What a fascinating selection of images!Rui wrote:Sam Wren wrote:Olá e Feliz Natal Rui!
So we can conclude that the photo of a Raketenwerfer with the tactical symbol of Stab/Stug Abt., with Major Becker in StuG uniform near Rommel, is after November 1943 and before 06.June.1944. And that vehicles, don't have winter camouflage, we can assume that photos we taken in the Spring 1944. Specially to the photos, that have a 7,5 cm PaK40(Sf) auf Geschützwagen 39H(f) (Bild 101I-300-1865-05)
and a 10,5 cm leFH18(Sf) auf Geschützwagen 39H(f) (Bild 101I-300-1865-06), of the 21.PD, with tactical symbol of the 1./StuGAbt. 200.
Would the great to know the number of the series of the photos used by Spielberger in his book, using the Das Bundesarchiv, we could narrow the window of time, when they were taken.
Photos from Das Bundesarchiv in larger dimensions and without watermark (the links are from Wikipedia):
Bild 101 I - Propagandakompanien der Wehrmacht - Heer und Luftwaffe
Propaganda Unit: PK 698
Bild 101I-300-1863-04 - Rommel in Riva-Bella
Bild 101I-300-1863-07 - Riva-Bella
Bild 101I-300-1863-09 - Rommel and other officers
Bild 101I-300-1863-14 - Reihenwerfer 20 mortar tubes
Bild 101I-300-1863-15 - Reihenwerfer 20 mortar tubes
Bild 101I-300-1863-17 - Reihenwerfer
Bild 101I-300-1863-18 - Raketenwerfer 24 Rockets rails (48 rockets)
Bild 101I-300-1863-21 - Rommel, Feuchtinger, Dollmann
Bild 101I-300-1863-26 - Rommel in Riva-Bella
Bild 101I-300-1863-29 - Rommel in Riva-Bella
Bild 101I-300-1863-30 - Raketenwerfer 24 Rockets rails (48 rockets)
Bild 101I-300-1863-33A - Rommel in Riva-Bella, and a Raketenwerfer 24 Rockets rails (48 rockets)
Bild 101I-300-1863-35 - Rommel in Riva-Bella, and a Raketenwerfer 24 Rockets rails (48 rockets)
Bild 101I-300-1865-04 - Rouen, 18. 5.1944, 10,5 cm leFH18(Sf) auf Geschützwagen 39H(f) (Hotchkiss tank), 21. PD
Bild 101I-300-1865-05 - Rouen, 18. 5.1944, 7,5 cm PaK40(Sf) auf Geschützwagen 39H(f) (Hotchkiss tank), 1./StuGAbt. 200, 21. PD
Bild 101I-300-1865-06 - Rouen, 18. 5.1944, 10,5 cm leFH18(Sf) auf Geschützwagen 39H(f) (Hotchkiss tank), 1./StuGAbt. 200, 21. PD
Bild 101I-300-1865-08 - Rouen, 18. 5.1944, Armored Half-track, 21. PD
Bild 101I-300-1865-09 - Rouen, 18. 5.1944, Armored Half-track, 21. PD
It is "logical" that, the ReihenWerfers were allocated to the Pz.Gren. units, in the end they were SP Multiple Mortar launchers, a heavy infantry support weapon, mounted on half-track vechicles. Using the same "logic thinking", a SP Multi Rocket launcher, could be part of an assault unit like a StuG unit or in an artillery unit, as saturation fire artillery asset.
The series shot in Riva Bella and dated 30 May look as if they are part of a fire-power demonstration of the 20 barrelled mortar and/or 24 barrelled rocket launcher laid on for Rommel. Feuchtinger had his faults, but putting on a good show was one of his strengths. They include the snaps you would expect from a well staged VIP visit.
We see images of the fall of shot followed by a visit to the launcher position or vice versa. The shots showing the multiple mortar shows the launcher being loaded - which shows ammunition was on the position on the day. The 24 rocket launcher is shown unloaded - and close to the spectators observation point on the coast. There is around 20 splashes in the image of the fall of shot. There was also the matter of how much scarce ammunition should be expended to impress a VIP.
My hypothesis is that the weapons being fired were the multiple mortars, while the rocket launcher was brought on as a static non firing demonstration as a concurrent activity for the VIPs at the OP.
I may be very wrong and this theory can be tested by someone showing other images....
Were there other images showing Rommel visiting other equipment on the same date?
The captions on the series dated 18 May 1944 raise some questions. Is the location accurate? This looks like an inspection of some part of Becker's abteilung, which we know was deployed closer to Falaise than Rouen. Was this label just where the photographer was told to RV, and then taken with a guide to somewhere never mentioned? or was some part of the battalion moved for this demo?
PS I don't think that the 21 Pz Div followed any organisational chart, but the chart followed the development of what was Feuchtinger's private army built around Becker's engineering. I have an idea that Becker's "Sturm artillery abteilung" was created so that Becker, who was just a major could command a lot of his kit. His "abteilung" is three or four times as big as the abteilung of Pz Art Regt 155. Fechtinger in his post war interview says that because of the loss of two batteries of I/155 on D Day, Becker's SPs were used as field artillery.