Friday, January 29, 2016

Kriegsmarine AA Crew with 20mm Oerlikon Flak

A color shot of the light naval gun 20mm Oerlikon (2.0cm Flak 28) in action onboard a "Vorpostenboot", a converted fishing cutter. This gun were produced by Semag and Becker in Zürich (Swiss), later than by Oerlikon in Zürich (Swiss). Germany bought many of them before the war, and gave them the name 2 cm Flak 28 and 29 (The Flak 28 used a 15-round clip magazine and the Flak 29 used a large drum magazine with 60-rounds). First they were mainly used in the german navy, but later - and expecially during the war, when many of them got captured - they were also used in other units. The 2cm Oerlikon Flak 28 and Flak 29 apt in the Sockellafette 40 pedestal mount were intended by the Kriegsmarine for installation on ships.The 2cm Oerlikon Flak 28 was the first light automatic Anti-Aircarft weapon to reach the units in 1928 and it was installed on a mobile wheeled carriage.


Source :
http://www.626-squadron.co.uk/willem14.htm
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=149100&p=1295063

Kriegsmarine Gunner Operating 2.0 cm Flak 29 Oerlikon

Eastern Front. Kriegsmarine Gunner at sea pointing weapon into the sky for protection against air attack. The gun is a 20mm Oerlikon - a.k.a. 2.0cm Flak 29, produced by Semag and Becker in Zürich (Swiss), later than by Oerlikon in Zürich (Swiss). Germany bought many of them before the war, and gave them the name 2 cm Flak 28 and 29 (The Flak 28 used a 15-round clip magazine and the Flak 29 used a large drum magazine with 60-rounds). First they were mainly used in the german navy, but later - and expecially during the war, when many of them got captured - they were also used in other units. The 2cm Oerlikon Flak 28 and Flak 29 apt in the Sockellafette 40 pedestal mount were intended by the Kriegsmarine for installation on ships.The 2cm Oerlikon Flak 28 was the first light automatic Anti-Aircarft weapon to reach the units in 1928 and it was installed on a mobile wheeled carriage.


Source :
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=149100&p=1295063
https://www.pinterest.com/donnybosma/war/

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Wehrmacht Kriegsberichter with Ukrainian Farmers

A Russian-speaking German Kriegsberichter (war correspondent) of Berichterstaffel z.b.V. OBH in a BMW R12 motorcycle with sidecar strikes a conversation with Ukrainian female farmers out in the fields. Note on the front of the sidecar the emblem of the "Berichterstaffel zur besonderen Verfügung Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres" (Special War Reporters Command for the Army Headquarters), comprising a pen and a sword. June-August 1942. In the Steppes East of the Ukraine, there were no road signs and few landmarks by which the Germans could take their bearings. Good maps were few and far between. As a result german patrols and motorcycle riders (such as this one) had to ask their way of women and old men working in the fields. The poor planning and the consequent foundering of the German troops in the vastnesses of the uncharted territory, are reflected in photos such as this one. One must also remember the tough terrain that the Germans faced in their drive. RRs and roads built well enough to accommodate tanks were in limited supply in the Soviet Union. The ability to hold on to these roads was just as important on the long retreat as it was on the drive forward. The difference in gauges of RR track width between those in Russia and those in Germany also called for track conversion or trains able to travel on any given line of tracks - Russian on Russian tracks and German on German tracks. It was, indeed, a mess.


Source :
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/110971578290433196/
http://www.ww2incolor.com/german/German+Dispatch+rider.html

Staff Sergeant of the US 10th Mountain Division

This staff sergeant of the US Army 10th Mountain Division offers a good view of his divisional SSI and of the ice axe carried by the US "Alpine Troops". Among the ribbons and decorations on his left breast are the combat infantryman's badge, bronze star, pre-Pearl Harbor Army Service ribbon, American Theater ribbon, European Theater ribbon, and good conduct medal.


Source :
Book "US Special Forces of World War Two" by Leroy Thompson

German Corps HQ in a Small Russian Village

In this photo we see a small Russian village surrounded by forest. The standard in front of the house on the left reveals that the commander of an Armeekorps has set up his headquarters here. In the background is a Fieseler Fi 156 "Storch", which was used either to fly the corps commander to visit his front-line units or bring division commanders to him. Liaison aircraft was indispensable for maintaining direct contact between the headquarters of armies and front-line units. Without them, it would have been impossible for senior commanders to meet with subordinates at short notice to discuss the situation or make snap visits to the front. Since command posts and headquarters were often well-camouflaged in wooded areas, small villages or other inaccessible locations, there was normally no regular runway for aircraft to land on. For this reason, the Fieseler Storch, with its short takeoff and landing capabilities, was favored by senior staff officers. The Storch could even land on rough ground, as might be found in a cow pasture, for example.


