"Home is made for comin' from, for dreams of goin' to - which with any luck will never come true"
Lee Marvin, Wanderin' Star
The cold sun of early November brought little comfort to the Imperial German Army on the Western Front. Beaten in the field by the allied summer offensives, weakened by mass surrenders and with the clouds of strict Armistice terms looming overhead, there was no place like home.
However, before it could click it's heels and buy a return ticket there were a few burning bridges to be crossed.
With the mutiny of the High Seas Fleet, a new German Republic in force and the abdication of their tailors dummy of a Kaiser, it seemed that there was no longer a home worth goin' back to. With revolution, apathy, right-wing redemption and Spanish Flu spreading like wildfire through it's ranks, the once proud army was a shadow of it's former self. Far removed from the pre-war rock of discipline. The German retreat from Belgium was particulary chaotic, with soldiers councils being formed and officers being literaly stripped of their ranks. Weapons were openly sold to the civillian populice, some soldiers joining in with the Armistice celebrations. The councils strove to maintain discipline but slackness and pillaging still command some groups. So much for the inter-war facist rant about the "stab in the back".
Gradually, both at home and in the occupied lands some order was restored and the long caravans headed East. As the buds of revolution were nipped off, the red flags and armbands slowly disappeared as the German border grew nearer. By the 23rd the left bank of the Meuse had been evacuated.
For this story, and my final chronological diorama of WWI, I've chosen the ancient Italeri German Horse Drawn Wagon. This model would itself be more at home in WWII as it is a Schwerer Feldwagen H.F.2. I've knocked it back a few years to a schwerer Proviantwagen 05.
I would have liked my conversion to be more accurate in some areas but given the few rare photo's of the latter coupled with an 'old badger' of a kit I could only go so far. Still, I reckon it stands up quite well for itself. I've loaded it up with some "underwraps" plunder military supplies. I wanted to keep everthing as graaay as posible on this one but I suppose if you would like to build this kit yourself, you can 'Paint Your Wagon' in whatever tone you like ;)
I couldn't resist modelling a Feldrabbiner for this scene as there were some 100,000 Jews that fought for their country in WWI. Going by the Belgian Malinois sheperd dog, he's packed some Kosher Wurst in his satchel. The other (ex) officer is still trying to display some traces of Prussian discipline, even without his rank tabs and medals. Maybe his subconscious is expecting a salute... na ya, Hope springs erternal.
Finaly, I couldn't resist using the same backdrop poster for my Old Bill Bus diorama … bringing everything around more or less full circle. If some of you are in a quandary about the title, it's a Tom Waits term used to describe someone who has become lost and far from home. When a dog marks it's territory it can retrace it's path by sense of smell. However, if it rains, his 'markers' are all washed away and he becomes stranded in a different world.
So, I hope you've enjoyed this, the final (and weaponless) WWI chronological Diorama. Looking back over the last four years, it was a tough and risky task to get all the projects online ontime. Still, I'm glad I made my decision back then and stuck to my guns throughout. No regrets ...