U.S. Soldiers crossing the Rhine under enemy fire, Germany, 1945


Exactly why is the known fact that he's holding a Thompson an indication of rank? Please excuse my ignorance, I've just never heard that. It was fairly common for officers to carry as I understand things ...



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Some random comments on reddit about U.S. Soldiers crossing the Rhine under enemy fire, Germany, 1945

  • Why is the fact that he's holding a Thompson an indication of rank? Please excuse my ignorance, I've just never heard that.
  • As I understand things, it was fairly common for officers to carry carbines (such as the Thompson, or the M1 carbine) rather than a full-length rifle, for reasons of mobility and the like....less weight makes it easier to be in several places at once when commanding a platoon, or a company of men who require nimble physical leadership.
  • Not really less weight, the Thompson and the Garand both weigh about 11 lbs. But definitely cooler.
  • Yeah, I guess that was somewhat mist-stated. My understanding (I'm not a professional historian) is that full-length rifles such as the M-1 or Springfield were less-wieldy that the shorter carbines, which is why they were issued to officers and some others (such as mortar squads, and artillerymen), as these combat roles relied less on direct rifle combat and more on command roles, and indirect weapon combat respectively. Maybe theres someone who knows more about this than I who can clarify these policies/guidelines in a more verbose manner.
  • I've only handled a Thompson once. I was very surprised by the weght. The owner said that it made them more controllable (they fire a quite heavy 230 grain bullet full auto). I think the mix of weapons in an outfit was pretty standardized. Full auto weapons were only given to people who could handle them.
  • I searched for this picture before posting here (looked for "Rhine", "River", etc.) and couldn't find it. Sorry if it is a re-post. As for the person with the tommy, he doesn't have an insignia like the one in front of him (looks like he's a staff sgt.) but that's not that uncommon for a lieutenant. After searching for the Division patch above his rank I found they are all part of the 89th Infantry Division. I agree with you though and I'd bet he's most likely a good Lieutenant setting an example for his men, controlling his fear of death.
  • Sorry if it is a re-post. Reposts are a-okay. New subscribers come along all the time. If enough of them like it, it gets voted up. If not, it gets voted away. Thanks for the info and the research, I've always found this photo to be very interesting.
  • I guess the right man in the wrong situation is all the world needs for change..
  • The right man in the wrong place, can make all the difference in the world
  • The more you look at this photo, the more intense it gets.
  • Agreed. Incredible picture.
  • Read more comments


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