picture showing Hauptmann Joachim "Jochen" Müncheberg when his fame was at its height. This one was first published in "Die Wehrmacht" magazine of 8 July 1942, which suggests that they could show the return of Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26) "Schlageter" pilots from the famous action of 2 June 1942, when they almost exterminated a Canadian fighter squadron. Müncheberg (31 December 1918 – 23 March 1943) was a German Luftwaffe military aviator during World War II, a fighter ace credited with 135 enemy aircraft shot down in over 500 combat missions. The majority of his victories were claimed over the Western Front, with 33 claims over the Eastern Front. Of his 102 aerial victories achieved over the Western Allies, 46 were against Supermarine Spitfire fighters. Born in Friedrichsdorf, Müncheberg, who had strong ambitions as a track and field athlete, volunteered for military service in the Wehrmacht of the Third Reich in 1936. Initially serving in the Heer (Army), he transferred to the Luftwaffe (Air Force) in 1938. Following flight training, he was posted to Jagdgeschwader 234 (JG 234—234th Fighter Wing) in October 1938. He was transferred to Jagdgeschwader 26 "Schlageter" (JG 26—26th Fighter Wing) a year later and was appointed adjutant of the III. Gruppe (3rd Group). He fought in the Battle of France and received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) following his 20th aerial victory and during the Battle of Britain. Serving as a Staffelkapitän (Squadron Leader) he fought in the aerial battles during the siege of Malta and Balkans Campaign. He received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) and Italian Gold Medal of Military Valor (Italian: Medaglia d'oro al Valore Militare) after 43 aerial victories. Müncheberg then briefly served in North Africa in support of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps before transferring to France. He was given command of JG 26's II. Gruppe (2nd Group) in September 1941 and was then posted to Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51—51st Fighter Wing), operating on the Eastern Front, in July 1942. Serving as a Geschwaderkommodore (Wing Commander) in training under JG 51 wing commander Karl-Gottfried Nordmann, he claimed his 100th aerial victory on 5 September 1942 for which he was awarded the Swords (Schwerter) to his Knight's Cross on 9 September, his score then at 103 aerial victories. On 1 October 1942 Müncheberg was given command of Jagdgeschwader 77 (JG 77—77th Fighter Wing), operating in the Mediterranean Theatre. He died of wounds following a mid-air collision during combat near Meknassy, Tunisia on 23 March 1943.

Source:
 Book "Luftwaffe at War: Luftwaffe Aces of the Western Front" by Robert Michulec 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joachim_M%C3%BCncheberg

Joachim Müncheberg Describing his Recent Dogfight

This picture showing Hauptmann Joachim "Jochen" Müncheberg (Luftwaffe ace with 135 aerial victories) when his fame was at its height. This one was first published in "Die Wehrmacht" magazine of 8 July 1942, which suggests that they could show the return of Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26) "Schlageter" pilots from the famous action of 2 June 1942, when they almost exterminated a Canadian fighter squadron. Müncheberg is describing the recent action


Source:
 Book "Luftwaffe at War: Luftwaffe Aces of the Western Front" by Robert Michulec

Pilots of Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26) "Schlageter"

This picture showing Hauptmann Joachim "Jochen" Müncheberg (Luftwaffe ace with 135 aerial victories) when his fame was at its height. This one was first published in "Die Wehrmacht" magazine of 8 July 1942, which suggests that they could show the return of Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26) "Schlageter" pilots from the famous action of 2 June 1942, when they almost exterminated a Canadian fighter squadron. Müncheberg is the one at left, while at right is Hauptmann Wilhelm-Ferdinand Galland, the younger brother of famous Luftwaffe ace Adolf "Dolfo" Galland


Source:
Book "Luftwaffe at War: Luftwaffe Aces of the Western Front" by Robert Michulec

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Edouard Daladier and Hermann Göring during Münich Agreement

