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  1. 'The prisoner is marched into a tent lit by one flickering lantern. There is a good deal of side play. The interrogator snaps out the routine questions: "Name—rank—number?" When the next question is greeted with silence, the sentry is ordered to leave the tent. The interrogator fingers his revolver. "I don't want to resort to methods we dislike," he says, and hopes the prisoner will believe the opposite. He may be taken into a confined space, such as an armored car. The interrogator talks in a low voice. He explains that he wants some important information and that he is determined to get it. He is candid. "You are alone; you have a family. You want to live. It is nice to be a hero when someone is looking, but you are alone."' -- Military Intelligence Service, "Prisoners of War (German)", Intelligence Bulletin, December 1942 "I admire you, but in the end everybody talks." -- SS-Hauptsturmführer Nikolaus "Klaus" Barbie, to Lise Leserve, who he tortured for nineteen days. Her husband and son were both killed by the Germans. "Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves." -- George Orwell, 1984 "Undergrunden i Jylland er ved at blive revet op af Gestapo." [The Resistance in Jutland is about to be torn up by the Gestapo.] -- Brigadegeneral Vagn Bennike, Head of Danish Resistance Operations in Jutland, in a message to London, 15 October 1944 THE FURIES: Our anger never works against a man whose hands are clean— all his life he stays unharmed. But those men guilty of some crime, as this one is, who hide away, concealing blood-stained hands— we harass them as testament to those they’ve murdered. Blood avengers, always in pursuit, we chase them to the end. -- Aeschylus, Eumenides In 1943, SOE agent Jacob Jensen was captured by the Germans after parachuting back into Denmark. This was not unusual: SOE was in many ways an organization of enthusiastic amateurs, and their agents had been, for the most part, ordinary people before the war, leavened with a handful of professional soldiers who remained in or returned to their home countries to continue the fight. Like many before him and many after him, Jensen, who had been a fisherman before the war, broke under torture. The Geheime Staatspolizei in Denmark, better known as the Gestapo, was able to roll up almost the entirety of the Danish resistance operating in the Jutland peninsula. To compound matters, Grethe Bartram, ostensibly a Danish communist, began informing to the Germans for money, even turning over her own brother, and causing the collapse of the communist resistance groups in the country. (Bartram was sentenced to death after the war, but it was commuted and she was released from prison after a decade. She had informed on over forty people; fifteen were tortured, and eight were taken into Germany under the nacht und nebel decree, never to be seen alive again. Bartam herself lived to be 92, dying in Sweden in 2017.) Matters came to a head on 7 October 1944, when the Gestapo captured one of the couriers for the resistance, who reported directly to Vagn Bennike, a prewar officer in the Royal Danish Army now coordinating the activities of all resistance cells in the Peninsula. If the Germans could identify, locate, and capture Bennike, they would be able to completely wipe out any trace of resistance in the region. In desperation, Bennike signalled London on 15 October: "The resistance in Jutland is about to be torn up by the Gestapo. More important to get the archives destroyed and save our people than getting our people destroyed and save the archives. I implore that residence hall 4 and 5, repeat 4 and 5, be destroyed by air strike. They are the two farthest to the west, repeat farthest to the west, buildings of the university complex. Urgent, repeat urgent." The two buildings in question were located in the densely packed university campus, with three hospitals, Århus Kommunehospital, Århus Amtssygehus, and Marselisborg Hospital all nearby. In 1944, there was only one air force in the world who could even attempt such a task. A single Mosquito from 544 Squadron surveyed the area on 26 October. A wing attack was planned for Halloween, with 24 aircraft drawn from 21 Squadron and two of the Article XV squadrons, 464 (RAAF) and 487 (RNZAF). Wing Commander R W "Reg" Reynolds DSO DFC and his navigator, Squadron Leader (later Air Commodore) Edward "Ted" Sismore DSO DFC, who had helped to plan the prior Amiens raid, were to lead. Mustangs from 315 (City of Deblin) Squadron would escort them in. Flying in four waves, the Mosquitos came roaring in at extremely low level. The first wave hit at 1141, dropping 500-lb bombs with eleven second fuses; one of the weapons bounced away and exploded against the main university building, killing ten civilian workers, the only collateral casualties of the raid. Four minutes after the first wave, the next three waves came in, one after another, dropping incendiaries. The raid was a stunning success. The critically important resistance courier Ruth Phillipsen and the distinguished theologian and saboteur Harald Sandbæk were both able to escape. 27 Gestapo officers, including the local commander, Sturmbannführer Eugen Schwitzgebel, were killed. Their files were burnt to ash. A single Mosquito, damaged by flak, force-landed in Sweden, and the crew were interned. The resistance in Jutland experienced a resurgence, even managing to sink three German ships in harbor before the end of the war. So obviously I'm building a Tamiya Mosquito FB.VI. I have decals for SB-S/HR352, flown by Flt/Lt. W. C. Henderson & Fl/Off. R. S. Hawke on the raid, but the proooooooblem is that they're for how she appeared in early 1945. At least as late as August 1944, we know that 464 was using an extremely annoying and likely difficult to mask properly form of invasion stripes: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C288048 And in this footage from the RAF B.IV camera ship that went along on the Aarhus raid, we can see, at 0:27, that at least some of the aircraft had their stripes up the whole side of the fuselage, obturating the squadron code, but not the individual aircraft letter: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060030265 Which seems very sloppy, not having the wing standardize on one style of marking. SO. Anyone with a copy of The Gestapo Hunters, which is presently unobtainable in this country, I'd be much obliged for your help. In any case, we start in earnest tomorrow.
