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The Race Across Northwest Europe (August 1944 - May 1945)

The Race Across Northwest Europe (August 1944 - May 1945)



The North West Europe Campaign of 1944-1945, fought by the British Second Army and First Canadian Army as elements of the British 21st Army Group. The campaign started with the landings in Normandy and ended on May 4th, 1945 with Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery taking the German military surrender of all German forces in Holland, north west Germany and Denmark on Luneburg Heath, (situated between the cities of Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen). As with the first campaign the British Commonwealth forces were on the northern flank of the Western Front. The Twelfth United States Army Group, was to their immediate south, further south still was the Sixth United States Army Group, (that was also known as the Southern Group of Armies as the French First Army was a constituent part).
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German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. A Heavy Tank w/ Porsche Turret and Zimmerit - schwere Panzer Abteilung 506, Arnhem, June 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. A Heavy Tank with Porsche Turret and Zimmerit - schwere Panzer Abteilung 506, Arnhem, June 1944 (1:72 Scale)

In January 1943, a new Tiger tank was ordered by the Waffenant, this time with a turret large enough to mount the fearsome 8.8cm L/71 gun. Besides improving its tank killing capabilities, the new Tiger was also intended to be more survivable on the battlefield.

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German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer with Henschel Turret - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Alsace, 1945 German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer with Henschel Turret - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Alsace, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

Early in 1943, orders were given to design a heavy, self-propelled anti-tank gun, which would mate a 12.8cm gun with a Tiger II chassis. On October 20th, 1943 a wooden mock-up of the enormous vehicle was shown to the OKH planners who authorized that a prototype be finished by April 1944.

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German Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - 'Red 112', schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 654, Western Front, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - "Red 112", schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 654, Western Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Jagdpanther mounted a powerful 8.8cm Pak L/71 cannon within a fixed turret, which was situated atop a standard Panther V chassis. Although production of the tank was begun at MIAG in January 1944, it took another ten months before the larger NMH plant could expand the production run in time for the Wacht am Rhein ("Watch on the Rhine") winter counteroffensive.

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German Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 559, Belgium, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 559, Belgium, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Jagdpanther mounted a powerful 8.8cm Pak L/71 cannon within a fixed turret, which was situated atop a standard Panther V chassis. Although production of the tank was begun at MIAG in January 1944, it took another ten months before the larger NMH plant could expand the production run in time for the Wacht am Rhein ("Watch on the Rhine") winter counteroffensive.

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German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer with Henschel Turret - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Germany, 1945 German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer with Henschel Turret - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

Early in 1943, orders were given to design a heavy, self-propelled anti-tank gun, which would mate a 12.8cm gun with a Tiger II chassis. On October 20th, 1943 a wooden mock-up of the enormous vehicle was shown to the OKH planners who authorized that a prototype be finished by April 1944.

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German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - Unidentified Unit, Alsace, 1945 German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - Unidentified Unit, Alsace, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

Early in 1943, orders were given to design a heavy, self-propelled anti-tank gun, which would mate a 12.8cm gun with a Tiger II chassis. On October 20th, 1943 a wooden mock-up of the enormous vehicle was shown to the OKH planners who authorized that a prototype be finished by April 1944.

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Captured Sherman Firefly Mk. VC Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944 Captured Sherman Firefly Mk. VC Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The M4 Sherman medium tank was regarded by many as the workhorse of the US Army during World War II. In fact, virtually all of the Allied armies employed the Sherman in their armed forces, including the British, who developed an upgunned variant called the "Firefly".

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Captured Sherman Firefly Mk. VC Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 Captured Sherman Firefly Mk. VC Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The M4 Sherman medium tank was regarded by many as the workhorse of the US Army during World War II. In fact, virtually all of the Allied armies employed the Sherman in their armed forces, including the British, who developed an upgunned variant called the "Firefly".

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German Sd. Kfz. 251 Ausf. D Half-Track - 97.Jager-Division, Bohemia, 1945 German Sd. Kfz. 251 Ausf. D Half-Track - 97.Jager-Division, Bohemia, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The Sonderkraftfahrzeug (Sd. Kfz.) 251 half-track had its origins in the same requirement as the smaller and lighter Sd. Kfz. 250. Intended as an armored personnel carrier, the Sd. Kfz. 251 entered service in 1939, and quickly became the standard means of transport for the panzergrenadiers.

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US M7 Priest Self-Propelled Gun - A Battery, 231st Armored Field Artillery Battalion, 6th Armored Division, Western Front, 1944 US M7 Priest Self-Propelled Gun - A Battery, 231st Armored Field Artillery Battalion, 6th Armored Division, Western Front, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

Nicknamed the 'Priest' by British crews because of its pulpit-shaped machine-gun turret at the front, the M7 grew from US experience with howitzers mounted on half-tracked vehicles. The War Department soon realized that a fully tracked carriage was required, and the M3 tank was modified to fill the role.

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US M5A1 Stuart Light Tank - "Carol," 3rd Battalion, 33rd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, Normandy, France, June 1944 US M5A1 Stuart Light Tank - "Carol," 3rd Battalion, 33rd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, Normandy, France, June 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The M5 Stuart light tank made its debut in the invasion of Casablanca in French North Africa. By 1943, and at the time of the invasion of Sicily, the upgraded M5A1 was becoming the standard light tank of the American armored divisions.

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US M4A3 Sherman Medium Tank - Houston-Kid II, 756th Tank Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, France, 1945 US M4A3 Sherman Medium Tank - "Houston Kid II", 756th Tank Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, France, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The M4 Sherman medium tank was regarded by many as the workhorse of the US Army during World War II. In fact, virtually all of the Allied armies employed the Sherman in their armed forces, including the British, who developed an upgunned variant called the "Firefly".

