Blood Red Snow Audiobook Review

Blood Red Snow: The Memoirs of a German Soldier on the Eastern Front

By Günter Koschorrek

Read by Nigel Patterson

Unabridged Audiobook

Published by Tantor Audio, July 2018

Length:  9 hours 41 minutes

Language: English

Günter Koschorrek was a 19-year-old German Army machine gunner who was sent to Stalingrad in 1942.  Assigned to a dismounted Kavallerie brigade, his unit was able to escape encirclement.  Their escape was a close-run thing, their positions were over run by Soviet armor and they were saved only by crossing the frozen Don River on foot under fire.  Koschorrek was wounded and evacuated back to Germany.

After recuperating, he was briefly assigned to Italy on anti-partisan duties, then back to the Eastern Front.  This time he was part of a well-equipped and supported “fire brigade” unit tasked with countering Soviet penetrations in the front lines.  After each action, they were withdrawn to quarters in a local village.  This inevitably came to an end as the Soviet offensives gained momentum, eventually resulting in a general retreat back to Germany.

This is a very gritty tale of combat on the Eastern Front from the perspective of a common infantryman where the hardships were many.   Koschorrek was one of the very few from his original group to survive the war, and he himself was wounded six times.  He avoided being sent to the Soviet Gulags after the war by aggravating one of his wounds and being hospitalized.

The audiobook is read by Nigel Patterson, who has an English accent.  I found this a little odd at first for a German memoir but grew used to it as the book went on.  Patterson did quite well with the occasional German rank or phrase.  The translation is also very English, with German soldiers being referred to as “blokes” and that sort of thing.  An odd error is the Soviets are often described as being armed with “Kalashnikovs” instead of the expected PPSH-41s or Mosen-Nagants, perhaps another problem with the translation.

I listened to this book while travelling to the Cincinnati IPMS show, a good way to get some benefit from the dead time while driving.  The book was “loaned” from the local library to my cell phone, a very welcome option when needed.  This was an interesting book which I can recommend to anyone interested in the Second World War on the Eastern Front.

Italeri sK 18 10,5 Field Gun Build in 1/72 Scale

This is the 2020 release of the WWII German 15 cm Field Howitzer sFH 18 / 10,5 cm Field Gun sK 18 kit number 7082. I have previously built this kit as a15cm howitzer in the towed configuration, so I will build this one as a 10,5 Field Gun in the firing position.
The carriage was common to both guns so the differences are accounted for on the two small sprues on the bottom right. A nice touch is the inclusion of five (of seven) crew figures. On my kit both parts B14 were missing even though the sprues were bagged. These are small parts which are trapped within the base plate mounted to the axel, and their absence is not obvious on the finished model.
Assembly was a bit fiddly, but the kit builds up well and looks the part when done. I did manage to lose the elevation locking pin thingy on right leg and replaced it with wire.
The model was primed and base coated with black to help accentuate shadows and recesses.
Panzer Gray was the basic color of German vehicles for the first years of the war, and many vehicles which survived were not repainted. I decided the Panzer Gray would give the gun a range of display potential.
The finished gun after weathering. The red and white range stakes add a little color to an otherwise drab finish.

Dragon Krupp Protze Kfz.70 Build in 1/72 Scale

This is the Dragon Krupp Protze Kfz.70, kit #7377 first issued in 2011. It is a nice kit. I often manage to run into these on vendor tables for a good price at the shows and have build a few of them.
Dragon has opted to provide a detailed suspension, and there are several very delicate parts on the sprues. Careful parts removal and clean-up is rewarded. The main sprue is slightly longer than the box and is crammed in there, but this has never resulted in distorted parts on any which I have built.
For all the small parts the kit assembles well. This boxing also includes a 3.7 cm Pak 36 anti-tank gun. This is a little odd as the gun was more usually associated with the Kfz.69 version of this chassis which incorporated ammunition storage (also kitted by Dragon), while the Kfz.70 is a version configured for passenger / cargo.
Here is the model after priming with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and a black base coat of Alclad primer.
The model was given a camouflage of Panzer Gray with Brown for the Polish Campaign. I managed to break off the indicators on the front fenders while painting so sharp-eyed viewers will have noticed they are replaced with insect pins in this photo.
I washed the recesses with black and then dirtied everything up. The canvas cover is made from masking tape. The softskin trucks are ubiquitous and can be displayed in a variety of scenes.

