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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. #31

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

    Thanks for your comments I appreciate them.
    This Forum has members from across the World and with the best will in the world not all will be able to visit these places in person, so that is why I started this thread. Being interested from an early age I grew up with many of these images in my mind and I still find it a thrill to stand in the actual spots where they were originally taken. But often they turn out to be really quite insignificiant and ordinary places, where you wouldn't look twice if you didn't know!
    Yes I do know the book, for me it's the be all and end all for Ardennes battlefield detectives and I'd highly recommend it. But when I go away on these trips usually alone I take a small library of books for reference.
    Stewfoxy your historic geography is very good, you're right I plan to post the set you refer to tomorrow.
    All the best Guys.

  2. #32

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

    Also worth noting in the last sequence is the fallschirmjaeger extreme left of the group on the Tiger II. Isn't that a Sten he's holding? Wonder how he acquired that?

  3. #33

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

    Yes, it is indeed a Sten MKII. No doubt picked up in previous actions against British or Commonwealth forces.

    This is a superb thread

    Cheers, Ade.

  4. #34

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

    Superb indeed! I hope we get to see more!

  5. #35

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

    The ambush and the photo shot

    Obviously by now the US forces were fully aware something big was happening. By 17/12/44 some US units had panicked and strove to escape Westward creating hold ups and huge traffic jams. This blocked the roads for US Units still trying to move East to face down the German spearheads. One unit caught up in this maelstrom was the 14th Cavalry Group which had moved West from Born via Recht and had already lost or abandoned many of it's vehicles. The new HQ was based in Poteau, even the Commander and his staff had continued moving West to set up the HQ in the 106th command post. But orders were received in Poteau for the 14th Cavalry to about turn and return to Born to defend it!.
    The highest ranking Officer left in Poteau was Col A Duggan and he spent that night reorgansing what little he had left, to move out in the morning to comply with the orders. Obviously this was a hard task with many of the men jittery from the panics the previous day.
    Early on the morning of 18/12/44 this rag tag unit Task Force Mayes consisting of 32nd Sqdn (C troop), 820th Tank Destroyer Batt and part of the 18th Sqdn Commanded by Major J Mayes moved out North towards Recht.
    They'd only traveled 300mtrs along the road when the first M5 tank and M8 armoured car burst into flames. They'd been stalked and knocked out by grenadier fired Panzerfaust from the spearhead of Kampfgruppe Hansen (whom we had seen turning onto the Recht road a couple of my posts ago). Peering into the early morning mist the US troops could make out a large number of Grenadiers heading toward them.
    Being jittery already it didn't take too much for them to abandon most of their vehicles and pull back to Poteau in the hope of defending it. It was here they put up a good fight and took casualties but facing Jadgpanzers it was a one sided fight so Col Duggan gave the order to withdraw at around 12.00. The few vehicles remaining carried the wounded whilst the remainder of the US troops walked out onto Vielsalm. Now Poteau and the cross roads were in German hands!.
    Kampfgruppe Hansen continued on it's way Rollebahn E leaving only a few Grenadiers at the cross roads.
    The abandoned and burning in places US column that was captured so early in the skirmish proved to be a very tempting backdrop for the german Kriegsberichters who had probably been shadowing Kampfgruppe Hansens push West. They began filming and photographing the scene, the initial film probably shows real action against the US held road block ahead. But once the US troops had pulled, back this column was then used as the back drop for countless staged and posed photos and film. These pictures are now known the world over with many of the soldiers recorded having since been identified, and you'd think that would be the end of the story, well not quite!
    That very evening the Poteau crossroads were recaptured by the US 7th Armoured brigade (Combat Command A) following a hard battle. These crossroads were to remain in American hands there after, even though determined attacks by both the 1st and later
    9th SS Panzer Divisions attempted to recapture it to push West. This fighting around the Poteau crossroads was to provide another record, it was the longest tank battle in Amercan history lasting from 18th through to 23rd Dec 1944.
    In 1947 the Commander of the 7th Armoured Brigade,
    General R.Hasbrouck recommended that all units involved be Granted a Presidential Unit Citation......
    all units that is except the 14th Cavalry Group!!!!

    The Belgium German border used to run through Poteau, the first picture shows the family of the Chief of the German Custom House photographed in 1941, on the 22nd Sept 1944 they fled never to return. In the fighting the building was badly damaged and is now part of the Poteau Museum (a museum I highly recommend). The next set of pictures is put together to show you how the German Kriegsberichters often used one position to take a number of pictures (I only showed some note others were also taken from this spot).
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 1.jpg   2.jpg  

    3.jpg   4.jpg  

    5.jpg   6.jpg  

    7.jpg   8.jpg  

    9.jpg   10.jpg  

  6. #36

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

    The next set of pictures is believed to have been taken whilst the battle for the crossroads was still raging. It finally shows the Officers walking back toward their vehicles once the crossroads had been captured.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 11.jpg   12.jpg  

    13.jpg   14.jpg  

    15.jpg   16.jpg  

    17.jpg   18.jpg  

  7. #37

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

    The next picture shows the abandoned US column. Following that we now get into the staged pictures... I'm sure you'll recognise plenty.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 19.jpg   20.jpg  

    21.jpg   22.jpg  

    23.jpg   24.jpg  

    25.jpg   26.jpg  

    27.jpg   28.jpg  


  8. #38

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

    The next three pictures are also staged, posed propaganda pictures.
    Next I'd always wanted to have a closer look at the shed shown in the background of some of the film and photo's. It's still standing under the same tree (which has grown a lot), so I've put together this small collection.
    The final picture shows the memorial stone on the site of the abandoned vehicles to honour the dead of the 14th Cavalry Group.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 30.jpg   31.jpg  

    32.jpg   33.jpg  

    34.jpg   35.jpg  

    36.jpg   37.jpg  


  9. #39

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

    Magnificent work Lucystrike. Imagine standing in their shoes like you have.

    I know this was a posed sequence but it took place during probably the last significant action of the Wehrmacht and I've often wondered what route the landsers featured took during the previous years and where they ended up in May 1945.

  10. #40

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

    I just love this Epic

    I dont want it to end

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

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