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What is he wearing???

Article about: In the famous series of photos taken at the kaiserbaracke crossroads on December 18th 1944, ( reputed to be ) SS-Unterscharführer Ochsner and his driver in a VW-Schwimmwagen type 166, pose f

  1. #1

    Default What is he wearing???

    In the famous series of photos taken at the kaiserbaracke crossroads on December 18th 1944, ( reputed to be ) SS-Unterscharführer Ochsner and his driver in a VW-Schwimmwagen type 166, pose for the camera - and history is made!

    What hat is he wearing? ..... I have heard 'US tanker' bandied about but not sure. Also his clothing seems to be wet weather gear ( or just a smock glistening from being soaked through? )

    Anyone have a definitive answer to put this one to bed for me?



    Cheers, Dan
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    " When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle "

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  3. #2

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    Most noticeable is the chin snap clip.....which the type collector should be able to identify this leather helmet. Also one must take into consideration the year and what opposing forces against the Germans...might have left this behind to be picked up by this driver.....it at all allied related. great pics Regards Larry
    It is not the size of a Collection in History that matters......Its the size of your Passion for it!! - Larry C

    One never knows what tree roots push to the surface of what laid buried before the tree was planted - Larry C

    “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” - Winston Churchill

  4. #3

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    Well, just to bring this old thread up to speed, in the book ‘Leibstandarte 1943-1945’ by Charles Trang ( published 2008 ) the two NCOs in the images were identified as SS-Oberscharführer Persin in the first Schwimmwagen and SS-Unterscharführer Ochsner in the second.
    These were first identified by Jean Paul Pallud in Battle of the Bulge 1984 according to Trang)

    Since then that has been the understanding in all the references – no, put the Pieper story to bed - its NOT him but these two men. ( the driver remains unknown )

    Then in 2011 the book"FATAL CROSSROADS, The Untold Story of the Malmédy Massacre" was published - Danny S. Parker (Author)

    He wrote "The images we see were taken at the Kaiserbaracke Crossroads (Rollbahn E) on December 18 1944 and are from a captured German PK film - most likely a stage publicity shot. As mentioned, the Grenadiers in these famous stills are often captioned being Ochsner and Persin of the 1.SS-Panzer-Division's reconnaissance unit on the southern route of the German counter-attack in the Ardennes. However, SS-Panzer-Aufklarungs-Abteilung.1 veterans have no memories of either of them. Nor are they listed in the Volksbund database or in the address lists of the Truppenkameradschaft."

    H'mm, the plot thickens .....

    The following was posted this year on the Axis History forum….

    "Eight years after Trangs book we can confirm that the officer in the first Schwimmwagen is SS-Obersturmführer Goltz, commander of the 4. (schw.) Kompanie, SS-Pz.AA1 LSSAH. Manfred Coblenz, then commander of the 2. Kompanie, identified him as such. It is my estimated guess that the famous "Peiper" Schwimmer shows members of the 3. (V.W.-) Kompanie: however, only weeks before the offensive they received a shipload of fresh replacements from the Ersatz-Btln "Totenkopf" and it's likely that our "Peiper" perished in the senseless attacks against Stavelot. The veterans of the SS-Pz.AA1 never got familiar with their names. As for the names "Persin" and "Ochsner": I guess it's hard to confirm any name for these men as long as we don't know who Jean Paul Pallud's source was."

    So another story not so concrete after all eh? ...... like mystery man Hans Tragarsky these men remain hidden by history - these images our only tantalizing glimpse of their lives 72 years later.

    Regards, Dan
    Last edited by Danmark; 09-28-2016 at 10:12 PM.
    " When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle "

  5. #4

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    Yep, a very well known pic that I first saw in the book "Ashpalt Soldiers" back in the '70s.

    I can't offer any opinion on the ID of these men but as for the drivers headgear I think it is simply a period flying helmet (similar types for drivers also existed, even AH himself was wont to affect the style) and not service issue at all.

    Here is a pic of an English made modern repro;

    Regards

    Mark

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    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares more about than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature with no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

  6. #5

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    Just thought I'd throw another couple of photos in ...... to show time & progress waits for no man!!

    Kaiserbaracke crossroads then.....

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    and now......

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    TWO signs instead of one...... and NO TANKS!!!!

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    " When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle "

  7. #6

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    I agree with Mark. It's simply a civilian leather helmet, widely worn at the time by motorists when driving open vehicles, riding motorcycles or traveling in sidecars.

    Still somewhat popular with drivers of vintage cars today and readily available, this type of headgear is known in German as a "Cabriohaube" [Cabrio = a convertible car, Haube = cap, hood].

  8. #7

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    Quote by HPL2008 View Post
    I agree with Mark. It's simply a civilian leather helmet, widely worn at the time by motorists when driving open vehicles, riding motorcycles or traveling in sidecars.

    Still somewhat popular with drivers of vintage cars today and readily available, this type of headgear is known in German as a "Cabriohaube" [Cabrio = a convertible car, Haube = cap, hood].

    These things were sold by the Kleiderkasse SS. Artikel Numero 66 here. They are sold in hat stores, today, as Andreas notes, and I own two of them.

    I even own a Cabriolet, but I seldom use it.
    damit, basta.

  9. #8

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ID:	1003206I will say that this "cross roads of death" looks about 1000% more prosaic than once upon a time. Looks like so many semi rural interesections I have been across in Belgium. Or like the 08/15 Gewerbegebiet as found in some hundreds of locales today across Germany and Austria and wherever in Europe.

    These propaganda images take on a life of their own, which aesthetic theory amply interprets and which collectors naively think contain a depiction of reality.

    These pictures are often just as much an aesthetic artifact as not in our curious and very invented and contrived world of symbols, violence, masculine derring do, and so forth.

    The scholarly interpretation of photographs is a very interesting project, but many of the users on sites are ill equipped to tackled the challenge.

    The recent book on the photo album of the Auschwitz adjutant in the Washington Holocaust Museum is a real point of light in all of this.
    Last edited by Friedrich-Berthold; 09-28-2016 at 07:10 PM.
    damit, basta.

  10. #9

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    Name:  51kB-efrq8L.jpg
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Size:  51.6 KBLet me also say that many of the books with vivid accounts of battle and so forth are the subjects of sloppy research and much derivative writing.

    Real research to an exacting historical standard is especially difficult, since the requirement to depict battle accurately is problematic even in ideal circumstances,
    and battle, by its very nature, is antithetical to such ideals.

    I learned much of a very insightful nature from this work by a leading scholar.
    damit, basta.

  11. #10

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    Well after much searching and researching the events of the day before ( Dec 17th 1944 ) I'm now sure its a US tanker's cold weather hood.

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    A retreating US column with M8 armoured cars, M3 half-tracks & jeeps were destroyed further toward St Vith and we know the famous photos of the SS men smoking captured US cigarettes and using allied guns ( colts, Stens etc.. ) so it's logical they stripped some cold weather gear as well from the Americans..... something they HAD to do in sub-zero temps to survive.

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    If you look close and compare, the same clasp is clearly visible as is the flap at the rear ( automobile and flying skull caps don't have this feature ) and even the stitching seems to be in a similar spot....

    Dan

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    " When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle "

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