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Tandem cameras, was this a Leica accessory


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Yesterday I bought Chris Boot's book Great Photographers of the Second World War and on page 12 there is a photo by Hanns [sic] Hubmann showing two Leica cameras joined together base to base. The photo is undated but from context I would place it to 1941-2. I have copied a part of the photo using an iPhone and enclosed it below. The Leica Accessory Guide shows a Leica product the TOWIN, the Leica tandem, but this time the two cameras are held one on top of the other and it is dated to 1949 to 1950. Apparently the idea of the Leica tandem was that you could take photographs of the same thing with different lenses or film stock.

Does anyone know if this unknown piece was something that was cobbled together or was it an official Leica product. Thanks in advance.

 

 

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55 minutes ago, derleicaman said:

I think this a one-off creation by a photographer in the PK. If you show the entire picture, I recall the photographer having a Mauser automatic pistol tucked in his boot.

Bill, I was looking for that gun in the boot, but could not see it. There were a lot of similar trench rig ups in WWII.

The Leica mounted on the end of a binocular trench periscope, auctioned in 2014, was probably a one off that started in the Leitz factory, but most other items were made ‘in the field’. 

William 

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40 minutes ago, willeica said:

Bill, I was looking for that gun in the boot, but could not see it. There were a lot of similar trench rig ups in WWII.

The Leica mounted on the end of a binocular trench periscope, auctioned in 2014, was probably a one off that started in the Leitz factory, but most other items were made ‘in the field’. 

William 

William, where did the picture appear? I can't recall, and I was going to check in Benser's book as a possibility. I remember several pictures of the PK in operation at the front. Benser was in the PK during the war.

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43 minutes ago, derleicaman said:

William, where did the picture appear? I can't recall, and I was going to check in Benser's book as a possibility. I remember several pictures of the PK in operation at the front. Benser was in the PK during the war.

I’m away from home at the moment. I will check my records when I get back later in the week and I will let you know.

William 

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Here is an image of the Tandem Camera provided by good friend Fabrizio Pangrazie. It clearly shows the Broom Handle Mauser tucked into the photographer's boot. It's interesting to see the photographer is wearing riding pants, ususally worn by officers. The person (soldier?) facing him is wearing puttees or ankle wrappings. These were never worn by the Wehrmacht, but were worn by the Soviet armed forces and many other armies at the time. I think they were also common for the British Army, Indian and other Commonwealth troops.

Jim Lager commented on this apparatus and said it was clearly something put together by the PK in the field.

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Edited by derleicaman
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Russian soldiers did wear baggy trousers that flared around the thighs so I don't think you can say definitively they are riding pants, but they do look like officers boots. Russian officers also liked the Mauser pistol and by the time of WWII there were a lot about having been in production for forty years. Puttees were common early in the war for Russian troops. 

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17 hours ago, derleicaman said:

I think this a one-off creation by a photographer in the PK. If you show the entire picture, I recall the photographer having a Mauser automatic pistol tucked in his boot.

Your memory was absolutely correct and you’ve posted the whole photo as well. Thanks for clarifying that this was likely a one off creation. In Chris Boot’s book, which has an 8” x 12” photo of the complete scene, he gives the opinion that the individual wearing gaiters is a Soviet prisoner. In addition he states that the gun is a Luger but the image is more consistent with the broomhandle Mauser C96 as you say. Cheers. 

Edited by williamj
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8 hours ago, williamj said:

Your memory was absolutely correct and you’ve posted the whole photo as well. Thanks for clarifying that this was likely a one off creation. In Chris Boot’s book, which has an 8” x 12” photo of the complete scene, he gives the opinion that the individual wearing gaiters is a Soviet prisoner. In addition he states that the gun is a Luger but the image is more consistent with the broomhandle Mauser C96 as you say. Cheers. 

Hello William, Jim Lager is sending me a copy of this book, and I look forward to seeing the original image referred to. I know I have seen a series of these images somewhere, I don't remember where. I distinctly remember the Broom Handle Mauser tucked in the boot and getting the image from Fabrizio confirmed it. I don't know how you could confuse a Broom Handle Mauser C96 with a Luger Parabellum P08. When I referred to the soldier in puttees, I highly suspected it was a Russian POW. As 250swb pointed out that puttees were used by the Soviet Army early in the war and that Broom Handle Mausers were popular with them. They were also very popular with the Chinese Nationalists.

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2 hours ago, jaapv said:

Stereo photography was quite popular back then.  Possibly that was the rationale behind this construction.

