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Ardennes Offensive images - 8/3/2007 6:04:52 PM   
Neilster


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To cut a long story short, about 15 years ago I stupidly threw out a bunch of early 70's issues of the Purnell's History of the Second World War when leaving home to enter the Air Force. I regretted it almost immediately but recently, thanks to the wonder of EBay I got them all back...and some. Anyone who has seen this series will know what I'm talking about. It was an exhaustive, 96 part production (along with many extra special publications on special topics like secret weapons) by serious historians, in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum and is brilliant.

One of my motivations for getting them back was the photos. A series that stuck in my mind was a famous one of SS troops advancing past burning American vehicles early in the Ardennes Offensive, smiling and enjoying plundered cigarettes. I decided to do some research to ascertain if anyone knew where and when they were taken. More to come...

Cheers, Neilster











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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/3/2007 6:32:15 PM   
Neilster


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It turns out the ambushed American vehicles were from the 14th Cavalry Group and that these photos were taken on 18th Dec 1944 by SS propaganda photographers. The troops are actually follow-on forces from Kampfgruppe Hansen and Schnellgruppe Knittel of 1st SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" and they were taken near Poteau, which is roughly NW of St Vith.

Cheers, Neilster











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< Message edited by Neilster -- 8/3/2007 7:29:54 PM >

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/3/2007 6:38:44 PM   
Neilster


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It's amazing what one can find out about such things 62 years later. It seems the guy in the famous second image survived the war and is still living in the U.S. but wants to remain anonymous. I've often wondered what happened to him. The last image shows exactly where each photo of the original set was taken (although mine are in a different order). I hope you enjoy them.

Cheers, Neilster











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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/3/2007 6:50:43 PM   
David Heath


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Thanks that was really interesting read.



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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/4/2007 11:26:11 AM   
flintlock

 

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Great stuff. Appreciate the post.

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/4/2007 12:17:33 PM   
Hartford688

 

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There's a rather good little museum on the site (as recorded on Neilster's photos) that is well worth a visit.  You can get a halftrack tour next to the ambush (a White halftrack or German H/T depending on the day) which is fun, with a commentary by a member of museum staff. They have a nice set of displays inside (many vehicles) and several pieces of armour parked outside, several in running condition. A particularly fine SU100.  Well worth a visit if you are in the area. Very eerie standing next to the road and seeing the photos from 63 years earlier!

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/6/2007 1:14:20 AM   
Bloodybucket28th


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I don't recall what book it was, but I remember seeing some additonal pictures and reading an account that showed how "staged" these pictures were...IIRC, one of the photogs hands out the American smokes, then snaps pictures of the troops smoking the captured goods.

Very dramatic pictures, whatever the circumstances.

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/6/2007 1:42:10 AM   
Fred98


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Excellent post!

-

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/6/2007 10:51:31 PM   
jhdeerslayer


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Purnell's History? I still have mine. Came in weekly or bi-weekly magazines IIRC and read everyone years ago and still a good reference. I also bought the Post-war ones which was another 32 magazines.

If my house burns down, I grab these first and then the family.

If you like these pic's, you should check out the Then and Now series of books and there is one on the Bulge. They are quite interesting but pricey. http://www.rzm.com/main/main.cfm

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/6/2007 11:59:54 PM   
ilovestrategy


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Wow, this is amazing! Thanks so much for posting this! 

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/7/2007 2:26:54 AM   
Neilster


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On the Battles From The Bulge forum final_drive has provided evidence that my assertion that the dude in the famous photo has been identified is incorrect. I knew there had been an incorrect name thrown around but was under the impression that the correct guy had been contacted. It seems this is false, so like so many other WW2 combatants, this man may have vanished into the mists of history.

These photos are often captioned as if they are from the first hours of the offensive but I always suspected they were from later. These soldiers look confident but tired, as if they have had very little sleep for a couple of days. As they were taken on the 18th, that is almost certainly true.

Cheers, Neilster

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/7/2007 6:15:44 PM   
Cap Mandrake


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Hard to believe the soldier in the first pic is under threat. It looks staged. Also it looks like the treads on the tracked vehicles have been buring a while.

Still amazing pictures.

