30 July 2013

German Pioneer Attempting to Demolish Turret No.2 of Fort Maxim Gorky

Image size: 1600 x 1154 pixel. 445 KB
Date: Thursday, 18 June 1942
Place: Fort Maxim Gorky, Sevastopol, Crimea, Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

German assault troops from the 1.Kompanie / Pionier-Bataillon 173 / 73.Infanterie-Division / XIV. Panzerkorps / 1.Panzerarmee / Heeresgruppe Süd attempting to demolish turret No.2 of Fort Maxim Gorky I on 18 June 1942. Althought the fort's two turrets were already inoperative, the German pioneers made repeated attempts with explosive charges and improvised fire bombs to get at the gun crews still holding out below ground. In June 15-17 Germans Infanterie-Regiment 213, 1st and 2nd company of Pionier-Bataillon 132 and 1st company of Pionier-Bataillon 173 moved in to encircle the 30th battery. Communication land line with Sevastopol was cut, on the next day radio communication was also shut down, since all external aerials were destroyed (radio with internal antenna proved to be unable to perform properly). Clearly understanding value of 30-th battery in Sevastopol defense system Germans continued attacks by tanks and infantry. Gnawing their way through Russian defenses they put out of action machine-gun nests, suppressed snipers fire and ward off counter-attacks. Previous heavy bombardment, going on for weeks, considerably soften defense, stripping 30th battery of all field defenses, removing barbed wire, leveling trenches, machine-gun nests and detonating minefields. On June 17 30-th battery was completely encircled. Next day it fired all remaining live shells. Battery gunners used whole shots, which were stored before war for training purposes. One such shot torn off turret of the German tank, which tried to fire from Sofia Perovsky state farm. When no more shells remains in stock, battery fired 70 kg powder charges, three at once, and lucky shot, producing jet stream of powder gases with temperature up to 1000 degrees Celsius, reportedly, could obliterate approaching German infantrymen. But 30th was already doomed. By that time Germans were storming Northern Side and Michailovsky Bastion, far in the battery's rare. 200 gunners, marines and soldiers from 95th Rifle Division were still inside the battery compartments, blocked by the Germans, who by that time positioned machine guns to control exits. German infantry regiment and three pioneer battalions managed to reach damaged turrets and lobbed hand grenades inside.

"Sevastopol 1942 - Von Manstein's Triumph" by Robert Forczyk

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29 July 2013

221 Japanese Prisoners of War Approach USS Admiral C. F. Hughes

Image size: 1600 x 1301 pixel. 845 KB
Date: Tuesday, 1 May 1945
Place: Apra Harbor, Guam, Marianas
Photographer: Unknown

LCT approaches Coast Guard-manned USS Admiral C. F. Hughes (AP-124). She put in at Guam on April 30, 1945, and all her passengers disembarked. After taking another group on board, including 221 Japanese prisoners of war from a Tank Landing Craft (LCT), she stood out of Apra Harbor on May 3. The transport made a two-day stop at Pearl Harbor from May 10-12 to disembark the prisoners and then continued her voyage back to the west coast. While over 420,000 German and Italian POWs were held in American camps, only 5,000 Japanese were detained by the war's end. This was partly because of explicit and implicit orders to fight to the death, a reluctance by Americans to take prisoners, and an increasingly obvious threat to the Japanese Home Islands. Many Japanese fighting men preferred to die in combat rather than be taken prisoner. At the end of the war, when it was realized that Japan was going to lose, About 2,500 were held at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin. The rest were dispersed to Camp Huntsville, Camp Hearn and Camp Kenedy in Texas, Camp Clarinda in Iowa, and Camp Livingston in Louisiana. Camp Kenedy housed most of the Japanese POW officers. 

NARA (National Archives) Record Group 26: Records of the U.S. Coast Guard, 1785 - 2005 (ARC identifier: 355). Series: Activities, Facilities, and Personalities, compiled 1886 - 1967 (ARC identifier: 513164). NAIL Control Number: NWDNS-26-G-4669

28 July 2013

Adolf Hitler Second Visit to the Victims of the 20 July 1944 Plot

Image size: 1600 x 1058 pixel. 248 KB
Date: Tuesday, 1 August 1944
Place: Karlshof hospital, Rastenburg, Ostpreußen/East Prussia
Photographer: Unknown

Adolf Hitler second visit to the victims of the 20 July 1944 assassination attempt at the Karlshof Hospital near Rastenburg (which was located some 7 kilometers away from Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze) on 1 August 1944. Hitler next to the sick-bed of Kapitän zur See Heinz Assmann, Admiral's Staff Officer in the Wehrmacht High Command, and Konteradmiral Karl-Jesko von Puttkamer, Hitler's Naval Adjutant. Heinz Assmann (15 August 1904 – 15 October 1954) was born in Stendal in the Province of Saxony and was appointed an Admiralty staff officer in the Eastern Naval Group Command in November 1938. He then served in the Naval Operations Division and as the first officer on the battleship Tirpitz from October 1942 to August 1943. He was a general staff officer at OKW from September 1943 to May 1945. After the war he provides his recollections of the many briefings for Adolf Hitler that he attended.

