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Can You Identify these Officers?

Discussion in 'Photographs and Documents' started by Gale Ensign, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. Gale Ensign

    Gale Ensign New Member

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  2. Gale Ensign

    Gale Ensign New Member

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    Hi,
    I'm new to the forum and I already have a question. I have this small photograph that I think was taken in France. I know it is Rommel in the center (#3), but I don't know who the others are.
    Any help would be appreciated,
    Mr.Gale
     
  3. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    It's at Riva Bella on 30 May 1944. Part of the series also shows the demonstration of one of the Vielfachwerfer.

    1. Admiral Krancke
    2.General d. Infanterie Buhle
    3. Rommel
    4. probably General d. Pionier Jacob
    5. ?
    6. Luftwaffe, but I don't know who

    I think Hauptmann Lng is blowing his nose. :cool:

    The others I'm not so sure of.
     
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  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Is a better known photo from the same event, probably a few minutes later.
     
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  5. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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    Interesting that some wear ribbon bars and others don't (like Rommel)..anybody know why???
     
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  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    The photos were taken here. Google Maps The building on the left with the colonnades is the building on the NW end of the street. It is the building on the left on this photograph of WN21 "Trout"at Lion-sur-Mer taken from the beach. The Bundesarchiv has the location as "Riva Bella" which was WN10, 4km further east along the coast. There are also photographs of Rommel inspecting a multiple mortar in the grounds of the Chateau at Lion-sur-Mer - about 1km back from this position.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
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  7. Gale Ensign

    Gale Ensign New Member

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    Thanks, guys! As you can see, it is a small photo. I have a couple more that maybe you can help me with. I'll start a new thread for each.
    Thanks again,
    Gale
     

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  8. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    I am hopeless of picture rounds in pub quizzes, but let me propose a hypothesis based on the principles of VIP management exercised by most armies.

    This a demo of vehicles of the 21st Panzer Division commanded by Edgar Feuchtinger, in the 716 Division sector commanded by General Richter. At least one of these gentlemen should be hosting this visit. A photographer ought to capture the host in the piccies.

    The vehicles were the products of Major Alfred Becker's imagination and factory. Is Becker the chap with the forage cap at the back?

    Why do you think no 6 is Luftwaffe? He has the right medals to be Oberst Hermann von Oppeln-Bronikowski. Ritterkreutz, Deutchekreutz and Eisenkreutz. The crushed field cap may be the mark of a man who wears head sets in his tank. :) If Feuchtinger couldn't be there, the Panzer Regiment commander might be a stand in as host.
     
  9. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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  10. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Why, yes, of course he was present, but he isn't in these two photos that I can see. He is in another. That is him at the back, striding off to the right, marching to the beat of a different drum as usual.

    BTW, the guy with the mustache standing between Buhle and Rommel is Generalleutnant René Eberle who was Inspekteur der Landbefestigungen West.
    [​IMG]

    The guy in the soft cap I believe may be Hans-Kurt Höcker who was commanding 17. Feld-Division (LW) and was present, apparently wearing his favorite cap (a number of photos of him at this time have him wearing it).

    Becker was probably there, but I haven't spotted him.

    You're right! I got fooled by the 50-mission crush cap.
     
  11. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Why do you think the Commander of 17 Lw division was there? This formation was in 15th army.
     
  12. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Why do you think this is a 7. Armee grouping that excludes 15. Armee? It is a Heersgruppe B, plus various dudes from OKW and OKH grouping. Buhle was Chef vom Heeresstab im OKW. He was there. Rommel was Chef HG-B. He was there. Eberle was on the Stab Ob. West. He was there. I think Höcker was there because IIRC he appears in other photos in this series.

    It was an Ob. West inspection trip and tour, so essentially anyone that wanted to be seen in the orbit of Rommel, to curry favor or brown-nose was there.
     
  13. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    I don't have any positive information, so my comments based on knowledge of institutional routines and politics.

    There were around 50 divisions in OB West and about 30 under Army group B. Divisional commanders would be ten a penny and very junior compared to the army group commander. About as distant as the platoon commander is from the regimental or brigade commander.

    I agree with you that career minded officers will seek every opportunity to manage their reporting officers impressions, but junior officers cannot simply invite themselves to an inspection visit in a different army. 17 Lw Division had its own training and fortification programme and its commander had a job to do. Höcker would have to be in Lion-sur-Mer for a rational reason.

