“The peril of the hour moved the British to tremendous exertions, just as always in a moment of extreme danger things can be done which had previously been thought impossible. Mortal danger is an effective antidote for fixed ideas.”
– Generalfeldmarschal Erwin Rommel
At long last, Waltersons, the new owners of the Forces of Valor brand, has begun to draw back the curtains on some of the 1:32 scale military vehicles collectors can expect to lay their mitts on this holiday season. The first vehicle they have lassoed from the dressing room is the venerable 88mm FLaK gun, this time around painted in the desert scheme colors of the Deutsches Afrika Korps. As you can see by the close-up image, no detail has been left out, including a pitted gun shield and kill tally, as well as a dual display mode, so collectors can show the gun in either a transported mode or ready to do battle atop its cruciform mount. While the accompanying figures were omitted from these test shots, the DAK version will include 6 figures – five crewmen to serve the weapon and the Desert Fox himself, Erwin Rommel. We’re getting close to a release date, which will hopefully make it available around Turkey Day.
No doubt a Sd.Kfz.7 prime mover, adorned in the desert colors of the DAK, will follow suit, so collectors can proudly display in the gun in a towed mode with the crew seated within the vehicle\s passenger compartment.
The Luftwaffe’s Junkers Ju 88 was a twin-engine, multi-role aircraft. Among the most versatile planes of the war, it was used as a bomber, close-support aircraft, nightfighter, torpedo bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. A solid aircraft with great performance, it went on to be one of the Luftwaffe’s most versatile aircraft. It carried out almost every kind of mission ever imagined, even as a giant flying bomb. It was used in every theater, with many nations, including nations allied against Germany.
Kampfgeschwader 40 (KG 40) was a Luftwaffe medium and heavy bomber wing of World War II, and the primary maritime patrol unit of any size within the World War II Luftwaffe. It is best remembered as the unit operating a majority of the four-engine Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor maritime patrol bombers. The unit suffered from the poor serviceability and low production rates of the Fw 200 bombers, and from repeated diversion of its long-haul capability aircraft to undertake transport duties in various theatres, especially for the airlift operations to supply encircled forces in the Battle of Stalingrad. Later in the war, KG 40 became one of several Luftwaffe bomber wings to use the Heinkel He 177A heavy bomber.
The wing was formed in July 1940 at Bordeaux-Merignac under the control of Fliegerfuhrer Atlantik. The unit flew reconnaissance missions in the North Atlantic searching for Allied convoys and reported their findings to the Kriegsmarine’s U-boat fleets. On October 26th,1940, Oberleutnant Bernhard Jope bombed the 42,000 ton liner Empress of Britain, the ship later being sunk by U-32. Between August 1940 and February 1941, the unit claimed over 343,000 tons of ships sunk. The newer Fw 200C-2 was then available and differed only in having the rear ventral areas of the outer engine nacelles recessed with dual-purpose bomb racks fitted to carry a pair per aircraft of the quarter-tonne SC 250 bombs, or standard Luftwaffe 300 litre (79 US gallon) drop tanks in the bombs’ place for longer ranged patrols.
On February 9th, 1941, five Focke-Wulf Fw 200 of I/KG 40 in cooperation with the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper and U-37 attacked the British convoy HG 53. The convoy lost 967-ton Norwegian freighter Tejo and British freighters Jura, Dagmar I, Varna, and 2490-ton Britannic to aerial attacks.
With the lack of suitable long-range air cover to counter KG 40 in mid 1941 the Allies converted several merchant ships to CAM ships (‘catapult aircraft merchant’ ship) as an emergency stop-gap until sufficient RN escort carriers became available. The CAM ship was equipped with a rocket-propelled catapult launching a single Hawker Hurricane, dubbed a “Hurricat” or “Catafighter”. KG 40 crews were then instructed to stop attacking shipping and avoid combat in order to preserve numbers. Their objective was to locate and shadow convoys and continually report by radio their composition and course changes to allow the Kriegsmarine to direct the ‘wolf-packs’ of U-boats to close, intercept and engage.
“1. The outcome of the battles in Albania is still uncertain. In the light of the threatening situation in Albania it is doubly important to frustrate English efforts to establish, behind the protection of a Balkan front, an air base which would threaten Italy in the first place and, incidentally, the Rumanian oilfields.
