Basically, Belgium consists out of two regions: the Dutch or Flemish speaking northern part which is called Flanders, and the southern Frenchspeaking part Wallonia.
During WWII lots of Belgian volunteers served within German Heer and SS units. Percentage wise, of all the conquered nations, we delivered most of the volunteers for the German cause in the East. These young idealists wheren't generally speaking nazi's or even antisemites. Most of them signed up to fight against the threat of Bolsjewism. In many villages the Catholic priest preached against communism and rallied the young men to sign up.
Also, after WWI there were some harsh feelings towards the French speaking elite in Belgium. During WWI many Flemish men, fighting in the Belgian Army were commanded by French speaking officers who didn't speak Flemish. This caused a lot of difficulties during and after the War. Separatist movements rised after the war and these movements would form a firm base for the later Flemish Volunteers during WWII.
When Germany invaded Belgium, these movements saw their chances to dismantle Belgium and continue with Flanders as a separate region-movement. The Germans made good use of this making use of false promises.
Anywhoo, many young Flemish volunteered and were divided in the newly formed NordWest Division, a mixed division consisting out of Flemish, Dutch and Danish men. But, with so many volunteers out of these countries, the NordWest was soon split up in different Legions: the Legion Niederlände, the Freiwillen Legion Flandern etc.
Generally these men were amongst the finest and soon received lots of credit amongst the Germans for their bravery on the Eastern Front. Many casualties were sustained. Since the Flemish were to be considered as 'Germanic' people, these Legions fell under the command of the Waffen-SS. Needless to say that many of them, if not all faced heavy sentences after the war.
Later on during the war at the end of 1943, the Freiwilligen Legion Flandern was reformed into a fully motorized Brigade, and the name changed into the 6th. SS Sturmbrigade 'Langemarck'. And this is were the StuG III comes into play: this Brigade consisted out of 10 Companies, and the 7th Company was a Sturmgeschütz Company, consisting out of 7 or 8 StuG III's.
Now, it was very hard to find any photos or info on this, but some people on the internet helped me out, sending me a chapter of a book written by an ex-Eastern Front Flemish soldier.
The StuG III's of the Langemarck first saw action in January 1944 in Ukraine. The reformed Das Reich division was fighting near Zhitomor in the form of a Kampfgruppe (KG Lammerding). They fought well but suffered many losses and were going to be swamped by the Red Army. They were going to be trapped in a cauldron or pocket, and the first task of the Langemarck was to hold of the Russians in order to prevent the Das Reich being encircled. They did so with succes, but again with many losses.
It's in this period I want to depict my StuG III. I'll be using the Dragon early G for this purpose, together with some goodies.
Here's a shot of a Langemarck StuG III Ausf G (only for discussion purposes!)
ok, I know it's a long text, but I though it could be interesting
I will be using some goodies, like Atak zimmerit, a Panzer Art gun mantlet with canvas cover and metal tracks.
First of all, the metal tracks ain't by Friul this time. One of my favourite AM track companies (MasterClub) have gotten into the metal track business as well (before they were in resin and have a particular way of assembly) but still have to try them. The ones I used for this build are manufactured by a Swiss company under the brand 'Easy Metal Links'. The only shop where you can order them is my regular German online shop 'Der Sockelshop'.
These tracks have a completely different way of assembly in comparison to Friul tracks. You can get a complete trackrun assembled in about 15 minutes:
Since pictures can say more than words I'll show you gents
as you can see a very nifty system. I chose the broader winter version of the 40cm tracks called 'Winterketten' (not be confused with the later 'Ostketten') because they give a mean look to your panzer.
Other than that, construction of the lower hull was straight forward. The wheels - as always with Dragon - have the 'Continentau' logo on them in stead of 'Continental'...this is easily adjusted by cutting the right leg of the U, thus obtaining an L in stead.
The Atak aftermarket resin zimmerit is very well done and fits great, here and there you have to adjust but in general it fits more than ok. I put the zimmerit sheet in place, touch the edges with a brush loaded with Tamiya Extra Thin Cement and capillary action does the rest. Gently push the resin zimmerit against the plastic and it stays well in place
The frontal bolted on armor plate comes as a resin replacement in the Atak set, as well as the rear plate with zimmerit.
I have to say btw that the metal tracks come in two bags: one for the left tracks and one for the right. Accidently the bag for the right run contained too few links to construct a complete run. This is probably a packaging mistake, and rather than asking for a replacement, I cut off the extensions of some of the left links. Like this you can depict some damaged links, which creates more interest.
The instructions suggest btw that you use 98 links per run...this is waaaay too long...78 links per side are more than enough
Suspension is made moderately moveable
The exhausts come predrilled, but can be improved, so with a drill bit I drilled them out a bit more, to get thinner edges
The kit provides a simple interior, and it looks great, although, I want to show the StuG with open hatches, and the interior is a bit too simplified to leave the hatches open. I don't want to spend money on an AM kit so I'm trying to scratch some thingies which I think would be clearly (or semi clearly ) visible.
The kit provides two sets of radio receivers and transmitters, detail is great and besides connections and cabling it won't need much extra detailing:
I have a Tristar 'Brumbär' with full interior, and I'll be using it's transfos to add to the radio set, more photos on that later on
I tried to scratch an ammo rack, it's a heavy simplified version: the sides are made out of cardboard, and I drilled holes in a piece of Evergreen plastic. Quite hard to drill the holes to make them alligned with each other. Not much of it will be seen through the hatches
two hooks for the head gear were made out of leftovers of PE sets and I added a little box made out of Evergreen plastic, some cabling still needs to be added. The thick piece of pipe on the left of the lower sidewall (our right) is made out of a bit of sprue. I think it got something to do with the heating for the fighting compartment
The Atak set comes with some extra bits made out of resin, their fit is great. Here are the transmission hatches visible, I glued them fixed with Tamiya Extra Thin, believe it or not
The gun is a great piece on it's own, great detail. Although the spent shell basket is ommited in the kit...still thinking of scratching it or leaving it behind...not too sure
Initially, for the gun mantlet, I wanted to use a resin piece made by the company Panzer Art, which shows a mantlet with a tarp on top
The annoying bit though, is that it's a cast resin block, so lots of surgery would be needed to make it fit onto the gun :think: :problem: ...so, I guess I'll keep it for another StuG build when I don't want to depict an interior...shame though...
The Atak zimmerit looks great, the only set back is that some parts fit perfectly and others are too small or too large...so the joints need to be adjusted using putty
Starting to look like a StuG now :tune:
You can get them tracks from http://www.historexagents.com/shop/hxse ... ierCode=E2 Shipping is dirt cheap on there too.
Wouter huh Just how many Wouters are out there????
I thought they broke the mold after the first mistake.
They're Ridin Ponies
Two of the figures of the scene are homemade
And I also started painting some of the crew (they aren't still weathered though)
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