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by dragon53 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:09 pm

Veterans Day--Model Collection #6

F-16 Fighting Falcon "We'll Take It From Here" flown by Capt. Brett Robinson, 389th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron "Thunderbolts"

"We'll Take It From Here" has the distinctive fuselage art of a US soldier receiving the US flag from a New York fireman after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. This F-16 was one of six from the 389th EFS which flew combat missions in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. During World War II, the 389th FS was based at Bluethenthal Field in Wilmington, North Carolina and saw combat in the European Theater.

The F-16's distinctive fuselage art of the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Capt. Robinson in the cockpit of "We'll Take It From Here" at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar during Operation Enduring Freedom, December, 2001.

Wright Flyer flown by Orville Wright, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

On December 17, 1903, Orville Wright flew the Wright Flyer on man's first successful powered flight for 12 seconds at Kill Devil Hill, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The flight flew for only 120 feet which is the wingspan of a Boeing 707 airliner. The restored Wright Flyer is on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

F-14 Tomcat "Bombcat" flown by Capt. Doug McClain, VF-154 "Black Knights", USS KITTY HAWK

This limited edition (888 released) model is one of the biggest (41" long) and expensive ($358) in my collection. It has illuminated afterburners, cockpit and other lights. It represents the Commander Air Group's (CAG) jet aboard the KITTY HAWK and has the CAG's unique "Black Knight" on the rudder. The CAG is Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) Capt. Rick McHarg while pilot Capt. McClain is the Deputy CAG.
Although the F-14 was designed as a fighter interceptor, most F-14s saw combat in the "Bombcat" bomber version. This "Bombcat" model is equipped with two 1,000 lb. GBU-16 laser-guided bombs and a Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) pod. For self-defense, it carries Phoenix, Sparrow and Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.

This photo was taken in Afghanistan by an Army Forward Air Controller (FAC) of a Taliban/al-Qaida BMP (Soviet armored personnel carrier) as the FAC called in an airstrike by two F-14 "Bombcats". Two GBU-16 laser-guided bombs struck the BMP, sending bodies into the air and causing a secondary explosion.

F/A-18F Super Hornet, NF102, VFA-102 "Diamondbacks", USS KITTY HAWK

VFA-102 was part of the KITTY HAWK's air group during its final deployment in 2008.
The Super Hornet was developed to replace the cancelled A-12 Avenger II stealth attack jet. It carries 33% more fuel and two additional weapon stations compared to the earlier Hornet.

S-3 Viking flown by Cdr. David Mayo, VS-21 "Fighting Redtails", USS KITTY HAWK

This model has the paint scheme used for the squadron's disestablishment after its final deployment on the KITTY HAWK in 2004. The nose art and tail art were inspired from 1940s artwork including the squadron's emblem of Bugs Bunny with a torpedo.
The S-3 was developed in the 1960s to be the Navy's carrier-based ant-submarine aircraft (ASW). Its flexibility was reflected in S-3 versions used for tanker, electronic intelligence and cargo duties.  Although the S-3 never saw combat in the ASW mission, in Desert Storm an S-3 attacked an Iraqi Silkworm missile site. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, an S-3 fired a Maverick guided at an important  naval/leadership target in Basra.

F-4 Phantom II "Old Nick 201" flown by Lt. Gary Weigand, VF-111 "Sundowners", USS CORAL SEA

During Operation Rolling Thunder, the US air offensive over North Vietnam, Lt. Weigand shot down a MiG-17 near Quang Lang airfield during a reconnaissance mission. After rolling off the McDonnell Aircraft assembly line, "Old Nick 201" saw its first deployment aboard the USS KITTY HAWK during the Vietnam War and is currently on display at NAS Key West. It is the only surviving F-4 "MiG Killer" out of 16 from Operation Rolling Thunder.
Weigand was vectored to the MiG by Senior Radar Chief Larry Nowell aboard the cruiser USS CHICAGO. Nowell participated in 13 MiG kills and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, making him only the second Navy enlisted man to be so honored.

F-14 Tomcat flown by Capt. JK Finely, VF-111 "Sundowners", USS CARL VINSON

This model depicts an F-14 during the CARL VINSON's 1988 mission of escorting oil tankers in the Persian Gulf during tensions with Iran. In 1985, F-14s from VF-111 were used in the filming of Tom Cruise's TOP GUN.
"Sundowners" was adopted as the squadron's name in World War II and represents Japanese warplanes of the Rising Sun shot down by VF-111's fighters.

A-6 Intruder, VMA(AW)-533 "Hawks", MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina

The squadron was formed at MCAS Cherry Point during World War II and saw combat as a night fighter squadron in the Pacific Theater. During the Vietnam War, three of the squadron's A-6 Intruders attacked the Phuc Yen airfield near Hanoi with all three pilots receiving the Navy Cross---they were the only fixed-wing plots to receive the Navy Cross during the entire Vietnam War. The squadron's Intruders saw combat in Desert Storm. In 1992, the squadron redeployed to MCAS Beaufort.

AV-8 Harrier, VMA-542 "Tigers", MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina

The squadron was formed at MCAS Cherry Point during World War II and saw combat in the Pacific Theater. During Desert Storm, its V/STOL (Vertical/Short Take Off and Landing) Harriers flew more combat sorties (over 1,000), delivered more ordnance and flew more combat hours than any other V/STOL squadron in the campaign. In 1999, the squadron saw combat in Kosovo aboard the USS NASSAU. VMA-542 Harriers also saw combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007/2008.

King Tiger #008 commanded by SS-Untersturmführer Eduard Kalinowsky, ssPz.Abt 501, Kampfgruppe Peiper

The Battle of the Bulge was the surprise German counteroffensive in Belgium shortly before Christmas, 1944 which was intended to recapture the port at Antwerp, defeat the Allied invasion of Europe and buy time for Germany to introduce super weapons which would ensure total Nazi victory in World War II. The counteroffensive was spearheaded by Kampfgruppe Peiper, an armored battle group of the elite 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolph Hitler (LSSAH) which had been Hitler's personal bodyguard unit. Kampfgruppe Peiper was led by the notorious SS commander Jochen Peiper.
Two Army units from North Carolina played key roles in the Battle of the Bulge. The 119th Infantry Regiment, formerly of the North Carolina National Guard, was part of the 30th Infantry Division "Old Hickory" which was named after President Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson who was born on the North Carolina-South Carolina border. The 82nd Airborne Division was based at Fort Bragg and was perhaps the Army's premier paratroop division in World War II.
Eduard Kalinowsky was adjunct commander of the ssPz.Abt 501 which was attached to Kampfgruppe Peiper, and Kjng Tiger #008 was his command tank.
After Jochen Peiper seized the key bridge in Stavelot, he continued his counteroffensive, but US troops destroyed the bridges ahead of him. This forced Peiper to retreat to the town of La Gleize. On Christmas Day, 1944, King Tiger #008 broke down near Stavelot, but continued to fire on US forces until its crew (minus Kalinowsky who had been evacuated after being wounded) set it on fire and abandoned it.
Jochen Peiper was one of the most successful and ruthless tank commanders of World War II. An avowed Nazi and protege of Heinrich Himmler, Peiper's Panzer units achieved considerable success on the Eastern Front against the Russian army where he earned his reputation for ruthlessness. His troopers executed Russian POWs and burned down villages with the civilian residents trapped in their houses. Peiper's unit was known as the "Blowtorch Battalion" and adopted the blowtorch as their unofficial unit symbol with a blowtorch painted on their vehicles. In Italy, he was accused of massacring civilians. During the Battle of the Bulge, Peiper's troops murdered 84 US POWs near Malmedy which became known as the Malmedy Massacre. After World War II, Peiper was sentenced to death for the Malmedy Massacre even though his defense attorney claimed the troops responsible for the murders were renegades who acted on their own. Also, defense witnesses included US POWs who testified they were treated well by Peiper. North Carolina native Secretary of the Army Kenneth C. Royall ordered an investigation of the death sentence which led to Peiper's sentence being commuted to time spent in prison. Later, Peiper used his extensive Nazi connections to get a job at Porsche in charge of exporting cars to the US. However, his World War II reputation eventually had an adverse impact on car sales, and Peiper was fired. In 1976, Peiper was living in France when he was shot and his house set on fire by French communists---in retaliation for the atrocities he committed in Russia.
Kenneth C. Royall was a native of Goldsboro, North Carolina and an alumnus of UNC-CH and Harvard Law School. He practiced law in Raleigh and Goldsboro and was head of the prestigious New York law firm of Dwight, Harris, Koegel and Caskey. He was the last Secretary of War (now known as the Secretary of Defense) and the first Secretary of the Army. He died in Durham in 1971. His son, Kenneth C. Royall, Jr., was a prominent state legislator from Durham.
This limited edition model of King Tiger #008 is the most expensive ($675) and rarest in my collection. It has sold for almost $1,500 with only 750 released in North America in 2005. It comes in a "German ammo box" wood crate which weighs 45 pounds.

