To comemorate D-Day this year, I've chosen to depict the first of the landings ... the Alpha of the timetable as it were.
"Allies land as planned in Northern France" screamed the headlines ... not quite.
On Utah, the most Western of the five beaches, Combat Team 8 of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division landed more or less ontime at 06.30 hrs but...
... way off the mark!
The reasons for this were, that both control craft piloting the assault force were sunk by mines, smoke obscured the landmarks and if that wasn't bad enough, a strong offshore current pushed them some 2000 yds to the South.
Normaly this would have been a recipie for disaster but as lady luck would have it, they found themselves in an area, where there were fewer beach defences and one instead of two German
strongpoints ... and that had been 'filled-in' by the preliminary air bombardment.
No, the D-Day landings did not all go as planned.
One thing for sure though... it was one hell of an 'Early Morning Wake Up Call' for the sleepy heads of the cosy and snug Third Reich !!
The model itself is one that I've had 'floating around' in my spares box for some time now.
Italeri hull and turret, Academy running gear, Dragon tracks V.P. 'internals', exellent Resicast Duplex Drive system and odds and sods from the spares box.
I suppose, I could have taken the easier 'designated course' and used the Resicast M4A1 'big hatch' DD kit but I wanted this particular Sherman to have a 'beachcombed' look about it.
The only proud boast that I have to make in model building, is that I have NEVER built a vehicle that is fully 'buttond-up'.
I'm certainly glad I took on the extra work with the internal detail as even without removing the turret, I can still see almost all of the 'interior decorating'.
Unfortunatly the pictures do not show the fruits of my labour fully, which I suppose is also not so bad as it proves, that at least I don't work for the camera.
BTW ... The full Building Report can be seen on a German Scale Model Forum here
The figures are all from V.P. ( with a few tweeks of my own here and there ) and I've had them pose so, as to add weight to the story.
Three of the crew have more or less coaxed their tank out of a pothole and one of them is drawing the others attention to the area around the Pointe du Hoc... where the situation is 'not good' to say the least.
Back at Utah (Uncle Red Sector), the commander who has jumped down from his mount is obviously less than pleased ( he's slammed his tankers helmet into the sand ) and has sent one of his crew to ask the neighbours for directions.
Going by the returning messengers body language, the news is the same as on his now useless map.
The unit that the 'fellas' belong to here, is Co B of the veteran 70th Tank Battalion.
Supporting Combat Team 8, they were meant to land first but were delayed on the start line and so arrived about 10 minutes later.
No matter ... they soon made up for this 'glitch' and were to be awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for their subsequent actions.
I have utilised the exellent Bison decals for the unit markings, I just had to alter them slightly for this particular version ( note the 'Joe Peckerwood' emblem on turret ).
Utah Beach was to become known as the 'easiest' of the landings ... if there is such a thing. Bearing all this in mind, I've placed some infantryman's kit in the sand beforehand to underline the timetable and some recent trouble. The yellow-red makings on hull front, rear right and kitbag is the ETOUSA-POM marking for the unit.
You might also see a couple of strange small 'bagpipe-like' devices ... no there's no Scotsmen here ... just my scratch-build version of some Momsen lungs ( emergency breathing apparatus issued to Swimming Shermans ).
The Diorama title?
Well ... after thinking about what actually happend 'over there' 71 yrs ago, my search for the materiel, the tanks emblem, name and what the crew have found to get themselves out of the mire ... I could only think of one word that could sum it all up.
The message that I'd like to get across here, is that - even if you find yourself in the wrong place and time - there's always something that you can use to get you through ... even if it's only Flotsam and Jetsam.
You never know ... things might turn out allright after all.
Completed: 06.06. 2015
A big thanks to Osprey Publishing for voting Driftwood the winner
of their Dec.'16 WWII Contest
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