New Zealand Pilot, Battle of Britain 1940
This was based on the classic 1960's movie "Battle of Britain" featuring amongst others Michael Caine.
In the summer of 1940 pilots would relax in the sun on sofas or deck-chairs, reading magazines and newspapers waiting for the scramble call before venturing off up into the blue and an underdetermined future...
Decided to add NZ shoulder flashes to the figure in recognition of amazing young Kiwis like Alan Deere, Brian Carbury (ace in a day!!) & Johnny Checketts who along with so many airmen from across the Commonwealth and globe took on the battle hardened Luftwaffe-and won!!
Royal Marines Commando raid 1943
Got this from Asia Scale Store after i thought it would make for a great diorama inspired by some of those classic old films like "Guns of Navarone" featuring boy's own commando raids and i reckon it turned out really well...the Brit is armed with traditional kit of Thompson and Fairbairn & Sykes knife (as well as a captured Luger), the German an excellent MP 28.
Kiwis - 8th Army & LRDG, North Africa 1942
This is a snapshot diorama of New Zealand infantry having breakfast and a brew with a couple of returning Kiwi LRDG troopers. In the early stages of the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) NZers were fairly prominent along with Rhodesians & British Yeomanry, and they excelled at navigating across the vast desert ocean, often on patrol for months on end. There is a good mixture of headgear here emphasising the sometimes "relaxed" attitude to uniforms New Zealander's had with helmets,field-caps,a NZ Scottish glengarry and the Kiwi "lemon squeezer" shown.
It is a tribute to the many who served in battles throughout Egypt such as El Alamein, Ruweisat Ridge, Sidi Rezegh etc, helping to finally deliver victories where previously there had only been defeat to the Afrika Korps and to Germany in general.
U.S. Para & Combat Engineer, Normandy D-Day 1944
These 2 were amongst my first ever figures and so decided to use them on a D-Day themed diorama as both units the soldiers are from (82nd Airborne & 4th Infantry Div) did team up on the 6th of June, with the 4th Inf relieving the encircled paratroopers at St. Mere-Eglise.
The para is a Pathfinder (the canvas bag over his right shoulder holds flouro marker-panels) and the engineer is setting to blow the rail track with a Hawkins mine.
Medic Corporal Parachute Regt, Arnhem Holland 1944
This little vignette depicts an NCO of the Parachute Regiment in the aftermath of Operation Market Garden in autumn 1944.
The Para's suffered huge losses in heavy street fighting battles throughout mid September up against units like the 9th SS Panzer Division in Oosterbeek, Arnhem and Wolfheze.
Armed here with the ubiquitous Mk II Sten submachine gun as protection for the wounded against the SS, Market Garden quite rightly earned the Para's a reputation second to none as a fighting force however it did come at great cost - 2 brigades of the Regiment had contained 3082 men but after Arnhem 2656 were killed or reported missing and only 426 made it to safety after being surrounded for days.
Black Watch Bren-gunner, Mediterranean campaign 1943
This trooper is from the famed Black Watch who made up part of the 51st Highland Division that fought in various theatres including Greece and North Africa from 1941 onwards.
In September 1943, 600 men from the 51st (Highland) and the 50th (Northumbrian) Divisions bcome involved in what was later termed "The Salerno Mutiny" where they had sailed from Tripoli, on the understanding that they were to join the rest of their units, based in Sicily. Instead, once aboard ship, they were told that they were being taken to Salerno, to join the 46th Division.
USMC Tank Crewman, Marianas Islands 1944
This tankie is serving with the Marines in Guam during the costly island-hopping campaigns of the Pacific war. He would of been 1 of 5 crewmen (commander/gunner/loader/driver/co-driver) on a M3/4 Sherman that was the mainstay and reliable workhorse of US forces throughout the war.
M4's armed with flamethrowers were often deployed, as direct cannon fire seldom destroyed Japanese fortifications, and most infantry platoons had 1 individual flamethrower as shown here with the 2 tanks containing fuel and compressed gas.