French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier and German Generalfeldmarschall Hermann Göring (Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe) in an open-top sedan in Münich, Germany, 29 September 1938, during the conference for a settlement permitting Nazi Germany's annexation of portions of Czechoslovakia along the country's borders mainly inhabited by German speakers, for which a new territorial designation "Sudetenland" was coined. SS officer standing behind Göring is SS-Hauptsturmführer Peter Hogl (Stellvertreter des Kommandoführer Johann Rattenhuber in der RSD, Reichssicherheitsdienst)


Source:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=211509&p=1910621#p1910621
http://life.time.com/?N=0&Nty=1&p=0&cmd=tags&srchCat=LIFE&s=hugo+jaeger

SdKfz 7/1 in Fischhausen, March 1945

Abandoned SdKfz 7/1 in Fischhausen (now Primorsk in the Kaliningrad Oblast), March 1945, during the East Prussian Offensive, 13 January – 25 April 1945. The halftrack mounted a a 2 cm Flakvierling 38 quadruple anti-aircraft gun system (German official name: 2cm Flakvierling 38 auf Selbstfahrlafette Sd.Kfz.7/1). Interesting to note that both the added armour plate in front of the engine grill as well as the armour plate of the Flakvierling appears to be in Panzergrau.

Source:
http://www.vintag.es/2013/04/color-photos-of-east-prussian-from-1944.html

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Franz von Werra, The One that Got Away

Leutnant Franz von Werra was one of several Luftwaffe personalities who rose from obscurity to fame in a space of merely a few months. Although many fighter pilots of both sides enjoyed widespread media attention, Franz von Werra was alone to achieve an unique record: gaining press publicity independently in three different countries. This is his story.

To many of his peers, von Werra appeared as an eccentric playboy with marked predilection for self-promotion. These  features of his character might have a lot to do with his upbringing, which combined aristocratic aspiration with modest financial and social conditions. Von Werra joined the Luftwaffe in 1936.  His career progressed swiftly, and in 1940 he had a position of an adjutant of II./JG 3 “Udet”.

Ambitious and self-assured, he seemingly sought his way into the limelight. When war correspondents visited his unit for a photo shoot and interviews, von Werra appeared with his pet lion Simba, which he kept at the aerodrome as the unit mascot. The resulting series of photographs showed him posing in the cockpit of his Bf 109, wearing his officer’s cap and holding up Simba to the camera. These images became a media hit, and appeared on many contemporary magazine covers throughout Germany.

Von Werra was also a skilled fighter pilot, although his results weren’t anywhere near those of the Luftwaffe’s top guns. He most frequently flew as a wingman of Hauptmann Erich von Selle, the commanding officer of his unit. In this role, he scored four victories during the Battle of France – a Hurrricane, two Breguet 693s and a Morane MS.406.

Despite this initial success, von Werra’s tally did not advance any further during June, July and larger part of August, despite the fact that operations against the RAF were being flown almost daily.

Then suddenly, on 28 August, von Werra returned from a mission claiming 9 aircraft destroyed. According to his report, he first shot down a Spitfire during a general melée, then became detached from his unit, spotted three Hurricanes on a landing circuit and destroyed them one after another. Lastly, he zoomed low over the airfield, setting additional five Hurricanes on fire.

The extravagant size of this claim should have ringed a warning bell in a head of any intelligence officer receiving such report. There were no witnesses to confirm the shootings, and Von Werra’s story followed a scenario used by many pilots making up their victories.  For comparison, Polish W/Cdr Rolski later wrote that he experienced several such cases during the 1941-42 campaigns. All followed the same pattern: a pilot got detached from his unit, then, once all friendly aircraft were out of sight, had a more or less dramatic fight with the enemy, either over the Channel or the enemy territory, after which he returned back to his airfield. There was always a twist to the story to explain why his own aircraft remained unscathed and, of course, no witnesses could confirm or deny the story.

