Saturday, May 09, 2015

The Series of Aerial Reconnaissance Photographs of 25 August 1944 of Auschwitz-Birkenau

In the blog posting John Ball's Air Photo Evidence on Auschwitz, I had pointed out that there is a second set of aerial photographs from Auschwitz-Birkenau of 25 August 1944 other than those analyzed by John Ball. I had designated the former as "RAF photographs" and the latter as "USAF photographs" (later I changed this to from "British archives" and "US archives" respectively as the photographs were taken by the South African Air Force as pointed out by the Lesser Bunny). I claimed that both sets of photographs were taken by different air planes. This was an educated guess based on the fact that both series show approximately the same place taken at the same time and because the different series seemed to have been released by different countries. But there is actually an alternative explanation, it's possible and more likely that there was one air plane carrying two differently oriented cameras. Anyway, whether two planes with one cam each or one plane with two cams, the two series of photographs, thereof only one analysed and published by CIA aerial experts, both showing the same features at the Birkenau compound debunks Ball's claim that the photos have been tampered with by the CIA. 

Now, the Lesser Bunny spammed HC blog's comment section that he supposedly exposed my "nonsense about two different planes photographing Birkenau in tandem on August 25, 1944". However, he replaces my (as I noted above, arguably not most likely) explanation by a claim which is even worse.

He explains that the two series of photos were taken by the same plane on two different flights over the area. The photographs first analysed and partly published by the CIA (which he found were also released from an archive hold by the British National Collection of Aerial Photography, exposures 3184, 3185, 3186, 3187) were taken at the first pass of the Auschwitz area, while the other series of photographs only released by the National Collection of Aerial Photography (exposures 4185, 4186, 4187, 4188) was supposedly taken during the second overfly. He plugged in the coordinates provided at the NCAP site for each photograph using gpsvisualizer.com to illustrate the flight path. According to this, the supposed second pass over the Auschwitz complex is shifted about one mile north compared to the first one.

What should have made him sceptical of his interpretation is that both flight paths show pretty much the same deviations from a straight line as if the plane copied its manoeuvre when it passed over the area the second time. And it not only followed the same shifted route over the Auschwitz area, but during all its photographing missions in upper and lower Silesia (the red and blue dots indicate the coordinates of the plane when photographs were taken; the series with lower exposure number is marked in red, the higher in blue; for some missions of the "blue series", I've thinned out the number of photos used for the figure). According to his hypothesis, the air plane was flying exactly the same route twice on this day in the same direction, except that the second route was shifted by about one mile. 

Of course, it is way more likely that the route was flown and the targets photographed once with two cameras (either with two air planes in formation or more likely, one air plane carrying two cameras). This is confirmed by the fact that the photographs of both series show exactly the same personnel movement on the ground in the Birkenau compound (see this animated gif from exposure 3185 and 4186; marked with circles), i.e. the photographs were clearly taken at the same time on a single pass over the area - and not on two different flights over the complex, as already pointed out in John Ball's Air Photo Evidence on Auschwitz (which also rebutts his claim that "we can be fairly certain that these blobs cannot be people in formation").

The second pass over the Birkenau compound is actually shown in yet another series of photographs at the USHMM (exposures 5017 and 5018), but which "is severely degraded by heavy haze, and smoke from the operating smoke generators protecting the targeted industrial facility" according to aerial photograph expert Carroll Lucas (Zimmerman, Holocaust Denial). The Lesser Bunny's misunderstanding of the exposures 4185 - 4188 as having been taking at the second overflight (while they were actually taken at the first overflight with a second camera) made him to attack Lucas' explanation as "bizarre claim". Rather bizarre is actually the half life of his memory, as he himself linked on 28 February 2015 to what seems like the photographs of the actual second flight over Birkenau.

7 comments:

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

As well as the word "spam", Hans also doesn't seem to understand the meaning of the word 'sortie', because the significance of all the photos taken on the 25.8.44 having the same sortie number clearly hasn't been considered in his theorising.

Hans, do you intend to contact the NCAP with your theory about the co-ordinates for their 194 photos of the Auschwitz region by sortie 60PR/694 on 25.8.44 being wrong? Please let us know if, but especially, how, they respond!

As for exposures 5017 and 5018.

Yes, they also annotated as being taken by sortie 60PR/694, so they were taken by they same plane which took all the photos on the 25.8.44. I hadn't previously noticed this (despite me being the first to mention these two photos), because they're not amongst the NCAP's collection for sortie 60PR/0694. It only has 418 photos; frames 3001-3204 and 4001-4216.

That's an interesting gif you made with the two images of frame 3185 I posted on codoh. You weren't prepared to pay the NCAP £20 so you could actually have a real look at their photos yourself!

Before you treat us to any further theories of yours about these photos, I recommend, for your sake, that you read up a little on 'Vertical' and 'Oblique' aerial photography. Because ALL the photos taken by sortie 60PR/0694 on the NCAP's website site are denoted as "Vertical", which obviously includes the 8 photos (4 on each pass) of Birkenau!
http://ncap.org.uk/feature/vertical-and-oblique-aerial-photography







Hans said...

The Black Rabbit of Inlé:

"As well as the word "spam", Hans also doesn't seem to understand the meaning of the word 'sortie', because the significance of all the photos taken on the 25.8.44 having the same sortie number clearly hasn't been considered in his theorising."