The infamous Jochen Peiper in front of King Tiger #008.

In the movie BATTLE OF THE BULGE, Col. Hessler was based on Jochen Peiper and was played by Robert Shaw (JAWS, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE).

King Tiger #008 abandoned near Stavelot.

North Carolina native and Sec. of the Army Kenneth C. Royall practiced law in Raleigh, Goldsboro and New York. He died in Durham in 1971.

The King Tiger model's interior shows its Maybach 700 hp V-12 engine (top) but its massive 77 ton weight limited the tank to a speed of only 11 mph in the field. The King Tiger carried 80 rounds of armor piercing and high explosive shells for its feared 88 mm cannon.

King Tiger #213 commanded by SS-Obersturmfuhrer Helmut Dollinger, ssPz.Abt 501, Kampfgruppe Peiper

After US forces had destroyed the bridges ahead of Peiper's tanks, he retreated to the village of La Gleize as troops of the 119th Infantry Regiment (North Carolina National Guard), the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg and other units attempted to recapture the village. This forced Peiper to withdrew from La Gleize, but he left behind a detachment of tanks, commanded by Dollinger in King Tiger #213, to delay the US forces. King Tiger #213 and the other tanks had taken up firing positions at a farm outside of the village when they were overwhelmed by 15 Sherman tanks. A Sherman scored a direct hit on #213's cannon, wounding Dollinger and forcing his crew to abandon their disabled tank. The US forces retook La Gleize two days later. After the war, an Army tank recovery crew moved #213 to the village square temporarily. The wife of the village innkeeper made the recovery crew an offer they couldn't refuse---a bottle of cognac in exchange for King Tiger #213. The village later restored #213, and it is now on display in the village square---only one of two King Tigers still intact from Kampfgruppe Peiper.

King Tiger #213 is on display in La Gleize's town square where the wife of the innkeeper traded a bottle of cognac to US soldiers for Dollinger's command tank. King Tiger #213 is only one of two King Tigers left from Kampfgruppe Peiper.

This photo shows the dent in #213's armor made by a Sherman which tested the thickness of the King Tiger's armor by firing 75 mm rounds at close range.

This famous first photo taken in La Gleize shows paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne from Fort Bragg firing bazooka rounds into a King Tiger to test the tank's legendary front armor (center). One of Peiper's knocked-out Panthers is on the left.

This second photo shows dents created by the 82nd Airborne's bazooka rounds fired at the King Tiger---proof positive that the King Tiger was virtually unstoppable from frontal attacks.

King Tiger #332 commanded by SS-Oberscharführer Otto Blase, ssPz.Abt 501, Kampfgruppe Peiper

On Christmas Day, 1944, the day after La Gleize had fallen, King Tiger #332 was trying to rejoin the retreating Peiper. A Sherman supporting the 119th Infantry Regiment (formerly the North Carolina National Guard) encountered #332 on the road. The Sherman's commander, Sgt. Glenn George, immediately ordered his gunner to fire. The gunner fired the round already loaded, a phosphorous smoke shell. The King Tiger's crew saw the smoke, thought their tank was on fire and fled into the woods. The next day, an Army tank recovery vehicle was attempting to move #332 when Blase and his crew, cold and hungry, emerged from the woods and surrendered. King Tiger #332 was put on display at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, Fort Knox and was recently moved to the Museum of Armor and Cavalry, Fort Benning. King Tiger #332 and #213 in La Gleize are the only King Tigers left from Kampfgruppe Peiper.

King Tiger #332 is shown on display at the Patton Museum of Calvary and Armor, Fort Knox.  King Tiger #332 and #213, are the only King Tigers left from Kampfgruppe Peiper.

Panther #215 commanded by Unterscharfuhrer Jochen Kruger, 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich", Kampfgruppe Peiper

During the Battle of the Bulge, Panther #215 made Germany's deepest penetration into US territory. Panther #215 led three other Panthers as they were advancing near the town of Stoumont when they rounded a steep curve in the road and were ambushed by the 119th Infantry Regiment (North Carolina National Guard) and Shermans of the 743rd Tank Battalion. Because the German counteroffensive had been totally unexpected, the Sherman crews were hastily assigned Shermans that had no cannon sights and were equipped with British radios. The sightless cannon proved advantageous as one Sherman fired a shot into the road which ricocheted into Panther #215's unarmored belly, knocking the tank out and mortally wounding Kruger. Three of the Panthers were destroyed and the fourth retreated.

Photo of Panther #215 after being destroyed by a Sherman supporting the 119th Infantry Regiment (North Carolina National Guard).

Sturmgeschutz (StuG) III Ausf. G, Panzer-Abteilung 103, 3rd Panzergrenadier Division

During the Battle of the Bulge at the Battle of Eisenborg Ridge, 15 StuG III assault guns of Panzer-Abteilung 103 were lost---12 bogged down in the soft soil and were destroyed by US artillery and three more were lost to mines.

This Battle of the Bulge photo shows one of Panzer-Abteilung 103's 12 StuG III's that became bogged down in the soft soil and were destroyed by US artillery.

M4A3 Sherman "EZ8", 66th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division "Hell on Wheels"

"EZ 8" was an improved Easy 8 Sherman with a 76mm cannon and improved suspension which first saw combat in the Battle of the Bulge. The 66th Armored Regiment is the Army's oldest armored unit tracing its origins back to World War I with Col. George s. Patton as its commander. Before World War II, the 2nd Armored was commanded by Brig. Gen. Patton, who named the division "Hell on Wheels" after impressive maneuvers in North Carolina and neighboring states. The 66th and the 2nd Armored Division was temporarily based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in the early days of World War II. After D-Day, the 66th helped save paratroopers of the 101st Airborne division at the Battle of Bloody Gulch which was depicted in the miniseries BAND OF BROTHERS. During the Battle of the Bulge, the 66th helped the 82nd Airborne Division liberate the key town of Houffalize and defeat the 2nd Panzer Division. In July, 1945, the 66th and other units of the 2nd Armored Division were chosen to be the first US troops to enter Berlin.

