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Posted on Jun 17, 2015 in War College

Fake Photo of ‘WWII Soldiers in Combat’

Fake Photo of ‘WWII Soldiers in Combat’

By Jerry D. Morelock

Editor’s note: After this article was published, we learned the photograph is one of many such exceptional images from Marwencol, a 1/6-scale, make-believe World War II town created by Mark Hogancamp. The images are copyrighted by Mark Hogancamp, and we do not wish to infringe on his copyright. Therefore, we removed the image, but you can see it here:

A documentary film has been made about about Hogancamp and how he created Marwencol as therapy after an vicious assault robbed him of his memories,

We’re still willing to bet some of you will be seeing this “amazing WWII photo” in emails from people who believe it is real—such is the nature of the Internet. Our goal was to inform readers that it is a great photo but not one taken during the Second World War, so we’re leaving the text of the article below.

I saw this photo the other day and although it looks really, really cool, it is fake. It is a photo of two 12-inch “action” figures (think “GI Joe” action figures) posed to look like a WWII scene. Examining the details reveals a number of things that expose this as a really, really well-done “diorama” purporting to show a “combat” scene which is actually just two posed 12-inch figures. Tip-offs are: the lack of “movement” in the mud where the lower figure is supposed to be “moving”; the “unnatural” oversized shirt collar on the upper figure; the oversized and unnaturally folded lapels on the upper figure’s field jacket; the awkward folds (unnatural “bunching” of the fabric) on the field jacket of the extended arm of the upper figure; the “fake” looking face on the upper figure; the unnatural hand-hold on the .45 of the upper figure; the obviously faked “mud splotches” on the lower figure’s uniform; and perhaps the most telling, the lower figure’s entrenching tool is obviously a plastic repro instead of a real canvas carrier.

As a collector of 12-inch WWII “action figures” I know what I’m talking about and although this is very, very well done, it is completely fake. Also, when I originally searched for this image on “Google images” I found it and then tracked it down to the original website where it first was posted and underneath the original photo someone had posted this comment: “You are really gullible! These are GI Joe action figures!”

Also, maybe the clincher is the camera angle – are we supposed to believe that the combat photographer was standing in the open in the mud, back to the enemy, taking this photo while the upper figure fires back at the enemy almost over his head? This fails the “common sense” test

Anyway, cool photo but fake. However, I would bet you that this shows up in the future in some WWII history book as a “real” combat photo!

Jerry D. Morelock, PhD, HISTORYNET Editor at Large.


  1. Ah… and it should be mentioned that Hogancamp never represented this picture to be factual.

  2. Er… slipped a 1. He works with 1/6 dolls.