Monday, April 9, 2018

US Troops Marching in Saint-Lô

United States Army trucks and jeeps drive through the ruins of Saint-Lô, Normandy (France), in July of 1944. A group of American soldiers is walking along the street. The town was almost totally destroyed by 2,000 Allied bombers when they attacked German troops stationed there during Operation Overlord. The Battle of Saint-Lô is one of the three conflicts in the Battle of the Hedgerows (fr), which took place between July 9–24, 1944, just before Operation Cobra. Saint-Lô had fallen to Germany in 1940, and, after the Invasion of Normandy, the Americans targeted the city, as it served as a strategic crossroads. American bombardments caused heavy damage (up to 95% of the city was destroyed) and a high number of casualties, which resulted in the martyr city being called "The Capital of Ruins", popularized in a report by Samuel Beckett. The picture was taken by Reinhard Schultz from PRISMA magazine

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

American Medics Drive Through the Ruins in Normandy

 American military medics drive through the rubble and ruins of an unnamed town somewhere in northwestern France in the summer of 1944. The ruins left behind after warfare speak a language of their own. Even more strikingly, no matter where the conflict has taken place — whether it's in northern Europe or the South Pacific, the Middle East or Central Africa — the vernacular of destruction is often the same: Buildings reduced to rubble and dust. A scarred, tortured landscape seemingly devoid of life, aside from small human forms trying to piece it back together. Twisted, rusting, abandoned vehicles. And always, above it all, the indifferent sky. Frank Scherschel, who shot the photograph, was an award-winning staff photographer for LIFE magazine

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

British Commonwealth Soldiers with Nazi Flag at Cassino

British and South African soldiers show off a prize, a swastika Nazi flag, after finally conquering Monte Cassino, 18 May 1944. By May 1944 the historic Benedictine Abbey of Monte Cassino had been reduced to rubble. As part of Operation Diadem, the task of capturing it was given to Polish II Corps, but their attack on the night of May 11th/12th failed. The German positions in and around the ruins high on the mountain (atop which the soldiers above are standing on) were simply too strong. Further to the south, however, French troops managed to find a way through the Aurunci Mountains, which the German's believed are impassable, and could now overlook the Liri Valley, through which highway 6 ran to Rome. A second attack on Monte Cassini by the Poles, on May 17th, made some progress, but because of the French advance German troops were already withdrawing from the Gustav Line. The following morning the Polish flag was hoisted over the ruins of the abbey. The capture of Monte Cassino came at a high price. The Allies suffered around 55,000 casualties in the Monte Cassino campaign. German casualty figures are estimated at around 20,000 killed and wounded. Total Allied casualties, spanning the period of the four Cassino battles and the Anzio campaign with the subsequent capture of Rome on 5 June 1944, were over 105,000. This image is in beautiful and original Kodachrome, and was taken by Carl Mydans from LIFE magazine.

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Monday, April 2, 2018

Captured German Kübelwagen in the Liberation of Paris

Paris, France, 26 August 1944: Car carrying journalists and photographers of YANK magazine give a ride to French partisan and unidentified woman during parade held the day after the liberation of Paris by Allied troops. They are using a captured VW Kübelwagen Typ 82, a light military vehicle designed by Ferdinand Porsche and built by Volkswagen during World War II for use by the German military (both Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS). Based heavily on the Volkswagen Beetle, it was prototyped as the Type 62, but eventually became known internally as the Type 82. Kübelwagen is an abbreviation of Kübelsitzwagen, meaning "bucket-seat car" because all German light military vehicles that had no doors were fitted with bucket seats to prevent passengers from falling out. The first VW test vehicles had no doors and were therefore fitted with bucket seats, so acquiring the name VW Kübelsitzwagen that was later shortened to Kübelwagen. Mercedes, Opel and Tatra also built Kübel(sitz)wagens. The picture was taken by Frank Scherschel from LIFE magazine.

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