11 Days in December Audio Book Review

11 Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944

Authored by Stanley Weintraub, Narrated by Patrick Cullen

Audiobook, 5 hours and 28 minutes

Published by Blackstone Audio

Language: English

ASIN: B000NA6M72

11 Days in December is set in the Battle of the Bulge, starting in the days immediately before the Germans launched their Ardennes offensive and ending at Christmas.  This book is not the history of an individual unit nor a description of the overall campaign, instead it is a series of individual anecdotes set within the context of the battle.

Many of these are from Generals and senior staff, likely due to the preservation of their correspondence.  It was surprising how many senior Allied officers (and their extensive staffs) were planning on taking extended Christmas holidays in Paris.  Many of their letters center around political intrigue and preserving or enhancing their reputations.  For their part, the Allied leadership was caught completely unaware by the German offensive.

At the level of the common soldier the period was characterized by the cold and lack of logistical support.  Allied airpower was grounded by the weather, and the troops lacked basics such as ammunition and food, many lacked proper winter clothing.  Often it proved impossible to evacuate the wounded and medical supplies were scarce.

By telling the story of the Battle of the Bulge through individual anecdotes the author has sacrificed any semblance of continuity.  The narrative jumps around from place to place, unit to unit.  Loose ends are not tied up.  This makes it hard to put all the little snippets into context.  If the reader is not already familiar with the progress of the battle it would be helpful to have the Osprey Campaign 115 & 145 books handy.  However, if you are looking for personal perspectives this book can provide them.

Women Warriors 192

U.S. Army
Ukranian Army soldier Karina Oleksenko, combat medic, 93rd Infantry Brigade
IDF LT Gaya, Patriot Battery Officer
Capt. Maria Duffy and 1st Lt. Cecilia Photinos, both C-17 pilots with the 89th Airlift Squadron
Polish Mi-24 pilot Mariola Andrasik
Soviet Snipers
Soviet Nachthexen, Po-2 Pilots
Royal Navy WREN, 1943
Kurdish YPJ
IDF with 40mm grenade launcher
British Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) radar operators
British ATS
Russian Border Guard
“Lumber Jills” of the Women’s Timber Corps

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Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa 隼 “Oscar” Comparison Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

This is one of the three Special Hobby kits ready for paint. Some small details have been added, such as the antenna terminal and holes for the gear indicators. All the vents are opened up and partitioned. The main gear legs were installed to ensure a good bond and to keep it off the bench while drying. All seams were checked with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and refilled as needed, then the whole model was primed with Alclad grey primer.
Painting is underway. My preference for finishing Japanese aircraft is to show some chipping, but most modelers rely on photos taken of derelict aircraft for inspiration and therefore tend to overdo the damage to the paint. Having said that, one of my subjects was photographed (from both sides!) during maintenance wearing a very distressed layer of camo. Cool! A nice challenge, I had to give it a shot. First the model was primed in Alclad gray primer, then given a coat of Alclad Aluminum. Alclad is a lacquer, and if you’ve worked with it you know it bonds well and dries very hard. Both qualities are very important for this process to work. Next small amounts of Micro Mask were applied to areas where chipping was desired.
The model then received the topside color, in this case Model Master Russian Armor Green. I generally use lacquer thinner when airbrushing, but here I used regular enamel thinner as I wanted a weaker bond. The paint was applied in thin layers and built up slowly.
One way to replicate chipping is to actually produce chipping. This was done using regular household masking tape. Seat the tape firmly in a small area and the Micro Mask will help separate the top layer. Once started, the chipped areas can be expanded with repeated pressings of the tape. This is somewhat imprecise. The exact location and size of the chips can be influenced but not completely controlled.
Afterwards the model can be masked as normal to paint on the markings. Most of this masking is done with Yellow Frog Tape. This has a much lower tack than most other masking tapes so the chipped areas won’t be expanded. At least not much.
This is the AML / LS “FrankenOscar” masked off awaiting the markings. I decided to paint everything on this one, no decals were used. Many Japanese aircraft utilized geometric Sentai markings and stripes to identify formation leaders, so they lend themselves to this approach.
The yellow wing identifications are on, as are the Home Defense “bandages”. The Hinomaru are masked off with Maketar masks. These are made from Kabuki tape and several nationalities are represented in their catalog. I have had good luck with them and can recommend them.
Here’s the heavily-chipped model with the markings painted. The chipping has been modified to better represent what can be seen in the photographs. Additional fine chips can be applied using silver paint or pencil. Some of the larger Aluminum areas were “de-chipped” using the topside green and a sharpened sprue to better match what can be seen in the photographs.
I have tried to match the overall impression of the chipped areas from the photographs, but it would be impractical to match each and every individual chip. I’ll post the actual photographs for comparison with the finished model but this shot gives a good impression of the effect.

