​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ WW2 Aerial Reconnaissance Studies 

Copyright © John M. All rights reserved.

  • Herrenberg – convoy with at least six vehicles entering town (106G/5359 frame 4150)
  • Jettingen -  six-piece mortar battery deployed convoy with at least 17 vehicles headed east (106G/5359 frame 4144)
  • Rotfelden – 25 vehicles in center of town with convoys headed South (106G/5359 frame 4126)
  • Wenden – center of town destroyed; track activity in area (106G/5359 frame 3120)
  • Wart – 50 vehicles in town and convoys headed North; evidence of deployments around town (106G/5359 frame 4119)
  • Hallwangen – about 20 vehicles in town and at least 15 vehicles others parked along road headed south.  German personnel trenching and track activity to north and east. (106G/5359 frames 3361-3365)
  • Obermusbach – two light observation aircraft (at 483003N 082847E) with probable French markings parked at barn; six-piece mortar departing a deployment site and convoy with more than 30 vehicles headed to Hallwangen (106G/5359 frames 3365-3369)
  • Igelsberg –  approximately 40 vehicles in town forming convoys, and heading north (106G/5359 frame 4378)
  •  Stollhoffen – 15 vehicle convoy headed north (106G/5359 frame 4464)
  •  Buhl  - 12 vehicle convoy and 10 more in rail yard (106G/5359 frame 4040)

The French First Army crossed the Rhine River on 31 March 1945, with the dual objectives of taking Stuttgart and driving southeast to the Austrian border.  A 17 April RAF reconnaissance sortie (106G/5359) captured the Army's progress through the Black Forest.  French units had advanced as far as Herrenberg, 45 km southwest of Stuttgart and to the southeast had arrived at the village of Hallwangen on the way to Horb-am-Neckar.  Vehicle concentrations and convoys could seen be at several locations in towns and along roads to the west to the Rhine (map and list).  A mortar battery using possible M28 tracked vehicles was deployed at Jettingen covered the advance into Herrenberg as a convoy passed by (Graphics).  Horb, with a possible Hitler Youth barracks and recently constructed defenses, was entered on the 20th.  Two French light observation aircraft, likely being used for route reconnaissance, were parked at a barn near Obermusbach.  In the rear, along the Rhine, convoys were traveling north and south near the towns of Stollhoffen and Buhl, respectively.  Except for the defenses at Horb, only a few sites along the routes showed signs of resistance or a German military presence.  The town center of Wenden had been destroyed.  A small amount of defensive trenching was observed in Hallwangen and heavy vehicle trackage north of Obermusbach may have been made by German equipment. 

The French First Army Crossing the Black Forest, 17 April 1945 

Locations of Activity:

At Hechingen (not shown on map), 23 km southeast of Horb, artistic and historical artifacts were hastily being removed from the Villa Eugenia, a Hohenzolleren residence where five large trucks were parked.  A number of other trucks were parked in front of a probable school being used as a hospital.  In 1944, the Nazi atomic scientist Werner Heisenberg relocated his laboratory to a woolen mill in Hechingen before constructing his test reactor in nearby Haigerloch.  Heisenberg left the town shortly after this image was taken, just ahead of soldiers of the the U.S. Alsos Mission seeking to capture him and his reactor.