2. My intention is therefore:
(a) To establish in the coming months a constantly increasing force in Southern Rumania.
(b) On the arrival of favorable weather—probably in March —to move this force across Bulgaria to occupy the north coast of the Aegean and, should this be necessary, the entire mainland of Greece (‘Undertaking Marita’). We can rely upon Bulgarian support.”
– Fuhrer Directive 20 “Undertaking Marita”, the Invasion of Greece in early 1941
Throughout the early part of the war in Europe, the Dornier Do 17 light bomber established itself as a workhorse of the Luftwaffe, able to provide close air support for advancing Wehrmacht forces and, to a lesser extent, provide strategic bombing over Great Britain in concert with other bombers. It was therefore no surprise that it would again be pressed into service when the Axis High Command deemed it necessary to invade both Yugoslavia and Greece as a prelude to Operation Barbarossa due to their leaning with the British camp.
Developed during the early 1930s under the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles, the Dornier Do17 was originally described as a freight aircraft for the German State Railway and a high-speed mail aircraft for Lufthansa. The aircraft was in fact a new breed of fast attack aircraft, or Schnellbomber, which was intended to carry out lightning bombing attacks, at speeds making it almost impervious to enemy ﬁghter attack. With its sleek tapering fuselage, the Do17 was nicknamed “The Flying Pencil” and whilst this design certainly prevented the aircraft from carrying anything other than a modest bomb load, its proﬁle made it more difficult to target in the melee of a dogﬁght. Seeing extensive service in the early part of WWII, the Do17s of KG.2 would support Luftwaffe operations during “Operation Marita” as the Wehrmacht attempted to invade Allied occupied Greece, following a failed Italian offensive. Attacking ground and coastal targets, the Dorniers also took a heavy toll of Allied shipping in the Mediterranean theatre.
During the invasion of the Balkans, Kampfgeschwader 2 “Holzhammer” (KG 2) I. Gruppe committed 29 Do 17s with 28 operational. It participated in the bombing of Belgrade, the Battle of Greece and Battle of Crete, attacking ground and naval targets. On May 20th, 1941, the unit claimed many Allied ships sunk north of Crete. It reported the loss of 6 Do 17s and 7 damaged. II. Gruppe did not take part. III. Gruppe participated with 30 Do 17s, 29 operational. It reported losses of 6 aircraft shot down and 5 damaged during the campaign. During June 1941, I./KG 2 was partially converted to the Do 217.
Look for Corgi’s rendition of this bomber (AA38807) to take to the skies in September.
Its been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If that’s the case, then try telling that to the venerable A-10 Warthog ground attack aircraft — a much maligned tank buster that may have a lost a beauty contest or two over the years but more than makes up for its looks with a killer disposition.
Hobby Master’s fleet of A-10s have consistently done exceptionally well at retail so its no small wonder that they are getting set to release the 22nd iteration of the Warthog. The latest, due out in October, is dubbed “Tigress”, a fitting bad-ass name that does the plane justice (HA1324). “Tigress” was flown by the 47th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 917th Fighter Group, then deployed to Barksdale AFB, during 2011.
Adorned in a two-tone greyish camouflage scheme that bears both a warthog nose and an image of the “Tigress” on the fuselage, and coming at a time when all of the previous A-10s have long since sold out, we anticipate brisk sales this holiday season and have set our sales goals accordingly.
“I’m telling you right now, don’t believe what you’re being told. It was that MiG that shot Spike down.” – A pilot on the same mission as downed pilot, LCDR Scott Speicher, January 17th, 1991
Ordinarily, I’m rather loathe to pointing a spotlight at an adversarial aircraft that shot down one of our own, however, in the case of this particular incident I’ll make an exception due to its wide public nature at the time. Way back on January 17th, 1991, during the opening stages of Operation Desert Storm, Iraqi pilot, Lt. Zuhair Dawood, flying a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25PDS “Foxbat-A” interceptor, successfully downed a Coalition pilot by the name of LCDR Scott Speicher. LCDR Scott Speicher was flying an F/A-18 Hornet fighter, BuNo. 163484, from VFA-81 “Sunliners”, when he was shot down 100 miles west of Baghdad, on the first night of Operation Desert Storm. His plane crashed in a remote, uninhabited wasteland known as Tulul ad Dulaym. He was the first combat casualty for American forces in the war.
