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Procopius

Burn Down Their Hanging Trees (1/72 Airfix Lancaster B.III)

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“They were so weak- they allowed everything to happen – to be done to them. They were people with whom there was no common ground, no possibility of communication- that is how contempt is born. I could never understand how they could just give in as they did.”

 

-- SS-Brigadefuhrer Franz Stangel, second commandant of Trebelinka

 

 

"Six men with tommy-guns were posted at each pit; the pits were 24 m in length and 3 m in breadth - they had to lie down like sardines in a tin, with their heads in the centre. Above them were six men with tommy-guns who gave them the coup de grace. When I arrived those pits were so full that the living had to lie down on top of the dead; then they were shot and, in order to save room, they had to lie down neatly in layers. Before this, however, they were stripped of everything at one of the stations - here at the edge of the wood were the three pits they used that Sunday and here they stood in a queue 1½ km long which approached step by step - a queuing up for death. As they drew nearer they saw what was going on. About here they had to hand over their jewelry and suitcases. All good stuff was put into the suitcases and the remainder thrown on a heap. This was to serve as clothing for our suffering population - and then, a little further on they had to undress and, 500 m in front of the wood, strip completely; they were only permitted to keep on a chemise or knickers. They were all women and small two-year-old children." 

 

-- "Major General Walter Bruns’s Description of the Execution of Jews outside Riga on December 1, 1941, Surreptitiously Taped Conversation (April 25, 1945)", National Archives WO 208/4169, Report SRGG 1158

 

 

A mountain of footwear was pressing down on me. My body was numb from cold and immobility. However, I was fully conscious now. The snow under me had melted from the heat of my body. ... Quiet for a while. Then from the direction of the trench a child's cry: 'Mama! Mama! Mamaa!'. A few shots. Quiet. Killed.

 

— Frida Michelson, I Survived Rumbula, describing the events of the second Rumbula Massacre on 8 December 1941

 

 

"Meanwhile Rottenfuhrer Abraham shot the children with a pistol. There were about five of them. These were children whom I would think were aged between two and six years.

"The way Abraham killed the children was brutal. He got hold of some of the children by the hair, lifted them up from the ground, shot them through the back of their heads and then threw them into the grave.

"After a while I just could not watch this any more and I told him to stop. What I meant was he should not lift the children up by the hair, he should kill them in a more decent way."

 

-- Testimony of SS-Mann Ernst Gobel at the SS trial of Untersturmfuhrer Max Taubner for ordering the "unauthorized" killing of 459 Jews in late 1942; the court ruled that "[t]he accused shall not be punished because of the actions against the Jews as such. The Jews have to be exterminated and none of the Jews that were killed is any great loss."

 

 

"We are going to scourge the Third Reich from end to end. We are bombing Germany city by city and ever more terribly in order to make it impossible for her to go on with the war. That is our object; we shall pursue it relentlessly."

 

-- Air Marshall Sir Arthur Harris, 28 July 1942

 

 

"The first thing we can see now is a wall of searchlights, not the thirties we saw as we came in over the coast, but they're in hundreds, there's a wall of light with very few breaks, and behind that wall, there's a pool of fiercer light, glowing red and green and blue, and over that pool there are myriads of flares hanging in the sky. That's the city itself."

 

-- BBC reporter Wynford Vaughan-Thomas, recording an op against Berlin by Lancaster ED586/EM-F "F-for-Freddie" from 207 (City of Leicester) Squadron on 3 September 1943

 

 

 

During the long, hard period from 1941 to 1944, when nowhere outside of Russia were the Allied armies in action against the main might of the Third Reich, which fell across the continent like a great funeral shroud, the only way to strike back was by air. In 1909, when Bleriot's fragile monoplane had first crossed the Channel, the Daily Express's headline had blared "BRITAIN IS NO LONGER AN ISLAND", and the entire underpinnings of Britain's splendid isolation had seemed to totter, but in 1940, Shakespeare's "precious stone set in a silver sea, which serves it in the office of a wall, or as a moat defensive to a house, against the envy of less happier lands," held once more, when the RAF's fighters bought the nation and the world time to prepare for the titanic battles that would be needed to free Europe.

