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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. #1

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

    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

    It Begins

    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.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 1 Tondorf.jpg   2 Tondorf 1.jpg  

    3 Tondorf 2.jpg   4 Tondorf 3.jpg  

    5 Tondorf 4.jpg   6 Tondorf 5.jpg  

    7 Tondorf 6.jpg   8 Tondorf 7.jpg  

    9 Tondorf 8.jpg   91 Tondorf 9.jpg  

    92 Tondorf 10.jpg  

  2. #2

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

    Fantastic pictures Luckystrike

    I cant get enough of these comparison pictures.

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

  3. #3

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

    Good work Lucky,

    It's important that people like you care enough about these few days in a century of history to record and make available to present day historians/collectors.

    Let us all here understand the hard work that has gone into this thread.

    The hours of research, then the hours of running round a French village (in the rain) to find the corresponding photo's.

    I personally find this thread a superb example of dogged determination, and as such, should be lauded and applauded. Well done on a great job sir!!!

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  4. #4

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

    Hi Lucky, these are outstanding pictures of present and past. Ned is absolutely correct and we here are thankful for the time/research you have invested in your quest.

    rgds, Ty

  5. #5

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

    Thanks guys for your comments, they're much appreciated. Here goes for the next instalment.

    Rollbahn D, The head of Peipers Column

    When Peipers column reached Lanzerath, Peiper was not happy to find Oberst i.G Von Hoffman commander of Fallschirm-Jager Reg 9 sat comfortable in a cafe waiting for an artillery barrage before resuming the advance. After a heated debate and also backed by orders from I. SS-Panzerkorps the 1 Abteilung of the F.S. Reg 9 was requisitioned by Peiper to aid his advance to ride atop of the Panzers for all round defence and quick attack capabilities.
    Peiper left to continue his advance through the night, it was very dark forcing some of the F.S Jager troops to dismount and walk beside the blacked out Panzers holding out white handkerchiefs for the drivers to see to guide them. Although the next village Buchholtz had been taken by F.S Rgt 9 just before they reached it, a brave lone American radio operator remained hidden in a cellar and reported the strength (at that time) of Peiper's column consisting of 28 Halftracks and 30 Panzers.
    Just before daybreak they entered the Village of Honsfeld. The US troops of the 99th Infantry Div and the 14th Cavalry Group were taken by surprise and unable to put up much resistance many tried to escape but getting caught up in jams out of the village (many were taken prisoner). They left behind large amounts of equipment, Peiper stated the booty taken included 50 recon vehicles, 15 antitank guns and around 80 trucks. At this point the Fallschirmjager remained behind to occupy the village and the command returned to F.S.Regt 9. Only a few were to continue West with Peipers column.

    Now the pictures, there were some very famous pictures taken in the village at this time mainly of the propaganda type. Ever since the war they have appeared in countless publications about the Ardennes Offensive and WW2.

    The first picture shows Grenadiers and a halftrack of Kampfgruppe Peiper entering the village, note the abandoned US halftrack being searched. The next and probably most famous shows Fallschirmjager in the centre of Honsfeld at the water trough looking for booty. With US victims still lying where they fell. The next shows the same scene from a different angle. (Note.. I wish I'd had the money because the large house with the garden running down to the water trough is currently for sale, it'd make an ideal museum due to its position or even a guest house for battlefield tours?)
    The next picture shows yet more death and destruction with two of the abandoned anti tank guns. The final picture shows yet more Fallschirmjager in a farm yard packed with abandoned US equipment. Note the Halftrack with AT gun and the Willy's jeep. I'm unsure about this comparison, the yard I found was the most like the original and a villager did confirm I was correct, telling me the barn was extended in the 1980's?
    During my walk through the village I also found parked on a drive way this 1940s vehicle, Canadian?
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 1 Honsfeld.jpg   2 Honsfeld.jpg  

    3 Honsfeld.jpg   4 Honsfeld.jpg  

    5 Honsfeld.jpg   6 Honsfeld.jpg  

    7 Honsfeld.jpg   8 Honsfeld.jpg  

    9 Honsfeld.jpg   91 Honsfeld.jpg  

    92 Honsfeld.jpg   93 Honsfeld.jpg  

  6. #6

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

    Hi, I think you are right on the barn.

    The truck is a Canadian Military pattern Ford F60 with No.13 cab.

    Great thread

    Cheers, Ade.

  7. #7

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

    Itīs a great job.

  8. #8

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

    Awesome these are fantastic , thanks Luckystrike , Raymond

  9. #9

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

    Thank you....really...awesome job!!
    It is so strange to see how such warplace are now so quite, so rustic, so simple,... I mean, look the pic with the anti-tank gun with those poor dead it is a garage, a simple, stupig garage!!! like million of others garage that we use everyday..
    Life goes on!

  10. #10

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

    Thanks Drago, A photograph captures just a moment in time they're precious to us, giving a glimpse into then time. But we have to remember that often a battle or even war only effected a place, maybe a village or town for only an hour or so when the photo was taken, not always of course. But that's why I like to visit the places to see them now in reality, but with the photo to hand its easy to imagine their past.

    Rollbahan D - Merlscheid

    With todays set of pictures I'm actually back tracking on yesterdays, Merlscheid is a few miles back from Honsfeld down the route of Rollbahn D with the village of Lanzerath between. The reason I've chosen to do this is because some of the pictures show a large procession of US prisoners (99th Inf Div) all captured around Honsfeld. They've already been marched through Lanzerath and are now heading toward Merlscheid and then on into Germany and the POW cage for a few months.

    The first pictures show them about to turn to their left and head down the road into Merlscheid. The next couple of pics actually show them now heading down this road whilst a Tiger II of SS Panzer Abteilung 501 drives up and past them, the photographer then turned back and took the next picture as it past. We continue on into the village where the next picture shows more of the German column just reaching and passing the church (nice Kubel).
    The final picture shows the bravery of the Pilots this Thunderbolt is photographed (from the eastern side of village) actually on a strafing run against what would have been the heavily defended column. He could have just ignorred them to stay out of range, but driving down into that fire power, just one man against hundreds. It's so easy to forget, but this was going on unrecorded every day all over the front.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 9 Merlscheid prisonners .jpg   91 Merlscheid prisonners.jpg  

    93 Merlscheid prisonners.jpg   94 Merlscheid prisonners.jpg  

    5 Merlscheid Prisonners.jpg   6 Merlscheid Prisonners.jpg  

    7 Merlscheid Prisonners.jpg   8 Merlscheid Prisonners.jpg  

    1 Merlscheid Chapel Rollbahn D.jpg   2 Merlscheid Chapel  Rollbahn D.jpg  

    4 Merlscheid Thunderbolt stafing column.jpg   3 Merlscheid Thunderbolt Strafing column.jpg  

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