Monday, May 30

Preview: Alpine Miniatures new MG Gunner 12 SS Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend”

Alpine Miniatures have several new releases this month – and we have been looking forward to this one – the new 1/16th sculpt of the MG Gunner from the “Hitlerjugend which is so well known to WWII history buffs. Let’s take a look at his features in our preview…

MG Gunner 12 SS Panzer Division "HJ"
1/16th scale
Sculpture by Taesung Harmms
Boxart by Toshihiro Sano
Waffen SS soldiers from the 12th SS Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend” were all conscripts from the ages of 15 to 18 years of age. They were thrown into battle in the action around Normandy during the D-Day landings. These young soldiers were often fanatical and although they were young, they were well armed and well indoctrinated in the Nazi cause. This nationalistic zeal and some desperation of the situation they found themselves fighting in made them feared on the battlefield. The battle for Normandy took a large toll on the division and came out of the Falaise pocket with 12,000 men. 
"The young S.S. troops were detestable young beasts," a British officer recalled, "but, like good infantry, they stood up and fought it out when overrun." - In the fighting that raged around Caen, nearly 90 per cent of them were killed, wounded or captured.
This sculpt in 1/16th scale is a common theme for Alpine Miniatures, so it is something that has been well researched by the sculptor Taesung Harmms. He has the choice of two different headgear choices. On with the cloth camouflage covered M43 helmet with foliage loops and the other with the bare helmet version. Both of the head choices have the same face that has a strong resemblance to the soldier that this figure is based on - SS Sturmann Klaus Schuh.
 One of those men was SS Sturmann Klaus Schuh. Otto Funk, Schuh's assistant gunner is seen in much the same clothing as Schuh in this well-known photograph which was titled "thousand-yard stare”. Funk survived the war, and died in September 2011. You can see Schuh in the background of this photograph.
...And this shot from the same series Schuh is here again in the background.
SS-Schütze Klaus Schuh and SS-Unterscharführer Koslowski, of SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 25, 12. SS-Panzerdivision 'Hitlerjugend' is captured here in the centre of focus. These were taken after the fierce fightings in Norrey-en-Bessin. Rots, north-west at Caen, Normandy. 9 June 1944.
Schuh was awarded the Iron Cross a few days later on June 12th. (He's the one in the center in the below photo, with the sidecap.) Unfortunately he was killed in action near Cheux on June 26th, 17 days after the famous photos of him and his squad were taken. Schuh was 18 years old at the time of these photos and his death. 
The sculpt has good body language which really does match the photograph of him used as a reference by the sculptor and the way he is carrying his heavy MG 43 is well portrayed. This gun matches the original very well here in this sculpt.
The figure wears the M29 Italian camo coverall that LSSAH and 12th SS wore from the fall of 43 and onwards after taking the stores from the Italians after their surrender to the allies. This tunic prominently features thigh pockets either side of the waist.
This tunic in this sculpt is seen in a the same camo pattern to the original picture of Klaus Schuh. The pants of this figure gather at the late war style ankle boots with the small cloth ties shown at the gather.
This figure is sure to be popular with modellers, he is available now through the Alpine Miniatures Website…