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Reward offered for location identification
Old 12-09-2017, 04:54 PM   #1
dsotm
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Default Reward offered for location identification

Hi Guys

We are hoping you can help in identifying the location of an image of the Panther currently being restored by The Wheatcroft Collection. While we already have three images of a second location in Briouze, this new image has topography which is very different. While the two Briouze side view images were all taken after March 1945 (rear image is undated), the new image was release by the US Censor in October 1944.

The first person to pin down the location of the image will get EU€100 and copies of our Tiger and Panther books. Be warned - this offer is also up on our Facebook page so there is competition!


Unit ID and movements - Here is what we have so far courtesy of Frédéric Deprun who kindly gave his permission to share this information:

The I02 turret number is a Stab vehicle of the I Abt of Pz Rgt 3. It was renumbered 231 and assigned to 2.Kompanie before the Mortain battle (2.Panzer-Division) Kompanie - Offizer Leutnant Strobl or Leutnant Spannocchi after the death of Hauptman Kleine. The reason of the white number it certainly a connection to I./Pz-Rgt.24 ( Major Meyer, 116.PzD). Just before the attack to Mesnil-Adelée the 7 august 1944, Luettich operation near Mortain, one Kampfgruppe (KG Meyer into the KG Schake) was created with 20 Panther from 116.PzD ( white number at side of the turret) attached to 2.PzD, the Briouze Panther was probably donated temporarily to Major Kuno Meyer Kampfgruppe, this befehlpanther was able to command one of the three Panther-zug during the attack. Each ones Panther returns to it original Panzer-Regiment the 12 august.

Unknown Location - Library of Congress image






Known Location - Briouze







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Old 12-09-2017, 08:37 PM   #2
FrenchVolunteer
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Hi,

i have a lot of comments to make, because many things are not logical with the various pictures - if it is said to be from the same Panther.

First, is it confirmed that the two Blaise pictures are of the SAME Panther (i mean really factual infos on the album, or testimony) ?
The pictures were not taken at the same time, the commander hatch is missing (or closed) on the side pic when the pic taken from the back has it open ?
But the picture taken from the back is missing the commander turret ring...
When the other pics have it.

NOTA : PIC 1 will be the fall 1944 Signal Corps picture, PIC 2 will be sided Panther pic, PIC 3 will be the back Panther pic.

If PIC 2 is showing the same Panther as PIC 3, why can't we find the same red, blue and violet details in each pic ?

See You

Vince
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File Type: jpg TURRET.jpg (70.4 KB, 610 views)

Last edited by FrenchVolunteer; 12-09-2017 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:36 PM   #3
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Hi,

now for me the biggest problem is easy to see below.

PIC 1 is the earliest pic of the said Briouze Panther, and PIC 3 is said to be a late 44/early 45 pic.

If we can explain the various differences in violet, blue, yellow, green (stolen stuff etc), i can't explain the fact that in PIC 1 one of the two exhaust pipes (in orange) is missing (the right one) when it "miraculously" reappeared on PIC 3...

PIC 3 can't be earlier than PIC 1, as too many features on the Panther are missing in it (PIC 3 is Panther that is started to be stripped down).

In my opinion, no matter the fact that the left rear stowage bin "looks similar", something is wrong there.

See You

Vince
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File Type: jpg Exhaust.jpg (84.4 KB, 610 views)
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:52 PM   #4
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Hi,

now about the location of PIC 1.

I'm reposting a more horizontal version of the pic below.

1) are we sure that this picture was not previously shared since fall 1944 ?

2) are we sure that the various specialists on Normandy tank units do not have identified the location of this Panther ?

3) the center of the picture (road and houses) seemed to be on a downslope. In the background we can see the countryside, is it the case for Briouze ?

4) do we know if the bell tower of the Church of Briouze was destroyed during the fight ? If this is Briouze, it should be easy to identify which road it can be as the Church is not visible.

5) couldn't be possible to get Allied air photos from the area ? It will be easy to identify the location and the tank.

