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SS-Gebirgsjäger Johann Voss, Finland 1944 (many pics)


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B Hellqvist

Company Commander


Gender: Gender:Male
Age: 53
Joined: 06 Jun 2005
Posts: 735
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 5:53 am    Post subject: SS-Gebirgsjäger Johann Voss, Finland 1944 (many pics) Download Post Reply with quote

Then, for the first time, we heard the name of Sennozero, the most northern of our strongpoints, another lake, in fact, with a few huts and some hills, a point from whence a flat, impassable region of water, bogs, and thin ribs of land extended over a boundless distance to the north. Here, as we were soon to discover, the Russians had employed a task force of seven battalions, determined to open the way for a thrust into our division’s rear area. We were alerted on one of the first days of July. Schaper rushed into our bunker at seven in the morning. The battalion was to leave its positions within twelve hours, in full combat gear.

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”Nord” soldiers lined up for inspection.

Background
When I read ”Black Edelweiss” by Johann Voss (pseudonym), I felt that I wanted to bash a figure looking like him during the summer of 1944. Voss joined Waffen-SS in 1943 when he was 17 years old, and served as a Sturmmann (lance corporal) and Unterführeranwärter (NCO candidate) in the 11th Regiment, 6th SS-Gebirgsjäger Division “Nord”. The division was fighting on the extreme north of the Eastern front, on level with the Arctic Circle in northern Finland. He headed a machinegun squad, and was armed with a MP40 and a P38. It wasn’t uncommon for him to be the gunner, too. The MG34 was the standard MG in the division; they didn’t receive the MG42 until New Year 1944-45. The first pics here show my first draft, which I posted here about 1½ year ago. The research consisted of reading the book, checking the few photos of “Nord” troopers available, and (by a stroke of luck) finding out Voss’ real name and email, and asking him what he wore some 60 years ago (yup, he is still alive and online at the age of 79). The figure is my interpretation of those facts.

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Johann Voss during training, 1943.

The 6th SS-Gebirgsjäger Division “Nord”, in the beginning known as SS-Kampfgruppe “Nord”, had an abysmal baptism of fire in 1941, the members being from the Allgemeine-SS and with little military training. The unit was pulled from the frontline, trained by Finnish officers, and soon became a reliable force on the more or less static front by the Arctic Circle. In September 1944, the German forces were forced to evacuate Finland, as part of the Finnish peace agreement with the Soviet Union. There wasn’t enough time for the Germans to evacuate (probably calculated that way by the Soviets), and the Finns were forced to take up arms against their erstwhile comrades in arms. After an epic 1000-mile march through the cold, dark winter of Finnish and Norwegian Lapland, where “Nord” formed the rearguard of the 20th Gebirgsarmée, the Division was redeployed in the Vosges Mountains on the French border in late December/early January. Voss became a PoW in March 1945 after a failed attack, and the remains of “Nord” surrendered to US forces in Austria, May 1945. The Division wasn’t involved in any atrocities (except perhaps for the alleged torching of the Finnish town Rovaniemi), and US units which fought “Nord” were impressed by the professionalism and fairness shown by the Waffen-SS Gebirgsjäger.

The Figure, first draft
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A first draft. This was probably my first kitbash ever.

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Back view. Now when I look at it, I think I’ve improved a bit.

Trying to get the needed insignia from Wynstons Warriors (remember him?) proved to be a main stumbling block, which delayed me for many months. The whole project was put on the backburner, as there were several pieces of equipment that I wanted to get right. Other projects took precedence. Anyway, I found the time to attack the last items that were needed, and in a flurry of activity, I completed the figure in three evenings.

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As evident, the soldiers travelled light.

The Figure, final version
First out is a pic of Voss in his basic uniform. Although he didn’t wear his sports badge in the field, there’s a pic of him in the book showing him during training where he wears it.

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The figure is a combination of the headsculpt from “Christian” (which is a very close likeness of the real Voss; I just had to make the eyebrows a bit more marked), and the body from “Pieter Altmann”, which being shorter matches the rather slight Voss.

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The tunic is some old DML SS tunic with plastic collar patches and shoulderboards. Both were removed, CVI insignia added, DML shoulderboards applied, and the 11th Regiment’s cuff title, “Reinhard Heydrich”, added (a printout glued to a CVI cuff band). The puttees were made from thin cotton trim, painted with acrylics and fitted with steel wire buckles.

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Voss ready for battle.

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The Zeltbahn is from BBi’s “Dieter Voss”. It was cut in two in order to get a more realistic size on the rolled item, and I painted the green spots in a slightly less vibrant shade. I made the leather straps, with proper secondary straps for carrying the Zelt in the belt. The canteen got a new cover and realistic straps. The Finnish puukko utility knife was custom-made (epoxy putty) and the handstitched sheath made from soft leather. This was a “must” item for him, as all soldiers on the Finnish front were issued the popular knife. The mosquito netting on his helmet is an item seen in pics from the summer months, as there were millions of bloodthirsty midges in the forests where the division was posted.