Whatever the suspicions might have been against von Werra’s account, he was also the adjutant of the Staffel. In the end, a compromise was met: JG 3 headquarters credited him with four aerial victories, cancelling the five aircraft strafed on the ground (according to Luftwaffe standards, aircraft destroyed on the ground also counted as ‘kills’).

Typically for Franz von Werra, this official ruling did not prevent him to order his mechanics to paint all nine victory bars on the tail of his aircraft, to the sum of 13.  The events of 28 August finally made him an ace, and much propaganda was made of his feat.

Then came the day of 5 September, when von Werra was shot down. On that occasion, II./JG 3 was flying as an escort to a bombing raid on Croydon. On the return leg of the raid the bombers were attacked by a swarm of RAF fighters. Hauptmann Von Selle, leading the thirty escorting Messerschmitts, gave the order to attack. At the exact moment when Selle rolled his aircraft to starboard to initiate a dive, another gaggle of Spitfires jumped them from behind, their guns blazing. Von Selle’s aircraft avoided the bullets. His wingman, Franz von Werra, did not have such luck; a well-placed burst damaged the engine of his Bf 109 and knocked off his radio.

Without engine power, the German pilot was unable to shake off the attacker, which followed him in a dive, squirting the Messerschmitt with a series of short bursts. Ultimately, von Werra had no choice but to make a crash-landing. This he did, putting down his aircraft wheels-up but otherwise intact on a field at Loves Farm, Marden, Kent.

The identity of the victorious British pilot remains the subject of debate until this day. Some researchers claim that the pilot who was responsible for the shooting was F/Lt John Terence Webster of No. 31 Squadron. Others believe it to be a shared victory by P/O George Bennions of No. 41 Squadron and P/O Basil Gerald Stapleton of No. 603 Squadron. Yet others have attributed the same achievement to F/Lt Paterson Clarence Hughes, an ace of No. 234 Squadron with a victory tally of 14. Officially, the credit originally went to ‘Stapme’ Stapleton, but Hughes final DFC citation in the London Gazette of 22 October 1940 awarded him a half credit for the same.

As the damaged Messerschmitt came to a stop surrounded by a cloud of dust, its pilot, unhurt, lifted off the hood and stepped out of the cockpit. He saw farm workers about a quarter of a mile away, heading in his direction. He briefly considered his options, and decided that there was no point in trying to run. They found him calmly burning his flight documents, holding up the sheets between the tips of his fingers so that the paper would burn faster.

When arrested and searched, von Werra reportedly remained silent. As the guards led him out of the field and through an orchard, he stretched out a hand and picked an apple. He munched it ostensibly and spat out the core. He did not seem to pay much regard to his escort, usually responding to their interrogations with shrugging of his shoulders. Finally, stuck in a back with a rifle, he was persuaded into a car, which took him to the County Police Constabulary at Maidstone. He spent several hours in a police arrest before being handed over to the Army, who escorted him to Maidstone Barracks, managed by Royal West Kent Regiment.

There, von Werra demonstrated that he would not be easily intimidated by his new predicament. Having been put to work digging, he tried to overwhelm his guard using a pick axe and run away. The attempt proved unsuccessful; von Werra was interrogated for eighteen days, to be eventually sent to the London District Prisoner of War “cage” and then on to POW Camp No.1 at Grizedale Hall in Lancashire.

It was during these interrogations that von Werra shared his version of the events on 28 August. The facts were promptly checked, whereupon the British revealed his fraud. Von Werra’s claims, only recently publicised by the German propaganda, were  now ridiculed in a BBC broadcast.

Beside providing a proof that Leutnant von Werra was alive and unhurt, the BBC broadcast had a curious effect on the other side of the Channel.  Apparently II./JG3 considered it as an indirect admission that Werra’s victories indeed had taken place – the pilot was nominated for the Knight’s Cross. This was awarded in absentia on 14 December 1940.

