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St Lambert Battle Normandy VC awarded. Then and Now.

Article about: It has all been said before me, so I echo the rest of the troops, what an amazing amount of research and a visual treat to see the 'then & now' images brought to life like this. Great st

  1. #11

    Default Re: St Lambert Battle Normandy VC awarded. Then and Now.

    It has all been said before me, so I echo the rest of the troops, what an amazing amount of research and a visual treat to see the 'then & now' images brought to life like this. Great stuff.

    Bob

  2. #12

    Default Re: St Lambert Battle Normandy VC awarded. Then and Now.

    This is the first post for me but I just had to say "WOW", great job!!!

  3. #13

    Default Re: St Lambert Battle Normandy VC awarded. Then and Now.

    Great shots - many of which I hadn't seen before. I drove through the area a couple years ago having taken a day to drive out from Paris.
    I wish I would have had more time! I too found the spot where Currie won his VC.....it was almost surreal to be standing in such a quiet spot - knowing what it was like not too long ago!!

    Thank you for the thread! Here I am standing not too far from where Currie would have been!

    Cheers!

    Rob
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture st-lambert.JPG  

  4. #14
    ?

    Default Re: St Lambert Battle Normandy VC awarded. Then and Now.

    Hello,

    I am a new member here, but not new in searching in Normandy.

    A question I'm very interested in:
    What happened to the german officer after his caption???
    His name reported from the Canadiens: Siegfried Rauch.

    I wrote to the deutsche Kriegsgräber-Ministerium, his fate is unknown!!

    Obviously he was killed directly from the canadiens, then he disappeared unknown?? because he never reached a prison camp or his family in germany.

    Please try to help me!

    If you will look to my german thread: Thema anzeigen - Hauptmann Siegfried Rauch/2.PzDiv - Panzer-Archiv

    Greetings

  5. #15

    Default Re: St Lambert Battle Normandy VC awarded. Then and Now.

    What a fantastic pictorial representation of , "Then and Now." Stunning!

    Regards,

    Joel

  6. #16

    Default Re: St Lambert Battle Normandy VC awarded. Then and Now.

    Hi WeyAx,
    Thanks for your post I've been thinking about this for a couple of days and have come up with one possibility based on the facts at that time. Thanks I didn't know his name or that he disappeared so this proves again there's always something new to learn.

    Due to the overwhelming numbers of German troops at that time (Aug 1944)trying to break out of the pocket and the small size of Major Curries group who were attempting to close the escape route through St Lambert, Currie was unable to maintain his hold and as it grew dark had to pull back outside the Village to occupy a small hill/ridge where he continued the battle through the night by firing blindly into the village and even shooting through buildings at the sound of voices and armour on the other side.
    This just illustrates how venerable his force was, so with that in mind it's easy to understand why, as the prisoners were captured including Siegfried Rauch's Group. Major Currie was unable to spare any of his troops for use as escort for the prisoners march to captivity.
    To get over this problem he ordered one of his Sherman tanks driven onto the small ridge just ouside the village (the one he would later occupy that night) and to have it facing the road in the direction of Trun and the next Allied troops around 3km away. The only option he had was to disarm the prisoners and then order them to keep walking along the road in the direction of Trun (but pointing out to them the Sherman tank covering the road) were they'd be taken into custody.
    Now from the German soldiers point of view after 2 months of shattering Normandy battles many were by this time only too happy to be taken prisoner by the Allies, they'd survived and escaped the hell of the battles they'd been through. But this view doesn't cover all prisoners taken, some (many being Officer's) wanted to do all they could to escape back to their own forces. So with this in mind and seeing the opportunity of not being escorted into the cage and with the confusion of the battle all around St Lambert, they took a chance and made a break for it across the fields.
    But sadly for them the Sherman tank crew watching from the vantage point behind and just outside St Lambert were too quick to react and with a quick burst from the machine gun their escape dream was over, the escapers dead lying in the dust of the Normandy fields.
    Now there were very few escape attempts like this, but the few that tried ended up being killed at least thats what the Sherman crew said but I suppose if any had got away it's unlikely they'd report it being responsible for stopping them?.
    Now perhaps one of these dead could have been Officer Siegfried Rauch? If it was then its probable that due to the overwhelming number of dead in the area following the battle he was probably buried where he fell very quickly in a shallow grave. Surprisingly much of this nasty work was done by the local population made up of women, boys from 12 to 16 years and old men. The Allied armies couldn't stop but continued to chase the retreating German forces. If he was killed and burried then perhaps he was either overlooked when the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfüsorge started the recovery of the German war dead in the late 40's early 50's onwards? or perhaps was found but was not identified.
    This is only an educated guess based on the facts available but is a possibility.
    I truely hope one day that something will come to light to explain his disappearance.
    Best Wishes.
    LUCKYSTRIKE

