For all of the candid, gory, brutal photos of war that we’ve seen, this particular image looks startlingly posed. At first, it looks as though the German soldier is pushing his hair back — but, in context, it’s clear that he may instead be putting his hands behind his back. His plane, where he was strafing American positions near Weisweiler, was brought down. Here he can be seen driving into captivity.

It was shot down and he was taken captive during Operation Queen. Focused on the Rur river, the operation was designed to lay the groundwork to make it over the river to the Rhine into Germany, though ultimately it was a German defensive victory.

Weisweiler

Weisweiler, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

9 December 1944. 

Credit: Anti-Worlds