In BAND OF BROTHERS, Shermans of the 66th Armored Regiment saved Easy Company and other units of the 101st Airborne from a massive German counterattack during the Battle of Bloody Gulch.

M4 Sherman #58, 69th Tank Battalion, 6th Armored Division "Super Sixth"

Sherman #58 was equipped with a 105 mm howitzer, instead of the usual 75mm cannon, for forward artillery support and is shown in its winter Battle of the Bulge camouflage. During the Battle of the Bulge, in one of the greatest maneuvers of World War II, Gen. George S. Patton anticipated the Army's dire situation and had already drawn up plans for units of his Third Army to pivot 90 degrees north from its attack in Germany to counterattack the Germans in Belgium in only three days. As his units were headed to break the siege of the important crossroads city of Bastogne, Patton said, "No other army in the world could do this. No other soldiers could do what these men are doing. By God, I'm proud of them."

M16 Half-track, 486th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Battalion, 3rd Armored Division "Spearhead"

The 486th AAA Bn was formed at Camp Davis, North Carolina during World War II. The battalion first saw combat shortly after D-Day when it arrived at Omaha Beach. Although its mission was to provide antiaircraft fire, by the time the unit saw combat, the threat from the Luftwaffe had greatly diminished and its half-tracks saw much of its combat against surface targets. The 486th AAA was the first Allied antiaircraft unit to enter Germany and the first to shoot down a German aircraft while in Germany. The unit saw combat in Normandy, the Hurtgen Forest, the Battle of the Bulge and the invasion of Germany.
The M16 half-track was an M3 half-track modified to carry the M45 .50 cal. machine gun quad mount. Because its four machine guns were devastating against enemy infantry, the M16 was nicknamed "Chopper".

Sturmgeschutz III Ausf. G, 10th SS Panzer Division "Frundsberg", Nijmegen

Operation Market Garden was the Allied invasion of Holland which relied on the capture of key bridges to create an open door to the invasion of Germany. Market Garden was planned by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery who said the invasion would lead to Germany surrendering by Christmas, 1944---and implicitly guarantee his place in history as the victorious leader who beat US Gen. George S. Patton to Berlin. Montgomery assured the Allied invasion force that Market Garden would be an easy victory because German forces in Holland consisted of "old men and young boys"---despite intelligence reports to the contrary.
The 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, North Carolina was assigned to take bridges in Nijmegen with the most important being the highway bridge across the Waal River. Once the bridge had been captured, British Lt. Gen. Brian Horrocks assured the 82nd Airborne that his tanks would then cross the bridge and relieve the British paratroopers who had captured the final bridge at Arnhem. The Arnhem bridge would be the open door to Germany. At the last minute, it was decided that Maj. Julian Cook would lead his regiment across the 1,000 foot-wide Waal in broad daylight in rickety canvas and wood boats hastily supplied by the British. The assault across the Waal is one of the 10 most heroic actions in Army history and was featured in the movie A BRIDGE TOO FAR with Robert Redford starring as Maj. Cook. On the other side of the Waal, the 82nd Airborne paratroopers would be going against the elite 10th SS Panzer Division "Frundsberg"---not the "old men and young boys" claimed by Field Marshal Montgomery.
One of the paratroopers crossing the Waal was Capt. Burriss Moffatt, a Clemson University graduate. The soldier sitting behind Moffatt was steering the boat and told Moffatt he had been wounded. Moffatt turned and saw the soldier had a wrist wound, then a German cannon shell tore the soldier's head off and wounded Burriss, who was also splattered with the decapitated soldier's brains and blood. Of Moffatt's 128 paratroopers who started across the river, only 17 made it to the bridge. After intense combat, the bridge was taken. It was now up to the British tanks to honor Horrocks' promise to cross the bridge and relieve the British paratroopers at Arnhem, but the British tanks refused to advance to Arnhem. Burriss demanded that the British tank commander, Capt. Peter Carrington, continue on to Arnhem, but Carrington refused because the German forces might be too strong. Burriss, angry that most of his company had been killed or wounded in capturing the bridge, threatened Carrington, “You yellow son-of-a-bitch,” he said as he cocked his Thompson submachine gun, “If you don’t move I’m going to blow your f*cking head off...He ducked into the hatch where I couldn't get to him and sat there for the rest of the night -- brewing tea" (after the war, Lord Peter Carrington was England's foreign secretary and NATO's Secretary-General). Because the British tanks refused to relieve the British paratroopers at Arnhem, the Germans annihilated the British paratroopers and recaptured the Arnhem bridge---the open door to Germany was closed. Operation Market Garden was the biggest Allied defeat of World War II with more casualties than on D-Day. Field Marshal Montgomery said Market Garden was "90% successful." Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands said, "My country can never again afford the luxury of another Montgomery success."

In A BRIDGE TOO FAR, Maj. Julian Cook (Robert Redford) leads 82nd Airborne paratroopers across the Waal River.

IN A BRIDGE TOO FAR, Jon Ratzenberger (CHEERS) plays an 82nd Airborne lieutenant who is killed crossing the Waal.

British tank commander Capt. Peter Carrington refused Capt. Moffatt's demands to take his tanks to rescue British paratroopers at the Arnhem bridge which led to the bridge being recaptured by the Germans and sealed the fate of Operation Market Garden. Capt. Carrington later became Lord Carrington, England's foreign secretary and NATO Secretary-General.

Jagdtiger #323 commanded by Feldwebel Heinz Telgmann, sPz JgAbt 653

As US troops invaded Germany in March, 1945, three Jagdtigers, #323, #331 and #234, were ordered to slow advancing US forces near the town of Neustadt where they opened fire on a column of Shermans and M10 tank destroyers. Jagdtigers #323 and #331 were hit ten times by the Shermans without damage and claimed to have destroyed 25 US tanks. The Jagdtigers then took up firing positions in Neustadt where #323 and #331 suffered mechanical problems and were abandoned by their crews. Jagdtiger #331 is now on display at the United States Army Ordnance Museum.
The Jagdtiger tank destroyer was the heaviest armored fighting vehicle of World War II with a loaded weight of almost 84 tons and a 128 mm cannon. The behemoth had a top speed of only 9 mph in the field. Built on a King Tiger chassis, about 77-88 Jagdtigers were produced with 11 being the Porsche version. Like its King Tiger cousin, the Jagditiger was prone to mechanical problems and more were lost to breaking down than to Allied gunfire.

Jagdtiger #323 is shown in Neustadt after its crew abandoned it when the tank destroyer broke down.

Elefant, sPzABT 653

The Elefant was a tank destroyer which was originally named Ferdinand after its designer, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, and was built on the chassis of the Porsche Tiger I prototype with an 88 mm cannon. The Ferdinand first saw combat in the Battle of Kursk where its lack of a defensive machine gun made it vulnerable to Soviet infantry. The Ferdinand was modified to carry a machine gun and was renamed Elefant. The Elefant had the highest kill ratio of all tank destroyers In World War II with sPzABT 653 claiming 320 enemy tanks destroyed with only 13 Elefants lost. Most Elefants saw action on the Eastern Front, but when US troops landed at Anzio in Italy, a unit of spzABT 653 Elefants was redeployed to Italy. The Elefant's success in Italy was limited by its 70 ton weight which was excessive for Italian roads and bridges. Only two Elefants in Italy survived and were returned to the Eastern Front.

