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Pics : 'Wartime Hell'

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by Martin Bull, Sep 28, 2007.

  1. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    '..Oberfuhrer Harmel and his command group stood just before the bridge at St. Lambert....this was the deepest depth of wartime hell that had yet been reached....' (from 'In The Firestorm Of The Last Years Of The War' by Wilhelm Tieke)

    [​IMG]


    'The river was choked with wreckage and with the bodies of men and horses, the dead and wounded lying together in ghastly heaps....'

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    I've never seen such good Autumn weather in France as we had last week ; it was really a quite bizarre experience to stroll in such peaceful countryside and try in some way to imagine what happened here.

    This is a close-up of the infamous Moissy Ford across which the remnants of two German armies escaped the Pocket - Panthers, Stugs and Panzer IVs are recorded as having crossed at this point.....

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  2. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Martin although you are focusing on the M.Ford area have and I just might be confusing the area but where the 2nd SS Pz regt. blew a hole through the Polish armor to somewhat secure the escape route for the demented Pz. units ?
     
  3. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Great pics, keep em' coming!
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Erich, here's a view of the battlefield taken exactly from the Polish position on Mont Ormel. Moissy Ford is roughly left-of-centre in the photo, in the trees. St Lambert sur Dives is toward the right and the River Dives flows left-to-right, centre of photo. The German forces were advancing toward this position and escaping up the Chambois/Vimoutiers road ( out-of-shot to the left ) or through the 'Corridor of Death' ( line of trees to the right ).

    The 2nd SS Panzer counterattack came from the Vimoutiers area which is directly behind me on the other side of the hill ....

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    excellent ! now the question as I do not have my W-SS refs in front of me, was the Waffen SS escape attack dual fold or together..meaning was the 2nd SS attacking or trying to escape in accord with the 9th W-SS or independently and after the hole punching did the remnants of the W-SS Harmel/9th W-SS and other SS elements escape through it ?

    yeah I know too many questions, sorry but I just do not know that much about that nasty ugly cauldron of doom except it was a last gasp German hell hole as Sapper once pointed out
     
  6. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Take a long, hard look at this picture and try to understand why heights are important and how far away the horizon is for people on the ground. How important is it if your Pak43 will pierce any Sherman out to 2000m if he can't se squat after 200-400m
     
  7. sommecourt

    sommecourt Member

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    Great photos, Martin. A most interesting part of the Normandy battlefields, for sure.
     
  8. Owen

    Owen O

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    Excellent photos Martin, I would like to add to your reputation but I'm told I have to share it out with others before I can add to yours again.
     
  9. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Got it for you Owen.

    Did you ever get my mp3 I sent you?
     
  10. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Early on August 19th ( as the actions at St Lambert and Moissy were almost at their peak ) II.SS-Panzerkorps ordered 2. and 9. SS-Panzerdivisions to attack from the area of Vimoutiers-Exmes ; 9.SS to to attack with a small attack force through St Gervais to Louvieres and the main force to move through Champeaux to Trun. 2.SS to attack through Champosoult to St Lambert and Chambois.

    It must be remembered that only remnants of these units existed and were considerably exhausted and disorganized, having just fought their way out of the Cauldron. The attack could not be mounted immediately, but assembly positions were successfully organized during the night of 19/20 August.

    The counterattack started at 04:00 on the 20th ; 2.SS-Panzerdivision ( supported by SS-Werfer Bn. 102 ) crossed the Vimoutiers-Chambois road and attacked the rear of the 1st Polish Tank Division , reaching Coudehard/Mont Ormel ( just behind and to the right of where I took the 'panoramic' photo ). 9.SS-Panzerdivision, advancing via Champeaux, protected the Northern flank of 2.SS.

    The Poles successfully prevented the SS units from reaching their objectives of Trun/St Lambert/Chambois in the valley below ; but the fierce fighting on Mont Ormel during the 20th and until mid-day on the 21st allowed many more Germans to escape the Pocket along the Chambois/Vimoutiers road.

    A most dramatic incident.
     
  11. FalkeEins

    FalkeEins Member

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  12. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    The wether we enjoyed was stunning. Here's a pic looking back down the 'Corridor Of Death' after the tarmac stops and it becomes just a farm track on the approach to the left side of Mont Ormel....

    [​IMG]


    A pleasant countryside stroll in 2007.....
     
  13. Richard

    Richard Expert

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    It's hard to believe over 60 years ago a struggle took place when you look at those pictures, thank you Martin for sharing these wonderful pictures with us all.
     
  14. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The bad thing about it is, the area probably looked very much like it does now. So, in beauty, the men there may have only seen death.
     
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  15. Owen

    Owen O

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    Thought I'd add this short extract from a longer piece from Art Bridge, a rifleman in 14 Platoon, C Company ,Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders of Canada.

    .

    Lots more where that came from, my fingers hurt at the moment.
     
  16. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Great stuff, WW - and it gives me an excuse to include yet another photo - taken in the centre of St Lambert, looking in the direction of Moissy & Chambois - the bank on the right can be seen in the well-known wartime photos of a knocked-out Tiger.....


    [​IMG]
     
  17. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Battlefield wanderer

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    Martin, how far from the Moissy Ford is the spot where this photograph was taken?

    I am going back to Normandy next week, Moissy in particular, for another rummage through the hedges. :D

    I just hope the Channel crossing (Portsmouth to Ouistreham) is a smooth one. :green:
     
  18. Owen

    Owen O

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    John,
    If you get to St Lambert can you try some then & nows with these?
    (edit)Sorry links don't work,I've deleted them but have a decko here.
    Canada at War - Photo: Normandy - Falaise

    Infantrymen of "B" Company, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, riding in a captured German truck with German prisoners, St. Lambert-sur-Dives, France, 19 August 1944.


    More German prisoners of war captured by Major Currie's men.


    Officers and soldiers of the 2nd Panzer Division surrender to Canadian soldiers in St. Lambert-sur- Dives, France. Major David Currie (third from left, holding pistol) won his Victoria Cross during this engagement.
     
  19. jagdpanther44

    jagdpanther44 Battlefield wanderer

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    Hi Wessex, i was planning to do a 'then and now' set of photographs which i will post as soon as i get back.

    I have a photograph of the spot where Major Currie took the surrender of german prisoners that i took on a previous visit to the area.

    The only problem is that it is to large a file to post.
     
  20. scarface

    scarface Member

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    Wow, Martin - those are great photographs by themselves - and, combined with the history that they reperesent, a fascinating 'Then and Now' bit of history.

    Thanks for sharing them.

    -whatever

    -Lou

    (I was told I have to spread the rep around, too!...... where's Za when you need him???)
     

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