Nazi Aerial Reconnaissance Photos

This is a set of five Nazi military aerial reconnaissance photos taken in June 1944. One can see villages, fields, woods, roads and rivers, but not individual houses. They cover the area around Bukowsko, Poland. All 5 of the photos have Bukowsko somewhere on them. The area included in the photographs are mostly within 10–15km of Bukowsko.

Here are the photos, in no particular order --

  1. First photo
  2. Second photo
  3. Third photo
  4. Fourth photo
  5. Fifth photo

Orienting Yourself

It takes a few minutes to relate these photos to features on a map. Here's a few facts that will help you to get oriented.

All the images are oriented north-south. I had to rotate two of the photos to make the orientation consistent.

A subsection of one of the photos that shows a specific hilltop

Bukowsko is on each of the photos, highlighted in a yellow circle. (The Nazis didn’t add the yellow circle, I did.) Also visible on each photo is the large hilltop north of Bukowsko. It appears as a distinctly-shaped dark patch on the photo, like the image to the right here (taken from photo 1). Along the road to the west of this hilltop are Nagórzany, Nowotaniec, and Nadolany. Along the road immediately to the southeast is Wolica. Looking at these two points (Bukowsko and the hill) help you to orient yourself from one photo to another and get a sense of scale.

In order to identify other features (especially villages), it’s extremely helpful to compare these photos to a map. Very good topographical maps are available from MapyWIG. Unfortunately, the Bukowsko area is right on the border of two of the topo maps. Bukowsko Triangle member Rob Wanenchak stitched the relevant portion of the two maps into one. You'll probably find his version the easiest to use.

If you want to look at the original topo maps that Rob used, Bukowsko is at the very top of this 1938 map of the Lesko region, and everything north of Bukowsko is at the bottom of this 1937 map of the Sanok region.

An Incomplete Tour of Each Photo

I made some quick notes on what features are visible on each photo. These notes are not exhaustive, so don't assume they list everything of interest.

First Photo

Bukowsko is in the center of this photo. The left side of the photo is obscured by glare. North and just a little to the right of Bukowsko is a large dark area. That’s a hilltop. Along the road to the west of this mountain are Nagórzany, Nowotaniec, and Nadolany. Along the road immediately to the southeast is Wolica, and to the east of that (near the edge of the photo) is Zboiska.

Second Photo

The top (north) side of the photo is obscured by glare. This covers a lot of the same area as the first photo, with more coverage to the SW and less to the NE. Bukowsko is a little above and to the right of dead center. The dark mountain area north of Bukowsko that’s so clear on map 1 is here obscured by glare.

Płonna is in the southeast corner of this photo, Karlilów in south center, and Wola Piotrowa and Tokarnia are southwest of Bukowsko.

Third Photo

This photo was oriented about 45° off of north-south. I rotated it so that it has roughly north-south orientation. This covers a lot of the same area as the first photo, with more coverage to the NW and less to the SE. Bukowsko is a little below and to the right of dead center. The distinctively-shaped dark mountain area north of Bukowsko that’s so clear on the first photo is also visible here.

Fourth Photo

This photo was oriented about 45° off of north-south. I rotated it so that it has roughly north-south orientation. Bukowsko is barely on this photo, tucked away in the faded bottommost corner. The distinctively-shaped dark mountain area north of Bukowsko that’s so clear on the first photo is also visible here. Pielnia is approximately dead center on this photo. The road to Pisarowce is visible in the upper right, but the village itself is in a faded area of the photograph. The same goes for Nowosielce. The dark patch in the upper left are the hills north of Odrzechówa. Wola Sękowa/Wola Jaworowa is visible in the lower left.

Fifth Photo

Bukowsko is in the extreme lower right. Odrzechówa is very clear in the upper left. Nagórzany, Nowotaniec, Nadolany, and Pielnia are also fairly clear in the upper right quadrant.

Credits

The originals are in the NARA Cartographic Research Room in Room 3050, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, Maryland. These copies come to us in December 2016 courtesy of Bukowsko Triangle member Larry Bell.

If you have questions or comments about these photos, please join us on the Bukowsko Triangle mailing list.

Copyright

These photos are published by the U.S. federal government and as such are in the public domain. Neither I (Philip Semanchuk) nor Larry Bell assert any copyright over their reproductions here.