For anyone who has seen Brady's pictures of Gettysburg, it is a very disquieting feeling to walk among the boulders of the Devil's Den.

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/7/2007 6:17:45 PM   
Terminus


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When I saw the title of this thread, I couldn't help but think "what's offensive about the Ardennes?"

Must be the heat getting to me...

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/7/2007 6:34:46 PM   
Neilster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cap Mandrake

Hard to believe the soldier in the first pic is under threat. It looks staged. Also it looks like the treads on the tracked vehicles have been buring a while.

Still amazing pictures.

For anyone who has seen Brady's pictures of Gettysburg, it is a very disquieting feeling to walk among the boulders of the Devil's Den.

Yes, they're staged. Perhaps I didn't spell that out clearly enough above. Very many WW2 "combat" images were staged.

Cheers, Neilster

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/7/2007 7:17:35 PM   
Neilster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Terminus

When I saw the title of this thread, I couldn't help but think "what's offensive about the Ardennes?"

Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt thought the Ardennes was pretty offensive when ordered to attack there.

Sepp Dietrich wasn't too keen either...

"All Hitler wants me to do is to cross a river, capture Brussels, and then go on and take Antwerp! And all this in the worst time of the year through the Ardennes where the snow is waist deep and there isn't room to deploy four tanks abreast let alone armoured divisions! Where it doesn't get light until eight and it's dark again at four and with reformed divisions made up chiefly of kids and sick old men-and at Christmas!"

quote:

Must be the heat getting to me...

The poor bastards fighting there could have done with some heat at the time.

Cheers, Neilster




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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/7/2007 8:35:49 PM   
GreyFox


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Neilster

Yes, they're staged. Perhaps I didn't spell that out clearly enough above. Very many WW2 "combat" images were staged.

Cheers, Neilster



Yeah. There was a programme about that on the TV one day, the Americans did their filming behind the lines. Got some poor sods to climb a hill, only they didn't look like they were actually in combat so the director threw some grenades down the hill past the infantry and they sure looked like they were in combat then.

< Message edited by GreyFox -- 8/7/2007 8:36:15 PM >


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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 8/7/2007 8:59:56 PM   
Cap Mandrake


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Check out John Huston's The Battle of San Pietro

http://www.publicdomaintorrents.com/nshowmovie.html?movieid=641

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_of_San_Pietro

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 4/9/2008 9:09:46 PM   
mlespaul

 

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The book you are looking for that details the roll of film of the sequenced filmed by the kriegsbereit staffmember.  It goes through it in chronological order and frame by frame. It even analyzes each wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, and SS person individual shown in the pictures.  The book is called "Nuts! the Battle of the Bulge : the story and photographs" by Donald M. Goldstein.

 

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 4/9/2008 11:01:17 PM   
Grell

 

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Nice pic's!

Regards,

Grell

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 4/10/2008 6:01:06 AM   
Sarge


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Very Cool stuff Neilster !

Thanks for sharing



Dig the M1carbines !





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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 4/10/2008 6:12:07 AM   
V22 Osprey


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Why would germans have M1s?

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 4/10/2008 6:13:45 AM   
cdbeck


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I find your Ardennes Offensive. 

Bad joke, but these are good pics! I may use them for my upcoming WWII class.

SoM


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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 4/10/2008 7:05:57 AM   
Sarge


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quote:

ORIGINAL: V22 Osprey

Why would germans have M1s?


He needed a weapon and supply is not the direction their heading



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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 4/10/2008 8:19:25 AM   
Goblin


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Much better than a bolt action in a short range firefight too.

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 4/10/2008 4:36:43 PM   
anarchyintheuk

 

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Same guy in front of the tree in the second photo, the third photo and the one in front in the fifth photo. Reminds me of the "aren't you a little short to be a stormtrooper?' line.

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RE: Ardennes Offensive images - 4/10/2008 5:00:27 PM   
philturco

 

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These photos about the destruction of the calvary detatchment by elements of the 1ss are famous. I have a book about the ardennes offensive thats very good that covers this engagement. This book(?name escapes me..was written by a frenchman who's "obsessed" with this battle). Its the best book about the offensive I've ever seen. Gives exact makeup of the forces'ect.

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