The U.S. Navy maintained in a 1997 document that Speicher was downed by a surface-to-air missile. A pilot on the same mission stated: “I’m telling you right now, don’t believe what you’re being told. It was that MiG that shot Spike down.” Subsequently, in an unclassified summary of a 2001 CIA report suggests that Speicher’s aircraft was shot down by a missile fired from an Iraqi aircraft, most likely a MiG-25, flown by Lieutenant Zuhair Dawood, attached to the 84th squadron of the Iraqi Air Force. Speicher was at 28,000 feet and travelling at 0.92 Mach (540 Knots) when the front of the aircraft suffered a catastrophic event. The impact from the R-40 missile threw the aircraft laterally off its flight path between fifty and sixty degrees with a resulting 6 g minimum load.
LCDR Speicher was initially listed as a probable MIA but later changed to KIA, on May 22nd, 1991, several months after the end of the Gulf War. Sadly, Speicher’s status was changed to Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered (KIA/BNR). Navy Commander Buddy Harris, who was a friend and fellow naval aviator of Speicher’s, became a strong advocate for searching for Speicher, often meeting with U.S. officials. On August 2nd, 2009, some 18 years following his status change, the Navy reported that Speicher’s remains were found in Iraq by United States Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines belonging to Multi National Force-West’s Task Force Military Police and Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 belonging to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. His jawbone was used to identify him after study at the Charles C. Carson Center for Military Affairs at Dover Air Force Base. According to local civilians, Speicher was buried by Bedoiuns after his plane was shot down. Senator Nelson attributed the delayed finding to the culture of the locality: “These Bedouins roam around in the desert, they don’t stay in one place, and it just took this time to find the specific site.”
If you’ve been wondering what new rabbits Eaglemoss plans to pull out of its Star Trek hat, wonder no more. Word on the street is that they plan to offer a glow-in-the dark series of standard-sized starships, beginning with the USS Defiant NCC-1764. A fuzzy image was uploaded by Ben Robinson, project manager for the Eaglemoss Star Trek series, showing how the product would likely look when viewed in the dark. No further product information was provided and whether or not the starship would come bundled with the customary magazine.
“We who strike the enemy where his heart beats have been slandered as ‘baby killers’ … Nowadays, there is no such animal as a noncombatant. Modern warfare is total warfare.” – Peter Strasser, chief commander of the German Imperial Navy Zeppelins during World War I
There are, without question, certain aircraft that have come to symbolize a conflict. The Harrier and Super Entendard are instantly recognizable as the instruments of war during the Falklands Conflict. The Spitfire, P-51 and Bf 109 are, of course, the tools of the Second World War. The B-52, F-4 Phantom II and MiG 21 are synonymous with the Vietnam War.
When it comes to the Great War, most associate the War to End All Wars with the biplane – the flimsy, open cockpit invention that took chivalry to new heights and created an added dimension to modern warfare. But, it was the Zeppelin that struck fear in the hearts of the civilian population, enabling Germany’s Imperial Air Service to bomb cities, docks and industrial targets with relative impunity – or so they thought.
Recognizing its significance on the battlefield of Central Europe, Wings of the Great War has decided to pay homage to this slow and ponderous behemoth by offering its first ever 1:700 scale replica of a Zeppelin (WW19901). The Zeppelin P Class was the first Zeppelin airship type to be produced in quantity after the outbreak of the First World War. Twenty-two of the type were built as well as 12 of a lengthened version, the Q Class. They were used for many of the airship bombing raids on the United Kingdom in 1915-16, for naval patrol work over the North Sea and Baltic and were also deployed on the eastern and south-eastern fronts.
Look for the Zeppelin to take to the skies this August.
In a bid to produce models based upon every conceivable version, variant and livery of the Russian-built T-72 and T-90 tanks, ModelCollect has announced three more examples of these ignominious vehicles. As far as the T-72 goes, they have announced a Syrian T-72BM Main Battle Tank with Kontakt-1 ERA which was deployed to Aleppo, Syria, in 2016 (AS72054). The T-90 gets two new flavors as well: the first is a Russian T-90MS Main Battle Tank – Nizhny Tagil Arms Expo, Russia, 2012 (AS72056) while the latter is a Russian T-90MS Main Battle Tank – Weapons Show, Desert Camouflage, 2014 (AS72060). This is now the 15th look at the T-72 from the eyes of ModelCollect, which means they have certainly gotten their money’s worth out of the tooling.
