Sunday, September 13, 2015

Guidance in Identifying Fake British Regimental Cap Badges

"Alan O" is a super moderator on the British and Commonwealth Military Badge Forum, for which he is eminently qualified, being an expert advanced collector. He contributed the following definitive article to that forum in 2006. It is with full acknowledgement and gratitiude that it is re-published herein. It should prove of significant assistance to novice and advanced collectors alike, in their pursuit through today's minefields in quest of the genuine article.

Cap Badge Fakes - Don't be taken for a ride

For serious or advanced collectors it would be highly recommended that a copy of
Kipling & King be used in conjunction with the following remarks.

I am consistently amazed by people who repeatedly buy from sellers who have a
seemingly unending supply of 'rare' cap badges from supposedly old collections.
There is one particular Midlands-based seller who has a limitless supply of rare
badges and helmet plates but still people pay money for them. Let us be clear these
are reproductions and it would be nice if that seller would use the word
reproduction instead of listing them in WW1 categories.

As a general rule 'Sliders' are not attached to genuine badges. (Author's note; this "axiom"
is open to conjecture. I have a king's crown Army Air Corps badge (AAC), given to me by
a retired major who served in the Glider Pilot Regiment during the latter stages of
WWII which has a slider.

If a seller has sold the same rare Victorian glengarry badges and 21st Lancers badge
several times over then he is selling fakes. There seem to be some gullible people out
there who don't ask 'why has this chap got a limitless supply of rare VB badges or
cavalry badges'. Just how many members of the LRDG do you think there were?
Always look at the feedback - if the item number is hidden then ask yourself why
- it could well be to hide the fact that he has just sold the same rare glengarry
badge for the tenth time in a month. There are several sellers buying from a
well-known repro maker on the South coast and then selling these badges as 'original'.
One even describes them as 100% original when they are 100% restrike. Watch out!

One well-known seller has had the badges aged with a light reddish oxidant, which
gives them an older look, but with a distinct colour. Another fraud in the Midlands
seems to bury his in the garden as they all have that same dug up look even the modern
patterns; The Royal Hussars badge for example was only ever made in A/A from 1969
onwards and the regt wore private purchased metal badges in the 1980s, yet he still sells
aged bi-metal ones.

Look through all a sellers badges - if he is indeed selling off an old collection of originals
as claimed then there should not be fakes in there. If you learn to recognise the obvious
fakes and he has some of these (or another set of 20 rare 1870 Glengarry badges (again)
then chances are he is offloading fakes that he has bought from a repro maker.

All beware of any seller with multiple sales of the same badge. Please read my other 5
guides which specialize in one area of badges - cavalry, infantry etc.

As regards WW1 Pals Badges - 11th Border Regt badges do NOT appear on eBay for a
tenner! For that matter every single Birmingham pals Bn badges on eBay in the last 4
years except for 4 have been fakes!!!!   Tyneside Irish and Cardiff Pals badges were not
designed as cap badges and were worn in the shoulder titles and collars - therefore either
of these badges with sliders is a fake. Beware of dodgy Pals shoulder titles, as these are
now being produced in large amounts and sold on as originals.

Late husbands and dead fathers do seem to have collected a rather large amount of rubbish
copies in seemingly unending amounts.  The infamous Taxicar seller has now departed
ebay but his I am somewhat surprised by the number of 'not useful' votes for this thread
unless of course they are from people trying to off load junk to the unwary. Come on be
honest - if it is a copy then say so!

First of all the majority of British army cap badges were and still are die stuck, which
basically means they are stamped or pressed out using a die. Also the army cap badges
were usually made of all brass, all nickel (white metal) or a combination of brass and
nickel usually refer'd to as bi-metal. The exception to this, is when the British Army
changed their cap badges to the anodised/staybrite materials which I will post about later.

First and foremost 99% of cap British military cap badges are not or ever were cast.....
So NO.......they were not made for British Regiments on service overseas in some Indian
bazaar or are they the WW1 Economy versions.

Have a look at this cap badge for the Duke Of Cornwall's Light Infantry that was for sale
on eBay.. From the front this cap badge looks very good, a really nice example.

Now lets look at the backside of the cap badge.

This example is not even a re-strike or a good copy of a British army cap badge, it is
in "my opinion", a pile of scrap and worthless.

And yes these are being sold on eBay as genuine cap badges, and yes I have been caught out and bought them.