Fotos aus dem Führerhauptquartier - Hermann Historica München

24 July 2013

The Death Of SS General Ernst Fick

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Date: Sunday, 29 April 1945
Place: Murnau, Southern Bavaria, germany
Photographer: Unknown

On April 29, 1945, during the Murnau Oflag (Offizierslager) VII-A assembly, a plane with Polish insignia had appeared in the sky, circled above the assembly square, tried to signal something and went away. Soon on the road to the camp appeared American tanks. At the same time from the other side of Murnau, two German cars approached. They stopped upon noticing the tanks. Germans had been taken by surprise. SS officer in the first car opened fire from the machine gun, at the same time his companion jumped out of the vehicle. Both men were killed on a spot by the Americans (SS-Hauptsturmführer der Reserve Max Teichmann and SS-officer Widmann). The same fate met the passangers of the second car. Among the dead Germans was SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS Ernst Fick (in the above picture lies at left, while at right is his driver with the rank SS-Untersturmführer) who rides in the second car. His briefcase contained the letter signed by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. It was an order to kill all 5,000 Polish POW officers encamped in Murnau! To execute this task Fick had had at his disposal an SS group in 40 armoured vehicles that started from Münich. Most likely the SS-man intended to assemble the POWs and killed them with the machine guns fire from guard's towers. After finishing off the Germans, one of the Americans' tank smashed the entrance gate and entered the assembly square. The representative of POWs welcomed American soldiers. He had addressed them in English. The commander of the tank shook his head and answered in Polish: " My name is Szewczyk, we came to liberate you". He was from Kalisz, Poland!


Adolf Hitler and Wachtmeister Arthur Adam

Image size: 1600 x 1060 pixel. 199 KB
Date: Early August 1944
Place: Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, Ostpreußen/East Prussia
Photographer: Unknown

In the first days of August 1944 Adolf Hitler receives Wachtmeister Arthur Adam. Following the assassination attempt of 20 July 1944 he was the first to become suspicious of Oberst Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. It was he who noticed that the colonel left the conference early and had forgotten his briefcase and service cap in the outer office. After a vain attempt to report this to the two responsible intelligence officers, he turned directly to Reichsleiter Martin Bormann who took him to Hitler in order to state his suspicions. For his deeds, Wachtmeister Arthur Adam was promoted to Oberwachtmeister and received a small house near Berlin and 20,000 RM (Reichsmark). Standing in the left is SS-Obergruppenführer Julius Schaub (Chefadjutant des Führers Adolf Hitler). Please note that Hitler used his left to shakes hand with Adam because his right one is still affected by the bomb blast!

Fotos aus dem Führerhauptquartier - Hermann Historica München

Günther Rall and His Men with Unit Mascot

Image size: 1600 x 1184 pixel. 408 KB
Date: Saturday, 6 March 1943
Place: Kerch Strait, Crimea, Soviet Union
Photographer: Reissmüller

"Wie spricht Rata?" (how does Rata?) Eichenlaubträger Oberleutnant Günther Rall (Staffelkapitän 8.Staffel/Jagdgeschwader 52) and the men of his Staffel (Fighter Wing) during a short break between two feindflüge (combat missions). The standing squadron dog is named "Rata". Front, from left to right: Unteroffizier Manfred Lotzmann (15 Abschüsse), Unteroffizier Werner Höhenberg (33 Abschüsse), and Leutnant Hans Funcke (19 Abschüsse). Rear : Oberleutnant Günther Rall (275 Abschüsse), Leutnant Hans Martin Markoff (15 Abschüsse), Feldwebel Karl-Friedrich Schumacher (56 Abschüsse), and Oberleutnant Gerhard Luety (38 Abschüsse). The picture was taken by Kriegsberichter Reissmüller in March 1943. Günther Rall (10 March 1918 – 4 October 2009) was the third most successful fighter ace in history. He achieved a total of 275 victories during World War II: 272 on the Eastern Front, of which 241 were against Soviet fighters. He flew a total of 621 combat missions, was shot down 8 times and was wounded 3 times. He fought in the invasion of France, the Battle of Britain, in the Balkan Campaign and over Crete. He began the conflict as a young Leutnant (Second Lieutenant), and was a Major and Kommodore of JG 300 at the surrender. He claimed all of his victories in the Messerschmitt Bf 109.