Source :
Magazine "Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Heinkel He 111 of Fliegerstaffel des Führers

The three photographs depict CA+NA, a Heinkel He 111 P-2 with the Werknummer 2471. This aircraft was part of the "Fliegerstaffel des Führers" (Leader's Air Squadron). The photographs were taken in the spring of 1942 during a visit by Hitler to an airfield in the southern sector of the Eastern Front. The serial number is clearly visible on the fin. Also note the yellow Eastern Front fuselage band and the unusually glossy finish of the aircraft code letters and fuselage cross. By the spring of 1942, CA+NA already had several years of service behind it. The aircraft's acceptance flight (as D-ADNH) took place on 21 October 1938. On 10 September 1939 it sustained 20% damage in a crash at Schweidnitz. At that time the Heinkel was with the Regierungsstaffel (Government Squadron) and used by Generalfeldmarschall Erhard Milch. Soon afterward, in autumn 1939, the unit was renamed to "Fliegerstaffel des Führers" (F.d.F.). In February 1941 the aircraft's marking were changed to CA+NA. It remained with the Staffel, as shown by numerous logbook entries. One such entry reveals that on 29 April 1941 the aircraft was being overhauled by Heinkel in Rostock-Marienehe. In 1942 the aircraft was known to have made flights from Imola, Finland, to Stalino in the south of the Eastern Front. The last known reference to this machine appears in the logbook of the Malmi airport in Finland, which records that it departed for Rastenburg in East Prussia (Hitler's headquarters) on 5 August 1944. The aircraft's subsequent fate is not known.


Source :
Magazine "Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Friday, January 15, 2016

Heinrich Hoffmann and Sepp Dietrich at Berghof Terrace


Shown here on the terrace of the Berghof Adlerhorst (Eagle's Nest) on the Obersalzberg, from left to right: Heinrich Hoffmann (Reichsbildberichterstatter/Hitler's personal photographer) and SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Josef "Sepp" Dietrich (Kommandierender General I. SS-Panzerkorps) during the spring-summer of 1944. As regard of decorations, Dietrich is wearing the neck order of Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern (Knight's Cross of the Iron Crosses with Oakleaves and Swords), ribbons of Blutorden (Blood Order) and Medaille "Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/4 (Ostmedaille), Alter Kämpfer chevron; Goldenes Parteiabzeichen der NSDAP (NSDAP Badge in Gold); Gemeinsames Flugzeugführer- und Beobachterabzeichen in Gold mit Brillanten (Combined Pilots and Observers Badge in Gold with Diamonds), and Kampfwagen-Erinnerungsabzeichen (World War I Tank Badge). Sepp was one of the most impressively decorated soldiers of World War II - not excluding Patton!


Source :
http://alifrafikkhan.blogspot.co.id/2014/08/kampfwagen-erinnerungsabzeichen-world.html

US Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Preparing for a Jump in Italy

US Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne preparing for a jump on Salerno (Italy) in September 1943. The distinctive color of the parachutist's utilities and the brown jump boots are clearly seen. Note also the CCKW 2 1/2-ton 6x6 transport truck with color bar marking on the door. These color bar coding used as a representation of army unit numbers used for shipping vehicles on a sea voyage (probably because it would be easier to put the vehicles of a certain unit together on the same boat that way, but you see different versions of the bars, with and without a letter next to it).


Source :
Book "US Special Forces of World War II" by Leroy Thompson
http://cckw.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2683

A B-1 Stand of a Junkers Ju 188

View of the movable dorsal defensive position (B-1 Stand) of a Junkers Ju 188 E-1 or F-1. The engine cowlings suggest that the aircraft was powered by BMW 801 G engines. The LLG 131 turret, with its kidney-shaped armored glass, was armed with an MG 131 machine-gun. The photograph illustrates just how restricted the gunner's view was from this position. Note the small windows on either side of the turret providing a view toward the rear. This feature was not seen on all Ju 188 aircraft. Just visible at the top of the photograph is the DL 131/1 D electrically-driven turret (B-2 Stand), which is also equipped with a single MG 131 machine-gun. An HD 151/2 turret could also be fitted in this position. In many cases the B-2 Stand was removed to minimize speed loss with the maximum bomb load. Note the interesting camouflage pattern on the engine cowlings. It may have been an RLM 65 finish with patches of RLM 71, which would suggest a maritime role. The photograph was taken somewhere in the Mediterranean, however the precise location and date are not known.


Source :
Magazine "Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

German Soldiers Taking a Break during the Russian Summer Campaign in 1942

Wehrmacht combat infantrymen taking a "Feuerpause" (firebreak) - the formal term for "cease-fire", a cigarette break or a short rest break - in their advance in Russia, summer of 1942. Soviet Union was in mortal peril, and with her the whole Allied cause. It was not so much the German advances, although they were great enough; nor the Russian retreats, although they were foreboding enough. It was the total fashion of retreat and defeat in the valley of the Don that chilled the hearts of Russia's allies and sharpened Moscow's cry for a second front. The warning from the Don was this: It was the Red Army, not the German Army, which had suffered the most in the previous winter campaign


Source :
SIGNAL magazine, 1942 edition
http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,802337,00.html

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Amphibious Assault Training of the American Infantry Unit

A few photographs of the U.S. 41st Infantry Division conducting amphibious assault training in Australia in early 1942. The Division was supposed to go to the Philippines in late 1941, but there wasn't enough shipping available to get it there. As a result, it was stuck at Fort Lewis until early 1942 when shipping became available. By then, the Philippines were a lost cause and the division was deployed to Australia as one of the first American units to get overseas in World War II. The photos come from the National Archives US Army Signal Corps collection (Record Group 111-SC). They clearly show that the unit was only partially re-equipped with the standard wartime gear most GI's carried.