 

Until the moment when the Allies fell from the sky at night or stormed ashore at dawn, the great burden of the offensive would fall upon Bomber Command. 

 

There has long been a contention that the Bombing Offensive did little to effect German war production, because output continually rose despite the thousands upon thousands of tons of bombs dropped over Germany by day and night. Economic historian Adam Tooze, however, in his magisterial history of the Nazi war economy The Wages of Destruction writes that:

 

"In the summer of 1943, the disruption in the Ruhr manifested itself across the German economy in the so-called 'Zuligieferungskrise; (sub-compnenents crisis). All manner of parts, castings, and forgings were suddenly in short supply. And this affected not only heavy industry directly, but the entire armaments complex. Most significantly, the shortage of key components brought the rapid increase in Luftwaffe production to an abrupt halt. Between July 1943 and March 1944 there was no further increase in the monthly output of aircraft. For the armaments effort as a whole, the period of stagnation lasted throughout the second half of 1943. As Speer himself acknowledged, Allied bombing had negated all plans for a further increase in production. Bomber Command had stopped Speer's armaments miracle in its tracks."

 

This was what 16,229 Bomber Command personnel died for in 1943. Not, as Arthur Harris hoped or believed, to win the war outright, but to buy the time for breath to be drawn and the war to be won. Night after night, the bombers went out, each aircraft its own entire universe for the seven men inside, who had only each other to count on against the terrifying power of the German air defences. Laden with fuel and bombs, they stood little chance of survival if hit. But in the great black bellies of their aircraft, they carried with them the great sledgehammers that would shake the firmaments of the Nazi Empire. 

 

The aircraft I'm building is a "Ton-Up" Lancaster, one of only thirty-five aircraft to survive over a hundred ops, in this case EE139, "The Phantom of the Ruhr", which flew 121 missions, including Hamburg, the V-Weapon research site at Peenemunde, and a staggering fifteen trips to Berlin before being taken off operations on 21 November 1944, by that time utterly clapped-out. EE139 flew with both 100 Squadron and, when 550 Squadron was formed out of C Flight in November 1943, EE139 went with, which is where she finished her war. I'm using the rather elderly Xtradecal RAF Bomber Command Part 2 sheet, which has her in her guise as HW-R with 100 Squadron in November of 1943, shortly before her transfer to 550 Squadron. Notably, in this photo she lacks the circular yellow gas detection patch frequently seen on other 1 Group aircraft, though this would be added later on (and is present on the Xtradecal "Ton-Up Lancs" sheet, go figure -- and if anyone has the 1/72 Ton-Up sheet, let me know, I suspect the nose art may be better rendered). 

 

EE139-1_zps5fcbca2a.jpg&key=4769143b9a9c

 

I also have a small assortment of aftermarket: Eduard photoetch set for the interior, canopy mask, seatbelts, and Quickboost's hollowed-out intakes for the Merlins, which I think should be a great improvement. The kit's just come out of a soak in soapy water, so we can hopefully get started soon. 

 

IMG_20190216_191220

 

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Work has begun apace. 

 

IMG_20190216_233346

 

I'm not terribly confident about the green so far forward. Certainly the Lancaster Jack Curry walks through in the 1980 documentary The Lancaster Legend seems to show a black interior forward of the main spar, although of course it's hard to know what is or isn't a postwar restoration. However, a photo of a w/op at his station on page 52 of Lancaster at War 1 also seems to show black rather than green, though it's hard to say with a black and white photo. (Of course, then again, on page 54 of same, there's a photo of the bomb aimer's panel and the nose interior there seems to be green, so go figure.)

 

 

So that's something to think about.

 

I also roughly gouged out the escape hatch windows on the roof of the fuselage. Not entirely sure what my next steps will be with these, but wanted to cross the Rubicon, as it were, so I couldn't forget later.

 

IMG_20190216_235757

 

Lastly, I got the pilot's seat put together and scraped off the IP so I can add the photoetch.

 

IMG_20190216_235231

 

Did the seat really have armrests?

