I've recently had a couple of weeks away in the Ardennes first time there for three years. My wife gets bored so she didn't come which meant I had no deadlines for getting back etc etc, She also doesn't like camping, especially in Autumn when it's cold it got down to 6C at night!
Anyway whilst away I started taking a few of the comparison picture matches with 1944 and I just went on and on I ended up with quite a few telling the story of much of the Route of the 6.Panzer Armee and 1. SS Panzerkorps inc Kampfgruppe Peiper. Driving many miles and then walking the villages to find the matches. I got a lot of strange looks from the locals with the odd net curtain twitching and a dark shadowy figure behind. But it was worth it to get some good pictures to share with for the forum.
So I'll take you on a journey (in as near as possible chronological date order) adding new posts to this thread so it'll be worth coming back. I'll do them as quick as I can but it takes a while to scan images and prepare the matched picture posts. But if you enjoy them as much as I did visiting the sites then it'll be worth it
On 14/12/44 SS Oberfuhrer Wilhelm Mohnke called a meeting in the small Village of Tondorf to brief his Officers. Hansen, Sandig, Knittel and Peiper were all in attendance together with Skorzeny and his officers who were to support Peipers forces. It was at this meeting that Mohnke first broke the news of the Ardennes offensive. Peiper admitted 'he didn't know about it but had deduced something was up?' because he was approached 3 days earlier by the Chief of Staff 6th Panzer Army Krammer asking what Peiper thought about the possibility of an attack in the Eifel Region and how long it would take a Panzer Regiment to cover 80KM. Being the man he was and with a hint like that, Peiper tested it himself in a Panther driving through the night following the route Euskirchen - Munstereifel- Blankenheim. It took him one night to cover the distance but he had clear roads. With an entire Division having to fight its way forward, things would prove different.
The originals are well known 1944 news footage often shown today showing a column of Tiger IIs part of Peipers Kampfgruppe moving up toward the front lines on the afternoon of 15/12/44 (the offensive commenced early morning 16/12/44). The pictures were taken in the tiny village of Tondorf with its narrow streets, even today cars have to be cautious, so it must have been very tight squeezing the Tiger IIs through.
Please notice the last original pic showing Tiger 222 (inadvertently I followed its route across the Ardennes taking pics on route to its destruction in Stavelot). Tondorf still has lots of early staccato buildings and I took a pic of a very similar one to the one behind 222 for reference but its not the correct one. In fact the last couple of pics show the actual building, but its now sadly rendered so the woodworks hidden (notice the tiled roof to its left). I apologies for not taking it at the correct angle it had been along day it was 8.00pm and a lot darker than it shows, pouring with rain and I still had an hours drive back to camp. So I took it from my car with my camera balanced on the steering wheel.