Source :
http://airsoftpacific.com/viewtopic.php?t=11137&start=45
http://historylink101.com/ww2_color/WorldWarIIAmphibiousUnits/IMG_1548.html

Luftwaffe Aircraft Armorers in Action

Regardless of the weather, the aircraft armorers were required to move enormous quantities of bombs daily to keep the Luftwaffe bombers, dive-bombers and fighter-bombers operational. While hydraulic bomb trolleys were available (an LWC trolley is seen here), they were often of little use on rain-softened Russian airfields and muscle power was the only option. Here armorers are loading SC 50 high-explosive bombs onto a bomb trolley. Note the "Jericho" device on the bomb lying on the trolley. The "Jericho" was a cardboard whistle that was attached to the tail fins of a bomb. The "Jericho Whistles", which produced a shrieking sound as the bomb fell, were intended to demoralize the enemy. In the background an SC 500 anti-personnel bomb (with electric contact fuse) on a bomb sled. When and where the photograph was taken is not known.


Source :
Magazine "Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

American Soldiers Talk with a Swiss Watchmaker during Leave

At the war's end, three veteran soldiers from the US Third Army get a few pointers form an elderly Swiss watchmaker in what to look for when purchasing a good watch. Watches are very cheap in Switzerland, and nearly every GI sent home with one for himself or his girl! All three men are wearing wool "Eisenhower" jackets, wool trousers and two buckle boots. The "Eisenhower" jacket was inspired by the British battledress and ETO jackets. It had been originally designed to be worn as a liner to the 1943 field jacket but was instead used as a dress, or Class A, jacket. The man on the right has sewn a Third Army patch to his left shoulder. He is also wearing a later pattern trouser with a pocket flap added to the back pockets. Earlier pattern of trouser would have had a simple slash pocket.


Source :
Book "Patton's Third Army" by Christopher J. Anderson
http://historylink101.com/ww2_color/WorldWarIIRecreation/PICT0151.html

US MPs Guard a Bridge Over the Rhine

In a staged photograph, two III Corps MPs guard a pontoon bridge over the Rhine, connected Kripp to Linz (Germany), in 11-12 March 1945. Both men wear the cotton M1943 field jacket with wool shirt and trousers. They are also wearing two-buckle combat boots. Both men have white MP designation painted on their helmets. The MPs are both armed with .30 calibre carbines and carry extra magazines in a pouch attached to the right of their pistol belts. The flag on the right, and the shield at their feet, are the designation for the III Corps. The III Corps was part of the US Third Army from October 1944 to February 1945 and again at the end of the war.


Source :
Book "Patton's Third Army" by Christopher J. Anderson 
http://planet-clio.org/blog/category/stadtgeschichte/

Luftwaffe Bomber Ace Walter Grasemann in Front of He 111

Oberleutnant Walter Grasemann (23 July 1917 - 26 November 2007), Staffelkapitän of 9.Staffel / III.Gruppe / Kampfgeschwader 27 (KG 27) "Boelcke", in front of a Heinkel He 111 with the code 1G+BT after receiving the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Crosses) in 9 October 1943. Grasemann was awarded the decoration for his successes against railway targets and industrial facilities. The Staffel letter "T" and the yellow aircraft letter "B" identify the aircraft in the background as belonging to 9. Staffel. The first two letters of the manufacturer's code in front of the Balkenkreuz were only thinly overpainted, rendering the black characters of the unit code "1G" barely visible. The He 111 is an H-20 with the DL 131 rotating turret in the dorsal position. The aircraft are in the process of being refueled and a fuel truck may be seen on the extreme left of the photograph.



Source :
Magazine "Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

A US Corporal Boards the Ship that Will take Him to the Pacific

Striding up to the gang plank to board a China Burma India bound vessel is a U.S. Corporal who left his combat Engineer Unit from the Calais Staging Area near Marseille, southern France, to the Pacific. He said, "I hope this will not be a futile one." Over the wool trousers and shirt, this man has slung the three-snap gas mask bag, most likely being used as a haversack. Over his shoulders are the straps for the M1944 combat pack. This pack system, inspired by the Marine Corps' 782 gear, did not arrive in the European theatre until very late in the war and was not often seen in use. The two straps across his chest are probably for the M1936 musette bag. Normally, the two hooks at the end of the straps would be hooked to D-rings on the M1936 combat suspenders.


Source :
Book "Patton's Third Army" by Christopher J. Anderson
http://historylink101.com/ww2_color/WorldWarIIEveryDayLife/PICT0946.html

US Gunners Prepare their Howitzers for Shipment

At the end of the war in Europe, gunners of the U.S. 87th Infantry Division prepare their M2A1 105mm howitzers for shipment back to the United States. The 105mm was the standard field piece of American infantry divisions during World War II. Each infantry division would have been equipped with 36 of these guns. In armored divisions, the 105mm was mounted on a Sherman tank chassis and operated as self-propelled artillery. At the left of the picture are the two-and-a-half-ton trucks that towed the 105mms.


