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Pardon the dust while the boys rebuild the site.
The board will be in a state of disarray as I get things sorted out, for a little while at least.
The new incarnation is using Xenforo as the system software. It is much like what we are used to, with a few differences. I will see about making a FAQ to help point out the differences for the members.
One IMPORTANT difference for all of us old timers is that the 'mail' system is replaced with what are called 'conversations'/
There is no 'Inbox' or 'Out box' or 'Sent' folders anymore.
Think of Conversations as private 'threads' or topics that don't exist in a forum, that you start with another member. NOTE: Conversations can include more than one member if you or someone else in the conversaion, likes.
Takes a little getting used to but I am sure you all can get a hang of it.
Only a slightly modified default default Xenforo style is available for now. Once the new SAG style is ready it will be available.
All existing users should be able to login with their usernames and passwords once the site goes up.
If anyone has difficulties logging in please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support and patience. I know it has been a loooong road.
Your set-ups for the FJs are great and makes me wish I kept my mule and packsaddle set. Nice to see a customized FJ medical bag, what piece did you use for its base. I got my hands on a reproduction one produced by Ritterwerkstatt to use a reference to try and make one or try a commission a piece.
G'day 'Greatshaggy', cheers muchly for your kind comments. The FJ medical bag was simply a tanned DML bag (think American satchel of some sort) which I painted in dark blue grey, the base is a thin piece of leather material. I used a cut off from a spare smock to recreate the flare round hold-all on the officer's sleeve based on period examples. It's the little-known aspects of the FJR that I've tried to incorporate into the scenes along with the more familiar aspects of FJR wear and combat load, this way (I find) makes each scene refreshing in its build.
The 3-volume series 'German Paratroopers' by Karl Veltze has been an absolute goldmine in the production of this year's FJR lot in getting these additional details in and I highly recommend it for anyone wishing to do likewise. Thanks again, Steve
An even more enjoyable aspect of the FJR series is the little extras, the drop containers in-particular. DML's drop container (which came with the 'Bruno Adler' figure) has been most handy and that plus a reproduction period manual on drop containers (in German but with plenty of illustrations to go by) has enabled me to put together four for the series (I've since added anchor cables to the front of the MG34 crew weapons container (which will be open for viewing) foremost in the pic. Note that the DML containers are, from my reckoning, notorious for having flimsy hinges to their lids but other than that are great for repainting/detailing and such though unsure as to why they came in an almost sky blue finish. The markings I've based off period pics and is without doubt the most difficult to ascertain aspect of the whole project. Enjoy, Steve
German airborne weaponry is another nicety and I've a whole range however when putting together the 8cm 'Stumpf' or shortened barrel mortar (DML) specifically designed, though not really successful range-wise, for the FJR I thought it be ideal to put against it for scale the three prime mortars of the Wehrmacht alongside it for comparison. The 5cm (DML), 8cm (DML) and 12cm (DiD); all of which have been repainted/detailed and all of which were employed more-so as the FJR went into the role of conventional ground-based 'elite' light infantry after Crete. I also belatedly did up one of the great DiD Nebelwerfers (15cm) given the FJR widely used these at Cassino and in Normandy and I figured...what the hell, why not. Enjoy, Steve
Short of scenes encapsulating the Russian Front (there's three in-total) and leading off from the diorama specifically covering airborne weaponry and back into the timeline narrative of the FJR at war (a break in the battle so to speak), a DML CHE PAK 38 which I repainted/detailed in winter camo a few years back for a scene (which never ended up being made) has been brought out and an FJR crew assembled for it but what's an anti-tank gun without ammo? so a mate of mine 3d printed several boxes and rounds which I've painted/detailed and added snow effect. Enjoy, Steve
From the get-go I wanted to have a small scene depicting the unique poses of a German paratrooper exiting an aircraft and in the doorframe using the early-mid war chutes (R.Z. 1, 16 and 20 respectively) which ensured the best chance of clearing the aircraft and avoiding fouling of the chute upon opening (a tricky business given the chute was attached to the central of the man's back thus no ability to steer via risers as per Allied chutes). The problem I had was how to exactly pull it off with regards to having a paratrooper having exited the Ju52 (doorframe courtesy of DiD's 'Schmelling' figure) in the dive position.