Panther #301, 1.26th Panzer Regiment, GroBDeutschland

The GroBDeutschland (Greater Germany) was the premier unit of the German army in World War II and received the best equipment before other units. It fought mainly on the Eastern Front, but during D-Day, the 1.26th Panzer Regiment was in France for training and fought against the British.

Tiger I #242, commanded by SS-Uscha. Hans Rodinger, s.SSPzAbt 102

The s.SSPzAbt 102 first saw combat a month after D-Day and was equipped with 46 Tigers. By September, the unit only had seven Tigers left, but had destroyed 227 British tanks. One of the unit's Tigers single-handedly attacked a British column of 15 Shermans, knocked out 14, and destroyed a 15th Sherman later that day.

M4 Sherman "Doris", D Company, 4th Marine Tank Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Iwo Jima

"Doris" was part of D Company ("D" in "Doris" stands for D Company) which took part in the amphibious invasion of Iwo Jima. The tanks often had wood planks attached to the hull side over a layer of concrete and "birdcages" (wire mesh screens over the hatches) as protection from Japanese soldiers attaching explosives. "Doris" was probably the unit's only tank to have wire mesh screens with sand bags on its upper hull as added protection.
The 4th Marine Division originally consisted of two parts based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and Camp Pendleton, California. The units were united at Camp Pendleton before redeploying to the Pacific Theater where the division took part in the amphibious invasions of Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima.

"Doris" is shown on Iwo Jima.

M3 Lee "Kentucky", 13th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Battle of Sidi Bou Zid

On February 14, 1943, during the Battle of Sidi Bou Zid in Tunisia, "Kentucky" was part of the 1st Armored Division when it was attacked by Axis forces. The US forces commanded by Gen. Lloyd Fredendall were routed by the Germans. Five days later at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass, a greater defeat occurred when Axis troops, led by the legendary Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, attacked Fredendall's forces in the first major battle between US and German forces. After the crushing defeat, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower asked Gen. Omar Bradley's opinion of Fredendall and Bradley replied, "It's pretty bad. I've talked to all the division commanders. To a man they've lost confidence in Fredendall as the corps commander." Eisenhower then relieved Fredendall of his command and replaced him with Gen. George S. Patton. Army historian Carlo D'Este said Fredendall was, "...one of the most inept senior officers to hold a high command during World War II." Gen. Ernest Harmon, commander of the 2nd Armored Division, told Gen. Patton that Fredendall was a coward and "a son of a bitch." Patton later wrote of Fredendall in North Africa, "I cannot see what Fredendall did to justify his existence."
The M3 was named after Gen. Robert E. Lee and was an interim design that was rushed into production after France fell to Germany. It's strengths were reliability and good firepower. Its weaknesses were a hull-mounted 75 mm cannon, a high profile which made it a big target and rivet construction which was dangerous to its crew when hit by an enemy shell. The 13th Armored Regiment was the only M3-equipped unit during the invasion of North Africa, But more M3s became operational to replace M4 Sherman losses after the Kasserine Pass. The M3 saw only limited combat in the early stages of World War II and was soon replaced by the superior Sherman. A replica of "Kentucky" was on display at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor at Fort Know, but it is now at the National Armor and Cavalry Museum, Fort Benning.

This scene from the movie PATTON shows the disastrous aftermath of Kasserine Pass, the first major battle between US and German forces in World War II.

This scene shows Gen. Patton (George C. Scott), after replacing the incompetent Gen. Fredendall, being briefed by Gen. Bradley (Karl Malden).

After replacing Gen. Fredendall, Gen. Patton leads US forces to defeat the Afrika Korps at the Battle of El Guettar. Ironically, the movie's German Panzers are really M48 Patton tanks.

PANZER III Ausf L. #5 15th Panzer Division, Afrika Korps and Panzer III Ausf M #421

The 15th Panzer Division first saw combat in 1941 with Gen. Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps against the British 8th Army. The division surrendered to the Allies on May 12, 1943.
The Panzer III saw combat throughout World War II. It was originally designed as an anti-tank tank, but during Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Panzer III proved inferior to the Soviet T-34 tank and finished the war as an anti-infantry tank. The Panzer III L had a long-barreled 50 mm cannon and thicker armor. The M model was an L with some amphibious capability. Panzer III production ended in 1943.

Panzer IV Ausf. G, #I13, 35th Panzer Regiment, 4th Panzer Division, Battle of Kursk

The 35th Panzer Regiment was Germany's most decorated armor regiment of World War II. It participated in the invasions of Poland, Belgium, France and the Soviet Union. In July, 1943, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kursk, the largest tank battle in history. Over 6,000 tanks, 4,000 aircraft and 2 million troops were involved in the unsuccessful German offensive against the Soviets. On April 16, 1945, three weeks before Germany surrendered, the regiment was loaded aboard the transport ship MV GOYA along with thousands of civilians fleeing the Soviets. In the second worst maritime disaster in history, a Soviet submarine sank the GOYA with two torpedoes. An estimated 7,000 people died with only 183 survivors, of which seven were from the 35th Panzer Regiment.

The 35th Panzer Regiment was virtually wiped out when a Soviet submarine sank MV GOYA which was the second worst maritime disaster in history.

M1A1 Abrams, Desert Storm

The Abrams is perhaps the best main battle tank in existence. Developed in the 1970s to replace the M60 Patton, the Abrams first saw combat in Desert Storm where it proved to be far superior to Iraq's Soviet-built tanks. The Abrams' main armament is a 120 mm cannon and uses Chobham composite armor reinforced with depleted uranium armor. Its 1,500 hp turbine engine has quick acceleration, is reliable and quiet, but it has a low fuel efficiency and is produces a lot of heat which makes it a big target to infrared anti-tank missiles. It is named after Gen. Creighton Abrams.

In Desert Storm, Iraq's Soviet-made tanks were no match for the M1 Abrams.

M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Desert Storm

The Bradley is an armored personnel carrier and anti-tank vehicle developed to keep up with the fast M1 Abrams tank. It's main armament is a 25 mm chain gun and a two-tube TOW anti-tank missile launcher. The M2 carries 6-7 infantrymen and has gun ports for them to fire out. The M3 is a scout vehicle which carries two scouts and no firing ports, but carries more TOW missiles and ammunition for its guns. The Bradley first saw combat in Desert Storm where it destroyed more Iraqi armored vehicles than the Abrams tank. It is named after Gen. Omar Bradley.

M270 MLRS, Desert Storm

The M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) carries 12 launching pods with each pod housing a rocket with 644 M77 munitions. This means over 7,700 munitions can be fired in under one minute. The M270 can also carry two MGM-140 ATACMs which can carry 950 anti-personnel mines or 275 submunitions. The M270 first saw combat in Desert Storm.

Photo of M270s of the 3rd Armored Division firing during the Battle of 73 Easting during Desert Storm in which US forces destroyed 85 Iraqi tanks, 40 armored personnel carriers and 30 wheeled vehicles. The US lost one Bradley infantry fighting vehicle.