So if you take one good piece of advice from here, it is: always ask the seller for a rear view of the military badge your interested in, and anything that looks remotely like the above avoid.

But the biggest scam to watch for on eBay, are the copy's or re-strike cap badges that are being sold by a number of sellers, as 100% genuine or original British army cap badges, for no other reason, than sheer greed and profit.

Now, I don't object to re-strike badges being made or sold, (more on this in a later post) but I do object to being conned into paying top dollar for something that its is not.

So I will be writing some more reports with hints and tips, as this in my opinion is where the majority of cap badge collectors including myself are getting ripped off the most.

Take this for an example:

A couple of years ago I bought a collection of army cap badges from a dealer at an antiques flea market. They were all displayed nicely on boards, and the collection had been put together by a publican over a number of years and were sold to me as mostly genuine.

As they had been displayed for a number of years in the bar of the pub, they were covered in a film of nicotine, and so had a distinct yellowish colour.

Ok so a few of these cap badges turned out to be restrikes and copy's.
So I sold them on to dealers at military fairs and a few more on eBay stating that they were re-strikes and copies, then surprise, surprise!!! some weeks later a few of these turned up being sold again and being described as 100% genuine British Army Cap Badges on eBay.

WW2 Plastic economy badges are being badly faked by a supplier to reenactors on the contingent.  His specialty is Parachute regt badges but also does GS (why?), Signals and a few others.  The backs are poor and the brass strips appear to be cut down file tags!  The other favourite trick of dealers is to attribute RUR, SStaffs, Border, Kings Own and Devonshires as Airborne badges, and as worn by the a/b bns.  They may well have done so but so did the rest of the bns in far greater numbers.  This con has artificially inflated the prices of these regts' badges to the dealers' benefit.

Infantry Regiment badges - How to spot the fakes

A guide to help you spot the blatant fakes. However there remain a huge number of fakes made which are indistinguishable from the originals, but hopefully this guide will help to identify the obvious copies:

There are a number of 1970s Franklin Mint repro Infantry badges that were made as part of a collectors set. Some are obviously not originals as they are a new design (such as the RLincs, which has an unfeasibly small sphinx, or the Cameronians, which is half the normal size. Some however are being sold as officers badges as they are silvered and often have enameling even though they have sliders.

As far as other ranks badges goes if a seller has a lot of badges for sale see if he has any of the following fakes - if he does then avoid. The most obvious giveaways:

Border Regiment - The most common copies have 3 circular holes through the centre. The originals had 4-5 stamped out to shape the dragon motif. Also the originals have a retaining strip behind this to hold a red felt circle.

The Kings Own Regiment - nearly all of the originals had fretted letters.  While there was 1950s badge made with solid letter bar, there are either in anodised aluminum or very occasionally in brass.  The copies have a solid bar but with a line running horizontally across it where the original fretted one have the bar. The genuine solid bar ones lack this line and the bar is a perfect rectangle while the copies have a bar which have edges cut away.

Somerset Light Infantry - The fakes have a solid top half of the 'A' in PA whereas the originals had the A fully voided. The flawed fakes also come in a brass version.

Black Watch (The Royal Highland Regiment) - The fakes are very flat badges whereas the originals are more curved and have a domes shape to them.

Welsh/Welch - The most obvious copies have the same fat dumpy feathers seen on the Pembrokeshire Yeomanry fakes.

Dorset Regiment - the post 1950 Dorset badge should have a scroll no longer than the Dorset title. The repro ones has a much longer scroll (the same length as the Dorsetshire scroll) and a flaw over the 'T' of Dorset.

Loyal Regiment - I have only ever seen originals with the bent over hairpin type slider which is designed to strengthen the badge which is easily bent with out it. The copies generally have the normal type slider which is stuck end on although an old Loyal regt soldier has informed me that he had one of each type in the late 1950s.

Suffolk Regiment - a Q.C was made but never issued - if the badge you see appears to have been aged or darkened then ask - how can that be, as it was never issued.  I have never seen an original just badly stamped fakes.  I would expect a maker’s mark on a badge from this period.

It is now possible to buy a fake of nearly every version of all infantry regts; even badges only ever worn in a/a are now being faked in other metals. Unfortunately the copies on most of these badges are indistinguishable from the real thing so the best thing to look for is brazing holes (although Essex Regiment badges have been restruck with these) and some genuine wear and age. Again if a seller has a limitless supply of these then he has a box of copies!