Russian Light Machine Gunner, Ukraine 1943
A Red Army gunner pauses during the Springtime offensives of 1943 as the Soviets recapture territories that had been lost in Operation Barbarossa when the Germans invaded in June 1941.
The losses on both sides were astoundingly high, as was the level of brutality meted out to not only the enemy but to their own countrymen with Hitler & Stalin hell bent on smashing the others political ideology, whatever the cost.
A 1941 Stalin directive ordered the suicide of every Red Army officer and soldier rather than surrender; Soviet law regarded all captured Red Army soldiers as traitors and liberated prisoners were usually sent to penal battalions where they carried out the most hazardous & suicidal tasks, such as minefield trampling...
US 8th Air Force B-17 Bomber Captain, Europe 1944
A pilot and his squadron Dalmatian watch another plane leave base on a daylight bombing sortie.
The US 8th were dotted around many airfields in southern England from 1942 onwards and supported RAF Bomber Command's nighttime raids against military & industrial targets with both forces suffering staggeringly high losses of up to a third of crews either killed or missing in the last years of the war until gaining supremacy over the Luftwaffe thanks in part to P-51 Mustang & P-47 Thunderbolt escort support.
US Army Infantryman, Solomon Islands 1942
This is a classic image of the iconic American infantryman in the Pacific who fought so desperately to keep their foothold in the Solomons intact despite concerted attempts by the Japanese to drive them off and recover the vitally important southern airfield at Henderson Field.
For 5 months the Battle of Guadalcanal raged-on land with 3 major battles, at sea 7 large naval actions including 2 carrier engagements and in the skies with almost daily air assaults.By February 1943 the Allies had the upper hand and the Japanese had reached the peak of their conquests in the Pacific.
RNZN Sailor, Europe 1944
Originally part of the Royal Navy as the New Zealand Division, the RNZN became self-sufficient in October 1941 and was deployed throughout the Pacific along side the US 7th Fleet and the North Atlantic, importantly on escort duty for the vital supply convoys.
By the war's end it had over 60 commisioned ships and it's last action of WW2 was the Battle of Okinawa.In August 1945, HMNZS Gambia was New Zealand's representative at the surrender of Japan.
This sailor is typical of those that served in the freezing conditions of the European seas and as was neccesary in wartime the name of the vessel he was serving on was absent from the cap tally.
Australian Scout, Kokoda Trail
Papua New Guinea 1942
This figure represents one of the celebrated Australians who managed to hold off and eventually defeat the Japanese who were intent on capturing Port Moresby as they crossed south into Papua from Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
Both sides had to endure treacherous jungle conditions made even tougher as the trail crossed the Owen Stanley mountain range and without artillery, mortars or medium machine guns, the Australians faced an opponent equipped with mountain guns and light howitzers that had been carried into the mountains and proved to be a decisive advantage.
The campaign that started in July was finally over in November 1942 ending 5 months of disease, logistical nightmares and unbelievable physical hardship.
US B-17 Bomber Waist Gunner,
Like all crew positions on the Flying Fortress, the waist gunner was exposed to his fair share of peril-however you can easily argue his was the riskiest!
On all the B-17's except the G model both left & right gunners were directly opposite each other, making it cramped and often the gunners would accidentally unplug one another from the plane's oxygen system. The worst problem about the waist position was not fear of loosing oxygen, rather it was frostbite-waist windows on the B-17 were open to a 200 mph, -50 below zero, slipstream of air. Exposure to this extremely cold air for even a few seconds could leave one with a mild frostbite. To battle this enemy, waist gunners wore layers of heavy clothing and an electrically heated suit. However this equipment had to be put on before reaching the high altitude and, while the aircraft was climbing, the waist gunners had to be careful not to sweat because the sweat would freeze once the higher altitudes were reached making their task even more miserable. This cold would also cause ice to form in the oxygen masks of the gunners. This had to be cleared frequently as it would block oxygen flow if went unchecked.