Monday, June 15

Preview: Two new figures of 12th SS men during the D-Day campaign from Rado Miniatures...

Rado Miniatures has just released the box art for their much-awaited  pair of figures of the 12th SS in Normandy in 1944 just after the D-day landings. These two in 35th scale are sold as a pair and as single figure releases and we look at them and the situation of their actions during that time in our preview...

A brand new set of soldiers fighting on the Normandy coast after D-Day from Rado Miniatures...
Rado Miniatures has two newly released figures for us this month. Both in 1/35th scale that represents a pair of soldiers from the 12th SS or Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) circa 1944. we have a little of a walk around of each of these figures, as well as a look at the men and in particular a soldier we think that these two are modelled on in this preview. First, a little on the 12th SS at this time of WWII.
The setting/ Timeframe these figures are taken from:
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 from June 1944 onwards. These young soldiers were often fanatical in their fighting, 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 falling to the numerically superior allied invasion forces. 
On D-Day, June 6th, 1944, the 12th SS HJ Division was one of three Panzer divisions held in reserve by Hitler as the Allies stormed the beaches at Normandy beginning at dawn. At 2:30 in the afternoon, the HJ Division was released and sent to Caen, located not far inland from Sword and Juno beaches on which British and Canadian troops had landed. The division soon came under heavy strafing attacks from Allied fighter bombers, which delayed arrival there until 10 p.m. The Hitlerjugend were off to face an enemy that now had overwhelming air superiority and would soon have nearly unlimited artillery support. The Allies, for their part, were about to have their first encounter with Hitler's fanatical boy-soldiers.
The fanaticism and reckless bravery of the Hitler Youth in battle shocked the British and Canadians who fought them. If they were encircled or outnumbered, they fought-on until there were no survivors. Often when they did not surrender, young boys, years away from their first shave, had to be shot dead by Allied soldiers who were old enough, in some cases, to be their fathers. The "fearless, cruel, domineering" youth that Hitler had wanted had now come of age and arrived on the battlefield with utter contempt for danger and little regard for their own lives. This soon resulted in the near destruction of the entire division.
By the end of its first month in battle, 60 percent of the HJ Division was knocked out of action, with 20 percent killed and the rest wounded and missing. Divisional Commander Witt was killed by a direct hit on his headquarters from a British warship. Command then passed to Kurt Meyer, nicknamed 'Panzermeyer,' who at age 33, became the youngest divisional commander in the entire German armed forces.

After Caen fell to the British, the HJ Division was withdrawn from the Normandy Front. The once confident fresh-faced Nazi youths were now exhausted and filthy, a sight which "presented a picture of deep human misery" as described by Meyer.

An SS-Panzergrenadier in Normandy, 21 June 1944 - note his camouflaged smock and covered helmet similar to these soldiers from Rado Miniatures.
In August, the Germans mounted a big counter-offensive toward Avranches but were pushed back from the north by the British and Canadians, and by the Americans from the west, into the area around Falaise. Twenty four German divisions were trapped inside the Falaise Pocket with a narrow 20-mile gap existing as the sole avenue of escape. The HJ Division was sent to keep the northern edge of this gap open.

Dead German SS MG Gunner's assistant (note his spare barrel casing) Normandy 19th June 1944.
However, Allied air superiority and massive artillery barrages smashed the HJ as well as the Germans trapped inside the pocket. Over 5,000 armoured vehicles were destroyed, with 50,000 Germans captured, while 20,000 managed to escape, including the tattered remnants of the HJ.
By September 1944, the 12th SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend numbered only 600 surviving young soldiers, with no tanks and no ammunition. Over 9,000 had been lost in Normandy and Falaise. The division continued to exist in name only for the duration of the war, as even younger (and still eager) volunteers were brought in along with a hodgepodge of conscripts. The division participated in the failed Battle of the Bulge (Ardennes Offensive) and was then sent to Hungary where it participated in the failed attempt to recapture Budapest. On May 8, 1945, numbering just 455 soldiers and one tank, the 12th SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend surrendered to the American 7th Army.
OK so that is the place and time - what about these figures?

These two figures are sold in three variations - either two single figures for  14 Euro or both of them combined in one set for twenty-six euros. They come as these three releases:
- RDM35032 SS-MG Schutze
- RDM35033 SS-Sturmmann
- RDM35034 MG 42 team
The images below are fully painted up versions of the boxart releases courtesy of Calvin Tan.

SS Sturmmann, 12. SS-Pz.Div. HJ, Normandy 1944
From Rado Miniatures
Kit contains one resin figure
1/35th scale
Kit No #RDM35033
Sculpted by Radek Pituch
Boxart by Calvin Tan
Price: €14
This Waffen SS Sturmmann of the Panzer Division of the Hitlerjugend is captured around the time of the D-Day landings in Normandy in June/ July of 1944. This man is the assistant to the machine gunner as he can be seen carrying an ammo box for the MG 42 his companion is wielding. On his waist are some M39 or Eierhandgranate 39 ("egg hand grenade") that were German fragmentation hand grenades introduced in 1939 and produced until the end of World War II. The small, round, egg-shaped grenades are also standard issue for German soldiers but less seen and known than the stick grenade.
The soldier is armed with his bolt-action Mauser Kar.98k rifle, again standard-issue especially for soldiers that assisted machine gunners, this version is moulded in the hand of the figure that joins up with the rest of the body to form a seamless wrist joint.

SS MG Schütze, 12. SS-Pz.Div. HJ, Normandy 1944
From Rado Miniatures
Kit contains one resin figure
1/35th scale
Kit No #RDM35032
Sculpted by Radek Pituch
Boxart by Calvin Tan
Price: €14
The second figure portrays a Schütze from the Waffen SS Panzer Division of the Hitlerjugend. This highly detailed resin figure in 1/35 scale is seen carrying his MG 42 in an interesting but realistic fashion. The picture below is of a German Paratrooper and he carries his heavy gun in exactly the same fashion...
From behind you can see the equipment he is carrying, the entrenching tool, bayonet, water flask, bread bag and canteen and mess tin are strapped to his waist and all of these come separately moulded so you can paint them and add them later to the figure and they give that extra depth to the soldier.
At a hurried pace and the body language of him hunched under the weight of his MG 42 machine gun, he has a similar body language to his comrade - but why not just have them n the same set you say??

SS MG 42 team, 12. SS-Pz.Div. HJ, Normandy 1944
From Rado Miniatures
Kit contains two resin figures
1/35th scale
Kit No #RDM35034
Sculpted by Radek Pituch
Boxart by Calvin Tan
Price: €26
Two highly detailed resin figures on carrying the MG 42, the other, his companion and loader with his Mauser Kar.98k and egg grenades included. The image of these two painted up immediately brings to mind both of these soldiers running from cover to cover, staying away from the Allied forces and air attacks as they battle the hedgerows of Normandy beach surrounds in June / July 1944.

Here they are, both together in a scene that one might be able to be placed straight into your D-Day era diorama. Both of the soldiers painted up by the very talented Calvin Tan.
These two new figures are sold as a set or singularly and can be purchased directly or from the distributors of Rado Miniatures...