Good idea, I don't think that's the case though as the lenses are different and not in the same positions which would be essential for stereo imaging.

I think it's just a home spun solution to keeping two cameras 'at the ready' - interesting one.

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I have just received emails with information from Mauro Melchiori, a great expert in this field and the only person in my full knowledge who has personally attended and interviewed a number of kriegsberichters (of some he has been a guest at their home several times). In short: he knows this device very well and has information about this photo of which he recorded two different versions. One says it was taken in Norway when the 7th. Gebirgs Division (7th Mountain Division) was operating. Another image instead shows a label relating to the 7th Waffen-SS Gebirgs (mountain) division "Prinz Eugen", created as a mountain unit to be employed exclusively on the Balkan Front against partisans (but he adds that there may have been a cataloging error by the kriegsberichter he knew). When asked about the use of puttees or Wickelgamaschen in German,  he confirmed that both units used them during WWII, mainly with lowboots.

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4 hours ago, sabears said:

I have just received emails with information from Mauro Melchiori, a great expert in this field and the only person in my full knowledge who has personally attended and interviewed a number of kriegsberichters (of some he has been a guest at their home several times). In short: he knows this device very well and has information about this photo of which he recorded two different versions. One says it was taken in Norway when the 7th. Gebirgs Division (7th Mountain Division) was operating. Another image instead shows a label relating to the 7th Waffen-SS Gebirgs (mountain) division "Prinz Eugen", created as a mountain unit to be employed exclusively on the Balkan Front against partisans (but he adds that there may have been a cataloging error by the kriegsberichter he knew). When asked about the use of puttees or Wickelgamaschen in German,  he confirmed that both units used them during WWII, mainly with lowboots.

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But in the original photo they are knee length puttees not ankle puttees. And calf length boots look alike whichever army they are from, but the Russian pattern boots had a more distinctive rectangular impression (I assume the place the tab was sewn on the inside to help pull them on) on the outside and inside leg of the boot at the top, very similar to the photo. The material of the trousers doesn't look like the typical German army serge unless it was a lighter weight DAK uniform, which opens the possibility they are Italian puttees and the photo was in fact made in Africa.

Edited by 250swb
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Jim Lager tells me the original image is on p.12 from a book called Great Photographers of World War II by Chris Boot. Jim originally referred to it as the Boot book, and I thought he was referring to the boots in it, and I am thinking what an esoteric subject! I have a book on the development of the Stahlehlm (German Steel Helmet), so I can certainly understand an esoteric subject regarding boots and puttees.

Anyway, Jim is sending me a copy of the Boot book. I understand this is one of a series of photos taken on that day, and once I get to see the book, I can comment further. As of right now, I think from my recollection, the photos were of a Kriegsberichter in the PK, taken on the Eastern Front. I think the soldier with the puttees was a Russian POW. I will leave it that for the time being until I get the book.

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8 hours ago, derleicaman said:

Hello William, Jim Lager is sending me a copy of this book, and I look forward to seeing the original image referred to. I know I have seen a series of these images somewhere, I don't remember where. I distinctly remember the Broom Handle Mauser tucked in the boot and getting the image from Fabrizio confirmed it. I don't know how you could confuse a Broom Handle Mauser C96 with a Luger Parabellum P08. When I referred to the soldier in puttees, I highly suspected it was a Russian POW. As 250swb pointed out that puttees were used by the Soviet Army early in the war and that Broom Handle Mausers were popular with them. They were also very popular with the Chinese Nationalists.

Hi Bill, I think you'll enjoy the book.

The photographs are of good quality, some of them are uncensored war images, and the bulk of them I had not seen before. They are from both sides of the conflict. As always, quality photography stands out and Edward Steichen's image of routine maintenance duties onboard the USS Lexington, which looks like it was made with a view camera, is quiet but really stays with you.

Thank you for using your network to answer this question.

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if it helps, here others photos...

An officier of SS-Verfügungstruppe ("Dispositional troops", i.e. troops at the personal disposal of the Führer).

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Wehrmacht Gebirgsjäger wool Gators

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4 hours ago, sabears said:

if it helps, here others photos...

An officier of SS-Verfügungstruppe ("Dispositional troops", i.e. troops at the personal disposal of the Führer).

Wehrmacht Gebirgsjäger wool Gators

 

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I stand corrected, German armed forces did wear puttees in WWII! It looks like they even specify left and right from the photos. I am still looking forward to the Boot book arriving for more context for the picture this started out with.

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