Source :
Book "Patton's Third Army" by Christopher J. Anderson

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Brandenburgers wearing Russian Uniform

Brandenburgers in Russian uniform in the summer of 1941. The Brandenburgers (German: Brandenburger) were members of the Brandenburg German Special Forces unit during World War II. The so-called “Brandenburger” (after the garrison) were the own troops of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris’ office (so-called “Haustruppe”) to perform commando-style combat operations, which were developed since the fall of 1939. In early August 1942, a Brandenburg detachment of 62 Baltic and Sudeten Germans led by Baron Adrian von Fölkersam penetrated farther into enemy territory than any other Brandenburg unit. Nicknamed "the wild bunch," they undertook to secure the oil fields at Maikop. Using Red Army trucks and the uniforms of the NKVD, the Russian secret police, Fölkersam infiltrated the Soviet lines. The Brandenburgers immediately ran into a large group of Red Army deserters, and Fölkersam saw an opportunity to use them. By persuading them to return to the Soviet cause, he was able to join with them and move almost at will through the Russian lines. Pretending to be a Major Truchin from Stalingrad, Fölkersam explained his role in recovering the deserters to the general in charge of Maikop’s defenses. The Russian general believed Fölkersam and gave him a personal tour of the city’s defenses the next day. By August 8, the German army was only 12 miles away, so the Brandenburgers made their move. Using grenades to simulate an artillery attack, the Brandenburgers knocked out the communications center of the city. Fölkersam then went to the Russian defenders and told them that a withdrawal was taking place. Having seen Fölkersam with their commander and lacking any communications to rebut or confirm his statement, the Soviets began to evacuate Maikop. The German army entered the city without a fight on August 9, 1942.


Source :
http://www.axishistory.com/axis-nations/154-germany-heer/heer-regimenter/4476-lehr-regiment-brandenburg-zbv-800
http://deutscher-freiheitskampf.com/2015/06/13/die-brandenburger-spezialeinheit/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburgers
http://www.historynet.com/the-brandenburg-commandos-july-96-world-war-ii-feature.htm

Briefings of Stuka Pilots Before their Mission

Crews of II.Gruppe / Schlachtgeschwader 1 (SG 1) at a mission briefing in front of their Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" D-5 at Rovaniemi, Finland, early April 1944. The groups of pilots are probably from different Staffeln, each receiving a specific briefing for its particular target. Note the different color rings on the propeller spinners (first machine on the left white, then two yellow, followed by red). The last aircraft in line has a white spinner with a black ring (possibly a Stab aircraft?). In early April the days are short in the high north, and the Gruppe had only a few hours of daylight in which to fly its missions. The Stukas are finished in improvised winter camouflage with a narrow yellow fuselage band and yellow wingtips. Note the heavy exhaust stains. Also noteworthy are the yellow-painted leather cuffs on the undercarriage fairings. This photo was taken by an unidentified Hauptmann of the Gruppenstab who was taken prisoner in southern Germany in May 1945. There American soldiers took from him several rolls of exposed, but undeveloped, film. The film was later developed by Kodak in the USA, and decades after that a collector discovered the collection by chance. The photographs were subsequently returned to Germany, albeit in poor condition.


Source :
Magazine "Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Monday, January 11, 2016

Military Payment of the Wehrmacht

Issuing a regular postal and military payment to member of Propagandakompanie in support of the 6. Armee in Soviet Union, summer of 1942. Every member of the German Armed Forces in active wartime service (except when a prisoner of war) receives tax-free war service pay (Wehrsold), paid to him in advance, monthly or at shorter intervals of not less than 10 days, by his unit paymaster. If he has dependents, he receives (also when a prisoner of war) family support payable direct to his dependents through the civilian authorities. A professional soldier receives, in addition to war service pay (but also when a prisoner of war) the equivalent of his regular peacetime pay (Friedensbesoldung) consisting of base pay (Grundgehalt), quarters allowance (Wohnungszuschlag), and allowance for children (Kinderzuschlag), less a wartime deduction (Ausgleichsbetrag) which in the ranks from major upward cancels out the war service pay and in the lower ranks offsets it in part according to a sliding scale. This compensation is known as Armed Forces regular pay (Wehrmachtbesoldung); its recipients are not entitled to civilian family support. Payments, usually by check, are made by a local garrison administration in Germany (usually near the man's home) for two months in advance (until 1 January 1945 it was one month in advance) to the soldier's bank account or to his dependents, if any. These payments are subject to an income-tax deduction at the source according to a sliding scale based on the amount of pay and the number as well as category of dependents.


Source :
https://www.bild.bundesarchiv.de/cross-search/search/_1452483993/?search[view]=detail&search[focus]=271
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=137752

Sherman Tanks Unloads from LST

Hit the beach! US Army M4A1 Sherman medium tanks unloads from a Navy LST (Landing Ship Tank) during a stateside training exercise. These vessels could carry a number of the M4 Sherman tanks, or a variety of other personnel and equipment. Massive landing craft filles to the gunnels with troops and equipment came into their own during the war as the spear point for amphibious invasion in the Pacific, the Mediterranean and in Europe. The tank is obviously new to the theatre. Soon the crew of this tank will have festooned their vehicle with a variety of things to improve their living conditions and chances of survival.


