Altaya ALT0011 British Churchill Mk. VII Infantry Tank - 6th Guards Tank Brigade, Normandy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."
- British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
The "Churchill" began life as a 1939 requirement that envisaged a return to trench-warfare, and was therefore slow and heavily armored like the Russian KV-1 series. That said, the final Churchill prototype was much lighter than had first been thought acceptable, although it still resembled a World War I tank in appearance. Rushed into production at a time when a cross-channel invasion seemed imminent, it suffered early reliability problems and was not fully introduced until 1943. Early combat experience during the ill-fated Dieppe raid in 1942 was disappointing, but the vehicle proved more mobile in the rough terrain of North Africa. The tank excelled in its specialized variants, which include the AVRE, Crocodile flamethrower tank, bridgelayer and more. In fact, it wasn't until the 1960s that the last Churchill was finally retired.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a British Churchill Mk. VII Infantry Tank that was attached to the 6th Guards Tank Brigade, then deployed to Normandy during 1944.
Historical Account: "The PM's Namesake" - At the outbreak of the Second World War, Winston Churchill -- after a brief offer by Chamberlain to appoint him as a minister without portfolio -- was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty and a member of the War Cabinet, just as he was in the first part of the First World War. The Navy immediately sent out the signal: "Winston is back!"
In this job, he proved to be one of the highest-profile ministers during the so-called "Phony War", when the only noticeable action was at sea. Churchill advocated the pre-emptive occupation of the neutral Norwegian iron-ore port of Narvik and the iron mines in Kiruna, Sweden, early in the War. However, Chamberlain and the rest of the War Cabinet disagreed, and the operation was delayed until the German invasion of Norway, which was successful despite British efforts.
On May 10th, 1940, hours before the German invasion of France by a surprising lightning advance through the Low Countries, it became clear that, following failure in Norway and general incompetence, the country had no confidence in Chamberlain's prosecution of the war and so Chamberlain resigned. The commonly accepted version of events states that Lord Halifax turned down the post of Prime Minister because he believed he could not govern effectively as a member of the House of Lords instead of the House of Commons. Although traditionally, the Prime Minister does not advise the King on the former's successor, Chamberlain wanted someone who would command the support of all three major parties in the House of Commons. A meeting with the other two party leaders led to the recommendation of Churchill, and, as a constitutional monarch, George VI asked Churchill to be Prime Minister and to form an all-party government. Churchill, breaking with tradition, did not send Chamberlain a message expressing regret over his resignation.
Churchill's greatest achievement was that he refused to capitulate when defeat by Germany was a strong possibility and he remained a strong opponent of any negotiations with Germany. Few others in the Cabinet had this degree of resolve. By adopting this policy, Churchill maintained Britain as a base from which the Allies could attack Germany, thereby ensuring that the Soviet sphere of influence did not also extend over Western Europe at the end of the war.
In response to previous criticisms that there had been no clear single minister in charge of the prosecution of the war, Churchill created and took the additional position of Minister of Defence. He immediately put his friend and confidant, the industrialist and newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook, in charge of aircraft production. It was Beaverbrook's astounding business acumen that allowed Britain to quickly gear up aircraft production and engineering that eventually made the difference in the war.
Churchill's speeches were a great inspiration to the embattled British. His first speech as Prime Minister was the famous "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat" speech. He followed that closely with two other equally famous ones, given just before the Battle of Britain. One included the immortal line, "We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." The other included the equally famous "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.' " At the height of the Battle of Britain, his bracing survey of the situation included the memorable line "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few", which engendered the enduring nickname "The Few" for the Allied fighter pilots who won it. One of his most memorable war speeches came on November 10th, 1942 at the Lord Mayor's Luncheon at Mansion House in London. That day, word had come that American and British troops had surrounded the port of Casablanca in Africa. As most people were saying it was the beginning of the end, Churchill famously said.
"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." (courtesy: Wikipedia)