Friday, August 22, 2008

US 17th Airborne Bar Gunner "Jeb"

The US 17th Airborne Division was officially activated as an airborne division in April 1943 but did not see any action in Operation Overlord nor Operation Market Garden. After fighting in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge, it participated in it's first and only airborne operation, dropping alongside the British 6th Airborne Division as a part of Operation Varsity on 14 March 1945. The operation called for the two airborne divisions to be dropped by parachute and glider behind German lines near Wesel, capture key territory and disrupt German defenses to aid the advance of Allied ground forces.The operation was the last large-scale Allied airborne operation of World War II, and was the largest in history, comprising 7,220 British soldiers and 9,650 American soldiers. Imagine all those parachutes dotting the sky!! The operation was an overall success, with both divisions landing and capturing a number of bridges across the Rhine and securing several towns which could have been used by the enemy to delay the advance of the British ground forces.

Dragon released this US Army 17th Airborne Division Bar Gunner from Operation Varsity Private "Jeb" as part of its "Road to Victory" series in 2003. Third time's the charm for Dragon as it tried to get Nicholas Cage's head sculpt done right. First with SGT Joe Enders, then US 82nd Airborne Pathfinder "Tom" and finally "Jeb".

"Jeb" came in the larger than usual box

PVT "Jeb" in his tray - comes packed with a ton of stuff including M1C paratrooper’s helmet with netting, A-strap, leather chin cup, airborne 1st-aid kit (not the shitty one that came with "Tom" but the proper cloth type), shirt, M1943 field jacket (with US 17th Airborne Division patch, US flag in brassard form on sleeve), Colt M1911A1 .45 pistol, M3 shoulder holster, B-3 life vest, M1936 X-pattern suspenders, M1937 BAR belt with two spare magazines, 1st-aid pouch, rope, canteen with cover, M1910 entrenching tool with cover, pocket knife, two MkIIA1 fragmentation grenades, angle torchlight, T-7 main parachute pack and reserve chute, M1918 trench knife and sheath, M1936 musette bag, wrist compass, horsehide riding gloves, modified M1943 trousers with cargo pockets & leg ties, M1943 combat boots, M3 combat knife in M8A1 scabbard and M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle with bipod

Additional items included the dismantled M9A1 rocket launcher (bazooka) with two 3.4lb rockets, gasmask bag, rank chevrons, additional cloth strips for helmet camouflage and other airborne divisions' insignia

Interestingly, the head sculpt doesn't really resemble Nicholas Cage until you put on the helmet

Lo and behold! Nicholas Cage appears - cowabunga! Just like magic - LOL

US 17th Airborne Division Bar Gunner "PVT Jeb" at your service

As you can see, I pretty much kept Jeb in his box because I ain't got no space for all my paratroopers and Dragon's packaging allows me to appreciate the figure in the box with all his contents/gear laid out nicely.

Very nice M1937 BAR cartridge belt made of cloth to resemble the real thing. BBI's cartridge belts are generally made of plastic and doesn't look genuine or real enough.


Marines say "Semper Fi" and the Army says "Hoo-Ah" which is Army-speak derived from "heard, understood and acknowledged", best remembered from the movie "Scent of a woman" as Al Pacino who played Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade uttered the word to Charlie Simms, played by Chris O'Donnell (also famous for his role as Robin in the Batman movies). The same words were uttered by Josh Harnett who played the role of Staff Sergeant Matthew Eversmann, leader of Chalk 4 in the movie "Black Hawk Down".

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