This is the Roden Sd. Kfz. 233 Stummel. Roden has released a series covering the major 8-Rad variants. Detail is a little soft on the exterior and sparse on the interior. They also suffer from an overly complex breakdown of the suspension components, which are completely hidden behind the wheels in any case. Some of the accessories such as the spare helmets and jerry cans are noticeably underscale. All of that can be managed however, and the kits look good built up Overall a nice kit. The suspension is over-engineered and assembly is fiddly but it built up nicely. When I placed the figures it was surprising just how small the fighting compartment must have been.
Screaming Eagle: Memoirs of a B-17 Group Commander
By Major General Dale O. Smith
Hardcover in dustjacket, 241 pages, illustrated
Published by Algonquin Books, April 1990
Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 9 inches
Dale Smith was a Major leading a squadron of B-25 Mitchell medium bombers on the east coast of the United States when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on 07DEC41. In the rush to do something, his B-25s were ordered to Mitchell Field to guard New York against attack by the Vichy French fleet. The focus soon shifted to patrolling the coast in an effort to protect shipping against German submarines, a task for which neither the USAAF or the US Navy was prepared. Gradually, effective counters to the submarine threat were introduced, and Smith, now a Colonel, was transferred to England to lead a group of B-17s.
Colonel Smith assumed command of the 384th Bomb Group (Heavy), based at Grafton Underwood, England. The 384th was a “hard luck” outfit, having suffered from more than its share of losses and poor morale. Smith went about improving life for the men on the base and increasing their efficiency while in the air. Trivial as it may seem at first, the quality of the food always comes up as factor in these stories.
Most of the book is about Smith’s experiences leading the 384th and his efforts to make them an efficient bomb group. He describes the difficulties in forming and maneuvering large formations of bombers while maintaining the protective combat boxes. He was able to secure a lot more leave and liberty than I would have thought possible for a Commanding Officer in a combat command, and describes his adventures on the ground, both official and personal. One sad note is his divorce while deployed to England.
Overall, a good read and an interesting perspective on the air war in Europe. Smith went on to become a Major General.
This is Tamiya’s P-47D Razorback. If you want a kit with no surprises, this is a good one to pick. Everything fits and everything looks right. I built this one OOB, I just added tape seatbelts and Nitenol antenna wires. The markings are for the P-47D of Major Bill Dunham, CO of the 460th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Group, Leyte, Philippines, December 1944. Microscale decals were used for the markings, the black ID stripes were painted on. This is an older sheet, patterned from Don Greer’s artwork on the cover of the first Squadron P-47 In Action book. More recent research indicates several subtle differences in the paint and markings. Kill markings were overlaid with flags from the Eduard Hellcat decal sheet as these were much sharper.
In 1937 the Soviets issued a specification to replace the T-35 five turreted heavy tank then in service with the Red Army. The specification called for an armor thickness of 60 mm, and multiple turrets were in vogue with Soviet tank designers at the time. The first drafts of the SMK design were equipped with three turrets, but this was reduced to two when it was calculated that a three turret design could not be sufficiently armored.
The SMK was armed with 76.2 mm L-11 and 45 mm M1932 guns in superimposed turrets, along with two 7.62 mm and one 12.7 mm machine guns. Armor was 60 mm on the front, turrets, and sides, 55 mm on the upper surfaces. A 850 hp gasoline engine could drive the SMK at a maximum speed of 22 mph (35 kph). Overall weight was 60 tons, crew was seven.
The specification also produced two competing designs, the T-100 which was similar in layout having two superimposed turrets, and the more conventional KV-1 with a single turret. The SMK prototype and two examples each of the T-100 and KV-1 designs were formed into a heavy company of the 91st Tank Battalion for combat trials. The battalion saw action against the Finns near Summa on 17 – 19 December 1939. During the operation one of the KV-1 prototypes was evacuated after a Finnish round disabled its gun and the SMK prototype ran over a mine and was immobilized. Because of its size it eventually had to be abandoned. The Finns made attempts to tow the SMK from the area but also lacked anything heavy enough to move the 60 ton vehicle. When the Soviets secured the area in March 1940 they were finally able to recover the SMK, using six T-28 tanks. The SMK was transported back to the Soviet Union by rail, stripped of useable equipment and eventually scrapped. The KV-1 entered production as the Red Army’s new heavy tank.