    Maybe if it was a delegation from a corps or army study period which included a demonstration of the latest kit. Again there is an etiquette for these. If there was a major anti invasion study period for the Army group, does it appear in the war diaries? If so there should have been about four bus loads of officers - and where were all the other divisional and corps commanders?
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
  14. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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    Seemed like a perfect time for a Allied airstrike....a squadron of low flying Mosquitos would do some serious damage to that chain-of-command.
     
  15. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Nope, you're right again, just looked at the photo more closely and the guy in the soft cap is not wearing glasses, so not Höcker.
     
  16. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    I started thinking a little more about the photos taken during Rommel's visit. It is clearly as firepower demonstration of two pieces of equipment developed by the Becker works

    The photos posted as the OP shows Rommel and his entourage walking away from by the sea shows a
    The equipment they have been inspecting is this
    [​IMG]
    mistaken listed in the Bundesarchiv as a Waffenvorführung des 8-cm-Vielfachwerfers (Panzerwerfer auf Halbkettenfahrzeug "Maultier"); PK 698 at Rival Bella

    The same picture is identified as "(Alfred) Becker stands by during presentation of one of his Vielfachwerfers, mounted on an armourized French SOMUA MCG" I am pretty sure the demonstration takes place at WN 21 Lion-Sur-Mer, because the porch in the background is distinctive. This was the German copy of the Katyusha on a French chassis. Zetteriling lists two of these as equipping 10./Pz Arty Regt 155.

    This wasn't the only equipment demonstrated that day.
    The second piece of equipment was the Reihenwerfer or Mittler Schutzenpanzerwagen S307(f) mit Reihenwerfer. This was a self-propelled barrage mortar from 16 Brandt 81m,m Mortars in rotating mounting on the back of an SOMUA MCG.
    The vehicle is in the grounds of the Chateau at Lion-Sur-Mer - about 1.5 km - 20 minute walk 5 min drive from the sea front.
    [​IMG]
    This wasn't just a static display as there is another image showing the detachment loading the mortars.
    [​IMG]
    There are no images of the Reihenwerfer at the sea front. I think it must have been fired from the Chateau grounds. I am fairly sure it was fired, because it might be trickier to unload live bombs than simply fire them. Nor would I feel comfortable driving any distance with loaded mortars. Furthermore you will disappoint the inner small boy in the VIP observers if you load it but don't fire.

    We have images of the fall of shot
    [​IMG]
    and observers watching it
    [​IMG]

    The observers have to have been away to a flank. No one wants to stand next to a rocket launcher when it fired. Probably to the west, as the maps show wire and a fence there.

    Class of 42 has a point about vulnerability. The two locations photographed were both defended localities, which minimised the threat from commandos or insurgents. WN21 has at least one 2cm flak for local air defence.

    I wonder if these images give some clues about the effectiveness or use of these weapons. .

    1. Is there a way to estimate the range and spread of fire.from the photographs?

    2. It is slightly odd that the barrage mortar is fired from the chateau grounds (if it was) while the rockets were fired from the sea front. Was the German Katyusha too unsafe to fire over the heads of friendly troops except on operations?

    3. How useful was the Reihenwerfer? Initially I thought it was a bit of a waste of effort. Mortars have a high rate of fire anyway. 10-15 rpm, and what is the point for 2.8 km range. But the Reihenwerfer can perhaps put 16 bombs in the air in 15 seconds, which would give those on the receiving end less time to take cover. Maybe Becker was onto something? My guess is that Rommel would have ordered all this stuff deployed close to the beach. Not sure of any specific references to the effects of these weapons. I think two of these were captured by the Canadians on D +1?

    Any comments?
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2020
  17. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    A post on the AHF prompted a programme for the day
    [​IMG]
    The addressees at the top are probably the source of delegates. Where was Feuchtinger on that day? This should be his show.
     
  18. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yep. Note, Both 7. and 15. Armee, along with LXXXI AK of 15. Armee and LXXXIV AK of 7. Armee...

    Yes, Feuchtinger was there. Did you miss my post with the photo of him?

    Marcks was also there, along with Kuntzen, along with other hangers on.

    There was another demonstration of the Raketenpanzerbuechse that may have been the same day, with Kuntzen and Höcker, which was part of the reason I thought Höcker was there. Unfortunately the date and location is unclear.
     

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