23 July 2013

Portrait Photo of Karl Ullrich After Award Ceremony

Image size: 1082 x 1600 pixel. 491 KB
Date: Tuesday, 1 August 1944
Place: Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, Ostpreußen/East Prussia
Photographer: Unknown photographer from Heinrich Hoffmann Firm

Following the presentation of the Eichenlaub zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Oak Leaves to Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) #480 to SS-Standartenführer Karl Ullrich (1 December 1910 - 8 May 1996), the Hoffmann photographer uses the opportunity to take a portrait photograph. The decoration was conferred on 14 May 1944 to the commander of SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 6 "Theodor Eicke"/3.SS-Panzer-Division "Totenkopf". The presentation of the award was deferred because of the assassination attempt on 20 July 1944. One month later Ullrich became commanding officer of the 5. SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking". He died in Bad Reichenhall in 1996.

Fotos aus dem Führerhauptquartier - Hermann Historica München

Urakami Cathedral at Nagasaki After Atomic Attack

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Date: Saturday, 15 September 1945
Place: Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan
Photographer: Unknown

Urakami District after atomic attack. St. Mary's Cathedral is the only major structure, totally destroyed. Note people on main road. Often known as Urakami Cathedral after its location, it is a Roman Catholic church located in the district of Urakami, Nagasaki, Japan. Construction started in 1895 and was completed in 1914. At the time it was the largest Cathedral in Asia. The atomic bomb that fell on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 detonated in Urakami, only 1640 feet (500 meters) from the cathedral, which was completely destroyed. Urakami was not the intended Nagasaki ground zero for the explosion of the 'Fat Man' atom bomb, however winds on the day moved the bomb towards the hills of Urakami, which was close to the Mitsubishi Shipyards. Dr. Nagai Takashi, a medical doctor whose efforts secured funds for children orphaned as a result of the atomic bomb, was known as 'The Saint of Urakami'.What remained of the cathedral is now on display in the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. Statues and artifacts damaged in the bombing, including a French Angelus bell, are now displayed on the grounds. The nearby Peace Park contains remnants of the original cathedral's walls. A replacement was built in 1959, and remodeled to more closely resemble the original in 1980. The hills around Nagasaki kept the blast from expanding, minimizing casualties (74,000) compared to Hiroshima (140,000). 

NARA (National Archives) Identifier 519385

22 July 2013

Artillery Fires in Support of Tenth Army Advance on Shuri

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Date: Friday, 11 May 1945
Place: Southern Okinawa Near Shuri, Japan
Photographer: USMC Corporal Eastman

Marine M114 155mm howitzer of III Amphibious Corps fires in support of Tenth Army advance. On May 9, 1945, US Army Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. ordered a coordinated Tenth Army attack for May 11. The plan of attack called for Tenth Army to renew the assault on the Shuri defenses with its two corps abreast, III Amphibious Corps on the right, XXIV Corps on the left. The initial scheme of maneuver was an envelopment of Shuri by the Marine divisions on the west and the Army divisions on the east, while a strong holding attack was maintained in the center The Tenth Army staff believed that the Japanese positions were weaker on the right and that the fresh Marine divisions had a chance for a quick break-through on that flank. Moreover, the terrain was more favorable along the western coast. The wide flanking maneuver around Shuri that later developed was not projected in the original plans. General Buckner explained on May 10 that there would be nothing spectacular. He added: "It will be a continuation of the type of attack we have been employing to date. Where we cannot take strong points we will pinch them off and leave them for the reserves to reduce. We have ample firepower and we also have enough fresh troops so that we can always have one division resting." The initial order for the attack provided for a 30-minute general preparation by the artillery just before the ground attack. This provision was revoked two days later in favor of pinpointing of targets. The new order stated that "the maximum practicable number of known enemy guns and strong points will be destroyed or neutralized" prior to the infantry assault. The attack launched on schedule, although coordinated initially along the entire front, soon broke down into a series of intense battles for particular landmarks. For ten days of continuous fighting, from Sugar Loaf on the west coast to Conical Hill on the east, the Japanese, except for local and relatively minor retreats, held tenaciously to their long-prepared positions. Finally, on May 21, after some of the fiercest action of the battle of Okinawa, the American forces were to seize the eastern slope of Conical Hill, close to the east coast, and thereby to make an opening in the enemy lines which permitted an attempt at envelopment. 