Franz von Werra tried to escape for the second time on 7 October, during a daytime walk outside the camp. At a regular stop, while a fruit cart provided a diversion and other German prisoners covered for him, von Werra slipped over a dry-stone wall into a field. The guards alerted the local farmers and the Home Guard. Three days later, two Home Guard soldiers found him sheltering from the rain in a hoggarth – a small stone hut used for storing sheep fodder – but he quickly escaped and disappeared into the night.

On 12 October, the fugitive was spotted again climbing a fell. This time the area was surrounded. Von Werra was found, hidden in a muddy depression in the ground. He was sentenced to 21 days of solitary confinement and subsequently transferred on 3 November to Camp No. 10 in Swanwick, Derbyshire.

In Camp No. 13, also known as the Hayes camp, von Werra joined a group of German prisoners who were digging an escape tunnel. On 17 December 1940, after a month’s digging, the escape route was clear. The camp forgers equipped the group with money and fake identity papers. On 20 December, von Werra and four others slipped out of the tunnel under the cover of anti-aircraft fire and the singing of the camp choir.

The others were recaptured only a few days later, leaving von Werra to go it alone. He had taken along his flying suit and decided to masquerade as Captain Van Lott, a Dutch pilot. He claimed to a friendly locomotive driver that he was a downed bomber pilot trying to get to his unit, and asked to be taken to the nearest RAF station. At the railway station of Codnor Park, a local clerk became suspicious, but eventually agreed to arrange his transportation to the RAF aerodrome at Hucknall, near Nottingham. A policeman also questioned him, but von Werra managed to convince him that he was harmless.

In this way, the German ace arrived at RAF Hucknall. There, he was brought to Sqn/Ldr Boniface who asked for his credentials. Von Werra claimed to be based at Dyce near Aberdeen. While Boniface went to check this, von Werra excused himself and ran to the nearest hangar, trying to tell a mechanic that he was cleared for a test flight. This time, the bluff did not work; Boniface arrived in time to arrest him at gunpoint. Von Werra was sent back to Hayes under armed guard.

In January 1941, he was sent with many other German prisoners to Canada. They left Britain on the ship, Duchess of York, on the evening of 19 January, landing in Halifax, Canada four days later. Von Werra’s group was to be taken to a camp on the north shore of Lake Superior, Ontario.

It was from the train that took the prisoners from Halifax to Lake Superior that Baron Von Werra made his final, successful escape. He jumped out of a window, again with the help of other prisoners, and ended up near Smiths Falls, 30 miles from the St. Lawrence River. Seven other prisoners tried to escape from the same train, but were soon recaptured. Fortunately for him, Von Werra’s absence was not noticed until the following afternoon.

After an agonizing crossing of the frozen St. Lawrence River, von Werra made his way over the border to Ogdensburg, New York, USA. There he turned himself over to the police.

The immigration authorities charged him with entering the country illegally, but von Werra was able to contact the local German consul for help.

While the US and Canadian authorities were negotiating his extradition, the story of his escape came to the attention of the press, which he exploited with evident satisfaction. The ‘von’ in his name ensured that the American papers would devote column inches to his story, and typically, he did not hesitate to tell the journalists a highly embellished account of his adventures!

Finally, the German consulate helped him over the border to Mexico. From there, von Werra proceeded in stages to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Barcelona, Spain, and Rome, Italy. He finally arrived back in Germany on 18 April 1941. He was received like a national hero.

Franz Von Werra is remembered as the only German Battle of Britain combatant who became a prisoner of war and made a successful return to his country – "The One That Got Away".


Source:
http://spitfiresite.com/2010/09/battle-of-britain-1940-franz-von-werra.html

A Sea of Swastikas

 Nazi flags fill a festival at Innsbruck. It was Hitler who came up with the idea of using the swastika as the symbol of the Nazi Party. After many attempts, he wrote in Mein Kampf, "I found a definite proportion between the size of the flag and the size of the white disk, as well as the shape and thickness of the swastika."