 

 

 

 

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I've asked Messrs Hannants to send you the Kits World sheet for Phantom. It includes yellow patches, and looks decent enough from photos (the ton-up xtradecal sheet was out of stock). Airmail, so should be with you this week, HTH.

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11 minutes ago, 06/24 said:

I've asked Messrs Hannants to send you the Kits World sheet for Phantom. It includes yellow patches, and looks decent enough from photos (the ton-up xtradecal sheet was out of stock). Airmail, so should be with you this week, HTH.

Why Jonners, I...swoon! Thank you very much!

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Marvellous intro as always, PC. There are hundreds of BMers more versed in things Lancastrian than me, but I can confirm that the pilots got armrests.

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Nice to start, I'll follow along if you don't mind?

As far as I'm aware Lancaster's interiors were black from the cockpit/nav station forward including the bomb aimers position and interior green for the rest of the interior.

 

    Roger

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I've not been around much lately due to a series of events but I'm going to pull up a seat and watch this unfold. It will look terrific once built. :smile:

 

That Jack Currie clip is brilliant; I came across it last year and it prompted me to buy his book 'Lancaster Target' which is a great read.

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Very moving introduction, I can't imagine how those poor people must have felt to be queuing up for death !  

Nice to see a Lancaster on the bench.  I am sure you will do it justice.

Keep up the good work

All the best

Chris

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6 hours ago, Procopius said:

to buy the time for breath to be drawn and the war to be won.

I’ve been thinking about this. Really Britain’s greatest contribution to the war was to buy time for the world to take arms against the Nazis. Whether it be 1940, the desert, or the bomber offensive, it was Britain’s sacrifice which bought time. We didn’t win the war, the Soviets’ vast sacrifice of personnel and the Americans’ productivity did that, but we kept the fight going when there was little encouragement.

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Another moving & thought provoking intro Edward, they're always appreciated. I've long thought that apart from the direct results of Bomber Commands campaign on individual targets, an equal contribution was the resources that campaign tied down which the German leadership would far rather have diverted to more offensive tasks.

I'll sign in for this one too please.

Steve.

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5 hours ago, Procopius said:

I'm not terribly confident about the green so far forward. Certainly the Lancaster Jack Curry walks through in the 1980 documentary The Lancaster Legend seems to show a black interior forward of the main spar, although of course it's hard to know what is or isn't a postwar restoration. However, a photo of a w/op at his station on page 52 of Lancaster at War 1 also seems to show black rather than green, though it's hard to say with a black and white photo. (Of course, then again, on page 54 of same, there's a photo of the bomb aimer's panel and the nose interior there seems to be green, so go figure.)

The answer.... it seems, is it varies... 

from the fragmentary data,  it will also depend on when built, and who built it.

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234942160-lancaster-interior-colour/&do=findComment&comment=1342451

detail_lanc_04.jpg&key=1ce0210a6e28e9a0c

note green leather cloth seats

more shots of F-Freddie here, and more from me

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234998336-lancaster-interior-colour/

like 

DSCF1815.jpg&key=c95dd8ba620f08947797e8b

 

grey green will allow more detail to be seen though....

 

HTH

T

 

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Another beautiful, thought provoking intro, thanks! I'll take a seat at the bar!

 

Ian

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A grim intro indeed and a stark reminder of what the originals of our plastic models were made for. As Andrew Roberts asserted in "The Storm of War" (I paraphrase because I'm far away from my bookshelf): "The British provided the time, the Americans provided the money, and the Russians provided the blood".

 

Looking forward to the build and the associated commentary on life!

 

Regards,

Adrian

 

 

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Please don't forget to replace the awful Airfix gun barrels with resin ones from Quickboost.

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6 hours ago, stevehnz said:

Another moving & thought provoking intro Edward, they're always appreciated. I've long thought that apart from the direct results of Bomber Commands campaign on individual targets, an equal contribution was the resources that campaign tied down which the German leadership would far rather have diverted to more offensive tasks.

