Sunday, August 31, 2008

101st Airborne NCO (Staff Sergeant), WWII

Another head sculpt of Barry Pepper was produced some years back by Dragon. This figure was released in 2004 and depicts a 101st Airborne NCO from the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge around December of 1944. "Tab" as he's called, has on him the M1 hemet with inner lining and distinctive markings, wool neck scarf, wool shirt with 101st Airborne Division Patch and Staff Sergeant rank, trousers, M1942 1st pattern “Mackinaw” overcoat, M1936 pistol belt with M1923 Small Arms Ammunition Pouch with one spare clip, M1936 suspenders, M1911A1 .45 pistol in holster, Thompson SMG five-magazine pouch, M1910 canteen with cover, first aid pouch, M1936 Mussette/field bag, Thompson M1928 Sub-machine gun with two extra mags, and Arctic Overboots "Galoshes".

The Battle of the Ardennes, better known as the Battle of the Bulge because of the “bulge” that was created by the initial incursion the Germans put into the Allies’ line of advance, as seen in maps presented in contemporary newspapers, was the bloodiest of the battles that US forces experienced in World War II; the 19,000 American dead were unsurpassed by those of any other engagement. It was Germany's last desperate attempt to try to halt Allied advances on the entire Western Front by striking against the thinly-manned stretches of the Allied armies overextended line of advance - their positions ran from southern France to the Netherlands. Almost complete surprise against a weak section of the Allies’ line was achieved during heavy overcast weather, when the Allies’ strong air forces would be grounded. Due to the overstretched line and lack of supplies, many American troops were left with inadequate clothing to combat the foul weather and insufficient ammunition and rations but dig in they did and they were able to hold the line. When the German commander at Bastogne requested that the Americans surrender, General Anthony McAuliffe who was acting commander of the 101st Airborne replied "Nuts!"

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