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Now & Then.. Ardennes Iconic Image Journey..

Article about: Many thanks for your time and effort Luckystrike , this is an awesome thread many injoyable times , cheers Raymond

  1. #21

    Default Re: Now & Then.. Ardennes Iconic Image Journey..

    The Cross Roads

    Meanwhile back with Peipers column, due to the bad conditions of the roads west out of Honsfeld he decided to deviate off Rollbahn D and head toward Bulligen and onto Rollbahn C (This was assigned to the 12th SS Panzer Div). But he hoped to find additional fuel for his Panzers there, he was aware of the heavy fighting to his right and rear (Rocherath and Krinkelt) and realised that the 12th SS were being delayed so Rollbahn C would be clear for him. His first Grenadiers entered Bullingen at 20.00 soon taking 50 prisoners and a supply depot with 50,000 gallons fuel . This was soon syphoned into the panzers. Whilst here Peiper was informed by a prisoner that in Ligneuville was the HQ of 49th AAA Brigade. A nice prize if he could get there quick enough!
    Approaching the Baugnez Cross Roads a small US convoy of vehicles (Battery B, 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion) was spotted. The one sided fire fight didn't last long and the US prisoners were herded into a meadow near the Cross Roads and placed under a light guard. Peipers Kampfgruppe did not stop and continued down the hill toward Ligneuville.
    Peiper was at the head of the column and well past the Cross Roads when the shooting incident occurred. 86 men were found shot in the meadow although some were casualties from the first skirmish.
    Now there have been lots of theories put forward to explain exactly what happened at the Cross Roads and sadly we'll probably never fully find out. But the official version for the War Crimes trials have been found to have inconsistencies with the actual situation.
    That said it's sad but both sides shot men who had surrendered during this offensive. The victors of war always try the losers and the War Crimes courts are always very one sided. Similar incidents carried out by US troops were hushed up and did not receive the same publicity. I personally feel for every victim of this conflict no matter which Nationality.

    The first picture shows the US column knocked out in the initial skirmish with Peipers Kampfgruppe, Malmedy is down the hill behind the photographer. The second pic is taken from near the cross roads looking down the hill in the direction of Malmedy. The third picture shows Madame Adele Bodarwe's Cafe with vehicles heading along the small road toward Hedimont. In the foreground is a knocked out vehicle from the column. The next picture was taken along the road to Hedimont looking back toward the column and cross roads. These bodies lie some 100m from the main site of the shooting and are believed casualities of the initial battle for the cross roads. Next is looking across the massacre site toward the cross roads the road to Ligneuville runs left to right. The massacre memorial stands on the other side of the road behind the trees. The next picture is also looking across the site toward the cross roads with the route to Ligneuville being behind the photographer.
    LUCKYSTRIKE
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  2. #22

    Default Re: Now & Then.. Ardennes Iconic Image Journey..

    Four pictures to Honour the victims of the massacre, this is the memorial. Every victim is named on the wall.
    LUCKYSTRIKE
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  3. #23

    Default Re: Now & Then.. Ardennes Iconic Image Journey..

    Most excellent!!

  4. #24
    ?

    Default Re: Now & Then.. Ardennes Iconic Image Journey..

    congatulations on a marvellous piece of work ,

    cheers Al

  5. #25

    Default Re: Now & Then.. Ardennes Iconic Image Journey..

    The T Junction

    Every time I've visited Kaiserbaracke I've been disappointed and this time was no different, the on going development of this small corner of Belgium has pretty much eradicated all comparison's with the past. But it was here on the 18/12/44 that perhaps some of the most well known pictures of the German fighting man in the last months of the war were taken, so I couldn't ignore the place.

    Following Rollbahn E through Manderfeld then skirting North of Meyrode the I.SS Panzer Division arrived at Kaiserbaracke cross roads 18/12/44. It was made up of Kampfgruppe Hansen, Kampfgruppe Knittel with possibly elements of Kampfgruppe Sandig. Hansens men turned (to their) left at the junction for Recht 4km away to head toward Poteau and Knittel/Sandigs men carried straight on North toward Ligneuville. I'ts believed that stragglers from Peipers Kampfgruppe may have also used this route to head North to rejoin Rollbahn D and catch up. For reference I've included a couple of pictures showing an Sdkfz 251 halftrack of Hansen's column turning West toward Recht with a Tiger II of Knittel/Sandig continuing North.
    Picture 1 shows two Non Commisioned Officers of SS Pz Aufkl. Abt 1 recon unit walking past the junction, My comparison shows the same spot and sadly how it looks today, as you can see further development is in progress!!!.
    Pictures 2 & 3 had to be included, the famous pictures of the schwimmwagen at the junction. The only way I could get the signs in to show the distances to Malmedy and St Vith was walk backwards and squeeze between the developers JCB's.
    Pictures 5 and 6 show Hansen's Halftrack turning toward Recht and Knittel/Sandig's Tiger.II. continuing straight on.
    Next picture shows a Steyr towing 12cm mortar turning to Recht, this is the best comparisom it's still possible to recognise the place. but for how long? This junction is now closed JCB's all over it and may even be redeveloped as I send this. (Sad)
    The final picture was taken from the ditch just behind and to the left of where I took the last picture. This picture shows a Tiger.II but its our no. 222 that we saw in Tondorf at the start of this thread.
    LUCKYSTRIKE
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  6. #26

