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Jon Smith Modellbau - German NCO Veteran, Western Front, 1917/18

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Product Description

Jon Smith Modellbau

120mm -

The figure depicts a German veteran near to the Front during late 1917 or early 1918 and was taken from a black & white photo on a book cover. Although it is hard to distinguish any forms of rank with the group of soldiers, one would assume that they are at least all Non Commissioned Officers (NCO) or Senior NCOs. The shoulder straps on the middle and right hand soldiers are too faded to indicate any detail and are too thin to be officer epaulettes.


From 1916 onwards it was increasingly difficult for the German Army to acquire experienced officers at platoon and company level and NCOs were frequently appointed to higher positions than their rank dictated (A typical Infantry Company at this stage of the war would have been led by a Lieutenant or Warrant Officer, the Platoon Commanders were Sergeants or Senior Corporals).


Non-regulation Scarf: He wears what looks to be woollen scarf, which hangs over the left hand shoulder. Colour: David has chosen a reddish-brown based colour, which was then toned lighter, rendering the figure with a good contrasting affect amongst all the grey of this period.


Bavarian NCOs Fatigue Jacket: Drillrock für bayerischen Unteroffiziere. Probably due to the adverse weather conditions he wears this fatigue jacket over the top of the Service Dress Tunic, giving added protection against cold and damp. This jacket made out of a cotton material had 6 large Tombak buttons at the front and was cut generally larger around the lower half or skirts (in the figure’s case actually covering all signs of the tunic underneath apart from around the collar). Colour: the photo shows that the shade is lighter than the field grey of his trousers, but not so much as the traditional tone of this pre-war fatigue jacket, which was nearly white – (fatigue jackets were dyed grey from August 1915 onwards for use at the Front).


Bavarian Service Dress Tunic M1913: Feldrock für Mannschaften der bayerischen Infantrie nach Landsturmschnitt M1913. Underneath the fatigue jacket he wears the Bavarian Landsturm style Service Dress Tunic M1913. This was yet another version of the standard Service Dress M1907. Colour: made out of a dark grey material (Jäger, Maschinengewehr and Schützen units wore sometimes a green- grey version). It had a turn down collar, with eight nickel or Tombak buttons at the front (only 2 can be seen on the figure. Although hidden underneath the fatigue jacket the shoulder straps are already missing the red piping (outlined). The red piping was still retained along the front of the tunic (where the buttons lie), the outside edge of collar, skirt decorations at the rear and the cuffs. On the collar is the silver coloured Unteroffizierstresse, or NCOs braid, which can just be made out on the painted figure. Attached to the second button- hole from the top and under the gas mask tin strap is the white/black/white ribbon of the iron cross second-class.


Prussian Telegraph Unit Belt: Mannschaft Koppel für Telegraphen Truppen M 1895. The original photo shows the figure wearing this rare piece of equipment. The two hook attachments on each side of the buckle were designed to fasten the line laying reel. Colour: From 1915 onwards, belts were issued blackened. The buckle is made from stamped brass, the centre crown and motto in white metal and unlike most buckles at this stage of the war was not painted grey. With the other items attached to the belt the figure portrays the typical reduced field equipment at this time of the war.


Pistol 08: P 08. The figure’s left arm rests on top of the P 08 – or Luger holster. The P 08 was first produced in 1900, with the German military taken it on in 1908 – hence the Pistole 08. As a service pistol it had its drawbacks, mainly it was expensive, difficult to produce and susceptible to dirt. Experienced front line NCOs and men preferred the larger or chunkier pistols as opposed to smaller pistols used by officers. Colour of holster: blackened leather.


Signal/Flare Gun: Leuchtpistole a. A. (alte Art – old type). First accepted for issue in 1894 and essentially used as a form of signalling in conjunction with the artillery and was an indispensable asset to frontline troops. The 3 colours used were red, green and white (white – also as parachute flare – these longer rounds). The different coloured rounds could be distinguished at night by the distinctive tops to each colour flare – in other examples of cartridges the bottom lip had different numbers of indents stamped into them. There was no issued holster and pistols were carried around the neck on a string cord, pushed into belts or kept in a sandbag. The ammunition, or more precise the black powder content was susceptible to moister and great care was taken to keep the cartridge supply dry and separate from other stores. Used cases were sent back and re-charged up to 6 times with the bottom of the round being stamped each time. The same pistol was issued during WWII, however with a much shorter barrel. Colour: the wooden pistol grip appeared quite dark on the original example. All other parts were dark gunmetal. Ammunition – brass cases with coloured ends referring to the type of flare; pointed – red, flat – green and round – white.


Original ammunition for this weapon is rare today and is a sought after collector’s item. The models ammunition was mastered with the aid of measurements and photos of original WWI brass flare cases seen at a collector in Bavaria during 2001.


Wooden Ammunition Box: The old type wooden ammunition box held a 250 round woven cotton belt with brass spacer for the German Maxim 08 & 08/15 MGs. A push-in fastener held the lid closed with the metal handle folding into the crevice of the lid. The ammunition box has been used to store the flare gun cartridges. The inlay-strip of cartridges can be painted separately and placed inside the open box afterwards.


The placing of the flare gun cartridges into an MG ammunition box is purely my own imagination, giving this relative simple figure an interesting piece of equipment on the base. To date I have only come across documents stating that the cartridges came in packs of 10, supplied in cardboard boxes. On the original picture there is no such ammunition box.


Plywood was used in making the original master ammunition box in order to maintain the wood grain surface structure. Colour – the box, which I had looked at, had been painted originally in a grey-green, with of cause the edges quite worn. The weight of the box has pushed it into the mud of the base.



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