Friday, May 25

Dragon's 1/35 Leibstandarte Waffen SS, Kleisoura Pass 1941 preview

When I was a wee man (long, long ago) I used to read books by Leo Kessler  about the adventures of the troops of the German Leibstandarte SS (LSSAH) unit under Col. Gier (the Vulture) and his charges Major Von-Dodenberg and his non-coms Shultz and Matzi – they were great romps and introduced me to this German elite unit whom which I didn’t know existed before then (or that most of the stories were repeated or made up) Anyway every time I see models of this unit in action I think of Shultz, Matzi and the men in the unit – and I am always interested in these figures – we thought therefore we’d show you Dragon’s new kit in our preview..
48 Pieces in each kit – this kit makes up five figures and will be available in July 2012

The not so well-known Battle of Kleisoura Pass occurred on 13-14 April 1941 when the German Leibstandarte SS (LSSAH) unit attacked Greek infantry. This narrow pass between Mt. Vitsi and Mt. Siniatsiko in West Macedonia was important as it was on the defensive line protecting Greek withdrawal routes from Albania. In fact, the Greeks had earlier captured this strategically useful pass from the Italians in January of that year.

Greek casualties were heavy in the mid-April battle, and the LSSAH took 1,000 prisoners. The capture of the pass helped break the main line of resistance and allowed German troops to cut off troops in the town of Kastoria. The German LSSAH unit, which began as the Fuhrer’s personal bodyguard, was a brigade-sized formation at the time of Operation Marita, the invasion of Greece and the Balkans.

Dragon’s newest 1/35 scale figure set depicts four German soldiers from the elite LSSAH regiment as they fight in the rugged terrain near Kleisoura Pass. The quartet includes a commander – a depiction of none other than Kurt Meyer – and three of his soldiers. At that time, Major Meyer was commander of the reconnaissance battalion, and he personally led one of the attacks at dawn on 14 April. For this and subsequent actions, Meyer was awarded the Knight’s Cross. It’s said at one stage he threw a grenade into the midst of his troops to ensure the attack kept rolling.
The four plastic figures are brand new and they come with a variety of weapons such as the Czech-built ZB vz. 26 (ZB-26) machine gun and Erma EMP-35 sub-machine gun. The troops are wearing camouflage they conduct their assault. They’re sharply sculpted in realistic poses, and modellers are certain to find a great many uses for them in dioramas.

This figure set will be available from your local hobby shop in July.