Source:
http://www.ww2incolor.com/german/344229de455216ea_landing.html

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Military Demonstration at Hitler's 50th Birthday Celebration in Berlin

Military demonstration at Hitler's 50th birthday celebration in Berlin. April 20, 1939. The color pics do give us a better perspective of how the Nazis used the decorations to capture one's attention. Looking at military parades with the different colored uniforms gives one a sense of awe. The Nazis knew what they were doing. They were excellent decorators and designers who knew how to grab the utmost attention of people. Notice the pillars with the gold eagle and swastikas on top and the German troops at parade rest. Along with the decor, the uniforms also look very sharp as well!


Source:
http://www.ww2f.com/topic/47226-sunshine-and-swastikas/

German and Finnish Officers

This is an interesting war time colour photo by Carl Rosenqvist which taken in 10 August 1942. The unit is German Einsatzstab Fähre Ost (EFO), a Lufwaffe unit which operated on Lake Ladoga, Finland, together with Italian MTBs (12. Squadriglia MAS) and German mine layer boats (C-Gruppe / 31. Minensuch-Flottilla) during summer 1942. The officers in the photo are (from left): German Oberstleutnant der Reserve Friedrich-Wilhelm Siebel (Commander of EFO, Einsatzstab Fähre Ost); Finnish Colonel Eino Iisakki Järvinen (Commander of Lake Ladoga Coastal Brigade); and two unidentified Luftwaffe officers (at the right is from Flak unit)


Source:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=41944&p=374911&hilit=Colonel+E.+J%C3%A4rvinen#p374911

German Soldiers in Königsberg with a MG 151/20 Gun

Volkssturm men in Königsberg (East Prussia) with Panzerfaust and a MG 151/20 gun (Aircraft MG modified for ground use), winter of 1945. The Volkssturm used anything they could beg or borrow. Their supply situation was hopeless. Their only more or less standard weapon was the Panzerfaust. The MG 151 (MG 151/15) itself was a 15 mm autocannon produced by Waffenfabrik Mauser starting in 1940. It was in 1941 developed into the 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon which was widely used on many types of German Luftwaffe fighters, fighter bombers, night fighters, ground attack and even bombers as part of or as their main armament during World War II. The 20 mm MG 151/20 was also fitted on the Italian World War II fighter aircraft of the "Serie 5", the most effective Italian fighters of World War II. The one in the picture is a field adaptation of a Mauser MG 151/15 or 151/20, basically a 15 or 20 mm aircraft cannon fitted with a tripod and a makeshift shield


Source:
http://historyimages.blogspot.com/2011/10/1945-russians-were-coming-east-prussia.html
http://www.vintag.es/2013/04/color-photos-of-east-prussian-from-1944.html

Friday, November 21, 2014

German POWs Arrived in Germany for Repatriation

German prisoners (mainly ex-Afrikakorps personnel) arrived in Germany for repatriation after POW exchange agreement with the British, 1943. The Geneva Convention makes provision for the repatriation of all Prisoners of War, even during hostilities. During 1939-1945 it was only possible for the British and Germans to reach agreement over the seriously ill and disabled. For the majority of the 40,000 British servicemen who were taken prisoner in 1939 and 1940, the war was to be a very long and dispiriting experience. Negotiations, conducted through the Red Cross, over the repatriation of seriously wounded men, had begun in late 1940. They did not progress very far because there were far fewer German men in this category than British. It was only after substantial numbers of Germans were taken prisoner in the Desert campaign of 1942 that the talks resumed. The actual exchange of prisoners did not take place until October 1943


Source:
www.life.time.com

German POWs Arrived in Germany for Repatriation

German prisoners (mainly ex-Afrikakorps personnel) arrived in Germany for repatriation after POW exchange agreement with the British, 1943. The Geneva Convention makes provision for the repatriation of all Prisoners of War, even during hostilities. During 1939-1945 it was only possible for the British and Germans to reach agreement over the seriously ill and disabled. For the majority of the 40,000 British servicemen who were taken prisoner in 1939 and 1940, the war was to be a very long and dispiriting experience. Negotiations, conducted through the Red Cross, over the repatriation of seriously wounded men, had begun in late 1940. They did not progress very far because there were far fewer German men in this category than British. It was only after substantial numbers of Germans were taken prisoner in the Desert campaign of 1942 that the talks resumed. The actual exchange of prisoners did not take place until October 1943