  7. #17

    Default Re: St Lambert Battle Normandy VC awarded. Then and Now.

    LUCKYSTRIKE,

    There is nothing I like better than a "Then and Now" thread. The way that you positioned the old shots over the present day photos true to scale, brings life into the story in an amazing way. This is one of the best threads on this site in my opinion...and I don't even collect WWII.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  8. #18
    ?

    Default Re: St Lambert Battle Normandy VC awarded. Then and Now.

    Yes Luckystrike this is a good thought. But one of the canadiens was still living last year and he told his son the story of this german officer: Only Rauch was seperated sidewards from his group.
    The others marched in captivity and were numbered in the cages, only Rauch dissapeared.
    The old canadien soldier could not say more, only that Rauch was separated because he was still so proud in his behaviour.
    Then the canadien soldier had t do other things and march forward.

    Perhaps his proudness was his fault and he was shot immediatly???

    And then?? His body was never found nore was he identificated later.
    Is he still laying there???
    I agree with you: He was probably buried where he fell very quickly in a shallow grave. Surprisingly much of this nasty work was done by the local population made up of women, boys from 12 to 16 years and old men.

    On my next visit, I therefore will go to Lambert, trying to find one of this 12-16 year old members of the formerly population.

    Greetings

    Alex

  9. #19

    Default Re: St Lambert Battle Normandy VC awarded. Then and Now.

    Alex,
    Oh that's sad..., but remember the Victors always write/manipulate the histories and hold the Courts so anything unsavoury that they did was often overlooked and not mentioned.
    But I suppose it's easy for us in our comfy world of today to make judgements based on our values. But really we have to try to put ourselves in the position of the soldiers of that day, living through hell on earth most days, under great pressure. There were also not well informed about what was going on, the wider picture of the battle like today, probably only knowing the immediate area. They'd probably also experienced close buddies being killed, this must have been enough for many men to see red.
    Looking at the photo of Hauptmann Rauch surrendering probably the last picture taken of him, he certainly looks proud. I guess being an Officer the Canadians would have wanted to interrogate him for info.
    For reference immediately to the right of the picture is a track that leads to a farm and the Chateau de Quantite a Saint-Lambert. Many troops attempting to escape the pocket also used this route over the footbridge.
    At the time I suppose he was just another soldier killed in action.

    For your next visit, there are still elderly residents in St Lambert because I have seen them wandering around, but never spoken with them. But I did meet a man in Chambois who as a 12 year old boy in 1944 and worked from first light to darkness 16+ hours per day for 1 month after the battle clearing and burying the dead in his area. There were so many dead to get below ground quickly to stop the spread of disease that graves dug were often only 40cm deep and arms or legs were left sticking out the ground!. He also shockingly said on a number of occasions they had to use two horses to pull the baked hard flattened bodies of soldiers off the road surfaces where they'd been crushed by tanks. It's unbearable really to think about.
    With so much time now passed and so many bodies buried pretty much everywhere in the area, I'm sure it'll be hard for the locals to remember a specific grave but we should never give up trying. He was an Officer so perhaps he'll be remembered, I really do hope that he is found one day. But as I said before perhaps he has already been found but not identified and is today at rest as an unknown.
    LUCKYSTRIKE

  10. #20

    Default Re: St Lambert Battle Normandy VC awarded. Then and Now.

    Great threads gentlemen....I really wish I had had the opportunity to talk with some of the local residents....but I didn't. I was there perhaps 30 min. before moving on.
    Whatever his fate.....I hope he rests in peace. War is hell....always has been - and always will be.

    Rob

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