It's been pointed out by Anthony Cooper in his book Paddy Finucane and the Legend of the Kenley Wing that "By 1942, the year in which the German army had its last chance to defeat the Soviet army, German air units were increasingly being deployed to face the British -- twin-engined fighter units to Germany and the Netherlands to counter the RAF night raids, bomber units to the Mediterranean to sink British convoys and to bomb Malta, and fighter units to contest air superiority over North Africa and Malta...in short, in the make-or-break year of Germany's war, the proportion of Luftwaffe combat power facing the Soviets had sunk to only about one half of its total strength -- and this had happened before the USAAF had entered the war against Germany in any numbers." 

 

4 hours ago, Troy Smith said:

The answer.... it seems, is it varies... 

Thanks Troy. Does anyone know what colour the tabletops were?

 

2 hours ago, Josip said:

Please don't forget to replace the awful Airfix gun barrels with resin ones from Quickboost.

Yes, I've been thinking about that quite a bit. The .303s look amazingly puny in photos of real Lancasters, but the Airfix barrels (which are surprisingly nicely detailed) are almost big enough to be Bofors guns. Anyone who's had experience of either, I welcome your input on the relative merit and sizes of Quickboost or those teeny tiny metal barrels.

 

 

Incidentally, thanks to Francis K. Mason's book on the Lancaster, I can tell you that EE139 was part of the fourth production batch of 620 aircraft, built by Avro at Newton Heath in early 1943. 

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14 hours ago, Procopius said:

The aircraft I'm building is a "Ton-Up" Lancaster, one of only thirty-five aircraft to survive over a hundred ops, in this case EE139, "The Phantom of the Ruhr", which flew 121 missions, including Hamburg, the V-Weapon research site at Peenemunde, and a staggering fifteen trips to Berlin before being taken off operations on 21 November 1944, by that time utterly clapped-out. EE139 flew with both 100 Squadron and, when 550 Squadron was formed out of C Flight in November 1943, EE139 went with, which is where she finished her war. I'm using the rather elderly Xtradecal RAF Bomber Command Part 2 sheet, which has her in her guise as HW-R with 100 Squadron in November of 1943, shortly before her transfer to 550 Squadron. Notably, in this photo she lacks the circular yellow gas detection patch frequently seen on other 1 Group aircraft, though this would be added later on (and is present on the Xtradecal "Ton-Up Lancs" sheet, go figure -- and if anyone has the 1/72 Ton-Up sheet, let me know, I suspect the nose art may be better rendered). 

  

EE139-1_zps5fcbca2a.jpg&key=4769143b9a9c

 

Not only is the artwork much better on the Xtradecal Ton-up Lancaster sheet (X72098) but the spelling and colour is also correct. (Ruhr is spelt Rhur on X05572, and in yellow when it should be grey)  I keep trying to clear the bench and start a three-some, calm down at the back, I mean three Lanc's: new Airfix, Revell and Hasegawa. I have the kits and extra bits, I just need to finish all this other stuff. I will sit back and watch with interest. :coffee:

 

Bob

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11 minutes ago, Retired Bob said:

Not only is the artwork much better on the Xtradecal Ton-up Lancaster sheet (X72098) but the spelling and colour is also correct. (Ruhr is spelt Rhur on X05572, and in yellow when it should be grey)  I keep trying to clear the bench and start a three-some, calm down at the back, I mean three Lanc's: new Airfix, Revell and Hasegawa. I have the kits and extra bits, I just need to finish all this other stuff. I will sit back and watch with interest. :coffee:

 

Bob

Much obliged, Bob! Looks like I'm doubly indebted to Jon.

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Well gosh, PC is building a 4 engined beast! I am very ready for this. I have two Lancaster’s that I am dying to build so for now I shall live through you.

 

@06/24 you are truly thoughtful gent.

 

Rob

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23 minutes ago, Procopius said:

Much obliged, Bob! Looks like I'm doubly indebted to Jon.

De nada.

 

Pleased to say the artwork for the ones I've sent you looks correct,and has the other codes should you wish to use them.

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I’d never seen that film before; fascinating.   They weren’t joking about the number of airfields in Lincolnshire; I was brought up in the Notts/Lincs border and walked the dog on many a peri track.  

 

Not sure I have seen you tackle anything with more than 1 engine before, PC.  Position duly taken up somewhere near the bar.

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU

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