It used to be thought that makers marks were a guarantee of a good badge but unfortunately some are widely faked including Marples and Beasley and JR Gaunt.London in medium sized font. Gaunt used a very small JRGaunt London in the 1940s and later a JRGaunt London in a larger font in the 1950s which is also seen on their earlier anodised badges both occasionally with brass and the more common a/a sliders. The common fakes always have the full stop after Gaunt and are seen a lot on the fake WW1 Pals Bns.

Cavalry Army Cap badges - how to spot the fakes

When buying Cavalry badges the following are giveaways as fakes: King’s Dragoon Guards (KDG) - The 1898 to 1915 pattern - a very common copy but the fakes come with 2 lugs on the scroll (rather than at chest level or on a slider) and a protruding chest with poor rear definition where as the genuine ones have a flat chest and good rear detail on the back of the shield.

The 1915-37 Star pattern - the originals had sliders and obvious brazing holes behind the brass circlet centre where as the copies have a solid back.

1st Royal Dragoons - The post WW2 Eagle version. Often the copies are missing the birds’ claws! 2 Dragoons Queens Bays - Look for a horizontal brass strengthening bar across the bottom of the crown. Some copies also lack the holes at the end of the wreath where it joins the crown. The originals and the better copies have 3 voids.

3rd Dragoon Guards - Should have a brazing hole behind the crown. The pre 1908 pattern usually has 3 lugs and not a slider although I have been shown one that appeared to have a cut down slider but had the correct feathers and brazing holes so looked ok. There are obvious copies with sliders and fat short feathers. There are also some lugged copies with no braising hole and a spurious 3rd PWO DG title and the wrong feathers

3rd DG Carabineers - Post 1922 badge with crossed rifles. The copies do not have the brazing holes on the back nor are the sliders pierced at the bottom where as the originals have a hole through them to secure them. The copies are widespread as they are sold by the biggest seller of fakes on eBay.

3rd Hussars - The originals have a very shallow angled scroll where as the copies have a deep scroll; this can only be seen clearly when comparing the 2 types. The vast majority of these badges on eBay are the fakes unfortunately. The post 1922 version should be solid backed to the scroll. 4 Royal Irish DG - Look for brazing holes on the back of the title scroll - the copies are very good but solid backed.

5th Royal Irish Lancers - Should be die struck where as the common copies have flat solid backs. All the common reproduction badges which are widespread on eBay have flat solid backs. see picture below.

5th Dragoon Guards - Pre 1922 pattern the central w/m circlet should be visible from the reverse, i.e. inserted in to the badge and not overlaid. The copies of the post 1922 the numeral 'V' with a crown above pattern are identical to the originals and the only way of making certain of originality is by the fact that the Firmin made ones are marked as such and the sliders are slightly longer extending below the bottom of the badge.

6th Inniskilling Dragoons - All 4 castle windows should be voided where as the copies.
Also the back of the scroll should have brazing holes and not be solid.

7th Dragoon Guards - The w/m lion badge should have 3 lugs but I have seen one with
a slider. The copies have a void under the lion with the scroll under that gap where as
the originals I have seen lack this gap. The post 1906 brass one has been widely copied
but the copy has a very skinny lion compared to the original.

8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars - Common copy especially with Q/C. 9th Lancers - The
originals often had 2 brass rods behind the Lances - the copies are very good but lack
these. There is however a difference of opinion regarding whether the presence of these
brazed wire stiffeners make the badge a fake or not.

10th Hussars - There are a lot of copies with the wrong style feathers - either narrow
feathers (similar to the later Royal Hussars) or very fat dumpy ones that are also seen
on many other copies particularly yeomanry.

12th Lancers - The reproduction badges have a flat back, lack the brazing holes and the
crown is very square and dumpy compared to the original cavalry badge. Again these are
widely copied in both Kings and Queens Crowns. Another giveaway is the sliders on
the reproduction cap badges usually stop at the bottom of the cap badge where as on the
original cavalry badges the sliders tend to be longer than the cap badge.
see below the back of two reproductions.

14th Hussars - Common copy of the Cartwheel badge has 2 lugs rather than the correct slider. The fales detail is not quite right and it is a very 'flat' badge.

16th Lancers - Originals were die struck where as copies are flat backed. Q/C ones have also been reproduced with solid backs.