M109 Paladin, Desert Storm

The M109 self-propelled 155 mm howitzer was developed in the 1960s and first saw combat in the Vietnam War. It has been updated with improved armor, M284 howitzer, engine and inertial navigation system. The M109 can fire the Copperhead laser-guided round, rocket-assisted rounds, mines and tactical nuclear projectiles.

M24 Chaffee "Ally Oop III"

The Chaffee light tank was developed by the Army and the Cadillac division of General Motors as the successor to the M3/M5 Stuart light tanks to address the main complaint that the Stuart's 37 mm cannon was too small. The Chaffee was armed with a 75 mm cannon derived from the B-25H Mitchell bomber and first saw combat in the Battle of the Bulge. During the Korean War, the Chaffee saw success as a scout tank. The Chaffee is named after tank pioneer Gen. Adna Chaffee, Jr.


The M966 is the basic Humvee equipped with a TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided) anti-tank missile launcher with some armor added. The TOW launcher can be dismounted and used as a fixed launcher. The M966 first saw combat in Desert Storm.

These photos show the murderous sons of Saddam Hussein, Uday and Qusay, being killed by TOW missiles fired from Humvees of the 101st Airborne Division. After attacks by helicopters and ground troops using rockets, grenade launchers and machine guns, Humvees fired 10 TOWs that finally killed the two sons of Hussein.

A Humvee fires a TOW missile at the building where Uday and Qusay have barricaded themselves and are firing at US troops.

The TOW missile detonates inside the building.

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by mattvs2004 » Thu May 31, 2012 6:13 pm

In regards to your collection. Do you know by chance where I could purchase a M16 Half-Track with the 486th AAA markings?
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by dragon53 » Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:31 am


The M16 half-track quad 50 cal. model doesn't have any markings on it saying "486th AAA".
However, the model has been released several times over the years and is identified as being with the 3rd Armored Division at Normandy. My research shows the 486th AAA was attached to the 3rd at Normandy. The model company, Unimax/Forces of Valor, usually--but not always--bases its model on real armored vehicles that existed.

As for the models, notice the Unimax/FOV models all have the same serial number above the left wheel---#4017335---so I assume they're all the same model but in different sizes and accessories, etc.





If you decide to buy the model when it is rereleased, I suggest you shop around for the lowest price because prices vary from merchant to merchant.

This may be what you're looking for---the merchant's website says this Unimax/FOV M16 was at Normandy, but it doesn't say "3rd Armored Division" like the others. Both have the serial number #4017335 but are different scales....1/32 (crew and accessories) and 1/18 (no crew or accessories).



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by mattvs2004 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:03 pm


On 2012-06-02 15:31, dragon53 wrote:

The M16 half-track quad 50 cal. model doesn't have any markings on it saying "486th AAA".
However, the model has been released several times over the years and is identified as being with the 3rd Armored Division at Normandy. My research shows the 486th AAA was attached to the 3rd at Normandy. The model company, Unimax/Forces of Valor, usually--but not always--bases its model on real armored vehicles that existed.

As for the models, notice the Unimax/FOV models all have the same serial number above the left wheel---#4017335---so I assume they're all the same model but in different sizes and accessories, etc.





If you decide to buy the model when it is rereleased, I suggest you shop around for the lowest price because prices vary from merchant to merchant.

This may be what you're looking for---the merchant's website says this Unimax/FOV M16 was at Normandy, but it doesn't say "3rd Armored Division" like the others. Both have the serial number #4017335 but are different scales....1/32 (crew and accessories) and 1/18 (no crew or accessories).



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by dragon53 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:38 pm

APOLLO 11---this diorama shows the Apollo 11 lunar landing in which Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon. Armstrong was also the first astronaut to train at UNC's Morehead Planetarium in 1964. Armstrong trained at Morehead Planetarium for 11 sessions in 20 days which is the most by any astronaut.

Apollo 11 and SH-3D Sea King #66 flown by Cdr. Don Jones, HS-4 "Black Knights", USS HORNET

Sea King #66 is one of the most famous helicopters in aviation history. It was the primary recovery helicopter for the Apollo 8, 10, 11, 12 and 13 lunar missions. HS-4 and Sea King #66 were deployed on the USS KITTY HAWK in 1973-1974. Sea King #66 was scheduled to be put on display in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, but was lost in an accident in 1975.

Astronaut Gresham, Space Probe No. 1, US Air Force, "The Invaders", THE TWILIGHT ZONE

This figure represents US Air Force astronaut Gresham from THE TWILIGHT ZONE's classic "The Invaders" episode broadcast on January 27, 1961. The astronaut was designed by director Douglas Heyes whose hand was also underneath the astronaut hand puppet. He also provided the voice for the second astronaut as the old woman (Agnes Moorehead, BEWITCHED) smashed Space Probe with an axe. Heyes directed other classic episodes including "The Eye of the Beholder" and "The Howling Man". "The Invaders" script was written by famed science fiction writer Richard Matheson who also wrote the "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" episode. The Space Probe model was originally built for the movie FORBIDDEN PLANET (Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis).

Douglas Heyes directed other THE TWILIGHT ZONE episodes including "The Eye of the Beholder". The beautiful woman was played by Donna Douglas (Elly May, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES).

Richard Matheson wrote "Nightmare At 20,000 Feet" (William Shatner).

SBD Dauntless "White 12" flown by Ens. John Leppla, VS-2, USS LEXINGTON

The Battle of the Coral Sea was the first naval battle fought between aircraft carriers and the first in which the opposing fleets never saw each other. When the Dauntlesses of VS-2 began their dive on the aircraft carrier IJN SHOHO, "White 12" was attacked by three A6M Zero fighters. Radioman/gunner ARM3C John Liska shot two of the Zeros down. The third Zero cut in front of "White 12" and began firing on the Dauntless ahead. Leppla downed the Zero resulting in three kills in less than 30 seconds. Because he altered his dive, he scored a near-miss on the SHOHO, but then scored a direct hit on a cruiser. On the return trip to the LEXINGTON, Leppla shot down a Japanese seaplane.
The next day, Japanese bombers began a counterattack on the US fleet forcing the Navy to launch even the slow Dauntlesses to stop the Japanese. Leppla and Liska, flying a different Dauntless, because "White 12" was too bullet-ridden from the day before, shot down three more Japanese planes which brought their two-day total to a remarkable seven kills. For their actions during the Coral Sea, Leppla and Liska were both awarded the Navy Cross. Leppla was invited to join a new elite fighter squadron, VF-10 "Grim Reapers" on the USS ENTERPRISE and was killed in action five months later. Liska finished the war with five kills making him the Navy's only gunner ace in history.

TBD Devastator flown by Ens. George Gay, VT-8, USS HORNET

During the Battle of Midway, 15 Devastators of VT-8 began low level torpedo attacks on the Japanese fleet which drew high-flying Zeros down to intercept them. Gay's Devastator was attacked by five Zeros which killed his gunner and wounded Gay. After ditching in the sea, Gay hid under a seat cushion and witnessed the rest of the battle. Of the 30 crewmen of VT-8, Gay was the sole survivor. The sacrifice of VT-8 was not in vain. Its low level attack drew the Zeros down from high altitude so when SBD Dauntless dive bombers appeared at high altitude, the Zeros were not there to intercept them. The Dauntlesses sank three Japanese carriers which broke the back of Japan's carrier fleet and was the turning point of the war in the Pacific.
When World War II began, the slow TBD Devastator was already obsolete. Of the 41 Devastators that took part in the Battle of Midway, 35 were shot down. The Devastator was immediately withdrawn from combat after Midway.