    Default Re: Now & Then.. Ardennes Iconic Image Journey..

    Ligneuville

    Returning to the 17/12/44, Peipers Kampfgruppe is rolling down the hill and into Ligneuville from the Baugnez Cross Roads. Unlucky for Peiper he just missed his prize the Commander (Gen Edward Timberlake) and his HQ of 49th AAA Brigade. Missing them escaping from the Hotel du Moulin 10 minutes before he only found their Lunch. Most of the US forces were already withdrawing and moving out toward St Vith. But the US 9th Armoured put up a fight and the first Panther heading for the bridge in the centre was hit by a Sherman shell and knocked out. Peipers own vehicle was targeted but pulled back but another was hit and destroyed. Peiper actually got out of his vehicle with a panzerfaust to stalk the troublesome Sherman himself, but it was knocked out by fire from another Panzer. In this action Peipers Kampfgruppe lost a Panther and two armoured vehicles. A few US soldiers were captured and a few questioned in the Hotel du Moulin, at some point during the German occupation of Ligneuville (several day's) 7 US POW were taken out the back of the hotel and shot (today there is a memorial to their memory).
    With in hours of its capture SS Oberfuhrer Wilhelm Mohnke had moved into and set up his forward command post in the Hotel all in the same day as the US HQ. Peipers column soon moved out just two hours later but Peiper initialy stayed behind to confer with Mohnke.
    The next day 18/12/44 saw the stragglers of Peipers column perhaps Knittel or Sandigs Kampfgruppe approaching the village from the other side rolling down the hill. It was here that Tiger.II. stopped and several very detailed pictures were taken of it with as many as 20 Fallschirmjager on top. After this brief stop it resumed down the hill turning left just before the village to follow Peipers Kampfgruppes route to Stavelot.
    Moving through the village in an American Jeep (21/12/44) Otto Skorzeny said that unexpectantly 3 US shells came over and exploded just beside him. He jumped out of the jeep and into a ditch but his jeep was crushed by a lorry following behind.
    No German pictures were taken of Peipers column in Ligneuville, but when it was recaptured in Jan 1945 US photographers took pictures which showed the wreckage of Peipers Kampfgruppe including the Panther and in the first picture you can see a wrecked jeep which is believed to be Skorzneys. I also show a couple of pictures of the memorial to the shot US troops by the SS.
    The next pictures were taken on the 18/12/44 by an
    SS- Kriegsberichter of Tiger.II number 222 and my comparison pictures were taken in exactly the same position. Whilst I was taking these in the distance I heard the distinctive sound of a WW2 vehicle coming toward me up the road at some speed. So I was lucky to get the final picture with no blurring.
    LUCKYSTRIKE

    LUCKYSTRIKE
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  7. #27

    Default Re: Now & Then.. Ardennes Iconic Image Journey..

    Luckystrike
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  8. #28

    Default Re: Now & Then.. Ardennes Iconic Image Journey..

    Great work Luckystrike. You've certainly made your contribution in preserving the memory of such historic locations in spite of the developers. To think it's approaching sixty-five years since those original black and whites were taken...

    No doubt you're familiar with Philip Vorwald's excellent 'Battle of the Bulge Through the Lens' book which identifies the cigar-smoking SS Unterscharfuhrer in your T-Junction series as Ochsner (and not Pieper as a few early books on the subject claimed) and his mate as Oberscharfuhrer Persin.

    You refer to Kampfgruppe Hansen and its route to Poteau-Recht. Does this mean you'll be posting more comparisons on another famous photographic sequence taken in December 1944?

  9. #29

    Default Re: Now & Then.. Ardennes Iconic Image Journey..

    A Masterpiece Luckystrike !

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  10. #30
    Jonesy
    ?

    Default Re: Now & Then.. Ardennes Iconic Image Journey..

    Brilliant! A fantastic, informative thread, well done mate!

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