Amazing Photo of real hand to hand combat.
May 25, 2001 5:11 AM   Subscribe

Amazing Photo of real hand to hand combat. The page is in Greek but the (600K) picture on top is, I think, worth your while. This is a photo taken by a British liaison officer to the partisans in the Greek island of Crete during WWII (named John Eberson or Emberson), as a group of guerillas confronts a German patrol. What is amazing is the fact that Emberson reached for his camera instead of his gun... This is the closest view of a combat situation I've ever seen captured on film - does anyone know of anything similar on the web? Caption translation inside this thread's comments.
posted by talos (11 comments total)

 
The caption reads:

A unique photo taken by British liaison with ELAS [communist Greek resistance group] John Emberson, who was following ELAS operations. The scene took place in Vromonero by Krousonas on July 14 1944. Michael Metaxakis, leader of the ELAS squad describes:
"we fall on a German ambush. We were so close we wound up struggling hand to hand. We couldn't fire our guns. We were fighting to get the other down and kill him. As I was struggling with one German, the other turns to kill me, when another guerilla jumps, rides him and stabs him. I'm safe and I finish off the German. I stab him, sfap, really quick."

Metaxakis is the black clad partisan in the middle.
posted by talos at 5:24 AM on May 25, 2001


I thought at first the photo was of some Greeks dancing !
posted by Postroad at 5:54 AM on May 25, 2001


From the lost episode of "Hogan's Heroes"
posted by ColdChef at 6:11 AM on May 25, 2001


I'm reminded of the famous Robert Capa photo Death of a Loyalist.
posted by Avogadro at 6:22 AM on May 25, 2001


Avogadro, that was exactly the one I thought of--the first thing you think of is the action depicted; the second, where was the photographer standing?

David Duncan's Marine Corps shots from the WWII Pacific theatre have that same up and close and personal touch.

There's a great new book called Ghost Soldiers about the rescue of some of the Bataan prisoners at the end of MacArthur's "return." It suffers from a paucity of photographs, though, because at the climax of the rescue, every Ranger and Scout was shooting bullets, not pictures.
posted by steve_high at 8:08 AM on May 25, 2001


Call me contrary, or call me a troll, but the photograph really just looks like a bunch of people tusslin'. Or, if it weren't for the conspicuous lack of ice, playing hockey.
posted by bshort at 9:14 AM on May 25, 2001


bshort, you're a contrary troll.
posted by Doug at 10:58 AM on May 25, 2001


> What is amazing is the fact that Emberson reached
> for his camera instead of his gun...

What is suspicious is that this guy, whose name isn't even certain, reached for a camera and framed a nice shot instead of helping his pals or ducking for cover or running away.

It looks staged -- as if the three good guys are facing the camera, evenly spaced, nicely framed, and all kicking Nazi ass, because that's what someone (the director of a B movie?) wanted.
posted by pracowity at 6:40 AM on May 26, 2001


Here's a link to the aforementioned Ghost Soldiers
posted by steve_high at 8:10 AM on May 26, 2001


Call me contrary, or call me a troll, but the photograph really just looks like a bunch of people tusslin'

What would you expect hand-to-hand combat to look like?
posted by briank at 11:02 AM on May 26, 2001


pracowity:
The reason I wasn't certain about the name is that in the caption it is given in Greek, where both guesses are consistent with the Greek transcription. As for staging the photo: Metaxakis was indeed a locally known resistance figure. It would be impossible to fool his relatives with an actor pretending to be him. Also note that he himself describes the circumstances of the scene. The article (from a respected Greek political publication) gives sources for the photo's origins, all of which are from legitimate historical research works. In other words, this picture in all probability is what it seems to be.
As for bshort's point: it does look like a bunch of people tusslin'. Which is what close range combat look's like anyway (except for the two German soldiers in various stages of dying of course)...
posted by talos at 4:20 PM on May 26, 2001


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