Showing posts with label Jump. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jump. Show all posts

5 June 2014

D-Day Minus One, the paratroops go in (again, for one veteran)

Paratrooper jumps again: 70 years after D-Day

A former U.S. Air Force C-47 Skytrain aircraft (bottom) flies alongside a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron over Germany in this handout photo taken May 30 and released June 3, 2014. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Sara Keller/Handout via Reuters

Normandy, France (CNN) -- Jim "Pee Wee" Martin acted like he'd been here before, like jumping from a plane is as easy as falling off a log.

Maybe that's because he had -- 70 years ago.

"I'm feeling fine," Martin told reporters moments after landing in a French field. "... It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful."
Martin was part of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division that parachuted down over Utah Beach in their bid to retake France and, eventually, the rest of Europe from Nazi Germany. They actually touched down in enemy-controlled territory a night before what's referred to now as D-Day.

His jump Thursday in the same area was different and -- despite his being 93 years old now -- a whole lot easier.
"It didn't (compare)," Martin said, "because there wasn't anybody shooting at me today!"

Every year, every day it seems, the number of surviving World War II veterans like Martin dwindles. He estimates there are only a few dozen members of his unit who took part in the now historic D-Day invasion who are still around.
It's ironic, in a sense, because Martin was among the oldest of his bunch in June 1944 -- at 23 years old -- surrounded by others who were mere teenagers.

Together, they parachuted onto France's northern coast in the dark of night not knowing what awaited them. Whatever it was, it would not be friendly or easy, they expected.

"Everybody (was) scared all the time, and if they tell you anything differently they are full of crap," the former paratrooper recalled. "But you just do what you had to do regardless of it. That's the difference."
And they didn't stop. According to a Facebook page he regularly updates, Martin fought for 43 days as part of the Normandy campaign before moving onto invade Holland, fending off Nazi fighters during the Battle of the Bulge and finishing off by taking Berchtesgaden, site of Hitler's "Eagle's Nest" redoubt in the German Alps.

None of it was easy, but Martin insists, "I don't ever have flashbacks. Never. Nothing ever bothered me."
All these years later, he has become a celebrity of sorts -- as evidenced by a mob of reporters who greeted him after his parachute landing Thursday. Martin says he feels "kind of humbled and embarrassed at the adulation because I don't feel we did anything that we weren't supposed to do or anything exceptional."
He adds: "We just did what we trained to do."

On Norman soil again...

Seven decades later, Martin did it again -- not fighting a bloody war but at least reliving his role in a military campaign that changed the course of history. Others joined him in this now daytime jump, though he was the only one from his generation.
This time, he said that he wasn't scared because, "once you get in the plane, you forget everything." Bored would be more like it.

As he told reporters afterward, "To tell you the truth, riding around in the plane is boring. It's when you get off the plane, that's when it gets exciting ... But there's no fear to it. It's just something you do."

​Veteran 101st Airborne paratrooper Pfc. Jim "Pee Wee" Martin reminisces about D-Day at the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.: ​Veteran 101st Airborne paratrooper Pfc. Jim "Pee Wee" Martin reminisces about D-Day at the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

Martin admitted that he was motivated by "a little bit of ego, (to show that) I'm 93 and I can still do it."
"And also I just want to show all the people that you don't have to sit and die just because you get old," he added. "Keep doing things."
Among those things he'd like to do is another jump in the same plane, one year from now.

"If I come back next year, I'll make a jump next year. You can bet on it."

26 June 2013

Falschirmjaeger just about ready for action in 20 mm FOW

I have been slowly building up my 20mm WW2 armies over the last year, switching from Warhammer WW2 rules to Flames of War. This meant re-basing my entire collection.

The Normandy Brits are done, as are my original Falschirmjaeger, and now I am working on expanding my force. Planning on a game against Luc at the Kapiti Wargames Club Open Day on Sunday.

Early war (R) and late war uniforms. In Crete a Sand-coloured uniform was worn.

As mentioned before I decided to go with an autumn theme rather than the more usual summer or winter. This makes the range of figures that are useful larger, being able to field both winter and summer uniforms (I.e. guys that are cold, and ones that are not so cold, and still wearing the summer uniforms, albeit with the autumn camouflage outside)

My elite troops are painted in the Autumn Oak or planatin Camo, and my Falschirmjaeger in the yellower variant of the Splintermunster camo smocks, with the blue luftwaffe trousers and blue or luftwaffe camo green helmets.

Images from across the net. Reproduction uniform images from Spearhead Militaria
This is also a good site for info on uniforms in general.

FJ pictures part 6-zpaxvy4dg2cd.jpg

This enlarges the scope of games that can be played authentically dramatically, with both winter and summer terrain becoming useful. I used red "iron ore: ballast from the railway miniatures range as the base, and added  lichen in various colours. The result is quite pleasing to they eye, but also vividly illustrates how effective the German Late-war autumn camo was.

"Blurred Edge Autumn Scheme"

"Autumn Oak A Camo"

"Oak B" Camo

Autumn Plantain Leaf no 4

Autumn Plantain Leaf no 2

Plantain leaf no 5 Autumn side

Pea Dot 44 Camo