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The MP40 and MG34 were weathered, and the plastic ammo strip was enhanced by making a metal “tongue” and attaching it with a tiny metal spring. As leader of the machinegun team, he carries the telescopic sight case, as well as a pair of binoculars.

Stuff used
Figure: DML (see above)
Uniform: old DML SS tunic, DML “Alfons” trousers
Boots: DML “Hasan Malnar”
Puttees: custom
Cap: DML ”Hermann Stahlschmidt”
Camo smock, helmet, helmet cover, shirt, suspenders, belt: DML
Helmet liner: Battlegear Toys, custom buckle
Mosquito net: custom
Insignia: CVI and custom
Weapons: DML
MP40 sling: Battlegear Toys
Ammo pouch: DML
P38 holster: Battlegear Toys
Telescopic sight case: DML MG set
Binoculars: DML
Canteen: DML, customized
Knife: custom
Zeltbahn: BBi, customized
Zeltbahn straps: custom

The whole project has been very satisfying, and I’m happy I didn’t complete it before I felt I had both gear and skill to do it as much justice as possible. My brief communication with the real veteran was an unexpected bonus, and something which prompted me to do my utmost.
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B Hellqvist

Company Commander


Gender: Gender:Male
Age: 53
Joined: 06 Jun 2005
Posts: 735
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 11:20 am    Post subject:  Download Post Reply with quote

OK, new pics with the right piping colour now in the original post, plus a couple detail shots of the puttees and the knife.

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Finnish puukko knives are of several patterns. Birch with a burl grain is popular for the handle.
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Heeresbergführer

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Age: 58
Joined: 28 Oct 2005
Posts: 528
Location: In the Mountains of Life

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 5:19 am    Post subject:  Download Post Reply with quote

Servus Jäger Hellqvist,

Prima! An Excellent rendition of Voss!!! I've read his book and I beleive he lives nearby. It is always a super experience when you can talk with WW II veterans from both sides...allied and axis. A good friend of mine grew up in New York City, got a scholarship to the Berlin Music Conservatory in 1940 to study opera (before the USA was involved), got over there and within a few weeks Hitler closed all the universities, and my friend was drafted into the German Army as a Gebirgsjäger with the 4. Gebirgsdivision! He is currently writing a book about his experiences.

I really like your Wickelgamaschen (puttees) and would like to know more about what material you used and how you made them. They look much better than the molded ones on the DML boots.

Your Puukko is great also. Did you make it as a functional knife? I have also seen them with metal sheaths.

What kind of material did you use for the mosquito netting? The actual color of real ones is a bright green...about the shade of the green in the camo smock that your figure is wearing. I'll dig up my 1/1 scale one and post a picture of it when I get home later today.

Mit einem kameradschaftlichen Horrido!

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Heeresbergführer

www.gebirgsjaeger.4mg.com
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B Hellqvist

Company Commander


Gender: Gender:Male
Age: 53
Joined: 06 Jun 2005
Posts: 735
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 6:10 am    Post subject:  Download Post Reply with quote

Thanks! When a Gebirgsjäger figure passes your muster, one can feel confident that the stuff is good. Your expertise in this field is awe-inspiring.

The gamaschen were made from thin, unhemmed cotton trim, c. 8 mm.s wide. They are 35-40 cm:s long (not true to scale, but I wanted the extra material to fill out the whole shebang). I folded the last 8-10 cm lengthwise to achieve the taper, and painted them with acrylic colour (worked both as a stiffening agent and making the edges less prone to unravel). The buckles are just steel wire bent into shape. And yes, they do look better than the molded stuff. :)

The puukko is indeed functional, but the sheath is so tight, I think it will be really hard to draw the knife. I made the blade from epoxy putty, and when it had set, I sculpted the handle on the blade's tang.

The mosquito netting... it is some sort of plastic; I cannot remember where I found it. I painted it brown, as my only reference (Steven & Amodio's "Waffen-SS Uniforms In Colour Photographs" showed a brown net, mentioning that green was also used.
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Gebirgs

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 5:04 pm    Post subject:  Download Post Reply with quote

That is definatley one of my favirote books!

One question thats always bugged me! Whats his real name!?!?!

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B Hellqvist

Company Commander


Gender: Gender:Male
Age: 53
Joined: 06 Jun 2005
Posts: 735
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 5:18 pm    Post subject:  Download Post Reply with quote

Gebirgs wrote (View Post):
That is definatley one of my favirote books!

One question thats always bugged me! Whats his real name!?!?!


As I said, I figured it out, but I also made a promise to him not to disclose it. SS veterans, even from units that weren't involved in atrocities, are sometimes given a hard time by anarchists and communists, or idolized by misguided neo-Nazis. He studied law after the war, and had a successful career in the private sector. He's still angry over the Nazis' abuse of his youthful idealism, but nonetheless proud of his unit.
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Falckner

Machine Gunner


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Age: 61
Joined: 06 Aug 2005
Posts: 242
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2005 12:05 pm    Post subject:  Download Post Reply with quote

Hi Björn
Wonderful figure and you´r
research is a state of art.
Nice and well done details
Its high class all over.

Vi hörs Björn

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