Part IV here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/11/04/nakajima-ki-43-hayabusa-%e9%9a%bc-oscar-comparison-build-in-1-72-scale-part-iv/

Sword Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki (Tojo) of Major Yoshio Hirose in 1/72 Scale

Yoshiro Hirose was credited with shooting down the first Chinese aircraft during the Sino-Japanese War on 19SEP37.  He held various commands during the war, eventually returning to Japan to become an instructor at the Akeno Army Flying School.  During the last year of the war B-29 raids became more and more frequent, and the instructor cadre were also tasked with flying interception missions.  On 22DEC44 Hirose intercepted a B-29 formation over Nagoya, destroying a B-29 by ramming, for his tenth victory.

North American B-25 Mitchell Color Photographs Part V –  500th BS 345th BG

While the first two squadrons of the 345th Bomb Group elected to paint elaborate artwork on the noses of their Mitchells, the 500th Bomb Squadron “Rough Raiders” went with the squadron emblem on the tail and a single white fuselage band. In addition, the fronts of the cowlings were painted red. This is 42-87447 “Jock Juggler” seen at the former Japanese airstrip at Nadzab, New Guinea in 1944.
CAPT Max Mortensen and crew pose in front of B-25D 41-30055 “Rita’s Wagon”, with the red cowling of the 500th BS. Rita’s Wagon was one of the more prominent of the Squadron’s aircraft, completing over 100 missions in eighteen months of combat before finally being declared War Weary. Mortensen himself completed 109 combat missions, eventually rising to the rank of LCOL and Deputy Commander of the Group.
The after fuselage of Rita’s Wagon shows the fuselage stripe and the bomb damage assessment camera in silhouette beneath the fuselage. The dorsal gunner’s name M.F. Fresty and “Marge” was painted under his turret. SSGT Mike Fresty was credited with downing two Japanese fighters.
One of the 500th’s B-25Ds is seen on approach for a landing. This aircraft has a strafer nose and sports shark’s teeth. Even in this photograph the wear to the paint on the leading edge of the wing is evident.
A line up of 500th BS B-25Js. The center aircraft sports an unpainted solid nose, likely an eight-gun factory conversion kit. The Squadron’s Mustang insignia seen in the first photograph was carried on the tail surfaces until October 1944 when it was replaced by the Group’s Air Apache insignia seen here.
One of the last replacement aircraft to join the Squadron was 44-31392, seen here on Ie Shima in August 1945. This is a late-production B-25J with the eight-gun solid nose and rocket stubs under the wings.
This is the aft fuselage of 44-31392, with the simplified 345th Bomb Group’s Air Apache insignia and last four digits of her serial number repeated on the tail. She has the Squadron’s white fuselage band but lacks the red cowling paint, as do the aircraft in the background.

B-25 Mitchell color photographs Part VI here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/11/02/north-american-b-25-mitchell-color-photographs-part-vi-501st-bs-345th-bg/

2022 Cincinnati IPMS Model Show, Tri-State Warbird Museum

Yesterday was the 2022 Cincinnati IPMS Model Show, which was held at the Tri-State Warbird Museum for the second year.  It’s a really great venue for a show, lots of room plus you’re looking at the models with actual warbirds as a backdrop!  This show was in IPMS Region 4, a similar distance for me from last Saturday’s show in Hobart, Indiana but in the opposite direction.  It was another beautiful Fall day, sunny and perfect for travel.  The museum staff opened up the hanger doors to let the breeze in.  Food was available from a barbeque truck which everyone agreed was excellent.  I managed to find some great deals from the vendors.  As always, the highlight was talking with fellow modelers and seeing all the great work on display.  The quality and quantity of the builds has definitely improved since Covid, proof that there is a silver lining to even the most dire of circumstances. Here is a sample from the show.

Women Warriors 191

Indian MiG-21 Pilot
1st Lieutenant Fanny “Shotty” Chollet, Swiss F/A-18 Pilot
Polish SAR pilot Justyna Czerwonko
French Cantiniere, 1855
WASP founder Nancy Harkness-Love
WRENS with Sea Hurricane (IWM)
US Navy submarine officer
Italian Navy
Women in israel defense forces IDF military girls
US Army
ww564_America's first Women's Death Battalion_LowellMass1917
Mary Tully, Nina Hosington, Blanche Chengnon, Marie Provencher, and Agnes Kelley, members of the first Women’s Death Battalion, Lowell Massachusetts 1917
US Navy
IDF Dog Handler
US Army WACs

ATS Plotters, Coastal Artillery at Dover

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