LIFE Photo - La Perrine

Discussion in 'American' started by Pat Curran, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    Oct 20, 2012
    2,506
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    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Hi All,

    Having failed many times to find it. I made a concerted effort last night to find the aerial photo which was published as part of a photo-essay in the 14th August 1944 issue of LIFE Magazine. The photo is published on the bottom of page 21:
    [​IMG]
    It is in the same article in which the subject of the thread 'LIFE Photo - The Bend in the River' was published, so La Meauffe on the Vire River, where that photo was found, was obviously a good place to start the search. I had not realised just how close the two locations were, taking the caption in its most literal sense:

    I finally spotted the L shaped house at the crossroads hamlet of La Perrine on the N174 road below St Jean de Daye. The house is arrowed blue below:
    [​IMG]
    A quick look at the GE 'street view' confirmed the unique roof dormer/window/front door configuration:
    [​IMG]
    The small open single floor building at right in the photo is gone but the house on the east side of the N174 is still there with the same roof configuration as we seein the 1944 aerial - sloping roof gable to the south and vertical to the north.
    I have no date for the photo, but I suspect it's middle to late July following the failed German counterattack in the area on the night of 10th/11th July as shown on the map below:
    [​IMG]

    With these two of the ten photo essay images now located, it should be possible to find the remaining aerials in this collection - including the famous 'Herd of Allied Tanks' photo.

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  2. Jpz4

    Jpz4 Active Member
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    Oct 24, 2012
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    Nice work Pat.
    BTW the first photo of that article is identifed as at La Sellerie (to the NW of your arrow) in 'Dying for St-Lô'.
    Seems this would make a nice straight line between the three photos.... if they were taken during the same flight.
    Than again people tend to be lazy, so why take more than one trip ;-)
     
  3. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    Oct 20, 2012
    2,506
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    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Hi Niels,

    For readers who might not have a copy, the photo below to which you refer is not the 'Herd of Allied tanks' in case we cause confusion. ;)

    Again for other readers, these are German wrecks, possibly from the blunted Panzer Lehr counterattack of the 10th/11th July if we have the correct general area:
    [​IMG]
    The caption reads:

    I see from the 1947 IGN cover below somebody built a great big ALG to help us find the exact fields in the LIFE photo :D

    [​IMG]

    In the book 'Dying for St Lo', is the exact location shown for the LIFE photo or is it just referred to as 'at/near' La Sellerie. From what I can see the name refers to a farmhouse only which I circled red on the 1947 IGN extract above. The house appears to have been incorporated into the ALG site so I wonder could the location given for the LIFE photo be somewhere else around the perimeter of the strip? I am looking in particular at the right angle bend in the laneway at the southern tip of the site.

    Can't see it around the farmhouse...

    Anyone do better?

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  4. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    Oct 20, 2012
    2,506
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    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    BTW,

    Does anyone know the name/number of this ALG?

    Thanks,

    Pat
     
  5. Jpz4

    Jpz4 Active Member
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    Oct 24, 2012
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    p.74: "in a field near La Sellerie"
    p.69: has a map that puts these vehicles in the fields just east of the farmhouse.

    AFAIK:
    ALG A-18 Saint-Jean-de-Daye
     
  6. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    Oct 20, 2012
    2,506
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    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    ...east of the farmhouse...

    Can't make that right angle bend at the wing stay fit any of the laneways near the farmhouse :huh:

    There is no pre-construction NCAP cover either - at least none which is digitised.

    Anyone able to spot it?

    Thanks Niels,

    Pat
     
  7. Sean

    Sean Active Member
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    Oct 24, 2012
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    Hello there,

    Not much to add....

    I made enquiries about coverage of the le Dezert/la Sellerie area post 1/7/44 back in 2008 and this was the response:

    I know this frame only partially cover the AOI but its all we have for this area
    after the dates that you specified but you still might find it useful.


    The image in question:

    [​IMG]

    I can send a larger version by email if anyone would like to look closer.

    Cheers,

    Sean
     
  8. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
    Staff Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    2,506
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    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Hi Sean,

    Very much appreciate that - can you upload a full version to the ADrive cloud - I would like to have a look at its full size - or send via email if the file size allows.

    John has located a version of the photo below showing more of the top field with a protruding hedgerow. I think that feature and the right angled bend on the lane should be enough to bring this one home: :s
    [​IMG]
    Downloading some RAF ORBs for Wojtek and Hans to help with the NCAP 'unlocatables' tonight, so if anyone wants to have a go at finding this photo, work away guys. My two cents worth - concentrate on the Panzer Lehr lines of advance during the counterattack on the night of the 10th/11th July (map in post #1 above).

