July 4, 2019

I'm in the mood for a work session before the NMRA National

John Drye and Mark Franke stopped by Alkem Scale Models World HQs today for a work session. I ran the airbrush and repainted two of John's cement hoppers and weathered a half dozen coal hoppers.

Meanwhile, Mark was painting US infantry for our next game.  I did not get any pictures of the weathered models. But I did get a shot of us having a great BBQ dinner at Myron Mixon's Pitmaster BBQ in Alexandria.












Before today's work session I completed the sand tower to accompany the coal dock for Brian Brendel's  N scale layout. I will hand carry these with me to Utah.









Back to the wargaming. We have been commemorating the Allied campaign in France 1944 with a scenario appropriate for each month. Last month, on June 6th,  I ran the Battle at Fiere. Later this month,   JD will organize a scenario set in the bocage country of Normandy.

To get ready for that scenario, I've been working on a M4A1 76mm Sherman with Cullin hedgcutters.  Those cutters were field expedient plow-like devices welded onto tanks to allow the tank to break through Norman bocage hedges. The tank I am modeling belonged to Sergeant Lafayette Pool.   He was a tank ace with 3rd Amored Division

According to Wikipedia, he was an American tank-crew and tank-platoon commander in World War II and is widely recognized as the US tank ace of aces, credited with 12 confirmed tank kills and 258 total armored vehicle and self-propelled gun kills, over 1,000 German soldiers killed, and 250 more taken as prisoners of war all of which took place in a combat career that covered only 81 days in action from 27 June to 15 September 1944 with three different Shermans. He received many medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit, the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the Belgian Fourragère, and the French Légion d'honneur.
Pool served with the 3rd Platoon of Company I, 32nd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division in France between June and September 1944. He successively commanded three Sherman tanks; an M4A1, and two M4A1(76)Ws, all of which bore the nickname "IN THE MOOD."  He kept the same crew throughout the majority of the war. Corporal Wilbert "Red" Richards was the driver, Private First Class Bertrand "School Boy" Close was the assistant driver and bow gunner, Corporal Willis "Ground Hog" Oller was the gunner, and Technician Fifth Grade Delbert "Jailbird" Boggs was the loader.
Pool's first tank, an M4A1, lasted from June 23 until June 29, when Combat Command A attacked for the first time at Villiers-Fossard. It was hit by a Panzerfaust, causing Pool and his crew to bail out of the stricken tank. Pool's second tank, his first M4A1(76)W, lasted from around July 1, 1944 to August 17, when he was leading CCA in the process of clearing remaining German forces from the village of Fromental.  This tank was knocked out by friendly fire from a P-38.



Pool's third and last tank, another M4A1(76)W, was destroyed on the night of September 15, 1944 while CCA was attempting to penetrate the Siegfried Line at Munsterbusch, Germany, southwest of Aachen. The tank was hit by an ambushing Panther, and while Pool's driver was trying to back his damaged Sherman up, the Panther hit it a second time. Positioned precariously on the edge of a ditch, the force of the second round caught the tank and tipped it over. The round killed Pool's replacement gunner, Private First Class Paul King, (Corporal Oller had been temporarily transferred back to the United States) and threw Pool out of the commander's hatch, severely injuring one of his legs with shrapnel. The leg was so badly mangled that it later had to be amputated eight inches above the knee. As a result, Pool would not return to amateur boxing after the war.

Speaking of 3rd Armored Division, I highly recommend the book Spearhead by Adam Makos. It is one of the most exciting books  with unbelievable plot twists I have read on WWII, made all the more memorable because it is based on actual events. This is the book that movie Fury should have been.  You can learn more the about the book in this video.

 

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