Sunday, February 10, 2008

WWII US 101st Airborne Paratrooper "Danny"

Ever since I got my hands on my first WWII US Paratrooper from Action Man, I've been hooked. Right now I've more than fifteen of these fine soldiers and I just can't seem to get enough of them. IMHO, they were one of the most exceptional fighting men of World War II (nothing must be taken away from the other soldiers, of course because everyone played their part in that horrific war). Technology wasn't a given then (unlike the future warriors of today) and all they had going for them were guts and determination to get the job done and going home. From the drop into Normandy on the morning of D-Day in June 1944 to the bitter cold fighting at the Battle of the Bulge in September 1944 right till the end of the war in Europe, they were there. It was great when Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg decided to produce "Band of Brothers", the story of Easy Company 506th Regiment 101st Airborne Division which chronicled the experiences of these exceptional men. To me, this was the best war series ever made, bar none.

Here we have "Danny" from the 101st "Screaming Eagles" all loaded up with full paratrooper's gear about to make the jump into Normandy. "Danny's" head sculpt resembled that of Kirk Douglas, father of Michael Douglas and alpha male famous for macho roles in movies like " Paths of Glory (1957)" and most notably "Spartacus (1960)".

Just to show how much gear each paratrooper had to carry with him when he made the jump, here's an excerpt from the book "Band of Brothers" by Stephen E Ambrose on which the series was based: "Climbing aboard the C-47s was difficult, because of all the gear each man carried. The vest and long drawers issued each men were impregnated, to ward off a possible chemical attack; it made them cumbersome, they stank, they itched, they kept in body heat and caused torrents of sweat. The combat jacket and trousers were also treated. The men carried a pocket knife in the lapel of their blouses, to be used to cut themselves out of their harness if they landed in a tree. In their baggy trousers' pockets they had a spoon, razor, socks, cleaning patches, flashlight, maps, three-day supply of K-rations, an emergency ration package, ammunition, a compass, two fragmentation grenades, an anti-tank mine, a smoke grenade, a Gammon bomb (two-pound plastic explosive for use against tanks) and cigarettes, two cartons per man. The soldier topped his uniform with his webbing, belt and braces, a .45 pistol (standard for non-coms and officers; privates had to get their own, and most did), water canteen, shovel, first aid kit and bayonet. Over this went his parachute harness, his main parachute in its backpack, and reserve chute hooked on in front. A gas mask was strapped to his left leg and a jump-knife/bayonet to his right. Across his chest the soldier slung his musette bag with his spare underwear and ammunition, and in some cases TNT sticks, along with his broken-down rifle or machine gun or mortar diagonally up-and-down across his front under his reserve chute pack, leaving both hands free to handle the risers. He also had to have his Mae West life jacket. Finally he puts on his helmet." Phew!


Anonymous said...

very good but doesnt tell you where to get one or how much one would cost

alex teo said...

hi there, perhaps you can try e-bay as most of the postings on my blog are from my personal collection as i am not a toy shop or dealer. most of the items are most likely no longer available on the mainstream toy or collectible market as quite a number of them are vintage and rare items. most would have appreciated in value and the prices they are fetching would probably be much higher than when i bought them. that's why i don't mention where and how much >_< CHEERS!