    Good luck :D

    Pat
     
  9. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
    Staff Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    2,506
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    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Hi All,

    Thanks to John's and Sean's additional images, I have finally been able to 'see the light'. It is indeed east of the La Sellerie Farmhouse, being just caught by the bottom (south east) of NCAP_ACIU_US30_4236_1068 flown on the 7th July. This frame is not yet digitised by NCAP, so account holders will not be able to view it online. Below is an extract from Sean's copy showing the location of the LIFE photo inside the blue broken lines:
    [​IMG]
    Image Credit: RCAHMS/www.ncap.org.uk

    You can just about make out the three apple trees at the bottom of the LIFE photo in the long and narrow, light toned orchard. The protruding corner, confirmed by John's version of the photo, is also clearly visible as is the right angled bend in the laneway - both now missing from today's Bing Maps extract below:
    [​IMG]
    There is a huge change to the hedgerow configuration following the construction of the A-18 St. Jean de Daye ALG (link to Patrick's site) as can be seen by the overlay below...
    [​IMG]
    ...at least that's my excuse :rolleyes:

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  10. John Szweda

    John Szweda Administrator
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    Oct 25, 2012
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    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    Awesome job Pat !

    I spent some time last night searching the area with no success.
    The aerial was key to locating this because even the ALG A-18 did
    a nice job in "remodeling" the area.

    Great work !

    John
     
  11. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    Oct 20, 2012
    2,506
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    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Team effort John :D

    Without Niels pointing to the reference in 'Dying for St Lo' and the additional images from Sean and yourself, it would never have been found under all that construction work - or rather should I say confirmed - the research which went into the book obviously picked up on the location before we came to it here.

    I'll open a new thread for the 'Herd of Allied Tanks' photo.

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  12. Sean

    Sean Active Member
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    Oct 24, 2012
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    Great stuff!

    Now we can set about identifying the Panthers' chassis numbers and crews ;-)

    Cheers,

    Sean
     
  13. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    Oct 20, 2012
    2,506
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    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Hi Sean,

    Is it safe to assume that the tanks are some of the 11 belonging to 2/901st Panzer Grenadiers as per the map on the previous page?

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  14. Sean

    Sean Active Member
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    Oct 24, 2012
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    Hello Pat,

    Sort of.... "supporting" rather than "belonging to", Pz Grenadiers being the infantry element.
    The Pz Lehr Panthers were from I./Pz Regt 6 (3.Panzer Division), detached from their parent formation and attached to Pz Lehr Division but yes, the ones referred to on the map, I think.

    Cheers,

    Sean
     
  15. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    Oct 20, 2012
    2,506
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    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Thanks Sean,

    I'll scan the last aerial photo in the LIFE article tonight and open a new thread for it to see if we can find the 'Herd of Allied Tanks'

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  16. Jpz4

    Jpz4 Active Member
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    Oct 24, 2012
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    #16 Jpz4, Aug 21, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
    Follow up:
    These photos came up on AHF recently, so I've been referring them to this thread:
    Abandoned Panthers. • Axis History Forum

    I've added a new take on these wrecks myself here:
    Abandoned Panthers. • Axis History Forum
    Evidence seems to suggest this was a collection point. Whether or not any armor was knocked out in the actually field is not clear, but certainly not all of them were. Also, if you look at the tracks running accros the field, it seems obviously some wrecks were put there after the tracks had been formed.
     
  17. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
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    Oct 20, 2012
    2,506
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    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Thanks for the update Niels,

    I appreciate the link to us which you placed on the Axis History Forum.

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  18. Jpz4

    Jpz4 Active Member
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    Oct 24, 2012
    325
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    You're welcome Pat. I'm a firm believer in educating people (and preventing them from reinventing the wheel) so a link to this thread is the least I could do.

    It was an added bonus that I realized some of the wrecks were quite possibly also on some ground level photos I already knew. By knowing the location and the identity of some of the vehicles involved, we can lower the number of German losses during the attack, perhaps even by five. Another small step in fully understanding what happened on that particular day.
     
  19. Jpz4

    Jpz4 Active Member
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    Oct 24, 2012
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    With the input of several others we have now concluded that all four Panthers were indeed lost elsewhere. This leaves only the story of the StuG to be determined. It's also the only remaining candate for any vehicle being knocked out in that field.
     
  20. Pat Curran

    Pat Curran Administrator
    Staff Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    2,506
    8
    Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
    Niels,

    Sounds like a good starting point for the establishment of a collection field - one knocked out vehicle.

    It strikes me that there are a number of vacant parking lots within the 'doughnut' turning circles...I wonder if other wrecks have already been removed when this photo was taken?

    Regards,

    Pat
     

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