F2A Buffalo, VMF-221 "Fighting Falcons"

The Buffalo was the Navy's first monoplane fighter plane and was already obsolete when World War II began. During the Battle of Midway, 20 VMF-221 Buffaloes took off to intercept Japanese bombers attacking the island and only seven returned to base, earning it the nickname of "Flying Coffin". One of VMF-221's surviving pilots at Midway, Capt. Phillip White, said, "It is my belief that any commander who orders pilots out for combat in an F2A should consider the pilot as lost before leaving the ground." The Buffalo was immediately withdrawn from combat after Midway and finished the war as a trainer.

SBD Dauntless flown by Lt. Richard Best, VB-6, USS ENTERPRISE

Adm. Chuichi Nagumo led the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor aboard his flagship, the aircraft carrier IJN AKAGI. At the Battle of Midway, the turning point of the war in the Pacific, Nagumo again aboard the AKAGI, led the naval assault on Midway Island. When Lt.Cdr. Wade McCluskey sighted Nagumo's invasion fleet, the inexperienced McCluskey mistakenly ordered all of his 34 Dauntlesses to attack the same aircraft carrier, the IJN KAGA. Lt. Best saw McCluskey's mistake and had his three Dauntlesses attack the AKAGI. The first two dive bombers missed the AKAGI but Best's bomb penetrated the carrier's flight deck and exploded among 18 armed Kate torpedo bombers. The resulting explosions crippled the AKAGI and forced Nagumo to abandon ship. The AKAGI was then sunk by a Japanese destroyer. Best flew a second mission that day, scoring a hit on the sole surviving Japanese carrier, the IJN HIRYU. For his decisive actions which changed the complexion of the Battle of Midway, Best received the Navy Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross. However, before taking off to attack the AKAGI, Best inhaled oxygen from a defective oxygen canister which activated latent tuberculosis which ended his Navy flying career.

F6F Hellcat "Minsi III" flown by Cdr. David McCampbell, VF-15 "Satan's Playmates", USS ESSEX

McCampbell is the Navy's all-time top-scoring ace with 34 kills. He scored a record nine kills in one day during the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot" which earned him the Medal of Honor. He was the ESSEX's Commander Air Group (CAG) of AG-15 "The Fabled Fifteen" which destroyed more enemy aircraft (315-air, 348-ground) and sank more enemy ships than any other air group in the Pacific Theater. McCampbell scored his last 23-1/2 kills in "Minsi III". McCampbell's brother-in-law was actor Wayne Morris (PATHS OF GLORY) who was also a Navy pilot and asked McCampbell to write a letter for him so he could see combat duty. Morris served under McCampbell in VF-15 and scored seven kills.

F6F Hellcat "Catmouth" flown by Lt.Cdr. Fred Bardshar, VF-27, USS PRINCETON

Bardshar, commander of VF-27, asked fellow pilot Lt(JG). Robert Purnell, to design a cat's mouth nose art for the squadron's Hellcats even though nose art was forbidden under Navy regulations. The "Catmouth" nose art made VF-27 one of the most famous carrier squadrons of the war, and it became the Navy's top-scoring escort carrier squadron with 136 kills. Nine of VF-27's Hellcats were airborne when the PRINCETON was sunk, forcing the fighters to land on the USS ESSEX where they were absorbed into the ESSEX's VF-15. The "Catmouth" nose art was painted over to conform to Navy regulations, and VF-27 ceased to exist.

F8F Bearcat flown by Lt. Mike Granat, VF-3 "Felix the Cat"

The Bearcat was designed by Grumman Aviation to succeed its legendary F6F Hellcat. The Bearcat, inspired by the German FW-190, was faster, lighter, and more maneuverable than the Hellcat and out-performed some jet fighters at the time. The Bearcat was operational in the Pacific Theater, but Japan's surrender prevented it from seeing combat. It did see combat with the French air force during the Indochina War as a fighter-bomber at Dien Bien Phu, France's humiliating defeat. Because of its impressive performance, the Bearcat became a popular race plane and set a world speed record of 528.3 mph for piston engine aircraft in 1989.

F-4J Phantom II #1 flown by Cdr. Bill Wheat, Blue Angels

The Blue Angels flew the Phantom from 1969 to 1974 until it was replaced during the energy crisis by the fuel-efficient A-4 Skyhawk.

F-4E Phantom II #1 flown by Lt. Col. Tom Swaim, Thunderbirds

The Thunderbirds flew the Phantom from 1969-1973 until it was replaced by the fuel-efficient T-38 Talon during the energy crisis. One Phantom had the fuel consumption of five T-38s. The Phantom is the only aircraft flown by both the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds.

F-4B Phantom II, VMFA-323 "Death Rattlers", Chu Lai Air Base

The squadron was established at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina in 1943 flying F4U Corsairs. The squadron got its name when three pilots killed a three-foot long rattlesnake in their tent and displayed its skin in the squadron ready room. The squadron saw combat during the invasion of Okinawa where it downed 124 Japanese planes with no losses, and 12 of its pilots became aces. In 1949, the squadron's Corsairs appeared in the movie THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA in which John Wayne earned an Oscar nomination. During the Korean War, the squadron flew close support missions in the Battle of the Pusan Perimeter, Battle of Inchon and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. During the Vietnam War, VMFA-323 departed Cherry Point for South Vietnam where its Phantoms flew combat missions based at  Da Nang and Chu Lai from 1965-1969. One of its Phantoms was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, the only Marine Phantom to be downed by a SAM.

F/A-18 Hornet, VMFA-323 "Death Rattlers", MCAS Miramar

This model represents the Commander Air Group (CAG) jet's unique paint scheme. In 1986, VMFA-323 was the first F/A-18 Hornet squadron to see combat when it flew missions over Libya in Operation El Dorado Canyon.

F-4B Phantom II flown by Cdr. Tom Dunlop, VF-51 "Screaming Eagles, USS CORAL SEA

This model has the unique paint scheme of the Commander Air Group's (CAG) Phantom aboard the CORAL SEA. VF-51 was the first Navy squadron to fly jets and the first Navy squadron to shoot down an enemy aircraft during the Korean War. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, a member of VF-51, flew 78 combat missions in the Korean conflict. VF-51 was also the first squadron to utilize the F-8 Crusader as an attack jet. During the Vietnam War, VF-51 shot down six MiGs.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong with a model of the F9F Panther he flew as a member of VF-51 during the Korean War at the Cold War Gallery, Washington Navy Yard.

F-4E Phantom II #68-0338 "Phabulous Phantom" flown by Brig. Gen. James Renschen, Wing Commander, 131st Tactical Fighter Wing, Missouri Air National Guard

Phantom #68-0338 was named "Phabulous Phantom" to celebrate the Phantom's 30th Anniversary and, later, having flown the 10-millionth hour by a Phantom. During the Vietnam War, #68-0338 shot down two MiGs with the first kill by Capt. Bruce Leonard of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (ironically, in the same flight, Leonard's squadron mate and fellow North Carolinian, Capt. Steve Ritchie of Reidsville, shot down his second of five MiGs which would eventually make him the USAF's only pilot ace of the Vietnam War). "Phabulous" is currently on display at the Missouri Air National Guard's headquarters at Lambert St. Louis International Airport adjacent to the Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) production facilities.