First to Fight Sd.Kfz. 247 Build in 1/72 Scale

This is the First to Fight kit number PL1939-059 molding of the Sd.Kfz. 247 Ausf. A, a newer kit first released in 2018. It is a rather uncommon type which was not produced in large numbers and was rarely seen in later campaigns. Only twenty were produced.
The parts layout is straightforward. The suspension is simplified which speeds construction. Unless you’re planning on showing the vehicle on its side this should not be a problem. The kit includes two crew figures, which are always welcome.
I am planning on modeling this one as an abandoned vehicle, so I’ll be opening up the doors and the driver’s visor. Here I have removed the doors from the body and begun chain drilling the visor. This will be opened up with an exacto knife.
The doors are in upper and lower sections to account for the kink in the hull. I replaced the handles on the pioneer tools as these were molded with undercuts to clear the mold. Fender indicators are insect pins.
Another view after priming with Mr. Surfacer 1000. Towing hooks were made from wire and added front and back.
The basic camouflage during the Polish campaign was Panzer Gray with Brown covering 1/3 of the vehicle. In grayscale there is little difference between the two colors so this is often unnoticed in black and white photographs.
A finished picture after decals and weathering. The model was given a black wash followed by a tan mud wash, then a thin layer of “dust” was sprayed over the whole thing. The rolled-up tarp is made from masking tape.

ICM Sd.Kfz. 222 Build in 1/72 Scale

ICM first released their Sd.Kfz.222 kit in 2005 as kit number 72411, this is the 2011 reboxing. These were often used in the reconnaissance role, and would be just the thing for those times when you’re trapped on a country road behind a slow driver!
The parts are well-molded and the breakdown is conventional. ICM have included photoetch for the engine vent in the hull and the grenade screen atop the open turret. Both of these PE parts are useful and appropriate for the intended applications.
Assembly was quick and the fit was good with no surprises.
The model was primed with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and then base coated with Alclad black primer. Thin coats of Panzer Gray misted on will allow for this to provide darker shadows in the recesses if applied carefully.
Here is the effect of lighter shades thinly misted on over the black base coat. Highlights were picked up with drybrushing.
Here is the finished model with an application of mud and dust. Everything was sealed and unified with Testors DullCoat. The radio antenna is Nitenol wire.

Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack Dioramas in 1/72 Scale

I present three dioramas (or are they vignettes) featuring Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftracks in 1/72 scale.  The first is a Planet Models resin kit with Black Dog accessories.  The figures are mainly from Preiser set 72505, augmented with others from one of their Luftwaffe sets.  The crew has taken a break for lunch in the shade of a tree.  The dog is painted to resemble one of my own.

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This scene is the Revell FAMO towing an Italeri sFH 18 Field Howitzer, both very nice kits.  The cargo is mainly Value Gear in the bed and Black Dog tarps on the fenders.  Figures are a mix of Preiser and modified artillerymen from the Italeri kit. Value Gear here: http://valuegeardetails.com/UniversalStowage72.html

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I have recently developed an affinity for tank transporters (like I needed another rabbit hole to climb in) so there will likely be more like this scene in the future.  This is the Trumpeter FAMO and transport trailer with a Zvezda Panzer IV.  Figures are from the CMK set designed for the FAMO and a few from Caesar, Value Gear stowage in the bed again.  I like the casual poses, particularly the bored guy on the back of the trailer.

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Construction posts here:  https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/12/18/sd-kfz-9-famo-halftrack-comparison-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/