Many of these are based on the memoirs of Major Hans Von Luckwho commanded the reconaisance battalion of the 21st panzer division and who was lucky enough to survive WWII.
Hollywood pop history would have us believe that Rommel greatly out numbered and out gunned the "Desert Rats". but that was not the case. Superior tactic and bold leadership kept him in the game.
Eventually however, Rommel met his "Peter principle" level. A superb division and corps commander his strategic skills were lacking and he made many mistakes that hastened his defeat. Which is fortunate because despite the glamorization of the "Desert Fox", he ultimately served an evil cause.
The figures were either purchased or assembled and or modified from kits and then hand painted.
The vehicles were either purchased assembled or assembled from model kits.
The buildings also were either assembled from models or fabricated from lego's, cardboard, leather, mastic and grout.
All the element are made to look weathered or dirty and no attempt was made to paint eyes, beards or other minute details that tend to made military miniatures look like mannequins or toys.
The backgrounds were added with photoshop. If you notice also the same props and sets accommodate many different views.
I hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I do making them and maybe get a little look at historical context along the way!
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a panzer platoon early in the war advancing through El Adem. Two Panzer II light tanks, a PZ Czech 38t and a PZ mark IV short barrel medium tank.
Often foot soldiers hitched a ride on the tanks. You can see how small these early "dreaded panzers" were.
Infantry securing the street. Tanks were powerful suport but useless for this task.
Dug in on the defensive and alert for any counter attack.
a PZII tank leads the way.. these little tanks were never meant to see combat but were pre-war traing vehicles forced into combat as war came sooner than expected.
.. and reinforcements arriving in halftracks. Halftracked vehicles allowed infantry to move off-road and keep up with tanks.
Close up views of the above wide shot.
Unlike in the movies, tanks don't have an unlimited supply of ammunition. Here the crew relaxes while a supply unit resupplies the Mark IV tank with shells.
a morning patrol discovers a downed plane.
a close encounter with a patrol from the British...
somewhere in the Jebel de Achdar in Libya
having secured the position, and reinforced, the infantry digs in to prepare for a possible counter attack.
Germany used the Skoda works tanks early on after they annexed the Sudentenland.
An early mark IV aufst D with the short barrel .75 mm cannon. VERY poor for fighting other tanks.
a wounded soldier awaitng evacuation.
.. a close up of the infantry clearing the buildings.
Most soldiers rode in trucks or halftracks
Weary and hot troops rest by the small village well.
A non-com supervises the defensive set up of a machine gun group and a 37mm anti-tank gun. The 37mm guns were nicknamed "door knockers" because of their inability to damage the heavier British tanks.
Von Luck in the command halftrack, checks his compass as Rommel confer's with a local Bedouin. The Arabs in general were favorably disposed to the Germans and knew where every water hole, oasis, track, road and even the British and Germans troop positions!
a Panzer III tank tooling down the Via Balbia
close up of a close encounter
side car motorcycles were used extensively by the German army. Mostly made by BMW.!
...part of Von Luck's command taking cover behind
a wrecked supply halftrack while others clear a building.
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North Africa 1941-43:
advancing through a war torn village in the early morning with a PZII tank in the lead.
British General Montgomery interrogating a captured German officer while his staff takes tea and shares a snack with a stray cat. Meanwhile a Sikh compares headwear with a passing Arab. The "British" army in North Africa had many contingents including Indian, Australian, New Zealand and South African troops. In addition to this there were also Free French, Poles and Hebrews in the Western Desert force, later to be redesignated as the 8th Army.
..advancing to a dug in position in the Libyan desert - a motorized infantry platoon supported by a PZ III and PZ II tanks
Colonel General Erwin Rommel and his staff - 1941-1942
An armored platoon and infantry platoon advance through a Libyan town 1942.
Rommel confers with General Cruewell and majorl von Melinthin.
Major Von Luck deep in the desert... getting directions to the next water hole at Knightbridge, Libya ...
Often maps showed towns that were really only reference points or wells. Water, of course, being rather important in the desert.
a supply stop for a Pz IV tank on the Via Balbia coast road along the coast of Egypt - 1942. The Via Balbia was built in Roman times, running across Egypt and Libya and is still in use today.
..advancing into Mechili, Libya with a small motorized company in 1941. Note the armored car and small Panzer II in the lead. They were primarily reconnaisance vehicles, very lightly armed and armored.
Looking down on the clearing out operation...