The doorframe fitted nicely into a metal frame whilst the falling paratrooper has a leg placed in a figure stand. I've since applied better canvas tape to keep the black card in place to the rear of the doorframe. A small scene perhaps but exactly the way I envisaged it last year. Enjoy, Steve
Cheers very much Squidley and as for Chris well if I can inspire others to follow and post then my job here is half done (so be sure to post when finished). Onto the last scene now then I'll post several more in order to tie-off the series. Thanks again, Steve
With D-Day and the weaponry sorted it is time to move on to September 1944 and the British-led drive into Holland - the infamous 'Bridge Too Far', the Allies largest airborne operation of the war which commenced on the 17 September, normally hogs the narrative though there were two other British corps (the remainder of British 2nd Army) flanking Horrocks' XXX Corps drive towards Arnhem; the XII and VIII Corps which had an equally hard time slogging through the water-logged terrain of Holland during September and into 1945 and there was also Canadian 1st Army which came into play towards the end of '44.
The genesis of the British plan had its origins several days earlier with the belated capture of the vital port of Antwerp on the 4th and the seeming collapse of the German forces in the area. On that same day Generaloberst Kurt Student was given the task of forming a defensive line with a hodgepodge of units ranging from redundant Luftwaffe ground service personnel to weak Heer training units supported by whatever armour and artillery could be had; however, the core of this hastily-assembled army (grandiosely named the 1st Parachute Army) were his tenacious paratroopers - those (well the remnants) of Regiment 6, a battalion of Regiment 2 and five other parachute regiments though, by this stage of the war, these later regiments (three of the newly-formed 7th FJR Division) were largely parachute in name only.
The shortage of equipment and personnel forced the Germans into an ever-increasing reliance on ad-hoc kampfgruppen (battle groups) a phenomenon often cited to the German way of war and these were tasked mainly to interdict, along with support armour, the British armoured drive towards Arnhem. The most notable as far as 'Market Garden' were KG Hermann against the U.S. 82nd A/B Div around Nijmegen and, further back down the road KGs Chill and Walther whose interdiction slowed the British ground advance.
This scene is based off a famous posed photograph (often erroneously cited as being taken in Normandy) showing a tank-killer team strolling past a knocked-out British Sherman of 1 SQN, Governor-General's Foot Guards (21st CAR) in late October. 11 Shermans were noted to have been lost in this particular engagement on a road leading from the Belgian border by a trap set by elements of Sturmgeschutzbrigade 244 and FJR from KG's Ohler and Pohl.
I've found two images depicting these particular paratroopers which allowed me to determine that the point man is carrying a Type E FG42. The second from the left (with the Panzerschrek) has what is known as an 'airborne pouch' for a ZF 4 scope which was the kind fitted to the later Type G FG42 (since the photos I've since placed a scratch-build holster to the figure). The types of smocks vary and I've assembled the figures based on as close as I can determine with a magnifying glass which is not easy given the graininess of the photo I based it off.
The Sherman is the DML 75mm released some years back which I last used in ScaleACT 2019's series covering the U.S. 101st in Normandy (the Carentan scene). Given I've no time to take away its U.S. markings, I thought I'd just conceal as best as possible so that the scale of the scene remains as close as possible to the period pic (the tank itself being somewhat of a wow factor when visitors see it). It's worth noting that none of the paratroopers in the period image carry nothing but their weaponry. Enjoy, Steve
Mid-December '44 is the next period in the timeline narrative of the FJR story and cover KG von der Heydte's (fresh from the Regiment's action in Holland) action in the Ardennes (Operation 'Watch on the Rhine'), the Wehrmacht's great gamble in the West to break the Anglo-American armies in two and drive towards Antwerp...I could go on but I'm sure everyone here on SAG has a sizeable knowledge on WW2 so let's cut to the chase.
The use of airborne troops by the Germans for the Ardennes operation are clearly indicative by this late stage of the war as being a far cry from their early days in terms of qualified personnel and employment for effect, logistical support (specifically in this case air transport and the inexperience of air crews in air-delivery operations) and, in the case of Skorzeny's commando mission, a certain sense of wishful thinking.
Von der Heydte's battlegroup of 800 men were drawn from the II Parachute Corps in order to fill it out with jump-qualified personnel of which approx. 300 had participated in a combat jump, around 150 came, against orders, from his own Regiment 6. Their mission, to capture (under Operation Stosser) a vital crossroads crucial to the advance of 12 SS Panzer Division. For this von der Heydte was only given several days to plan. Likewise the Ju 52s (about 112) were concentrated from all over Germany in order to drop them in one lift. Inexperience in dropping paratroopers coupled with jumping at night led to a complete disaster with only around 125 men able to assemble on landing to carry out the mission. Though later reinforced by a further drop the mission failed and in small groups the survivors had no choice but to make it back over the German lines - around 150 did so.
The most successful use of paratroopers during the Ardennes operation was achieved not by parachute insertion but by ground assault by FJR 9 which assisted KG Pieper in the capture of Stoumont on 19 December which he held for four days before being forced to withdraw due to the inability of a relief force to break through to them.