F-4E Phantom II #68-0339 "Chico the Gunfighter" flown by Col. James Pewitt, 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron "Black Widows", 366th Tactical Fighter Wing "Gunfighters", Da Nang Air Base

Phantom #68-0339 immediately followed Phantom #68-0338 ("Phabulous Phantom") off the McDonnell Douglas production line. It later became "Chico the Gunfighter", one of the most famous Phantoms of the Vietnam War.
In 1972, North Vietnam troops invaded South Vietnam through the Demilitarized Zone, and the 366th TFW was the last Phantom wing left in South Vietnam. Pewitt conceived the idea of a lone, heavily-armed, free-roaming Phantom being used as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) to locate and attack NVA forces near the DMZ. "Chico" was modified to carry three six-barrel Vulcan 20 mm cannons (for a total maximum firing rate of 300 rounds/second) and four Navy Rockeye cluster bombs (988 total bomblets), making "Chico" the only USAF jet to carry Rockeyes. Pewitt and his Weapons Systems Operator, Lt. Steve Craighead, were recommended for Silver Stars when they made repeated strafing runs to save friendly troops under attack in the Ashau River Valley.
After the war, "Chico" was based at Seymour-Johnson AFB, North Carolina with the 4th TFW until it was transferred to the South Korean air force in 1989.

RF-4B Phantom II BuNo #3717, VMCJ-2 "Playboys", MCAS Cherry Point

VCMJ-2's predecessor was established at MCAS Cherry Point in 1952. It was redesignated VMCJ-2 in 1955, the same year that PLAYBOY magazine was first published, so the squadron adopted the name of "Playboys" with the magazine's permission. VCMJ-2 was the second squadron to operate the RF-4B which was the unarmed photo reconnaissance version of the USMC's F-4B Phantom II. In 1977, RF-4B BuNo #3717 had taken off from NAS Atsugi, Japan, when it crashed due to engine failure. The crew ejected safely, but three civilians were killed.

RF-4C Phantom II "Snoopy-War's Hell" flown by Capt. Larry Krotz, 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Udorn Royal Thai Air Base

The RF-4C was the USAF's unarmed photo reconnaissance version of the F-4C Phantom II. During the Vietnam War, the 11th TRS and 14th TRS flew 80% of all reconnaissance missions flown over North Vietnam with 72 jets shot down. The squadron was activated during World War II and was based at Morris Field, Charlotte, North Carolina.

F-4B Phantom II flown by Cdr. Dan Pedersen, VF-111 "Sundowners", USS CORAL SEA

This Phantom is Cdr. Pedersen's CAG jet aboard the CORAL SEA. VF-111 saw combat during World War II where it got its name from shooting down Japanese fighters with the rising sun emblems. During the Korean War, the squadron scored the first jet vs. jet kill in history. The squadron's Phantom's saw combat in the Vietnam War with two MiG kills.

F-14 Tomcat flown by Capt. JK Finely, VF-111 "Sundowners", USS CARL VINSON

VF-111's F-14s were deployed aboard the USS KITTY HAWK and USS CARL VINSON. The squadron was deactivated in 1995.

F-5E Tiger II flown by Cdr. Rod DeWalt, VFC-111 "Sundowners", NAS Key West

VFC-111 was established after VF-111 was deactivated. It's F-5E fighters are used as adversary jets to train Navy pilots in dogfighting.
The F-5E Tiger II was the advanced version of the F-5 Freedom Fighter and was mainly an export fighter.

F/A-18 Hornet flown by Lt.Cdr. Mark Fox, VFA-81 "Sunliners", USS SARATOGA

During Operation Desert Storm, Fox scored the Navy's first air-to-air kill when he shot down a MiG-21 with a Sidewinder missile. Fox is a US Naval Academy graduate and completed executive education courses at UNC-CH and Harvard. Fox's friend and  squadron mate, Lt.Cdr. Scott Speicher, was the first US casualty of Desert Storm when he was shot down by a MiG-25. In a much-publicized case, it was claimed that Speicher survived and was the personal prisoner of Saddam Hussein. However, in 2009, Speicher's remains were positively identified, and it was determined he died when his jet was shot down.

A-4M Skyhawk, VMA-214 "Black Sheep", MCAS Iwakuni, Japan

The "Black Sheep" squadron is the most famous squadron in Marine Corps history. The squadron was originally commanded by Maj. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, the top-scoring Marine ace (28 kills). In its first tour, the "Blacksheep" shot down 97 Japanese aircraft and produced nine aces in only 84 days. The squadron regained national fame when it was featured in the tv series BAA BAA  BLACK SHEEP with Robert Conrad starring as Boyington. The squadron also saw combat in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Boyington received the Medal of Honor as the top-scoring Marine ace, but there has been a controversy about his 28 kills. Boyington was an original member of the famed Flying Tigers and was credited with six kills. However, some of his fellow Flying Tigers, including Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Col. James Howard, claimed he inflated his kills in order to receive more bounty money from China. As a member of the "Black Sheep", some of his fellow Marines claimed he inflated his kills again with two unconfirmed kills in order to surpass Maj. Joe Foss (26 kills) as the top-scoring Marine ace. Boyington's critics say his total kills should be 22 or 24, not 28. One Marine veteran said, "I may not know much, but I know that 22 and 24 are less than 26."

This famous publicity photo shows Boyington in his Corsair named "Lucybelle". In fact, the photo was staged. The pilots in the squadron didn't have assigned Corsairs. "Lucybelle" refers to Lucy Malcolmson, a married woman Boyington was having an affair with and had promised to marry, when he instead married former actress Frances Baker. Malcolmson sued Boyington and received $15,000. Later, Boyington claimed the Corsair was really named "Lulubelle".

Boyington and the "Black Sheep" squadron rose to fame again in the tv series BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP starring Robert Conrad. Boyington, who had a cameo on the series, said about it, "Hogwash and Hollywood hokum."

A-7E Corsair II #401 flown by Cdr. Herb Taylor, VA-86 "Sidewinders", USS NIMITZ

In 1980, VA-86's Corsair IIs were deployed aboard the NIMITZ along with the eight RH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters that flew in Operation Eagle Claw, the disastrous attempt to rescue US hostages in Tehran, Iran. The same year, Corsair II #401, VA-86 and the NIMITZ appeared in the movie THE FINAL COUNTDOWN (Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross).

In the movie THE FINAL COUNTDOWN, a time warp envelopes the USS NIMITZ, VA-86 Corsair IIs and other aircraft. The USS KITTY HAWK was used in some scenes to substitute for the NIMITZ.

Filming on THE FINAL COUNTDOWN ended early to allow the NIMITZ to participate in Operation Eagle Claw, the failed mission to rescue hostages in Iran. This photo shows one of the RH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters from the NIMITZ that was left behind at Desert One.

F/A-18 Hornet flown by Capt. Scott Conn, VFA-86 "Sidewinders", USS NIMITZ

This model represents the CAG jet aboard the NIMITZ. The "Sidewinders" saw combat in Operation Desert Storm, Bosnia and Afghanistan.

AV-8B Harrier, VMA-231 "Ace of Spades", King Abdul Aziz Air Base, Saudi Arabia

VMA-231 is based at MCAS Cherry Point. During Operation Desert Storm, the squadron's V/STOL Harriers flew 987 combat sorties and delivered 1,692,000 pounds of ordnance. The squadron later saw combat in Bosnia and Iraq.