18th Hussars - Look for a hairpin slider as the sign of a good one. Not a common copy.

19th Hussars - The Daneborg cross post 1908 badge - should have a hairpin slider to strengthen the badge's neck of the A. The copies have a normal slider and the crown is noticeably thinner and wider compared to a genuine one. If you think that any of the Elephant patterns sold on eBay are original then you are delusional!

21st Lancers - The common copies are all brass with a solid centre and flat backed - should be voided and die struck.  The fakes have a solid centre and a die flaw on the RH pennant where it connects to the pole.

22nd Dragoons badge with a solid numeral bar. The originals had the XXII fretted with a void under the dragoons title as well. The copies are solid although there are some newer fakes with voided numerals but the give away is they are lugged where as the originals had sliders. All brass or cast are also fakes as they should be die struck white metal. The original trial pattern was in brass but was never issued.

23rd Lancers - Once again excellent copies but lack the brazing hole behind the elephant’s head and are flat backed. 24 Lancers - 2 makers (Firmin and Gaunt) with 2 slightly different patterns. The Gaunt pattern are being widely faked but generally have lugs where as the originals had sliders.

26th Hussars - widely faked. The originals are either die struck with 2 strengthening pieces at the top of the 'H' and 3 brazing holes on the scroll OR solid backed with 8 brazing holes.  the fakes are solid backed with no holes.

Royal Tank Corps - The brass originals come in 2 types with one having more voids than the other. They both had sliders - lugged ones and white metal ones are fakes.

Avoid Croft

Cap Badge Spot the copies - London Regiment -

London Regiment - being the some of most desirable of Territorial badges have been widely faked. These are a few tips to spot the fakes.

1-4th Bns - Don't pay over the odds for any all brass version of this badge as they are identical to the Royal Fusiliers badges which are very common.

5th Bn- Both types pre 1920 and post 1920 versions have been copied. There is one type of post 1922 copy where the laurel wreath surround is very flat faced compared to the originals - really easy to spot if you know what to look for so examine all examples even the well know restrike fakers lots until you can spot the difference!

7th Bn - The copies have solid backs to the grenades whereas the originals have brazing holes or sometimes 2 wires to attach the numeral 7. The copies also have small bubble flaws in the flames of the grenade. You also see these flaws in the spurious pre 1908 3rd London badge which is faked identically where as the originals were of a completely different pattern in one metal!

8th Bn - If it has a solid crown then it is probably a copy sold by a company called SRS.

9th Bn - There are solid centered copies with lugs which are convincing copies but lack the age of the originals and are a bit thinner metal.

10th Bn - The Paddington rifles is very copied - often with a slider (not usually seen on pre 1908 badges) and often with the dreaded JR Gaunt.London. Check the DD of Paddington as this is a common flaw on the fakes whereas the originals are clearly stamped the fakes are merged.

The Hackney Rifles - versions being all brass are easy to fake but often the copies have really poor rear definition and the detail of the strike is not as crisp as on the originals.

11th Bn - Finsbury Park Rifles - the copies are good but often have a die flaw that produces 2-3 flecks on the upper arm of the cross on the left hand side directly above the title circlet. Search for this badge and you will see examples with these flecks under the AR of ARIS which were not on the original ones.

12th Bn - The Rangers - A common copy with lugs or a slider. The only way to spot the copy is by the appearance and dimensions of the badge as the copies are slightly out of proportion compared to an original. The title scroll is a bit too deep (broad) from top to bottom. I have held cleverly aged fakes but the paint on the back is a bit glossy for a 90 year old badge! This applies to many of the BB badges.

15th Bn - The copies of the POW feathers often have the same fat dumpy feathers and sometimes the JR Gaunt.London mark. The bi-metal version is nothing of the sort as the badge should be in w/m or BB.

16th Bn - Must be voided and not solid - the common 'SRS' copies are always solid centered and with lugs.

18th Bn - London Irish - unfortunately except for the quality of the metal itself and the appearance the copies are very hard to detect especially when blackened brass. Do not get confused with RUC badges which were BB with voided strings and a void below the crown.

20th Bn - There are a lot of West Kent badges that have had their scrolls removed and replaced with a new 20th Bn London ones! Make sure the badge is one piece.

21st Bn - unfortunately except for the quality of the metal itself and the appearance the copies are very hard to detect especially when blackened brass. The dies making the modern copies are superb.

