I recently picked up a pair of Panther Ausf G 1/72 models from the Italeri fast build range. With just 12 parts per vehicle, they hit the mark for me.
These will be added to my late war German forces for use with the Rapid Fire Reloaded rules.
I have been keeping a record of their build progress over on the Commanders web page (link below), but now painted and absorbed into the Order-of-Battle, it was time to give them a bit of a back story.
In their first action they could well be from 31st Panzer Regiment, serving with 5th Panzer Division, under the direction of Generalmajor Rolf Lippert, during the defensive battles in East Prussia 1945.
Their respective identity numbers 231 and 234 show that they are from 2nd Company, 3rd platoon and that they are tanks 1 and 4, the two surviving tanks of what had been a five tank platoon just a couple of weeks earlier.
Each tank has a crew of five, the commander, a driver, a gunner, a loader and a radio man, who also doubled as the machine gun operator.
Both crews had done their basic training at Erlangen and then moved to 5th Panzer divisional reserve to complete their training, but the rigours of the last two months in trying to stem the relentless Soviet advance, had seen them drawn into action much sooner than would once have been the case.
Tanks 2, 3 and 5 of the platoon had all been lost and abandoned while duelling with T34/85’s and with increasing numbers of the JS II’s arriving on the front, little reminder was needed that the Soviets had plenty of new material to make good their own losses.
Feldwebel (equivalent of a sergeant) Wilhelm Schmidt, at 19, had by default, become the platoon commander, he was content to stay in vehicle 234, working with the crew that he had known since Erlangen.
It is late January, Königsberg is now isolated by Soviet armies and 5th Panzer is responsible for the southern perimeter, facing 11th Guards Army.
The company have orders to take up positions overlooking open fields in front of a small hamlet …… T34’s are again advancing!
At the moment (December 2023), my sister webspace ‘COMMANDERS’ is showing a build page for these kits, which just follows their journey across the painting table. LINK