Well, I didn't know that "sortie" is the deployment of only one air plane. I already stated that it is most likely that there was one air plane carrying two cameras anyway, so that makes my conclusion only more likely.

"Hans, do you intend to contact the NCAP with your theory about the co-ordinates for their 194 photos of the Auschwitz region by sortie 60PR/694 on 25.8.44 being wrong? Please let us know if, but especially, how, they respond!"

I intend to inquire them.

"That's an interesting gif you made with the two images of frame 3185 I posted on codoh. You weren't prepared to pay the NCAP £20 so you could actually have a real look at their photos yourself!"

I didn't use any photographs you posted at codoh for the animated gif.

For exposure 3185, I used this image (http://www.vho.org/tr/2000/4/birkaug25.jpg ) downloaded on 26 January 2015 and for exposure 4186 I used my own copy obtained in February 2015.

I've obtained exposures 4185, 4186, 4187, 4188 in February 2015. In fact, I used these photographs already in the posting on the new edition of Ball's book.

But good to know how easy you make utterly false accusations.

"Before you treat us to any further theories of yours about these photos, I recommend, for your sake, that you read up a little on 'Vertical' and 'Oblique' aerial photography. Because ALL the photos taken by sortie 60PR/0694 on the NCAP's website site are denoted as "Vertical", which obviously includes the 8 photos (4 on each pass) of Birkenau!
http://ncap.org.uk/feature/vertical-and-oblique-aerial-photography"


How ever the photos are denoted at the NCAP site, the two series were clearly taken with two cameras (with an angle of less than 10° between them if from one air plane). This is demonstrated by the fact that they show the same personell movement on the ground in Birkenau. Care to address this point?

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

HANS SORTIE: How ever the photos are denoted at the NCAP site, the two series were clearly taken with two cameras (with an angle of less than 10° between them if from one air plane). This is demonstrated by the fact that they show the same personell movement on the ground in Birkenau. Care to address this point?

I think you're right. Compare the following six images:
http://fotos.fotoflexer.com/0eb3a686e7140d434d63a3c4d5a411e5.jpg

The Birkenau photos appear to have been taken in simultaneous pairs: 3185 & 4185, 3186 & 4186, etc.



Upon realising this, I thought the purpose of the dual camera may have been for stereoscopic viewing.

"A primary advantage of aerial photography is that it may be viewed stereoscopically, providing a 3D representation. This is accomplished through the use of stereoscopy, a stereoscope being placed directly over two aerial photographs. Viewing two aerial photographs that were taken one after the other through the stereoscope results in a 3D representation of the entities on the stereo pair."
- Jeff Thurston et al., Integrated Geospatial Technologies: A Guide to GPS, GIS, and Data Logging p.209

IMAGE: http://www.intechopen.com/source/html/16472/media/image15.jpeg

But...."Aerial survey photographs normally have an overlap of 60% along the line of flight, to permit stereoscopic viewing."
http://ncap.org.uk/feature/interpreting-aerial-photograph

The photos compared from each camera in my image above (i.e. 3185 v 4185 etc.) have nowhere near a 60% overlap; although the frames captured by the same camera (e.g. 3185, 3186, 3187 etc.) do. So perhaps the purpose of the dual cameras was simply to capture (almost) twice the area.



HANS SORTIE: I intend to inquire them [NCAP].

I'll speculate now that the co-ordinates given by the NCAP for each image are just the approximate centre point of each photo; co-ordinates they lifted from Google Earth or similar.



HANS SORTIE: "as already pointed out in John Ball's Air Photo Evidence on Auschwitz (which also rebutts The Lesser Bunny's claim that "we can be fairly certain that these blobs cannot be people in formation".

Do you actually think those blobs are groups of people in formation?

Hans said...

On my e-mail that the coordinates suggest that "the air plane was carrying and using two cameras with an angle of few degrees between them" I've received the following reply from the NCAP customer services:

"Your interpretation is correct. Depending on the type of aircraft and the mission, there could have been up to eight different cameras on the aircraft. Normally there would have been three. For more information please go to
http://ncap.org.uk/feature/vertical-and-oblique-aerial-photography"

Hans said...

The Black Rabbit of Inlé:

"Do you actually think those blobs are groups of people in formation?"

Let me put it this way: I don't know and haven't heard yet of a better explanation.

Do you have?

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Perhaps they're large sheets of canvas or tarpaulin.

Do you think the two larger, rectangular blobs between the two barracks immediately north of the one in question are also people in formation then? Those blobs don't appear on the photos of 23.8.44 either.
http://fotos.fotoflexer.com/5b017d138391506f54a01ebfcb5a97d4.jpg

Vince said...

Hi,

interesting picture showing a few lens ready to be mounted on a Mosquito :

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Second_World_War_1939_-_1945-_Aerial_Reconnaissance_CH10845.jpg

In my opinion, this is clear that only one Mosquito took the pictures, in a single pass. Usually reco missions are done by one single plane, even more when this is over an hostile country.

We don't know how many cameras were in use on this mission (at least two), but if we think of the previous picture available on wikipedia, maybe the two F.24 14-inch lens vertical cameras or the two F.52 20-inch lens were taking the pictures (no stereoscopy done, without the F.24 14-inch lens oblique camera) took the serie of pictures.

Do we know if the pictures were taken from the F.24 14-inch lens or F.52 20-inch lens cameras ? Maybe the F.24 14-inch ones ?

See You

Vince