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WW2 70th Anniversaries this month:
2009 and 2015, I will be pursuing a general modelling theme that
marks selected 70th Anniversaries from WW2.
1942 - The Battle
of Stalingrad remains the focus of
activity on the Eastern Front. Soviet commanders move Red Army
strategic reserves from Moscow to the lower Volga and transfer
aircraft from the entire country to the Stalingrad region. Throughout
the month the Luftwaffe pounds the city, with Luftflotte 4 flying
2,000 bombing sorties on 14 October alone, whilst bitter hand to hand
fighting continues in the rubble below.
Oct - The first A-4 (V2) rocket is successfully launched from
Peenemünde, Germany. The rocket reaches a height of 84.5
kilometres, becoming the first man-made object to reach space.
Oct - At the Battle
of Cape Esperance, the US Navy
defeats a large Japanese naval force heading for Guadalcanal. This is
the first defeat of the Japanese Navy in a surface engagement and
provides a significant morale boost to the Allies.
A Ju87 prepares to attack the devastated city of Stalingrad
Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-J20510 / CC-BY-SA
Oct - Pacific Theatre - The decisive Battle
for Henderson Field begins in
Guadalcanal. By 26th Oct, the Japanese attack has been repulsed and
there will be no more serious attempts to retake the island.
Crown Copyright IWM (E 18474)
Oct - North African Theatre - An artillery barrage marks the start
of the 2nd
Battle of El Alamein. 220,000 men and
1,100 tanks of General Montgomery's 8th Army advance across the
minefields. Rommel has returned to Germany for medical treatment; the
115,000 men and 559 tanks of the Panzer Army Africa are under the
temporary command of Lt Gen Stumme. On 24th Oct, Gen Stumme moves
forward to the front to see the allied advance for himself. His group
comes under fire and he suffers a fatal heart attack. Afrika Korps
commander General Thoma assumes temporary command. Rommel is summoned
back from Germany and arrives in theatre late on the evening of 25th Oct.
Oct - Pacific Theatre - The
Battle of Santa Cruz Islands. Two US
Navy Task Groups led by the carriers USS HORNET and USS ENTERPRISE
engage a Japanese force of 4 Fleet Carriers, Sho-kaku, Zuikaku, Hiyo
and Junyo, plus the light carrier Zuiho. The USS HORNET is sunk and
ENTERPRISE badly damaged, leaving only one Allied carrier operational
in the entire Pacific theatre.
two Japanese carriers are also badly damaged and more significantly,
the Japanese have lost 148 of their most experienced aircrew, a blow
that will limit their war-fighting capability for the rest of the
war. Two undamaged Japanese carriers are now forced to return to port
as they no longer have sufficient aircrew to operate.
Oct - With his fuel supplies dwindling, it is now obvious to Rommel
that the battle of El Alamein is lost. He begins to plan a retreat to
Fuka, some 50 mi (80 km) west.
is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is,
perhaps, the end of the beginning." Winston
Churchill reporting the Victory at El Alamein
the month, significant convoys of warships troopships and
merchantmen sail from British and US ports, their destination unknown
even to the crews and men onboard. The departures are noted by German
U-boats and reconnaissance aircraft, but their attention is
distracted by several vulnerable northern convoys and the
significance of a massive force at sea passes unrecognised.
Grant Command Tank
8th Army, El Alamein, October 1942
1/72, with Bison decals
the start of WW2 the US Army had astonishingly few tanks, and it was
quickly clear that they would be no match for German armour. Building
on British experience, the M3 General Lee tank was quickly produced
as an interim design, using the running gear of the M2, but adding a
powerful new 75mm gun in a rather old-fashioned sponson on the right
hand side of the hull.
resultant high silhouette of the M3 and its limited firing arcs were
not ideal, but the running gear was relatively reliable and the
larger gun could match the armour plating of any other tank in
existence at the time. Drawing on the bitter experience of the
British, it also allowed the use of high explosive ammunition,
enabling the tank to engage non-armour targets, such as the German's
deadly 88mm and 75mm anti-tank guns.
real thing - General Montgomery in front of his Command Tank
Crown Copyright IWM (E 18982)
about the lack of an effective integrated radio system led the
British to order a modified variant, named the General Grant, with a
lowered cast turret containing a commander's radio. First used in the
desert in 1941, the Lee and Grant tanks proved relatively successful,
although their known limitations meant that they were quickly
replaced by M4 Sherman tanks as soon as these became available.
Existing hulls then became the basis of a number of specialist Allied
vehicles, primarily self propelled guns
Montgomery used an M3 Grant as his command tank from the Battle of
El Alamein right through to the invasion of Europe in 1944. The tank
now resides in the Imperial War Museum as a lasting memorial to the
range of 1/72 AFVs is generally very good, although becoming
relatively expensive these days.
this build I have added some Bison decals for Monty's command tank,
plus a few add on upper deck stowage items, and a cloth mantlet dust
cover for the main gun.
basic "Monty" figure comes with the kit, although he is
intended to be a US uniformed tank commander, so I added the
distinctive beret. His Chief of Staff down in the right hand hatch is
a figure from the Airfix 6lb gun kit.
Tanks and AFVs on my
Dark Side pages
222 and Kubelwagen
Army Africa, El Alamein, October 1942
1/76 HO-OO Reconnaissance Set
Panzerspähwagen Light Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicles were a
series of light four-wheel drive armoured cars produced by Germany
from 1935 to 1944.
Based on the Auto Union - Horch heavy car, the vehicles appeared in a
number of variants and were widely used by reconnaissance units on
all fronts of WW2, including North Africa, where their relatively
limited off-road capabilities proved a disadvantage.
VW Type 82 Kubelwagen was developed from the ubiquitous VW Beetle
and designed by Ferdinand Porsche. Its name translates literally as
"bucket truck", reflecting its utilitarian and rather basic
construction. Lightweight, reliable, cheap to build and remarkably
good off-road, it gave valuable service on all fronts throughout the war.
Corps personnel view the battle from their Kubelwagen
Officers inspect a captured Sd Kfz 222 in North Africa
Crown Copyright IWM (E 3776)
Reconnaissance Set provides a good example of two of the most
numerous German vehicles of WW2. Both are rather basic
representations, so I have added a few extra details, in the form of
the mesh grenade screen for the turret roof (two staples and some
wire gauze), a water Jerry-can and some extra stowages.
for Victory - A soldier of the 8th Army gives the Viccies to two
captured Afrika Korps prisoners
Crown Copyright IWM (E 18522)
Tanks and AFVs on my
Dark Side pages
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message to his troops in October 1942
Crown Copyright IWM (MH6005)