When asked about the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo in April 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt played coy with the press, claiming the bombers had taken off from “Shangri-La,” a fictional location in the 1933 novel “Lost Horizon.”
Corgi, on the other hand, is happy to report that the 16 B-25 Mitchell medium-bombers actually flew off the deck of the USS Hornet, and that 2017 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Raid. While they have replicated other aircraft involved in the Raid, their latest warbird pays homage to one of the lesser known B-25 Mitchells, one known as “Hari Kari-er” (AA35313), which was piloted by Captain Charles Greening.
The Doolittle Raid, also known as the Tokyo Raid, on Saturday, April 18th, 1942, was an air raid by the United States of America on the Japanese capital, Tokyo, and other places on the island of Honshu during World War II, the first air strike to attack the Japanese Home Islands. It demonstrated that Japan itself was vulnerable to American air attack, served as retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, and provided an important boost to American morale. The raid was planned and led by Lieutenant Colonel James “Jimmy” Doolittle of the United States Army Air Forces.
Sixteen B-25B Mitchell medium bombers were launched without fighter escort from the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Hornet deep in the Western Pacific Ocean, each with a crew of five men. The plan called for them to bomb military targets in Japan, and to continue westward to land in China-landing a medium bomber on Hornet was impossible. Fifteen aircraft reached China, but all crashed, while the 16th landed at Vladivostok in the Soviet Union. All but three of the 80 crew members initially survived the mission. Eight airmen were captured by the Japanese Army in China; three of those were later executed. The B-25 that landed in the Soviet Union was confiscated and its crew interned for more than a year. Fourteen complete crews, except for one crewman who was killed in action, returned either to the United States or to American forces.
After the raid, the Japanese Imperial Army conducted a massive sweep through the eastern coastal provinces of China, in an operation now known as the Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign, searching for the surviving American airmen and inflicting retribution on the Chinese who aided them, in an effort to prevent this part of China from being used again for an attack on Japan.
The raid caused negligible material damage to Japan, but it achieved its goal of raising American morale and casting doubt in Japan on the ability of its military leaders to defend their home islands. It also contributed to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s decision to attack Midway Island in the Central Pacific – an attack that turned into a decisive strategic defeat of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) by the U.S. Navy in the Battle of Midway. Doolittle, who initially believed that the loss of all his aircraft would lead to his court-martial, received the Medal of Honor and was promoted two steps to brigadier general.
Year after year, one of the most popular aircraft in the Corgi aerial armada is their 1:72 scale depiction of the German Heinkel He 111 medium bomber. Their latest incarnation is no different — it comes in the form of a torpedo bomber that served with Kampgschwader 26 in the upper regions of Norway during 1942 (AA33715)
Perhaps the most interesting missions carried out by the ‘H’ model Heinkel He IIIs were those of the torpedo carrying maritime attack bombers, which flew at wave-top height, before delivering their payload of two air launched LT F5b torpedoes. Operating from the airfield at Bardufoss in northern Norway, the anti-shipping Heinkels of KG26 were involved in the infamous attack against Arctic convoy PQ17, which proved to be one of the most disastrous episodes in the history of the Royal Navy. Leaving Iceland, bound for Arkhangelsk in Russia, the convoy consisted of 35 merchant vessels and a large protecting force of naval ships. Quickly detected by the Germans, the first attack came from 25 Heinkel torpedo bombers of KG26 – warned of their approach, the escort vessels put up a murderous wall of defensive fire, which claimed four of the Luftwaffe bombers destroyed. Determined in their attack, the torpedoes did their damage and a number of ships were sunk and the defensive shield of the convoy disrupted.
Worried by the ferocity of the attack and intelligence reports suggesting that the mighty German battleship Tirpitz was steaming towards the battle, naval commanders ordered the escorts to withdraw and the convoy to scatter. Over the course of the next few days, Convoy PQ17 came under repeated attack from U-boats and Ju88 bombers, which claimed 23 of the defenseless ships. July 2017 will mark the 75th Anniversary of this naval disaster.