Famous photograph, what is his story?

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Spandau
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Famous photograph, what is his story?

Post by Spandau » Sat Jan 29, 2005 4:50 pm

Ave,

I 'm sure we have all seen this picture many times. I think it is in almost every WW2 picture album and is surely in every book about the Battle of the Bulge. It is so outrageously common and striking that there must have been some research done about.
What is known about this picture? Does anyone know who he is or his fate?
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What is his story?

-Spandau
If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze into you.

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Christoph Awender
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Post by Christoph Awender » Sat Jan 29, 2005 5:51 pm

Propaganda photographers don´t write down all names of the hundreds and hundreds of soldiers they photographed or filmed. I am sure that the name and of course the fate of this soldier is totally unknown as the photographer surely didn´t care ( in lack of other words) and did for sure not follow the fate of this particular soldier.

\Christoph

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Post by michael kenny » Sun Jan 30, 2005 7:29 am

If I remember correctly the name of this man is known. Timo would know more about it than anyone else.

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Christoph Awender
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Post by Christoph Awender » Sun Jan 30, 2005 9:50 am

michael kenny wrote:If I remember correctly the name of this man is known. Timo would know more about it than anyone else.
I doubt it and I was not able to find a thread by Timo where he said that he knows the name. But unfortunately Timo is out if reach.

\Christoph

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Simon Orchard
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Post by Simon Orchard » Sat Feb 05, 2005 3:42 am

It's theoretically possible the man's name is known, the man's unit is known after all 2./SS-Pz.Gr.Rgt. 1. So any surviving veterans of the bulge campaign from that kompanie could well remember his name.

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Post by Emil » Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:00 am

How certain can we be that he is indeed from that unit? Authors and publishers tend to use this photo to depics the German fighting men from Russia 1942, through the Ukraine, Normandy and the Ardennes up until Hungary 1945.

On the axis history forum there were several discussions about this man in which he was "identified" as a sniper in Stalingrad, a certain Walter Armbrush from LSSAH but also as a member of the recce btln from LSSAH.

Emil

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Post by Simon Orchard » Sat Feb 05, 2005 12:07 pm

The most detailed analysis i've seen of this and the rest of the photos\film in the sequence comes from the book 'The battle of the bulge: Then and Now' There are several shots of this particular guy in the sequence and he is in fact an MG-42 gunner. The exact location, date and unit's involved are all known.

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Post by Emil » Sat Feb 05, 2005 12:32 pm

And this book gives this unit as 2./SS-Pz.Gr.Rgt. 1? In the axis history forum discussions several men in those photographs were identified as members of the recce btln of the LSSAH. Even names are given but not for this particular soldier.

Does Jean Paul Pallud, the author the author of the book you mention, give a source for the information that we are actually looking at a member of 2./SS-Pz.Gr.Rgt. 1?

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Post by Emil » Sat Feb 05, 2005 12:43 pm


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Claudy WINANT
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Story about the famous photograph.

Post by Claudy WINANT » Sat Feb 05, 2005 1:21 pm

Poteau lies about twenty kilometres west of Saint Vith at the junction of the roads from Vielsalm, Recht and Roth. The films exposed by the German cameraman were captured by the 3rd Armored Division althrought they were completely devoid of any identification as to the location. Only after much research covering every road in the area of the breakthrough was the author able to pinpoint the precise stretch of road.
Almost every German unit and every place on the Western front has "been" depicted" by these pictures but it seems that no one had ever positively identified the location. In August 1979 the autor, Jean-Paul Pallud conducted detailled research into the series of photographs, together with the accompanying cine film, and after much effort was able to state that all the pictures had been taken on a short stretch of road between Recht and Poteau, along a curve less than one kilometer North of the crossroads. The area at the time was no man's land and small individual fire-fights were taking place around the junction as Combat Command 'A' of the 7th Armored Division mounted a counter-attack. The men of the 1.SS-Panzer-Division ( SS-Obersturmführer Ulmer) who appear in the pictures only fought for one day in the area, and held the place only for a few hours; for the next five days battles raged back and forth across the fields. The crossroads, just a few hundred metres away, controlled a vital exit road from beleaguered Saint -Vith and, as a consequence, the 7th Armored Division (colonel Rosebaum) couldn't relinquish the ground. It happened on December, 18th 1944.
The SS-Schütze armed to the teeth is fotographed in front with two Fallschirmjäger in the field. They are taking a little stop and American cigarettes are shared out for a well-earned smoke. The man has no name, he was a MG 42 machine-gunner and quite frequently he has been described as being also armed with a captured Colt .45 Government Issue semi-automatic. The weapon is in fact a 9mm Browning High-Power - German designation P640(b) - the suffix 'b' added for "Belgische" as production of this pistol continued in the FN factory under German supervision. In some of the following pictures we see also an SS-Sturmann running holding a captured M1 carbine in his hands.
All these men belang to the 2.Kompanie, 1.Bataillon, SS-PanzerGrenadier Regiment from Kampfgruppe Hansen.
This is my explanation of the picture you asked for.
Hopely it helps you a little further.
Claudy.

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Post by Emil » Sat Feb 05, 2005 1:37 pm

Claudy,

According to the various discussions on the axis history forum your information in not 100 percent correct:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=50799

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=49737

What is your source for the information you provide?

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Post by Claudy WINANT » Sat Feb 05, 2005 1:44 pm

Hi Emil,

I refered to the book "battle of the Bulge" Then and Now from J.P.Pallud
but, could be wrong if you say so !!
Claudy.

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Post by Emil » Sat Feb 05, 2005 2:37 pm

I don't say so. I am referring to the axis history forum discussions.

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Post by Emil » Sun Feb 06, 2005 1:36 pm

Simon Orchard: do you know where the identification of this men as a member of 2./SS-Pz.Gr.Rgt.1 originates? Is it Pallud or another source? Does any other forum member know?

Emil

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Simon Orchard
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Post by Simon Orchard » Sun Feb 06, 2005 3:31 pm

This is from Pallud. how he arrived at this conclusion i don't know. However he does believe that one of the photos in the series may show the company commander.

Here's the website to the museum in the area
http://www.museum-poteau44.be/

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