Source :
Book "Patton's Third Army" by Christopher J. Anderson 
https://pacificparatrooper.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/004-615x800.jpg

Stuka Ace Johann Klaus with Fellow Pilots at Rovaniemi

In this photograph, taken at the beginning of April 1944, Oberleutnant Johann Klaus (third from left) is seen with other crews of II.Gruppe /Schlachtgeschwader 1 (SG 1) in the Gruppe command post at Rovaniemi/Finland. His Ritterkreuz has been adjusted for maximum visibility. The purpose of the wall of boards was to shield the command post from bomb splinters. On 20 October 1944, while acting commander of II./SG 1, Oberleutnant Klaus was shot down by Russian anti-aircraft fire in his Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in the Ebenrode area in East Prussia. He baled out over the front lines, however the wind blew his parachute into Russian-held territory. Klaus sustained serious injuries as a result of striking the aircraft's tail surfaces. He was captured by the Russians and held as a prisoner of war until 1949. This photo was taken by an unidentified Hauptmann of the Gruppenstab who was taken prisoner in southern Germany in May 1945. There American soldiers took from him several rolls of exposed, but undeveloped, film. The film was later developed by Kodak in the USA, and decades after that a collector discovered the collection by chance. The photographs were subsequently returned to Germany, albeit in poor condition.


Source :
"Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Stuka Ace Oberleutnant Johann Klaus

Oberleutnant Johann-Alfred Klaus (born 4 September 1918) was a veteran pilot from II.Gruppe / Schlachtgeschwader 1 (SG 1). He joined II./StG 1 in july 1942 and by the spring of 1944 was one of the Gruppe's best pilots. His demonstrated abilities resulted in his appointment to the position of Staffelkapitän of 6./StG 1 in August 1943. In 30 August the same year Klaus was awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (German Cross in Gold). After more than 600 combat missions, he was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Crosses) at Rovaniemi/Finland on the same day as Oberleutnant Hans-joachim Jäschke (26 March 1944). This photo was taken by an unidentified Hauptmann of the Gruppenstab who was taken prisoner in southern Germany in May 1945. There American soldiers took from him several rolls of exposed, but undeveloped, film. The film was later developed by Kodak in the USA, and decades after that a collector discovered the collection by chance. The photographs were subsequently returned to Germany, albeit in poor condition.



Source :
"Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Cossacks Serving with the Germans

Cossacks serving with Germans. On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa and attacked the USSR, thus bringing Russia into World War II. During the attack some ROVS, especially the Cossack émigré generals Pyotr Krasnov and Andrei Shkuro, asked Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels’s permission to fight beside Nazi Germany against Communist Russia. Goebbels welcomed their idea and by 1942 General Krasnov and General Shkuro had mustered a Cossack force — mostly from Red Army POWs captured by the Wehrmacht — who would be under the command of General Helmuth von Pannwitz. The Wehrmacht recognized the Cossacks as military units with their own uniforms and insignia; the 1st Cossack Division was established the next year. Although the Cossack units were formed to fight the Communists in Russia, by the time they formed, the Red Army had already liberated most of the Nazi-occupied territory, so they were deployed to the Balkans to fight the Communist Yugoslav Partisans commanded by Josip Broz Tito. By the war’s end, the Cossack units had come under the command of the Waffen-SS. Photo by Kriegsberichter Gert Habedanck


Source :
Magazine "Die Wehrmacht" Nr.22 Ausgabe A, 28 October 1942

Member of the Chemical Warfare Fill F.S. Smoke Bombs in the Field

Member of the U.S. Chemical Warfare fill M1 Frangible Grenade (FS) smoke bombs in the field. In September 1942 the United States standardized a Molotov cocktail-style device that was nominally designated as a "grenade". It consisted of a pint-sized clear glass bottle with a crimped metal cap. It was dubbed "frangible" because it was made of glass, which is brittle and easily broken. Most fillers were liquid compounds selected because they were activated by exposure to the air, thus not requiring a detonator. FS was a mixture of sulfur trioxide and chlorosulfuric acid that created a heavy, acrid screening smoke. The M1 Frangible Grenade (FS) was declared limited standard by 1944.


Source :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_hand_grenades#M1_Frangible_Grenade_.28FS.29
http://historylink101.com/ww2_color/index.html

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Stuka Ace Hans-Joachim Jäschke

One of II.Gruppe / Schlachtgeschwader 1's most experienced pilots was 22-year-old Oberleutnant Hans-Joachim Jäschke. He joined the Gruppe at the beginning of 1942 and by the end of March 1944 was Staffelkapitän of 4./SG 1. On 26 March 1944, immediately after the Gruppe's arrival at Rovaniemi (Finland), Jäschke was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross). By then he had flown 553 combat missions and destroying 78 tanks, 27 guns, more than 100 trucks and 11 bridges! The two photographs show Jäschke at Rovaniemi at the beginning of April 1944. One of his comrades adjusts his Ritterkreuz for the photo opportunity. Note the cloth version of the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (German Cross in Gold), awarded on 2 August 1943, with metal wreath. Jäschke also wears Frontflugspange in Gold (Operational Flying Clasp in Gold) with 500 pendant and the cloth version of Flugzeugführerabzeichen (Pilot's Badge). Like all the pilots of II./SG 1, in the summer of 1944 Hans-Joachim Jäschke was forced to give up his faithful Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" and retrain on the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 F-8. The change did not bring him luck. On 21 July 1944, during a low level attack on an enemy column near Klezcsele in Hungary, Jäschke was shot down in flames by Russian anti-aircraft fire. He failed to get out and was killed in the ensuing crash and explosion. This photo itself was taken by an unidentified Hauptmann of the Gruppenstab who was taken prisoner in southern Germany in May 1945. There American soldiers took from him several rolls of exposed, but undeveloped, film. The film was later developed by Kodak in the USA, and decades after that a collector discovered the collection by chance. The photographs were subsequently returned to Germany, albeit in poor condition.