Source:
www.life.time.com

German POWs Arrived in Germany for Repatriation

German prisoners (mainly ex-Afrikakorps personnel) arrived in Germany for repatriation after POW exchange agreement with the British, 1943. The Geneva Convention makes provision for the repatriation of all Prisoners of War, even during hostilities. During 1939-1945 it was only possible for the British and Germans to reach agreement over the seriously ill and disabled. For the majority of the 40,000 British servicemen who were taken prisoner in 1939 and 1940, the war was to be a very long and dispiriting experience. Negotiations, conducted through the Red Cross, over the repatriation of seriously wounded men, had begun in late 1940. They did not progress very far because there were far fewer German men in this category than British. It was only after substantial numbers of Germans were taken prisoner in the Desert campaign of 1942 that the talks resumed. The actual exchange of prisoners did not take place until October 1943


Source:
www.life.time.com

Afrikakorps POWs at El Guettar Valley

 German POWs receive water ration in an Allied-controlled prison camp at El Guettar Valley, Tunisia, 1943. in mid-February 1943 the Axis forces launched a strong counter-attack against the US II Corps in south-western Tunisia. The 1st Armored Division's counter-moves ended in a complete disaster, the division losing two of its tank battalions in two days, with over 2,500 American soldiers being taken prisoner on February 16 and 17. After 22 days of tough fighting at El Guettar the US Army were regenerated after its unfortunate setback. Now under George S Patton's energetic command, the self-confidence and offensive spirit of the 1st Armored and 1st Infantry Divisions returned and the 9th Infantry Division had gone from being a green, inexperienced outfit to a combat-experienced and able fighting unit. The Battle of El Guettar was fought between elements of the Heeresgruppe Afrika under Generaloberst Hans-Jürgen von Arnim - along with Italian forces under General Giovanni Messe - and U.S. II Corps under Lieutenant General George S. Patton in south-central Tunisia. It was the first battle in which U.S. forces were able to defeat the experienced German tank units, but the followup to the battle was inconclusive. The picture was made by LIFE photographer Eliot Elisofon 


Source:
http://www.afterthebattle.com/store/index.php?id_product=149&controller=product
http://life.time.com/?N=0&Nty=1&p=0&cmd=tags&srchCat=LIFE&s=eliot+elisofon

German POWs at El Guettar Valley

German POWs receive water ration in an Allied-controlled prison camp at El Guettar Valley, Tunisia, 1943. in mid-February 1943 the Axis forces launched a strong counter-attack against the US II Corps in south-western Tunisia. The 1st Armored Division's counter-moves ended in a complete disaster, the division losing two of its tank battalions in two days, with over 2,500 American soldiers being taken prisoner on February 16 and 17. After 22 days of tough fighting at El Guettar the US Army were regenerated after its unfortunate setback. Now under George S Patton's energetic command, the self-confidence and offensive spirit of the 1st Armored and 1st Infantry Divisions returned and the 9th Infantry Division had gone from being a green, inexperienced outfit to a combat-experienced and able fighting unit. The Battle of El Guettar was fought between elements of the Heeresgruppe Afrika under Generaloberst Hans-Jürgen von Arnim - along with Italian forces under General Giovanni Messe - and U.S. II Corps under Lieutenant General George S. Patton in south-central Tunisia. It was the first battle in which U.S. forces were able to defeat the experienced German tank units, but the followup to the battle was inconclusive. The picture was made by LIFE photographer Eliot Elisofon


Source:
http://www.afterthebattle.com/store/index.php?id_product=149&controller=product
http://life.time.com/?N=0&Nty=1&p=0&cmd=tags&srchCat=LIFE&s=eliot+elisofon

