Tanks were invented, by the British incidentally, during the First World War, as a means of breaking the stalemate that had been created by barbed wire and the machine gun in that bloody conflict. Although the Allied blockade of Germany did more to bring about the end of that war, the development of the tank did ultimately insure that the next world conflict would not be a static, dug-in affair. The reason for this was the invention of the armored fighting vehicle altered the concept of armored warfare. Future wars would be wars of movement, in which armies that were slow and ponderous would be swiftly outmaneuvered, cut off, and surrounded, and hence defeated, often by a numerically inferior enemy.
So, how were armored vehicles used in battle to the defeat an enemy? The British may have created the first tanks, but it was the Germans who put together the theories of the most advanced military thinkers during the years between the World Wars, and came up with the idea of Blitzkrieg, or “lightning war.” In its classic form, this type of warfare is best typified by Germany’s attack on France in 1940. In May of that year, German armor was hurled, en masse, at a relatively small portion of the Allied defensive line. That mass of armor penetrated the Allied line, and then did a thing unexpected by the old standards of warfare – it kept going! In less than two weeks German armor and motorized infantry moved across southern Belgium, through northeastern France to the Channel coast, thus separating the Belgian army, the British Expeditionary Force (BFF), and part of the French army from the bulk of Allied forces in the rest of France.
There were several things new and revolutionary about this attack. As previously mentioned, the assault unleashed by the Germans was a war, above all, of movement. One of the foremost problems of the Allied defenders was to even determine where the Germans were at any one time. Never before had entire divisions advanced forty or more miles in a single day. Another new and terrifying development was the use of ground-attack aircraft, in this case the famous Stukas, in close cooperation with attacking army units. In the First World War, airplanes had mostly fought each other and left the embattled armies alone. Now all that had changed. Screaming dive-bombers were used as flying artillery in order to destroy enemy strong-points and attack enemy supply columns and lines of communication.
The role of the tank was to break the enemy’s line at a weak point, advance along the path of least resistance through the enemy’s rear areas, and sever supply lines and communications. This was the most startling thing about this new kind of war. In previous wars, the object had been generally to meet the enemy head-on and defeat him in a strength vs. strength fight. Blitzkrieg, on the other hand, sought to avoid the enemy’s strongest points. German tanks did not seek out French and British tanks to fight. Instead, they looked for enemy infantry to overrun, and once they had done so, they proceeded on to shoot up trucks and wagons full of fuel, ammunition, food, medicine, etc. They also took every opportunity to send columns of retreating enemy soldiers and civilian refugees flying in terror before them. In May 1940 the mere rumor that German tanks were coming was more than enough to cause Allied defenses to collapse.
A few weeks back Tom Brown, the editor of the club newsletter “The Scratching Post,” approached me about writing a monthly column for publication. His idea was that I would write articles about modeling, this would usually be armor or diorama related as these are the areas I most commonly build, or other related subjects. I promised Tom I would do what I could to help him out, so here is my first effort.
As most of you know I have a habit of saying something on a regular basis, even if no one else wants to hear it, this column will, I am sure, fall into that same area. For now, let’s start with some background information on myself and then we will take it from there. To begin with, I have been modeling for about 50 years now, with the usual obligatory gaps in there brought about by the discovery of females, real cars, and a visit with my Uncle Sam. My first kit was built when I was eight and it was a 1/72 scale 39-cent Lindberg SPAD XIII World War I biplane. My next effort was an Aurora 1/48 Japanese Zero molded in a God-awful bright orange plastic Soon I found myself diverge to ships, cars, Aurora Movie Monsters and anything else that caught my plastic fancy.
When I started building plastic kits my family was living in Arizona, where my father was stationed with the USAF. Being in Arizona was great, there were two real hobby shops in the town where we lived and even more in nearby Phoenix, not to mention the drug stores and five and dime stores that all sold models at the time. While I may not have had the selection of manufacturers we do today I still had plenty of places to buy models.
Another great part of living in Arizona back then was the fact that not too far from where I lived you could find the Graveyard, which was then still full of WWII Aircraft and a lot of folks out there owned and flew these types of aircraft on a regular basis. I never had to wait for an air show to see a P51, a Corsair, or Hellcat, or several other old Warbirds flying around.
In 1976 I moved back to Jacksonville after some time in the Army, and a lot of other moving around and growing up, or older anyway. I soon found my way to Jack’s Hobby Shop, now Rail and Sprue Hobbies, and my first involvement with a plastic modeling club, Central Arkansas Modelers Society (CAMS). CAMS is where I got to know Dave Branson Sr. and Jr., Pete Harwell, Gary Johnson, Noel Lawson, Frank McCurdy, Jim Brown, Ric Taylor, Frank Averett (Noel’s Dr. Strangeglove), Rick Knapp and many other fine modelers and people. As part of the club, I joined IPMS and competed regularly at the local, regional and national level. I remained part of CAMS until it was disbanded, shortly after that I left Arkansas, but I continued to be involved with modeling clubs, first in Florida, then North Carolina, South Carolina, St. Louis and Kansas City before returning to Central Arkansas in 2000. During my time modeling, I have built a little bit of everything at one time or another but I found dioramas to be the most interesting and challenging for me. Dioramas requires an ability to build models, paint figures, create scenery and groundwork, make architectural models and research, lots of research.
I’m not sure what my next offering will be, but if any of you guys have some ideas, or questions let me know and maybe I can find something to hold the interest of at least one or two of you folks.
CASM strongly urges members of the club to become members of IPMS. Any CASM club member who renews their IPMS membership or becomes a new member of IPMS between 3/9/13 and 5/11/13 will be eligible to win one of three gift cards to Hobbytown USA for the amounts of $100, $50, or $25. IPMS membership costs $25 sou you have a chance to have your membership paid for with the possibility of change left over. To become a new member or renew your membership, just click on the logo and you will be taken to the membership page. Once you have become a new member show Brent Bristow, Secretary, a verification of membership and he will enter your name in the IPMS Membership Drawing.
PTC Model Class meets at 6:00 p.m. Monday, March 11, 2013, at the Business and Industry Center which is at 3303 East Roosevelt Road Little Rock, AR 72206 (where the old IMAX Theater was). Just check the monitor for the room number.
You certainly don't have to, but you are strongly encouraged to bring a kit to work on. Class members are going to do a brief show and tell; then, go to work on their own current builds. Class members should be able to learn from each other as they work. If you have not been in awhile, this should be a fun class. Last time we met this worked out well.
Just a reminder about the Revell contest, it doesn't cost anything and you can do something other than cars this year. All you have to do is send photographs so let's all participate. See revell.com.
Bring a friend, show and tell, something to work on and whatever tools/materials you will need to work with.
The Scratching Post
The Scratching Post is the newsletter for the Central Arkansas Scale Modelers, the Black Cats, and is written by modelers to promote and expand the modeling hobby. Our goal is to develop an e-zine in which modeling activities in the central Arkansas area are shared but, also, topics germane to the modeling hobby are discussed. We have selected a blog format so that the publication is interactive and can be accessed daily. We desire contributions from modelers all over the world so we can cover topics that are often not covered in other publications. Most of all, we would like the blog to be informative and fun! Please post comments and submit articles for our publication.
Got questions/comments/concerns? Shout at me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Submit your article or idea here. You may see it in the next issue of the Scratching Post!