PetaPixel

Soldier’s Camera and Photos from Battle of The Bulge Found in Foxhole 70 Years Later

Update: Turns out this story was a hoax. Head on over to our update and apology to catch up on the latest.


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The Battle of the Bulge is known as one of the most deadly and influential battles of WWII. Taking place over the course of five weeks, this surprise attack by the Germans caught allied forces off-guard, causing massive casualties, especially among U.S. Troops.

Among the 89,000 casualties was a soldier named Louis J. Archambeau, a Chicago native who left behind an interesting surprise in a foxhole he had been taking refuge in during the cold weather and rough artillery fire.

Part of the Company C, 1st Battalion, 317th Infantry Regiment, Archambeau was an infantry rifleman. And even though he wasn’t part of the first infantry regiment on the scene, the 317th still managed to find their way into the thick of the battle.

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Backing up other allied forces, Archambeau’s regiment eventually took a break to attempt to get some rest and rations. It was during this brief downtime in the foxholes of the frozen ground that Archambeau would document his final moments.

Declared MIA on December 26th, 1944, Archambeau’s last known position was in the side of the hill, in the foxholes with a number of his comrades. He was not declared KIA until February 23rd, 1945, when his body was found. At the time, the circumstances leading up to his death were shrouded in mystery.

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Fast forward almost seventy years… U.S. Navy Captain Mark Anderson and his historian friend Jean Muller were out with metal detectors, scavenging around Luxembourg, where the most heated firefights of The Battle of the Bulge took place.

While traveling through the hilly forest that once served as a brutal battleground, the pair came across an empty foxhole, and inside of that foxhole they found the personal possessions of an American soldier, left untouched for almost three-quarters of a century.

Among those possessions was a camera with a partially-exposed roll of film still inside.

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When they got that film developed, Anderson and Muller realized that they had stumbled upon a small collection of images taken by Archambeau during his final days, a photographic requiem of his own composition. But they didn’t stop there.

In hopes of finding out more, the duo teamed up with TheTroubledShooters.com in an attempt to seek out Archambeau’s family, show them what they had come across and hopefully shed a little bit of light on the mystery of what happened to their ancestor in his final moments.

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A family member was eventually found, taking over custody of these historically and personally significant items, among them the strikingly intact images developed seventy years after being photographed.

We’ve included the developed and scanned images throughout the article, and even though they lack in quality, their power lies in accurately depicting the cold, harsh life of an infantryman during one of the most horrific battles of the Second World War.

If you’d like to find out more about these pictures, be sure to visit TheTroubledShooters.com and read the full, fascinating story.

(via Reddit)


 
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  • Will

    What a great find!

  • http://www.ceaserphotography.com/ Sid Ceaser

    God, what a find. The fact stuff like this can still be unearthed is amazing. I’m so glad family members got the contents, and that they are now shared with the world.

  • Ruben Vasquez

    Damn what a find! And the guy wasn’t too bad of a photographer either.

  • musicandart

    Eerie, ghostly quality to these pictures…

  • Gerry Wirth

    That’s a very interesting article! I just live around that corner. Welscheid and Kehmen are around 5 miles from my place. Still today you can find ammunition and grenades from WW2 in the woods here.

  • Ya Got To Be Kidding

    God Bless America and heroes like Louis Archambeau. Thank you Captain Mark Anderson for your efforts in locating the next of kin.

  • Ted Martin

    WOW.

  • Ted Martin

    Eerie………profoundly sad too.

  • ThatGuy

    Fantastic article. Good work!

  • Douglas Clarke

    What a magnificent find.That film had unbelieveable staying power, don’t know if that is the proper term. Amazing detective work finding the family member also.

  • SkivMarine

    Their appearance enhances the drama of that battle. Rather than take anything away, the photos lend a stark reality to the sacrifice those men made for their country.

  • John Lingelbach

    think a digital camera and flash memory card would still hold usable images after being in the the ground and through 70 winters, springs, summers and autumns?

  • lexplex

    Wow I’d hate to be the guy tasked with developing that film! Talk about pressure to perform…

  • Eleanor Boening

    My Father was there. He would never talk about how bad it was.

  • http://www.mcraephotography.ca Christopher McRae

    Great article. I still can’t even imagine 89 THOUSAND casualties. Mind boggling.

  • YRofTexas

    My dad fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He spoke of the cold, and the misery, and seeing soldiers shot in the back (Germans by Americans). My dad was to lay wire for communications, and a shell flew between his legs and killed a soldier behind him. He also knew to build 2 spots for your foxhole, because there is always another soldier who thought better than to build one, and would jump in with ya when the firing started. The cold was so bad that my dad had suffered frostbite, which developed into peripheral neuropathy years later. He saw Paris when she lay in ruins, and that impression stayed with him.

  • Lardo140

    Except the link doesn’t work.

  • http://facebook.com/pradoph Prado Photo

    So sad… shocking images, eternal respect for these men

  • sarah

    I think the man in the second to last picture is my Grandpa!

  • Gary B

    It appears this story may be a hoax.

  • belaglik

    I hope not, but I wouldn’t be surprised. What seems fishy to me is the part of getting the film developed. One does not simply unearth a vintage camera from a battlefields and take it to the photolab at your local CVS. There would have to be much more involved in that process. At the very least, I would hope the camera and the film were turned over to a university or a specialized lab that deals with processing old and damaged film on a regular basis. If one of the guys really is a historian, you would hope proper protocols were followed. I definitely want more information before forming an opinion.

  • Ron Marek

    I’m the original poster of the pictures on Reddit. These pictures certainly are a hoax. My mother and I received emails from Mark Anderson and Terry Janes over the past couple days. I’ll be posting a follow up on Reddit.

  • http://mgoh7.twcleanse.hop.clickbank.net/ Tanya

    These photos have been proven to be bogus!

  • Craftwerkman

    I thought it was an interesting story and when I saw these rough b/w pictures I tried to add some quality to them by using some filters and turn them into greyscale images trying to extract some more details out of them.

  • MEEfO

    lol considering it’s a hoax.