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Afrikakorps Soldiers with their Kübelwagen

Somewhere in the North African desert: DAK (Deutsches Afrikakorps) soldier get ready to wear his shoes in a feldbett (field cot) near his Kübelwagen (number plate WH, Wehrmacht Heer, 936769) while his friend still wrapped in blanket. These feldbett could be a "liberated" cots - either British or American because it had a different style of cot than the one seen being used in Russia - more akin to US cots


Source:
http://thirdreichcolorpictures.blogspot.com/2010/11/cars-of-wehrmacht-in-color.html

Hitler and Mussolini During Hitler's 1938 State Visit to Italy

 His face expressionless, Benito Mussolini rides in an open-air car with Adolf Hitler in Florence, 9 May 1938, during Hitler's state visit to Italy. Hitler beamed and strutted like a peacock across his host’s stage, having pulled off his bloodless coup in Austria (Anschluss) earlier in March after Mussolini had abandoned his northern neighbor to the Nazi predator. Although Germany and Italy were allies Hitler didn’t go to Italy that often. He was in Venice for a few days in May 1934. There he met Mussolini. In 1938 Hitler was in Italy for a week. He saw Napoli, Florence and Rome. In Rome he met Mussolini and the king of Italy. He visited the Palazzo del Quirinale, the Palazzo Venezia and the Pantheon. Hitler and Mussolini also met on the Brennerpass, near the border between Italy and Austria, in 1940. In 1943 Hitler was in Italy again for a meeting with Mussolini in Feltre


Source:
http://hitlerpages.com/pagina44.html
http://life.time.com/history/adolf-hitler-benito-mussolini-color-photos-of-chummy-warmongers/#1

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Photo of Finnish Journalist and Poet Olavi Paavolainen

Photo of Finnish journalist and poet Olavi Paavolainen at Mikkeli, Eastern Finland... in its most appropriate uniform! Paavolainen (1903 - 1964) was a Finnish essayist, journalist, travel book writer, and poet. During World War II Paavolainen served at the Information Department of the Headquarters. He was posted after the outbreak of the Winter War to Mikkeli in eastern Finland, as adjutant to an infantry general and visited Vienola in 1944. His childhood home with its famous palm tree room was destroyed. It was the last time he saw his place of birth. Paavolainen's critical World War II diary "Synkkä Yksinpuhelu" which was published in 1946, was attacked domestically because of its opposition and surmounted opinions of the war between Finland and the Soviet Union, and hidden anticipation of the defeat in the early war years. When Paavolainen's travel book from Germany were more or less enthusiastic, now he had his own reservations about the Finland's alliance with Nazi Germany. After the major criticism in Finland, Paavolainen made the decision to publish no more books and retreated. In 1945 Paavolainen married journalist Sirkka-Liisa Virtamo; but the marriage ended officially eight years later in 1953.


Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olavi_Paavolainen
http://sa-kuva.fi/neo?tem=webneoeng

Hitler Inspecting Railway Gun Gustav

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)...


Source:
http://elektra.bsb-muenchen.de/servlet/Top/frames/hitsframe#bildarc

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Luftwaffe Soldiers with Radio

This picture from SIGNAL magazine (French edition) showing German Luftwaffe soldiers using Torn. Fu. d 2 field radio in the front. This portable transceiver Torn.Fu.d2 is a VHF 2 way communications device with modes A1 "Telegrafie tonlos" and A3 "Telefonie" operated in the frequency range 33.8 to 38 MHz. Communication range in A3 mode is approximately 3 km and 10 in A1 mode. The Torn.Fu.d2 can be operated from a field telephone via a 1 to 2 km long field line. Transmitter has 3 tubes and a output power of 1 watt. Receiver has 6 tubes with a IF on 2.1 MHz.


Source:
http://fykse.dnsalias.com/bilder/tornfud2/