  2. After my Abysmal performance in group builds in the second half of last year, I’m getting my 2021 builds underway (post completion of a Gladiator for another GB) with a 1/72 Mosquito. Continuing my theme of mostly building aircraft of aircrew that failed to return as a tribute to them, my build will be HX912 ‘SB-F’ which “Took off from RAF Sculthorpe at 1116 hours on the 9 October 1943 to attack the aero engine works at Woippy near Metz, France. Twelve aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including HX912 failed to return. The ORB recorded : “The weather was hopeless over the sea, coast and target, with very poor visibility and ten- tenths cloud at 500 feet...HX912 was last seen in a shallow dive towards the target having taken over as lead aircraft from the CO.” Crew: RAAF 405106 Flt Lt Kerr, P C C (Pilot), 25 of Harrisville, Queensland, Australia RNZAF FO Hannah, B J E (Navigator), 31 of Wellington, New Zealand Both now rest together in Schoonselhof Cemetery (Alan Storr, 2006, 464 Squadron RAAF World War Two Fatalities,p.14) - Photo of Aircraft is from the ADF serials website
  3. Hi all! Following my Stranraer and Heyford marathon which finally finished last year I decided to take a break from superdetailing, 1970s kits and WIP threads, and slunk off to build a Tamiya kit! As a person who has a particular affinity for British aircraft which were somewhat mediocre or have fallen into obscurity (but which pottered along and quietly did quite a good job even if it often wasn't what they were originally designed for), the Mosquito didn't quite capture me for a long time. The last one I did was the Airfix 1/72nd kit in about 2004 (I was 14, so this is modelling prehistory for me). Somehow I kept getting lured by subjects which were just a bit less, well, famous, good-looking and successful. Maybe it is because I myself am none of these three things! Nonetheless, it did seem ridiculous that I didn't have a decent model of such an iconic aircraft, and I must say I became a whole lot more determined to build one when I stumbled upon this staggering photo: (IWM photo, the original can be found here) This aircraft, MM401 SB-J of 464 squadron RAAF was on a mission to bomb V1 sites in the Pas-de-Calais on 21st February 1944, flown by S/L Arthur Geoffrey Oxlade with navigator F/L Donald McKenzie Shanks. Over the target, MM401 was hit almost simultaneously by two flak bursts - one of which destroyed much of the starboard outer wing, providentially leaving the rear spar and attached aileron as you can see above. The second knocked out the port engine, carried away the propeller and wrecked the landing gear - notice the absent prop in the image above! Somehow, the asymmetric loss of power and wing area cancelled each other out sufficiently that Oxlade maintained control and managed to nurse the wrecked aircraft back across the Channel to RAF Friston, and effect a forced landing with no injury to either crew member. Apart from the amazing feat of airmanship this story really brings home what an amazing machine the Mosquito was - hard to imagine many contemporary aircraft surviving this sort of damage. Anyway I decided to build my Tamiya Mossie as a tribute to Oxlade (KIA on D-Day), Shanks (survived the D-Day crash, another bale-out and the war), and to MM401 (unsurprisingly, struck off charge and turned into matchsticks). It's more or less OOB, although I have the SAM Aviation Guide for the FBVI which led to me adding quite a bit of cockpit detail and altering the radio fit to a later arrangement. I also added Quickboost 0.303 barrelshaving cut the kit barrels off their mounting part and drilled the latter out so I could add the resin barrels right at the end of the build. Paints are Revell Aqua for the dark green brush-painted over Humbrol acrylic spray for the MSG. Decals from Xtradecal stock and the Barracudacals stencil set. Apologies for the gloomy photos - these were taken a few weeks ago where it was constantly stormy every weekend in the UK and there never seemed to be adequate light!
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