Source :
"Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

US Third Army Crossing the Rhine

A group of U.S. Third Army men are waiting to be transported over the River Rhine. The man sitting in the foreground is wearing the standard wool shirt and trousers and M1941 field jacket. He has a privately acquired red bandanna around his neck to reduce chafing. This bandanna would probably have been removed closer to the front line, as its bright color could expose the wearer to unnecessary attention. Around his waist, the man is wearing a navy life-preserver. This life-preserver could be inflated with either two CO² catridges at the front of the belt or manually. Many veterans of the Normandy landings complained that when these life-belts were inflated, they caused the wearer to flip upside down! The US Third Army carried out four river assaults in late March 1945. The 5th Infantry Division undertook the first on March 22, 1945, crossing the Rhine at Oppenheim, south of Mainz. They crossed without the usual artillery preparation, a maneuver that caught German troops by surprise. Within 48 hours, four US divisions had crossed the Rhine at Oppenheim and positioned themselves to advance into Germany. Third Army troops soon also successfully assaulted the Rhine at three other locations: Boppard, St. Goar, and south of the city of Mainz. Two divisions of the US Seventh Army crossed the Rhine near the city of Worms on March 26, 1945. All of these operations were vital in facilitating the encirclement of the Ruhr and the conquest of Germany.


Source :
Book "Patton's Third Army" by Christopher J. Anderson 
http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006181

U.S. Engineer Soldiers Train on the Construction of a Pontoon Bridge

U.S. engineer soldiers train on the construction of a pontoon bridge. These men are all wearing the wool trousers and shirt with field jackets. The man in the centre is wearing the first pattern "Olive Drab Field Jacket", commonly known as the M1941. This jacket differed from the later, and more common, M41 field jacket only at the pockets. Pockets on the M38 jacket featured a button closure flap over the pocket. This was eliminated from the M41 field jacket.


Source :
Book "Patton's Third Army" by Christopher J. Anderson

A Happy Time for the Nachrichtentruppe Member

A happy time for these three Wehrmacht soldiers. Looking from the sleeve patch, at least one of them (at right) is a Nachrichtentruppe member. The Nachrichtentruppe, in the sense of signal troops, were an arm of service in the army of the German Wehrmacht and Waffen SS, whose role was to establish and operate military communications, especially using telephone and radio networks. By order of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht dated 14 Oct 1942, it was part of the combat arms of the German Wehrmacht and Waffen SS until 1945. The colour allocated by the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS in 1935 to their signal corps was lemon yellow. By contrast, the corps colour of the air force signal troops of the Luftwaffe was brown. The precursor of the German Signal Corps was the Telegraph Corps formed in 1899 as a separate arm of service. Telegraph battalions, fortress and army signal units were not combined into the signal corps, the Nachrichtentruppe, until 1917, during the First World War. In addition to radio and telephone communications, the newly developed teleprinters, carrier pigeons and heliographs were used for messaging. During the First World War, radio telegraphy took on increasing importance. For example, in 1915 teleprinters were first used by the air force, for artillery observation. In 1916, the first signallers equipped with mobile radios were operating on the front line.


Source :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_Corps_of_the_Wehrmacht_and_Waffen_SS

Stukas of SG 1 in a Snowy Airfield in Finland

This photo was taken at Rovaniemi (Finland), one morning in early April 1944. It depicts a Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" D-5 of the 4.Staffel / II.Gruppe / Schlachtgeschwader 1 (SG 1). Note the white ring around the spinner in the Staffel color. In March 1944, II./SG 1 and its Ju 87 D-5 were based at Wesenberg in the northern sector of the Eastern Front. Attached to 3. Flieger-Division as part of Luftflotte 1, the Gruppe flew missions from Wesenberg in support of the hard-pressed German ground forces. On 20 March the Gruppe transferred to Rovaniemi, near the Arctic circle. From there it flew sorties, some nocturnal, against the Murmansk railway, the vital supply line from Murmansk to Leningrad. All of the war materiel shipped by Allied convoys to the ice-free port traveled south over this route. Cutting this rail line was therefore of vital importance to the fighting in the north of the Eastern Front and elsewhere. With its experienced pilots, II./SG 1 was ideally suited for this job, however the Gruppe was only in Rovaniemi for a brief time. In April it returned to the Baltic states, and at the end of the month it moved to Wilna to convert to the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 F-8. The Gruppe never returned to Finland. This photo itself was taken by an unidentified Hauptmann of the Gruppenstab who was taken prisoner in southern Germany in May 1945. There American soldiers took from him several rolls of exposed, but undeveloped, film. The film was later developed by Kodak in the USA, and decades after that a collector discovered the collection by chance. The photographs were subsequently returned to Germany, albeit in poor condition.