M4A1(76)W Sherman "In the Mood" commanded by Sgt. Lafayette Pool, 32nd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armor Division

This model was released after my suggestion to the model company and is a limited edition of 300.
Pool is the top-scoring tank ace in history with 258 kills, over 1,000 German troops killed and 250 more captured. Even more remarkable is that Pool accomplished this in only 84 days in the much-maligned Sherman. Pool was recommended for the Medal of Honor and received the Distinguished Service Cross because it was felt the 258 kills were the result of team work by the entire crew rather than an individual effort. He commanded three Shermans named "In the Mood". The first was knocked out by a Panzerfaust, the second was accidentally bombed by a P-38 Lightning and the third was destroyed by a Panther resulting in Pool losing one leg. The 1951 movie THE TANKS ARE COMING was based on Pool's wartime exploits.
The Sherman was the mainstay of Allied tank forces in World War II. Its virtues were reliability, maneuverability and easily mass-produced (about 50,000 were built). Its vices were thin armor and a small cannon. Sherman crews nicknamed the tank "Ronson" because when an enemy shell penetrated the thin armor, it would flame up like a Ronson cigarette lighter and incinerate the crew. The German nickname for the British Sherman was "Tommykocher" (Tommy cooker).

This is only one of two existing photos of Pool commanding "In the Mood".

The first "In the Mood" was knocked out by a Panzerfaust which was one of the most effective antitank weapons of World War II. Ironically, the Panzerfaust was a superior German copy of US bazookas captured in Tunisia. The bazooka was ineffective against many German tanks, but the Panzerfaust could knock out any US tank. Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg were instructed to use captured Panzerfausts instead of their own bazookas.

This photo shows an angry Gen. George S. Patton after he chewed out the crew of a Sherman which had attached sandbags to their tank to protect against Panzerfausts. Some in the Army thought sandbags caused instability in tanks. Patton didn't want the US public to see photos of sandbagged Shermans because the photos would be proof of the Sherman's inferiority.

M46 Patton, 1st Marine Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Changdan, South Korea

The M46 was the first tank named after the legendary Gen. George S. Patton and was an improved version of the M26 Pershing. The M46 saw combat in the Korean War where it was superior to North Korea's Soviet-built T-34-85. The M48 replaced all M26s and most M4A3E8 Shermans in Korea.
Almost all tank vs. tank battles in Korea occurred in the first five months of the war and involved small numbers of tanks. US tanks knocked out 97 T-34-85 tanks with another 18 probables while North Korean tanks destroyed 34 US tanks. Future tank battles were rare because of superior UN air and tank forces and because the hilly Korean terrain was unsuitable for tanks.

M48 Patton commanded by Cpl. Bob Minetto, A Company, 3rd Tank Battalion, 3rd Marine Division

On May 9, 1968, three M48 Patton tanks were supporting a force of Marines and South Vietnamese troops (ARVN) when they were attacked by North Vietnamese troops (NVA) from heavily-fortified bunkers. Because they were too close to use their cannons, the third M48 was called up to use its flamethrower on the bunkers. However, the flamethrower would not work and the tank withdrew. NVA troops swarmed Minetto's tank and attempted to throw grenades or satchel charges into the turret hatches. Minetto used thermite grenades and his pistol to kill some of the enemy troops. When he ran out of ammo, he was asking his loader for his pistol when he was fatally shot in the neck and fell into the turret. The loader then closed the hatch. The driver radioed the commander of the second M48, Cpl. John Perry, saying his gunner couldn't command the tank, "All hell had broken loose" and asked for instructions. Perry told his gunner to "scratch the back" (spray machine gun fire) of Minetto's tank which killed the NVA on it. Perry then told Minetto's driver to do a "neutral steer" on top of the NVA bunker and had his own tank join him. The two tanks drove onto the heavily-fortified bunkers and crushed the NVA inside. All of the NVA were either killed or captured, but Minetto and most of the Marines and ARVN were killed or wounded. At the time of his death when he saved his fellow crewmen, Minetto had been in South Vietnam for only two months and eight days.

M60 Patton, D Company, 3rd Tank Battalion, 3rd Marine Division

The M60 Patton was the fourth and last tank named after Gen. George S. Patton. When Irag invaded Kuwait in 1990, the M60 was being replaced by the M1A1 Abrams. However, Marine M60s saw combat in Operation Desert Storm. The 3rd Tank Battalion, including D Company from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was the first Coalition unit to cross the border during the actual invasion. As part of Task Force Ripper, the 3rd helped seize Al Jaber Airfield. M60s were the first Coalition tanks to enter Kuwait City. During the taking of Kuwait International Airport, M60s destroyed over 100 Iraqi tanks with one M60 lost and no fatalities.

M551 Sheridan "Die Hard", D Company, 3-73 Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division

This model was custom built for me in England and represents an M551 Sheridan that deployed from Fort Bragg to Saudi Arabia in Operation Desert Shield after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
The Sheridan was named after the Civil War's Gen. Philip Sheridan and was developed in the 1960s as an air-deployable light tank. The light weight was achieved by combining an aluminum hull with a steel turret. It was armed with a compact 152 mm cannon that could fire the Shillelagh antitank missile and conventional rounds. The Sheridan first saw combat in the Vietnam War where its cannon and mobility were appreciated by US infantry. However, its aluminum hull proved to be its Achilles heel--rocket-propelled grenades and land mines easily penetrated the aluminum resulting in heavy losses.
The 82nd Airborne Division was the last unit to operate the Sheridan. During Operation Just Cause in 1989 to depose Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, Sheridans were air-dropped for the first and last time. In 1990, the 82nd Airborne's Sheridans were among the first US forces to deploy to Saudi Arabia. During Operation Desert Storm, Sheridans fired the Shillelagh in combat for the first time as a bunker-buster weapon. The Sheridan was retired in 1996 and some were modified to resemble Russian tanks for use in war games.

Notice the tank commander's two PLAYBOY magazines and spent cartridges. The orange panel on the rear deck is to prevent attacks by friendly aircraft.

Gen. George S. Patton, Third Army

This figure depicts Patton, perhaps the greatest and most controversial US general of World War II, during the Battle of the Bulge. Patton had great triumphs in North Africa and Sicily, but his leading six divisions of the Third Army in a 90 degree pivot over a hundred miles in five days in the dead of winter to relieve the key town of Bastogne is considered one of the greatest maneuvers in military history.
In 1941, during the famous Carolina Maneuvers in North and South Carolina , Patton caught the eye of Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall who "recalled with relish the splendid performance of a certain George S. Patton." Patton's grandson, Col. James Patton Totten married Jody Bennett of Wake Forest, North Carolina.

One of the great icons in motion picture history is the opening scene in PATTON of his speech to the Third Army in front of a large US flag which actually never occurred. Francis Ford Coppola cobbled together a number of Patton's speeches for the speech scene and was then fired because 20th Century Fox didn't like the scene. Fox later put it back in the script. The movie won eight Oscars including Best Picture.

In this scene from PATTON, the Desert Afrika Korps is about to be defeated by Patton's troops. Ironically, the movie's German tanks are really M48 Pattons of the Spanish army.

In this scene from PATTON, the "soldier who gets slapped" is Tim Considine who starred on MY THREE SONS.

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