NARA (National Archives)

Reception of Leading NS Officers by Adolf Hitler

Image size: 1600 x 1056 pixel. 226 KB
Date: Tuesday, 1 August 1944
Place: Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, Ostpreußen/East Prussia
Photographer: Unknown

Reception of leading NS (National-Socialist) officers by Adolf Hitler, 1 August 1944. In his headquarters Hitler receives a number of leading national-socialist officers from Wehrmacht (Armed Forces). He is seen here during the welcoming with Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel (Chef des Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht), SS-Hauptsturmführer Heinz Linge (persönliche Ordonnanz Hitlers), SS-Obergruppenführer Julius Schaub (Chefadjutant des Führers Adolf Hitler) and General der Gebirgstruppe Georg Ritter von Hengl (Chef des NS-Führungsstabes im Oberkommando des Heeres). Hengl was awarded the Military Order of Max Joseph and was an Observation Officer of the Flying Corps during the First World War. On 7 May 1945 Kampfgruppe Hengl (Battle Group Hengl) had their last combats against the advancing U.S. forces at the Wilder Kaiser. He is the recipient of both Deutsches Kreuz in Gold #587/3 (20 June 1944 as General der Gebirgstruppe and Kommandierender General XIX. Gebirgs-Korps) and Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes #449 (Oberstleutnant and Kommandeur Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 137)

Fotos aus dem Führerhauptquartier - Hermann Historica München

21 July 2013

Schwertern Award Ceremony For Rainer Stahel

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Date: Tuesday, 1 August 1944
Place: Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, Ostpreußen/East Prussia
Photographer: Unknown

Presentation of the Schwertern zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub (Oak Leaves and Swords of the Knight's Cross) #79 to Generalleutnant Rainer Stahel (15 January 1892 - 30 November 1955) that held in Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, 1 August 1944. As a Generalmajor and Kommandant Fester Platz Wilna (commanding officer of the stronghold at Vilnius), he was responsible for tying down large enemy forces so, on 18 July 1944, was awarded the Swords and promoted to Generalleutnant. While commanding operations in Bucharest (Rumania) he fell into Russian captivity. In 1955, he died in Russian Gulag from a heart attack as news of his release was broken to him! Also present in this picture: Generaloberst Heinz Guderian (Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen und Chef des Generalstabes des Heeres) and Oberst Nicolaus von Below (Luftwaffen-Adjutant der "Adjutantur der Wehrmacht beim Führer und Reichskanzler").

Fotos aus dem Führerhauptquartier - Hermann Historica München

Luftwaffe General Werner Kreipe and Eckhard Christian

Image size: 1600 x 1066 pixel. 312 KB
Date: Wednesday, 2 August 1944
Place: Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, Ostpreußen/East Prussia
Photographer: Unknown

Eventual General der Flieger Werner Kreipe (right, Chefs des Generalstabes der Luftwaffe) in conversation with Oberst Eckhard Christian (persönlicher Generalstabsoffizier des Chef der Oberkommando Wehrmacht). During his time at the Military College in Münich, Kreipe (12 April 1904 - 7 September 1967) participated in Hitler's march on Feldherrnhalle, and therefore he wears the ribbon of 9 November 1923, the so-called "Blutorden" (Blood Order) award, on his right breast pocket. He also sporting his Deutsches Kreuz in Gold which he received in 29 June 1942 as an Oberst i.G. (im Generalstab) and Chef des Generalstabs des I. Fliegerkorps. Following the assassination attempt on 20 July 1944, from which Generaloberst Günther Korten (26 July 1898 - 22 July 1944) was critically wounded and died shortly afterwards, Kreipe was temporarily entrusted with the business of Luftwaffe Chief of the General Staff.

Fotos aus dem Führerhauptquartier - Hermann Historica München

07 July 2013

Hans Lex Award Ceremony

Image size: 1070 x 1600 pixel. 307 KB
Date: Friday, 10 September 1943
Place: Werchopenje, southeast of Orel, Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

Oberleutnant der Reserve Hans Lex (Chef 7. Kompanie / II. Abteilung / Panzer-Regiment "Großdeutschland" / Panzergrenadier-Division "Großdeutschland" / XXXXVIII.Armeekorps / 4. Panzerarmee / Heeresgruppe Mitte) proudly displayed his newly received Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) after an award ceremony which taken place in Werchopenje (Russia) on 10 September 1943. This prestigious medal was awarded  to Lex (21 January 1916 - 11 August 1994) by the Divisionskommandeur, Generalleutnant Walter Hörnlein, after his company of 5 Tigers destroyed 16 Soviet T-34 tanks without loss of his own (!) from a Panzer position near Novenskoje on 15 July 1943, thus alleviating a strong flank threat. Because the "real" Ritterkreuz was still on the way at the time of the award ceremony, so a converted Eisernes Kreuz II. Klasse was used instead! Lex ended the war as Hauptmann der Reserve.