Source :
"Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Stuka Examined by US Military

 A German Junkers Ju-87 "Stuka" G-2 armed with underwing 37 mm Flak 18 antitank guns at the airfield in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, is examined by an American sergeant, 1945. Note the flame suppressors on the exhausts. With the G variant, the aging airframe of the Ju 87 found new life as an anti-tank aircraft. This was the final operational version of the Stuka, and was deployed on the Eastern Front. The reverse in German military fortunes after 1943 and the appearance of huge numbers of well-armoured Soviet tanks caused Junkers to adapt the existing design to combat this new threat. The Hs 129B had proved a potent ground attack weapon, but its large fuel tanks made it vulnerable to enemy fire, prompting the RLM to say "that in the shortest possible time a replacement of the Hs 129 type must take place." With Soviet tanks the priority targets, the development of a further variant as a successor to the Ju 87D began in November 1942. On 3 November, Erhard Milch raised the question of replacing the Ju 87, or redesigning it altogether. It was decided to keep the design as it was, but to upgrade the powerplant to a Jumo 211J, and add two 30 mm (1.18 in) cannon. The variant was also designed to carry a 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) free-fall bomb load. Furthermore, the armoured protection of the Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik was copied - a feature pioneered by the 1916-17 origin Junkers J.I of World War I Imperial Germany's Luftstreitkräfte - to protect the crew from ground fire now that the Ju 87 would be required to conduct low level attacks.


Source :
http://aircraftnut.blogspot.co.id/2014/05/back-to-ju-87-stuka-part-3-variants.html
http://historylink101.com/ww2_color/index.html

Stuka Ace Helmut Benkendorff in Front of his Aircraft

In August 1943 Oberfeldwebel Helmut Benkendorff, a pilot in 5.Staffel / II.Gruppe / Sturzkampfgeschwader 1 (StG 1), reached a significant milestone, completing his 500th combat mission. In this photo, Benkendorff can be seen in front of the aircraft in which he flew the milestone mission. The machine is a Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" D-5, which can be identified by the wing-mounted MG 151/20 cannon and the absence of a siren on the mainwheel fairing. The aircraft code is A5+MN. The aircraft letter is repeated on the left mainwheel fairing in the Staffel color red. Apparently the aircraft was prepared for another sortie immediately after landing. Behind Benkendorff members of the ground crew can be seen loading a bomb onto the aircraft with the help of an hydraulic bomb trolley. At that time II./StG 1 was active over the central sector of the Eastern Front. This photo itself was taken by an unidentified Hauptmann of the Gruppenstab who was taken prisoner in southern Germany in May 1945. There American soldiers took from him several rolls of exposed, but undeveloped, film. The film was later developed by Kodak in the USA, and decades after that a collector discovered the collection by chance. The photographs were subsequently returned to Germany, albeit in poor condition. Another pictures from the same event: 1, 2, 3.


Source :
"Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Helmut Benkendorff Welcoming Ceremony

 In August 1943 Oberfeldwebel Helmut Benkendorff, a pilot in 5.Staffel / II.Gruppe / Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 (StG 2), reached a significant milestone, completing his 500th combat mission. The photo shows Oberfeldwebel Benkendorff - "Mucki" to his friends - immediately after landing. With the flowers in hand, he receives the congratulations from the Staffelkapitän of 7./StG 1, Leutnant Willi Viertel (left), for the benefit of the photographers. The four wings on Benkendorff's left sleeve identify him as an Oberfeldwebel. Only a few days later, on 31 August 1943, Willi Viertel was shot down by ground fire while attacking enemy tanks near Glukhov. His aircraft (Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" D-3, Werknummer 2279) sustained a direct hit and crashed from a height of 300 meters. Viertel and his gunner, Oberfeldwebel Heinrich Hippe, were both killed. Helmut Benkendorff was later promoted to the rank of Leutnant and on 26 March 1944 was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) after more than 600 feindflügen (combat missions). He would completed 666 feindflüge by the end of the war. This photo itself was taken by an unidentified Hauptmann of the Gruppenstab who was taken prisoner in southern Germany in May 1945. There American soldiers took from him several rolls of exposed, but undeveloped, film. The film was later developed by Kodak in the USA, and decades after that a collector discovered the collection by chance. The photographs were subsequently returned to Germany, albeit in poor condition. Another pictures from the same event: 1, 2, 3.


Source :
"Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

German Prisoners in U.S. Custody

German POWs recently captured, and in the custody of American military police (MP). At least one soldier (second from right) is wearing an M44 uniform. In the United States, at the end of World War II, there were 175 Branch Camps serving 511 Area Camps containing over 425,000 prisoners of war (mostly German). The camps were located all over the US but were mostly in the South because of the higher expense of heating the barracks in other areas. Eventually, every state (with the exceptions of Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, North Dakota, and Vermont) had POW camps. Some of the camps had to be designated "segregation camps" and used to separate the Nazi "true believers" from the rest of the prisoners, whom they terrorized and even killed for being friendly with their American captors.


Source :
http://ayay.co.uk/background/historical/german_world_war_2_colour/German-war-prisoners-in-US-custody/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_War_II_prisoner-of-war_camps_in_the_United_States
http://stukasoverstalingrad.blogspot.co.id/2013/07/recently-captured.html

US Soldier Prepares to Enjoy some Beer and Pretzels

A happy private first class of the U.S. 87th Infantry Division / Third Army prepares to enjoy some beer and pretzels. He is wearing the flannel shirt. On his helmet liner he has attached a decal of rank below his divisional insignia. Just visible on his right wrist is a privately purchased name bracelet. These bracelet, from loved ones at home or acquired at many post exchanges (PX), were popular items with G.I.s. As well as being decorative, they serve as an additional means of identification should the soldier be killed or wounded.