See You

Vince
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File Type: jpg Loc1 - Copie.jpg (147.0 KB, 604 views)
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Old 12-10-2017, 05:31 AM   #5
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I'm not sure that is Briouze. I've been "travelling" around google maps and Briouze seems to be quite flat, and in that pic you can see a hill in the background, behind the jeep. You cannot see anything similar in GM in that location.

Carles
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Old 12-10-2017, 05:48 AM   #6
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I think it is the same Panther. On pic 3 the ring of the commanders cuppola semms to be in place but due to bad light of the photo (Überbelichtung) the ring is not clearly visible.

The commaners hatch could be closed. And the only real difference between the two picture, the right exhaust pipe, could have a very simple solution: Maybe any person attached the pipe because he found the item lying on the ground?

Who knows. There are too many accordances (damage to the left rear stowage box, markings) to deny.

Regards
Frank
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrenchVolunteer View Post
Hi,


If we can explain the various differences in violet, blue, yellow, green (stolen stuff etc), i can't explain the fact that in PIC 1 one of the two exhaust pipes (in orange) is missing (the right one) when it "miraculously" reappeared on PIC 3...

PIC 3 can't be earlier than PIC 1, as too many features on the Panther are missing in it (PIC 3 is Panther that is started to be stripped down).

In my opinion, no matter the fact that the left rear stowage bin "looks similar", something is wrong there.

See You

Vince

Hi Vince - many thanks for taking the time to help - we really appreciate it. I will try to answer all of your queries to the best of our knowledge so far.

Pic1 is definitely the earliest picture of the vehicle. In order for the vehicle to be moved from that location, to pics 2-3, at the very least, the right hand side track would have to be put back on, as it appears in pics 2-3. The exhaust pipe is an odd one, we are not sure but think that the missing exhaust pipe was placed loosely back in the armoured cover but without its threaded retaining ring at the same time as the tracks - the retaining strap is still missing in both pics. This could also explain why it sits lower in its housing than the lhs pipe.

The missing access covers and U-Bolt would have been removed during Pic 2-3 period. The periscope is definitely missing from the second lhs view of the tank (with the people in), which ties in with pic 3. We think however that the cupola ring is not missing but photographically 'blown out' by overexposure.

As to why we think these are all images of the same vehicle:

Pic 1 vs Pic 3


1. The flattened area of zimmerit with the lighter colour where the logo is located
4. The Schnorkel pot - according to all our sources this Demag Panther is unique in having this
5. The damaged stowage bin - the location of the holes and the damage to the shape of the bin are not just similar - they are identical.

Pic 2 vs Pic 3


2. Temporary Turret number 231 appears on both images
3. The engine deck cover leaning against the Schnorkel Pot

As always we are certainly open to any help that would confirm or disprove any of the above.
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:50 AM   #8
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http://www.theresearchsquad.com/inde...iouze-panther/
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrenchVolunteer View Post
Hi,

now about the location of PIC 1.

I'm reposting a more horizontal version of the pic below.

1) are we sure that this picture was not previously shared since fall 1944 ?

2) are we sure that the various specialists on Normandy tank units do not have identified the location of this Panther ?

3) the center of the picture (road and houses) seemed to be on a downslope. In the background we can see the countryside, is it the case for Briouze ?

4) do we know if the bell tower of the Church of Briouze was destroyed during the fight ? If this is Briouze, it should be easy to identify which road it can be as the Church is not visible.

5) couldn't be possible to get Allied air photos from the area ? It will be easy to identify the location and the tank.

See You

Vince
Hi Vince

1. I am not sure sure what you mean by this - could you clarify?

2. We have had no location identification from any of the Normandy experts, and if we cannot succeed photographically, we may need to try and find unit records.

3. Briouze sits on a plateau at about 719ft above sea level, with a variation across the whole town of only about 10 ft. The view in the image looks across a valley of probably 100ft in depth - we cannot match this to anywhere in Briouze. In addition the curve of the road nor location of houses matches anything in Briouze.



4. The Briouze location of this vehicle was definitely placed at an area known as Val de Breuil, a suburb of Briouze. This location was given by the person who took the image. The aerial shots from 1947 show that nowhere on this area can be a match for the unknown image.

