Keeping an eye on the Warlord forums, we often come across fantastic work just like Oscar Flamberg’s Gebirgsjägers!
Oscar Flamberg: With the 2nd edition of Armies of Germany book we get a new special entry for Gebirgsjägers one of the elite formations of Wehrmacht during World War II. The other one, the Fallschirmjäger, previously received unique rules as veteran units and had splendid figures both metal and plastic. Gebirgsjägers are now veteran units with ‘skis’ option for fighting in the winter period and there are now some new stunning Gebirgsjägers metal figures in anoraks, winter coats and even woolen sweaters.
However, if anyone would like to play some history-based games in the summer period using these models, the ‘skis’ rule and winter clothes would seem inappropriate. As a great Bolt Action fan, and with a little help from my pro-painter Adrian, I decided to make some full plastic Gebirgsjägers for fighting summer battles around Leningrad, in Caucasus or at the Gustav Line in Italy.
First, I’ve searched for some original photos. One can see that the main distinctive element of Gebirgsjägers style was a badge called Edelweiss on the left side of their mountain caps and on the right sleeves of their blouses. And of course, their climbing gear and ropes!
Gebirgsjägers used standard Wehrmacht M36/M43 uniforms (except for their mountain pants which were especially designed for them – Berghose M36) with mountain ankle boots (Bergschuhe) which were like the Wehrmacht Schnürschuhe and wore Bergmütze (identical in shape with M43 Feldmütze).
As I wanted to give them unique look, I used hands, weapons and equipment from different plastic sets. Gebirgsjägers had to carry almost all the equipment and weapons on their shoulders, which affected the type of weapons and the amount of ammunition they can take.
Most of my Jägers have Mauser rifles (in fact Gebirgsjägers used specially modified Mauser-Kurz for them, mostly shortening the rifle) and the semi-automatic rifle Gewehr 43. Since they are veterans, I could not resist arming each team with two machine guns the MG (Maschinengewehr) 34 and 42. Gebirgsjägers often chose the older models due to a lower rate of fire, in turn lowering the consumption of ammunition which in the mountains, was of exceptional importance.
Making the models
As a base for my Gebirgsjägers figures I used the WWII German Infantry Plastic set. Another three bodies and heads in caps were taken from German Grenadiers. Together it gave me eight different poses (two similar kneeling but still not identical) and three different heads in Wehrmacht caps – as I wanted to use only plastic parts and only in caps.
Although there were plans in the German High Command to arm Gebirgsjägers (as well as Jägers, the “lowland” light infantry) with a great number of automatic weapons, this plan was never completely achieved. In my platoon, only the officers and NCO’s will have a Sturmgewehr 44 (assault rifle) additionally, each team will have one soldier to use an MP40 (Machinenpistole). You may notice that one of them changes the magazine and the other one reloads.
When fighting in the high mountains Gebirgsjägers commonly used mountain backpacks (Gebirgrsrucksacke 31). I used the excellent backpacks from the set of the British Plastic Commandos which are very similar in shape. On the main belt, would hang the standard German bread-bags with canteens and water bottles. Some troopers have infantry shovels and bayonets – all from different German sets.
I also added climbing ropes made of twisted copper wire, which I formed into coils. One of the soldiers leads a packed mule from the Chindits set. According to the table of organization and equipment, in each Gebirgsjägers platoon there were 3 mules or horses carrying mainly ammunition for machine guns during the fighting in the mountains.
This is just the beginning of the collection soon there will be more models! Here are the battle-ready figures of German Gebirgsjägers of Circa 1944. All the models are compounded by Oscar Flamberg and painted by Adrian Sawski.
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