23rd London - The copies are generally very poor often with solid crowns as this is a complex badge to make. the all brass fakes have  poor rear stamping. The older genuine ones have the brazing holes on each arm as do the old East Surreys which it is based on.

22/24th Bns - Same as for 1-4th in that they are identical to the usual West Surrey badges.

20th London - Again fakers have cut the lower scrolls off a West Kent badge (same white horse above invicta scroll) and then added a fake scroll.  If it is 2 piece then be careful.

28th Bn - Unfortunately both types have been faked to death in all metals. Hope this helps but unfortunately the copies of all the Bns are widespread and some of them so good the only way to judge is too hold the badge and examine it closely for age and wear and judge the 'feel' of the badge which only comes through handling both good ones and known fakes and it is usually too late by then as you have bought it. Buy from a badge dealer you can trust and they are a minority on eBay.

Irish infantry Cap badges

As the price of pre 1922 Irish infantry badges is going up and up the following are useful tips on spotting which sellers are flogging the fakes:

Munster Regiment - The most common copy has a really fat and broad Tiger compared to the originals. The fakes come with both sliders but also with 2 horizontal lugs. While the older Victorian ones did have lugs but these were N to S (i.e. up and down) in my experience where as the copies often are E-W across the width of the flames on the grenade. Look for the brazing holes on the reverse for the original bi-metal ones. There are lots of fake 1916 all brass ones but again with a fat tiger and the shorter slider common to the repro.

Leister Regiment - If it does not have 4 brazing holes on the back don't touch it. The slider is also longer than the copies ones which stop at the base of the badge - they are heavy solid badges but lack the brazing holes. The 1916 all brass fakes have this same slider and are in a very yellowish metal.

Royal Irish Regiment - Faked to death often with JR Gaunt.London mark. The originals tended to have voided strings on the harp (although Wilkinson's book does have a solid stringed one), long slider and a hole under the crown with a U shaped brass strengthening wire behind it. The copies sliders are shorter than most originals and stop at the bottom of the badge. Also they often have solid strings, as this is easier for the faker to make.

Connaught Rangers - As above.

Inniskilling Regiment - On the WW1 badges the flag faced to the left while post 1934 it flew to the right. I remain to be convinced by any RH flag in all brass is a genuine example. Look for the brazing holes on both types but later RH flag were sometimes made without them. However one of the common fakes have a flaw in that the flag does not stand clear of the castle. The originals are only connected by the metal of the flag pole where as one of the common fakers dies has extra metal here so the flag is not cut out clearly but has a line dropping from the bottom edge of the flag. Clear to see when you are looking for it. As an aside the a/a versions with lugs are not cap badges at all but are still worn on the kilts of the RIRISH pipers and are still in production.

Tyneside Irish - Actually a shoulder title (some collectors have a view that it was worn in the cap at some time in the war) so should not have a slider but lugs and a void under the crown. Commonly faked with a slider bearing the JRGaunt.London mark.

Royal Irish Fusiliers - The best way of spotting an original is to check for a brazing hole on the reverse of the grenade and often a strengthening strip behind the neck of the grenade. The a/a lugged versions are again a kilt badge and not a cap badge which should be slidered.

Royal Dublin Fusiliers - the most obvious give away is with the detail of the tiger and elephant on the front as the original tend to be much more sharply definer.  There are poor copies with a separate title scroll where as the originals tended to have overlaid scrolls often (but not always) with brazing holes.  The brass reverse behind the scroll has been solid rather than dies struck on the examples I have seen.

Hope this helps you spot the rogue sellers and cheats.

Cap badge Makers marks

There are a rash of fake makers marks out there.  First of all:

JR Gaunt London were a reputable firm and about 1941 or so they did have a JRGaunt London mark on the sliders of some of their cavalry and yeomanry badges.  The lettering is tiny.  I show a picture of a genuine 2nd Northants Yeomanry badge with that mark. This is one of the most widely copied Yeomanry badges and should not be trusted with lugs and/or solid front legs.

From the late 40s onwards they had a large font JR Gaunt London mark which is seen on most 1950s badges both brass and a/a.

You also find JR Gaunt B'ham (Birmingham) on a/a badges of units that existed after 1958.  Gaunt moved production to B'ham in the 1970s, possibly as early as 1971-3, and restruck a lot of scarce badges - particularly Yeomanry ones. The firm also produced a lot of 'rare' 1960s designs in a/a for commercial sale.  23rd London Regt and so on were restruck by the bucketful.

