Forces of Valor 80045 German Sturmgeschutz III Ausf. G Assault Gun with Four Soldiers - 3.SS Panzer Grenadier Division 'Totenkopf', Kursk, Russia, 1943 (1:32 Scale)
"If the tank succeeds, then victory follows."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
The German Sturmgeschutz was one of the most successful armored fighting vehicles of the Second World War. It arose from an original concept of the pre-war panzer divisions, whereby a special vehicle for infantry support work was planned. During the war years, the Sturmgeschutz was rapidly developed and upgunned, and was used both in its original role as an assault gun and also as a tank destroyer.
Pictured here is a 1:32 scale diecast replica of a Sturmgeschutz III (StuG III) Ausfuhrung G assault gun that was attached to the 3.SS Panzer Grenadier Division 'Totenkopf', then deployed to Kursk, Russia, during July 1943.
Length: 8.5 inches
Width: 4.13 inches
Height: 3.25 inches
Release Date: April 2012
Historical Account: "Death's Head" - Totenkopf (Plural: Totenkopfe) is the German word for "death head" or "death's head" and is used to describe a military insignia featuring a skull above crossed bones. It is distinguished from the similar traditions of the skull and crossbones and the Jolly Roger by the positioning of the bones directly behind the skull. For a long time in widespread use in several countries, its association with aspects of Nazi Germany has led to its decline.
In the early days of the NSDAP, Julius Schreck, the leader of the Stabswache (Adolf Hitler's bodyguard unit), adopted the Totenkopf for his unit.
This later grew into the Schutzstaffel (SS), which continued to use the Totenkopf as insignia throughout their brief history. As they had done with the Swastika, the Nazis simply adopted the Totenkopf from the historical tradition and used it for their own purposes, leaving it marked with a stigma that has continued to the present.
It is important to note that the SS "Death's Head" symbol is markedly different from the original German (Prussian) "Totenkopf", the original being much more "cartoonlike" in appearance, with the SS version appearing more "realistic." In short, they are two very different symbols.