Here is the original research on the known location from Alexis Boban, and the aerial image I managed to find of the same area



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Old 12-10-2017, 08:19 AM   #10
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As a side note on the current known location - I have always been somewhat puzzled at the location of the vehicle as being IN Briouze itself. While above you will see that Alex Boban indicates that Le Val Du Breuil hamlet outside of Briouze is incorrect, for me this location has far more in common than Le Val De Breuil in the town itself. If you go here on Google Maps you will see what I mean.

The known location images appear to be in open countryside. Most significant though is the rear view image - this was taken on a metalled road, and the wartime aerial images of Briouze show no metalled roads in the Le Val De Breuil location, other than the main Argentan road. Here is an image of the Chemin de Vieux Moulin road on which eyewitnesses place the tank - however at 1 you can clearly see the difference between a metalled road and a track - and Chemin deVieux Moulin is still a track in 1948. This means for the vehicle to be located in this area it HAD to be at the side of the Argentan road - but to date I cannot find a position that matches all three known images


Last edited by dsotm; 12-10-2017 at 08:56 AM. Reason: Update
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:57 AM   #11
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Hi,

Here are new comments and questions.

1) is it fully confirmed that PIC 2 and PIC 3 were taken at the same location, and are of the same Panther ?

2) Where the two pictures (PIC 2 and PIC 3) taken at the same time ?

3) When was the picture PIC 3 taken ? Late 44-early 45 ?

4) now if we forget the exhaust pipe mystery, and all the pics are showing the same Panther, there is an problem : why the hell would the Panther be moved from a long distance ?
I suspect that only the US Army could have the tractors to do that in late 44-early 45.
If the Panther was moved, it was of a few dozen of meters, for various reasons (the owner of the land asked that to rebuilt his house/something, the municipality asked that etc).

5) Was the right track broken from the start ? If yes, the mobility of the tank was very average at best, even more in off-road muddy area. The Panther could have be pulled from the back, or from the front.

6) I suspect that the Panther may have been moved from one side of the road, to the other side (left of the picture), or to the right of the picture, passing by another small road.
To me, if the picture is taken in Briouze, the road is one of the big one, despite it seemed to be too small to be the Argentan road (the road that runs from the Church to the North-East).

7) Do we know (by the local witnesses) if the Chruch was destroyed/partly destroyed (bell tower) during Summer 1944 ? The Church is not visible in the PIC 1.
It seemed that the answer is no. Also many “famous” buildings of Briouze were not destroyed, especially the center of the town.

8) The Church area of Briouze is clearly a higher ground than the rest of the location.
There is a clear downslope to the West, South and East and North.
Please find below two post-war air photos of Briouze.

9) About the Signal Corps picture, do we know if it was provided before the end of the war to newspapers or other medias ? Or was it kept classified until it was found ?

10) Can't we find 1944 air photos ? It should be so easy to find the area.

See You

Vince
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Briouze 1.jpg (182.3 KB, 605 views)
File Type: jpg Briouze 2.jpg (183.2 KB, 607 views)

Last edited by FrenchVolunteer; 12-10-2017 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:00 AM   #12
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Hi,

postcards taken before WWII of the Route d'Argentan.
The road is very wide it seemed... On the postcards, but also today.

First pic is taken from the Church square, the second looking to the center of Briouze.

See You

Vince
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File Type: jpg argentan from.jpg (120.5 KB, 604 views)
File Type: jpg argentan to.jpg (127.0 KB, 604 views)
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:02 AM   #13
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Hi,

postcard taken before WWII of the Route de Bellou.

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Vince
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:03 AM   #14
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Hi,

postcards taken before WWII of the Route de Flers.

First pic is taken from the Church square, the second looking to the center of Briouze.

See You

Vince
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File Type: jpg flers from.jpg (125.5 KB, 606 views)
File Type: jpg flers to.jpg (149.1 KB, 603 views)
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:05 AM   #15
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Hi,

pictures taken before WWII of the Rue de Falaise.

Picture taken from the West side of the Church.

See You

Vince
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