There are also a JR Gaunt.London sliders - note the full stop and the medium lettering - this is a mark of a fake! I show a fake badge with the wide feathers typical of the fake welsh/cavalry/yeomanry badges who all have these dumpy feathers.

Also any WD and a crow’s foot are a recent fake mark and Marples and Beasley really
cannot be trusted on ORs badges.

Yeomanry Cap Badges

Unfortunately Yeomanry badges have been widely faked - in fact nearly every version
and type has been faked.  Many are indistinguishable from the originals especially the
single metal types.  There are some obvious fakes to spot such as:

King Edwards Horse - Only ever made in brass - the White metal ones are unequivocal
fakes.  See K&K Vol 2 for proof!

Shropshire Yeomanry - either have a solid centre with 3 lion heads on a shield or 3
heads in a voided centre badge.  There are a lot of solid badges sold with no shield but
this pattern in NEVER found in any reference book.

4th County of London Yeomanry - Very very rare so if a seller is selling one for a
tenner I would beware! The originals were locally produced using 3rd Yeomanry badges
and adding a metal 4.  Personally unless it was die struck with a slider like the genuine
3rd Regt ones I would not buy it.

Northamptonshire Yeomanry - A very very common fake.  Considering the regt was
only around for 6 years in WW2 it is amazing the amount of 'genuine' badges!  If it has
lugs and/or there is no gap between the front 2 legs of the horse then I would not
personally have it in my collection.  Wilkinson book has a very good photo.  The horse
should stand proud of the rest of the badge - copies are shallower and the horse is flush
with he rest of the badge.

3rd CofL Yeomanry - a common copy - unless the badge is fully voided including the
gap between the rifle butt and the slings I would avoid it.

West Kent Yeomanry - the fakes are either Royal West Kent badges with he scroll
removed and hence the title is in Gothic rather than Roman font or the mass produced
copies with a larger head than normal.  Search for West Kent Yeomanry badge and
compare the pictures to the reference books and see how obviously different the head
design is!

Bedfordshire Yeomanry - feature an eagle which on the originals have voided legs
(i.e. a gap between the legs and a tail) where as the common copy have solid legs with
no gaps between them and the eagle's tail.

Queens Own Yeomanry (Running Fox) is a 1970s creation and as such is only issued
in a/a.  SNCOs wear the bi-metal badge as a private purchase item.  It is definitely not a
genuine WW2 badge as it so often sold as.

Staffordshire Yeomanry- K&K state the Stafford knot badge is in GM - but why are
there are so many w/m ones about? - easily made by removing the scroll from a South
Staff regiment badge!  The regiment wore all brass QVC badges until WW2.

Pembroke Yeomanry - a very common copy with fat feathers - the WW1 originals had
w/m scrolls.  Later 1950s has brass scrolls but with thin feathers.

The following badges are modern and made of silver/gilt/or enamel - they were all Ors
as well as Officers and should be priced as such rather than as inflated prices purely as
Officers badges.

Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry, Westminster Dragoons (no TY in silver plate),
Scottish Yeomanry in silver and gilt, Kings Own Yorkshire Yeomanry Light Infantry,
Dorset Yeomanry (the last 2 in coloured metals).

Royal Artillery (Territorial Force) - a total fake. Observe the classic "tall orb" in the
crown, incorrect oval shape of the gun muzzle, oversized box at foot of gun carriage,
and the exaggerated double wheels.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Wolfheze Junction – It weren’t no OK Corral; Arnhem 1944

With Tombstone, Arizona just a few hours away to the south, the author could not resist the comparison to the earlier days of the “Wild West”.