The scene represents something that many German soldiers would've experienced during those initial days of success in the Ardennes when all before them seemed to crumble, that of being overjoyed by the wealth of American supplies captured. Here three paras benefit from the contents of a jeep's quarter-ton cargo trailer. Winter wear and the variety of captured gear (including bottles of Jack hidden in an ammo crate) made this one in-particular a fun build. Enjoy, Steve
The end of the FJR story fittingly takes place during the fall of Berlin in early May 1945. After the failure of the Ardennes operation the Wehrmacht continued as best it could to stave off the Allied advance from both east and west but it was a foregone conclusion that defeat was inevitable. The illusion (or delusion I guess you could say) that new units and weaponry could, even by 1945, make good severe losses and turn the tide was evident in the raising of new formations, for the FJR that was 9 Parachute Division.
Initially raised in September 1944, the order was quickly rescinded due to manpower being diverted those about to partake in the Ardennes operation; however, it was re-raised in March 1945. Having an establishment consistent to a standard Fallschirmjager division (that is three infantry battalions plus supporting units) sounded all well and good but by 1945 such German units only looked the part on paper and what was available, as it was put together, was largely destroyed during battle with the Russians in Pomerania.
The survivors fell back to Berlin during April where, along with the hopes of the so-called '1000 year Reich' it was destroyed. Here a Russian soldier manhandles a surrendered paratrooper from FJR9 forward after smashing his rifle and stripping him of his combat load (save for breadbag, canteen and mess tins). I thought I'd also have a standard stahlhelm in-place of the para helmet which was also common headwear later in the war for the largely grounded airborne army. The recruiting poster on the wall of the battle-damaged building a reminder of what was once...but no longer.
And so completes my FJR story but before I close this one off, the last scene of Project 'Green Devil' features the Axis paratroopers of Italy and Japan.
On a sad sidenote, though I'd built all the scenes to display (and all are packed ready to go) for next week's annual model, a major spanner in the works means I won't be setting it up at this stage because of a miscommunication or two between myself and the model show club who hosts it.
Among the several spanners thrown in, I suspect that complete new venue hasn't helped and though they'd put out emails requesting the space required by participants and vendors (noting I'm actually not a member of the Club) I had not received any such emails so when I thought to enquire it apparently was too late and no suitable space left to allocate.
Though they've belatedly found a spot it is unfortunately way too small for the 20-odd tables I require to fit in all the scenes done. I had thought to compromise and cut down where possible but even with that I'd still require around a dozen tables and the area even too small for that number.
To be shoe-horned-in just won't cut it and I'd rather, for both visual effect and complete story-telling, wait until a couple of years down the path when a suitably-sized area is available for this one (now looking at 2026 lest a last-minute cancellation comes in for this year). At the least I finally put together my FJR which is something I've been hankering to do for years and I've a full theme 'jump-ready'. It is also a fitting end to my airborne trilogy having covered the British in 2014 ('Market Garden') and the Americans in 2019 ('Screaming Eagles' over Normandy).
There was also, for a second, the idea of putting it in next year; however, I've already plans for the next two years and they are fixed to fit in to two WW2 milestone anniversaries, namely the 80th Anniversary of D-Day next year and the end of WW2 the year after (which I'll cover with the USMC in the Pacific and the rising of the Stars & Stripes over Iwo Jima the centrepiece display for that...but more on that at the start of 2025).
But back to D-Day (under Project - 'Overlord'), yes the plans are foot, the figures and all the gear largely sorted for assembly and the planning for the dioramas layouts commenced. I expect to start this in March next year with, at this stage, ten scenes. Note that this won't cover the Normandy Campaign as a whole (phew, imagine that) but rather that first day of the assault. Lead-up scenes will cover a movie tie-in, Saving Ryan's Privates as I've found that pop culture (for the previous two shows) is a good way to lead-in to the factual narrative and what better way than with the all the figures of the cast (the reverse of the information board will also cover the movie - fact from fiction).
Dunkirk, Dieppe, the French Resistance and their roles, the state of the German army guarding the Calvados Coast, the airborne flanks and then I'll push into the assault forces and areas (beaches) - British, Canadian and American with the centre diorama (the largest) on 'Omaha' Beach...somewhat overwhelming to think about at this stage but as with previous efforts it'll be an enjoyable series build which, as per usual, I'll be happy to share on SAG.
Meanwhile, as we steer towards Christmas, I do wish all the best in festive fun to all on SAG and their families and that each of you find a figure or two under the tree on Christmas Day. Steve