Source :
Book "Patton's Third Army" by Christopher J. Anderson

A U.S. Army Forward Artillery Observer with a Field Phone and Radio

A U.S. Army forward artillery observer with a field phone and radio. He also served as telephone operator as the remote control point relays the observer's report on enemy activity to the Artillery Battalion Command Post. Infantry units would have observer from artillery units attached to direct artillery fire. Artillery support was a crucial element in the American advance in all theatres of war in World War II. On the left of the picture are several boxes of K rations. These rations were the most frequently consumed ration on the frontline. Each box contained a complete meal. Boxes were marked separately for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Source :
Book "Patton's Third Army" by Christopher J. Anderson
http://historylink101.com/world_war_II_resources.html

Friday, January 8, 2016

Helmut Benkendorff Greeted by Willi Viertel in the Welcoming Ceremony

In August 1943 Oberfeldwebel Helmut Benkendorff, a pilot in 5.Staffel / II.Gruppe / Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 (StG 2), reached a significant milestone, completing his 500th combat mission. The photo shows Oberfeldwebel Benkendorff - "Mucki" to his friends - immediately after landing. With the flowers in hand, he receives the congratulations from the Staffelkapitän of 7./StG 1, Leutnant Willi Viertel (left), for the benefit of the photographers. Only a few days later, on 31 August 1943, Viertel was shot down by ground fire while attacking enemy tanks near Glukhov. His aircraft (Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" D-3, Werknummer 2279) sustained a direct hit and crashed from a height of 300 meters. Viertel and his gunner, Oberfeldwebel Heinrich Hippe, were both killed. Helmut Benkendorff was later promoted to the rank of Leutnant and on 26 March 1944 was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) after more than 600 feindflügen (combat missions). He would completed 666 feindflüge by the end of the war. This photo itself was taken by an unidentified Hauptmann of the Gruppenstab who was taken prisoner in southern Germany in May 1945. There American soldiers took from him several rolls of exposed, but undeveloped, film. The film was later developed by Kodak in the USA, and decades after that a collector discovered the collection by chance. The photographs were subsequently returned to Germany, albeit in poor condition. Another pictures from the same event: 1, 2, 3.


Source :
"Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

A Gift Basket and Bouquet for Helmut Benkendorff's Welcoming Ceremony

In August 1943 Oberfeldwebel Helmut Benkendorff, a pilot in 5.Staffel / II.Gruppe / Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 (StG 2), reached a significant milestone, completing his 500th combat mission. This photograph, taken shortly before his return from the milestone mission, shows a staffel vehicle (Mercedes-Benz 170V saloon) adorned with a wreath and the number "500", along with a gift basket and bouquet. In the basket is the Gruppe's "Adler" (Eagle) emblem. This photo itself was taken by an unidentified Hauptmann of the Gruppenstab who was taken prisoner in southern Germany in May 1945. There American soldiers took from him several rolls of exposed, but undeveloped, film. The film was later developed by Kodak in the USA, and decades after that a collector discovered the collection by chance. The photographs were subsequently returned to Germany, albeit in poor condition. Another pictures from the same event: 1, 2, 3.


Source :
"Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=73232&p=1988977#p1988977

German Assault Team in Stalingrad Tractor Factory

A German assault team from 113. Infanterie-Division, supported by StuG III Ausf.F from Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 244, pause before another attack close to the remains of the “Dzershinzky” Tractor Factory (Stalingradski traktorni zavod im. F.E. Dzerzhinskogo) in Stalingrad, October 1942. One of the most significant spots of the Battle of Stalingrad was at the tractor factory, which before the siege was responsible for about 50 per cent of the T-34 tanks that went in to the front lines. In an assault beginning on October 14th, five German divisions - over 90,000 men, 2,000 guns and mortars, 300 tanks, and waves of Stuka's forged a path just over two miles wide to the main source of Russian resistance in the city; at the Tractor Plant and Barrikady factory. The assault began with a one and a half hour air and artillery bombardment that crushed everything within 100 meters of the frontlines. In spite of the sheer scale of the assault it actually resembled more of a technical tour de force then it did a crude battering ram. For instance, the Germans had prepared thoroughly, including carefully mapping Russian command posts by intercepting radio signals and then targeting each one for destruction. Thus, the Germans quickly decapitated the defenders, burying entire Russian command posts under a fury of bombs and shells. In spite of a brave and spirited resistance on the part of the Russians, actually driving off the first wave and shocking the attackers who otherwise had thought nothing could have survived the bombardment, the Germans regrouped and pushed through.


Source :
http://www.globeatwar.com/article/october-1942-stalingrad
http://ww2today.com/15th-october-1942-the-unrelenting-battle-for-stalingrad-continues

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Supply Sergeants Check and Record Whole Blood being Shipped to Field Hospitals Somewhere in France

12 June 1944, France - Supply sergeants check and record whole blood being shipped to field hospitals somewhere in France. The Containers also contain dry ice to keep the blood at a proper temperature. The knowledge that men would be cared for if wounded was crucial to morale. The soldier on the left is wearing the standard wool uniform and overseas cap. The man in the centre and on the right are wearing the cotton herringbone twill (HBT) fatigue uniform. The man in the centre also has buttoned over the gas flap of his HBT shirt, while the man on the right is wearing a white cotton T-shirt


Source :
Book "Patton's Third Army" by Christopher J. Anderson
http://historylink101.com/ww2_color/WorldWarIIMedicalFacilities/index.html