On 17 September 1944 elements of LtCol. J.A.C. Fitch’s 3rd Parachute Bn advanced eastward towards their objective the Arnhem bridges from their Drop Zone DZ X.  Along the middle of three columns designated “TIGER”, they approached the junction of Wolfhezerweg and Utrechtseweg. It was there that they encountered the staff car of Generalmajor Friedrich Kussin (Feldkommandantur 642 –Arnhem area) speeding back towards Arnhem. Unlike the lead elements of the 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron, ambushed (by Kampf Group Krafft's sperrlinie), as they attempted a "coup de main" from the Wolfheze area (along Johannahoeveweg) into the main road bridge at Arnhem, this was a totally chance engagement. It was neither an ambush nor an assassination of the general, as has been inferred by some. The general just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Having made a limited personal reconnaissance at a distance from the airborne landings, and after a brief meeting with SS-Strumbannführer Sepp Krafft, he was attempting to return to his Headquarters in Arnhem to issue orders for defense of the city and its bridges. Krafft had specifically warned him not to take the Utrecht – Arnhem road. The car in which he was driving was a 1940's vintage Citroen Traction Avant 11CV. Shown in the following photographs are two fully restored examples of the vehicle in the standard Wehrmacht camouflage pattern of the period; a drab dark yellow base (Dunkelgelb RAL 7028) with drab olive green (Olivgrün RAL 6003) and red-brown (Rotbraun RAL 8017) flecks /streaks. For further detailed information on WWII German AFV and other vehicle camouflage the reader is invited to visit;

Sharp eyes will observe subtle differences in the photographs. In the first photograph tactical markings are absent from both front fenders. While the second photograph shows tactical markings (An Assault Gun Bn HQ) on the right front fender and an apparent divisional insignia on the left front fender (so-called "lovers banner SS"), which is not understood by the author? The license tags change from Wehrmacht to Waffen-SS, even though the number remains the same. The field post stamp is also missing from the Waffen-SS plates.

The first car is also lacking the blackout shields on its headlights. It's only educated conjecture, but because it is not present on any civilian model Citroens, the device on the front left fender of most military models (common on other German staff cars) may be a form of snorkel, affording a limited fording capability, or possibly a siren. An editorial note: author has been enlightened, this is a German "Notek" blackout light. As can be seen in the following photographs the device was not present on General Kussin's car. The differences seen in color chroma (hue) and shade are probably caused by camera exposure settings, and/or time of day.

Generalmajor Friedrich Kussin

SS-Strumbannführer Sepp Krafft

Note the following contemporary photographs showing how small the automobile actually was. This can also be seen in the previous photograph showing the Citroen parked between two Jeeps.That size is accurately replicated in the scale model.

Private Frederick Bennett of 5 Plt, B Co. 3 Para Bn, commanded by Lieut. James A. S. "Jimmy" Cleminson MC, MiD, was the first to engage the vehicle with his Sten Mk V machine carbine. Lead members of the platoon then engaged with Stens and rifles, riddling the car, killing all occupants. (WARNING: The following are extremely graphic images, taken by combat photographers during active combat, and may prove offensive to some people. With apologies.) The photographs are being used with full acknowledgement and gratitude to AFTER THE BATTLE Publications, however are in the public domain. Their sole intent is to establish the detailed  accuracy captured in the following scale model vehicle and figures.

A trio of photographs are of the identical intersection of Wolfhezerweg and Utrechtseweg as it exists today, as well as a photograph generated from Google Earth showing the precise location.

King & Country Military Miniatures has announced the scheduled release in late October of the automobile, its occupants, as well as a set of figures including Lieut. Cleminson and two of the members of his platoon. By using other figures available in the Market Garden series, collectors and historians can recreate a vignette of the intense fighting in 1:30 scale, that will forever be known as the Battle of Arnhem. Again sharp eyes will discern that the third color in the "nominally standard" camouflage scheme, red-brown, is not present in this variant.

It is extremely interesting to note that following WWII Lieut. Cleminson MC, MiD went on to become a highly respected business executive and philanthropist. He was awarded the honor of being knighted in 1982 and being raised to Knight of the British Empire in 1990.

Lieut. James "Jimmy" Cleminson MC, MiD

Sir James A. S. Cleminson KBE, MC, MiD

In the film "A Bridge Too Far" (1977), he was portrayed by Michael Graham Cox, who is seen here behind Sean Connery as MGen. Urquhart.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Operation Market Garden Series by King & Country Military Miniatures - The Latest Drop (An Addendum)

In close proximity to the anniversary of Operation Market Garden (17 - 25
September 1944), King and Country Military Miniatures has released an
additional group of figures commemorating the Battle of Arnhem. Newly
representative of the troops of the British 1st Airborne Division are the following:

MG059(P) (2015)


MG060(P) (2015)


MG061(P) (2015)


MG062(P) (2015)

MG063X (2015)




MG065X (2015)

MG066 (2015)



WH045 (2015)

For a catalog of the previous sets issued in this series see: