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10 June 1944

'Balaclava', a Sherman M4A2 tank of Commanding Officer, Lt Col Harrap of Regimental HQ, 13th/18th Royal Hussars, 27th Armoured Brigade engaging enemy positions using crashed Horsa gliders as cover near one of the landing grounds during a counter-attack at Bénouville near Ranville, Calvados.

13/18 Hussars war diary;
"16th June, 1400 - Lt. Col R.T.G. Harrap returning from this area to Escoville ran into a Panzer IV tank in his Jeep and was killed by M/G fire. 'A' Sqn tanks hung on in position with the 1st. Gordons, cut off from the rest of the Brigade by enemy tanks and infantry infiltrating northwards. Their job now completed, several attempts were made to rejoin their Sqn but owing to the presence of 4 mock-up 'Tigers' at close range, decided to remain in position for the night. Nothing further to report."

(Source - IWM B 5345)
Sgt. Christie No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit

(Colorised by Gabriel Bîrsanu)



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Five Panzerkampfwagen V 'Panther' (Nr. 234 'Gerda' in the center) arrive at Pallières, a farm near Juaye-Mondaye, at about 15:30 on 10 June 1944. The unit was sent to support Pz.Aufkl.-Lehr-Abt. 130. The Panthers belong to the 2. Kompanie of I./Panzer-Regiment 6 from 3.Panzer-Division. The I./Panzer-Regiment 6 had recently been attached to Panzer-Lehr-Regiment 130 as the I. Bataillon of that unit. It would become I./Pz.-Lehr-Rgt. 130 at a later date.

A short timeline of events leading up to this event:

4 June – I./Pz.Rgt. 6 is loaded on trains to move east to Russia

5 June – First train of I./Pz.Rgt. 6 arrived in Magdeburg, Germany (the last train was still in Paris). It may be possible that these last 5 Panthers were never loaded onto a transport train.

6 June – Trains carrying I./Pz.Rgt. 6 ordered back to France

10 June – 5 Panthers of 2. Kompanie I./Pz.Rgt. 6 arrive at Juaye-Mondaye

15 June – Main body of I./Pz.Rgt. 6 arrives in the sector

Details of the five Panthers:

Nr. 234 'Gerda' – Panther Ausf. A
Nr. 2?? 'Christel' – Panther Ausf. A turret on an Ausf. D hull
Nr. 2?? 'Helsa' – Panther Ausf. A
Nr. 2?? – Panther Ausf. A
Nr. 2?? – Panther Ausf. A

(Nb. the pic shows the muzzle of the 7.5 cm KwK 42 L/70 gun)

When the Allied invasion came, Panzer Lehr Division was one of the strongest divisions in the German Army, with 109 tanks, forty assault guns, and 612 half-track vehicles (double the normal Panzer div's component.)
The division was rushed to Normandy and thrown into the Battle of Caen, where it helped to halt Montgomery's advance, but at a terrible cost.
On the 25th of June it had only sixty-six tanks left, and by the 25th of July its combined tank/assault gun total stood at fifty.
Sent to oppose the American advance from St Lo, it was struck by 1,600 US. heavy and medium bombers on July 25th.
Two days later, the divisional commander reported Panzer Lehr as "finally annihilated".

(Colourised by Royston Leonard)



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A Maschinengewehr MG.42 unit preparing for the Allied invasion in the Normandy Bocage. June 1944

This group is probably from the 21. Panzer Division.

On the 2nd of July 1944, the I./ Luftwaffe-Jägerregiment 32 and II/ Luftwaffe-Jägerregiment 46, 16. Luftwaffe Felddivision (air force field division) were committed to the sector defended by the 21. Panzerdivision.

Their first major actions were against British forces during Operation Charnwood on the Orne north of Caen. The division found itself in the thick of the fighting and were badly mauled by the British/Canadian offensive. Their positions were around Point 64, so even before the Allied ground assault began on 7 July the division was battered by bombers, artillery and naval guns. They were then struck by the British 3rd and 59th Divisions.

The 16. Luftwaffe Felddivision took heavy casualties during the fighting, with every battalion commander killed during the bombardment or fighting. The remnants of the division retreated across the Orne and took up positions with the 21. Panzerdivision.

The division never fought again as a unit. Elements continued to fight with the 346. Infanteriedivision and 21. Panzerdivision. Towards the end of July the men from the division were used to replace casualties in the 21. Panzerdivision. The 16. Luftwaffe Felddivision was formally disbanded on 4 August 1944.

(Colourised by Doug)



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SS-Unterscharführer Kurt "Quax" Kleber in his Panzer VI "Tiger I" Turmnummer Nº 232 of 2. Kompanie/3.Zug(Platoon) 2nd Vehicle/SS-Pz. Abt.101/ 1. SS-Pz. Korps "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" France, 6-12 June 1944.

The day after the invasion, Michael Wittman's unit, were given orders to depart from Beauvais to Villers Bocage.
Arriving at the battlefront on June 12 after a road march from Beauvais via Paris, Schwere SS Panzer Abteilung 101 had endured many breakdowns and sustained air attacks. The drive from Beauvais to Villers-Bocage took the Battalion five days to move to the front.

During that drive forward, five men were killed, among them was Unterscharführer Kurt Kleber (somewhere near Dreux) - the company's first casualty of the campaign.

(Colourised by Royston Leonard)



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Panzer-Grenadier-Lehr Regiment 901 or 902 inside a SdKfz 251 armoured vehicle from the Panzer-Lehr-Division 130 in France, Caen, 1944.

The Panzer-Lehr-Division, was a German armoured division. one of the most elite units in the entire German Wehrmacht.
It was the only division to be fully armoured with tanks and halftracks, such as the SdKfz 250 and the SdKfz 251

On 6 June 1944, Panzer Lehr, as a part of the strategic armored reserve (Panzer Group West), was held back from the fighting during the crucial first days in the Battle of Caen

On 13 June 1944, an attack by the 22nd Armoured brigade group of the British 7th Armoured Division outflanked Panzer Lehr's defences around Tilly-sur-Seulles and cut through the German lines, taking the village of Villers-Bocage and threatening Panzer Lehr's rear. Elements of Panzer Lehr, the 2nd Panzer Division, and the 101st SS Heavy Panzer Battalion were committed to defeating the British penetration.
By the end of June the Panzer Lehr Division had suffered 2,972 casualties and reported the loss of 51 tanks and assault guns, 82 halftracks and 294 other vehicles

(Color by Benoit Vienne)



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A Panzer crew, belonging to 1./s.SS-Pz.Abt.101 "Leibstandarte-SS-Adolf-Hitler" are here seen camouflaging their Panzer VI 'Tiger' tank with tree branches in the vicinity of Villers-Bocage, Normandy, in June 1944.

Date unconfirmed but possibly taken on the 14th of June, on the Ancienne Route de Caen (the old Caen Road), where Michael Wittmann's company spent the night of 12/13 June.

(Source - Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-738-0275-09A)

(Colourised by Royston Leonard)



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German infantrymen scan the skies for Allied aircraft in Normandy, (after the initial invasion) June 1944.

During the day, German troops caught in the open were easy prey for Allied aircraft , the "Jabos" would get them. (From the German "Jagdbomber" or "hunter-bomber."

(Photo source - Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-731-0388-20)

(Colourised by Doug)



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PzKpfw. V Panther #632 of either 116.Pz.Div (I./Pz.Rgt.24) or (Pz.Rgt. 33) 9. Pz.Div. in Normandy, Summer 1944

Photo source - Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-722-0407-37
Photographer - Theobald KBZ OB West

Colour by RJM



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June 7 1944

“Treat the casualties and get them wherever we could find safe cover for them.”

Beleaguered 2nd Naval Battalion Hospital Corpsmen get a momentary respite at a US Navy Aid Station on Utah Beach, Normandy

Navy medical personnel could be found on ship and shore during the invasion. They served aboard land craft bringing the soldiers to the fight; and they were aboard battleships, cruisers, and destroyers that pounded German fortifications and cleared the way onto the beaches. Navy physicians and hospital corpsmen also served with the 2nd, 6th and Naval Beach Battalions landing on the fabled Normandy shoreline. Frank Snyder, a corpsman with the 6th Beach Battalion later remembered their mission was simple.

(Colour by RJM)




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Luis Bonnapart
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