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US M4A3 Sherman Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, France, 1945 US M4A3 Sherman Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, France, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The M4 Sherman medium tank was regarded by many as the workhorse of the US Army during World War II. In fact, virtually all of the Allied armies employed the Sherman in their armed forces, including the British, who developed an upgunned variant called the "Firefly".

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US Army Ford V8 Pickup Truck With Accessories US Army Ford V8 Pickup Truck With Accessories (1:50 Scale)

In 1937, in an effort to reintroduce an economy engine, Ford offered a downsized Flathead V8, down to 136 cubic inches from the standard 221 cubic inches, as an option.

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US Army Dodge WC54 Signal Corps Truck US Army Dodge WC54 Signal Corps Truck (1:50 Scale)

Dodge was the sole provider of 1/2-ton trucks for the US Army during WWII, producing some 14,000 vehicles by war's end. Dodge altered the basic commercial chassis for military use, giving it, among other things, four-wheel drive.

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British Cruiser Tank, A27M Cromwell Mk. IV Tank - C Squadron, 5th Royal Tank Regiment, 22nd Armoured Brigade, 7th Armoured Division, Northwest Europe, 1945 British Cruiser Tank, A27M Cromwell Mk. IV Tank - C Squadron, 5th Royal Tank Regiment, 22nd Armoured Brigade, 7th Armoured Division, Northwest Europe, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The Cromwell tank was used by the British Army during the later stages of World War II. The Cromwell was ordered in 1941 and intended to replace the lightweight Crusader "cruiser" tank by being more heavily armoured, and, it was hoped, more survivable in battle.

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British Cruiser Tank, A27M Cromwell Mk. IV Tank - Kings Own Hussars, 7th Armoured Division, Operation Blackcock, January 1945 British Cruiser Tank, A27M Cromwell Mk. IV Tank - King's Own Hussars, 7th Armoured Division, Operation Blackcock, January 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The Cromwell tank was used by the British Army during the later stages of World War II. The Cromwell was ordered in 1941 and intended to replace the lightweight Crusader "cruiser" tank by being more heavily armoured, and, it was hoped, more survivable in battle.

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British Cruiser Tank, A27M Cromwell Mk. IV Tank - Unidentified Unit, Western Europe, 1945 British Cruiser Tank, A27M Cromwell Mk. IV Tank - Unidentified Unit, Western Europe, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The Cromwell tank was used by the British Army during the later stages of World War II. The Cromwell was ordered in 1941 and intended to replace the lightweight Crusader "cruiser" tank by being more heavily armoured, and, it was hoped, more survivable in battle.

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German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. J Medium Tank with Schurzen Side Armor Skirts - Black 536, Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. J Medium Tank with Schurzen Side Armor Skirts - "Black 536", Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

Just one month prior to the commencement of "Operation Typhoon" (the German assault on Moscow) the Waffenamt was scheduled to begin installing the long-barreled 7.5cm KwK gun on its new Mark IV Ausf G tanks.

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German Sd. Kfz. 162 Jagdpanzer IV L/48 Tank Destroyer - Unidentified Unit, Western Front, 1945 German Sd. Kfz. 162 Jagdpanzer IV L/48 Tank Destroyer - Unidentified Unit, Western Front, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The Jagdpanzer IV L/70 (A) Zwischenlosung was the last tank to enter service with the Wehrmacht in September 1944. Essentially, German tank designers placed a Jagdpanzer IV turret on a Panzer IV chassis then fitted it with a powerful 75mm L/70(A) gun. The Zwischenlosung proved to be an excellent tank killer even though only 278 vehicles were built by war's end.

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US Willys Jeep with Cooking Trailer US Willys Jeep with Cooking Trailer - Olive Drab (1:50 Scale)

Developed by the Quartermaster Corps, the jeep and other motor transport vehicles were transferred to the Ordnance Department in August, 1942. Despite its lightweight, the jeep could perform a variety of functions, including towing a 37mm antitank gun over a 7% grade.

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German King Tiger Ausf. A Heavy Tank - Unidentified Unit, Holland, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. A Heavy Tank - Unidentified Unit, Holland, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

In January 1943, a new Tiger tank was ordered by the Waffenamt, this time with a turret large enough to mount the fearsome 8.8cm L/71 gun. Besides improving its tank killing capabilities, the new Tiger was also intended to be more survivable on the battlefield.

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German Late Production Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - Unidentified Unit, France, 1944 German Late Production Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer with Zimmerit - Unidentified Unit, France, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Jagdpanther mounted a powerful 8.8cm Pak L/71 cannon within a fixed turret, which was situated atop a standard Panther V chassis. Although production of the tank was begun at MIAG in January 1944, it took another ten months before the larger NMH plant could expand the production run in time for the Wacht am Rhein ("Watch on the Rhine") winter counteroffensive.

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German Sd. Kfz. 165 Hummel Self-Propelled Howitzer - Clausewitz, Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 165 Hummel Self-Propelled Howitzer - "Clausewitz", Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Hummel ("Bumble-Bee") was to be a mere 'Zwischenlosung' (interim solution) until a chassis designed specifically as a self-propelled gun platform could be developed and mass produced. By May 12th 1943, 100 Hummel were to be built for use in the planned summer offensive against the Red Army, code-named "Operation Zitadelle".

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US M4 Sherman Dozer Tank - Unidentified Unit, Korea, 1950 US M4 Sherman Dozer Tank - Unidentified Unit, Korea, 1950 (1:72 Scale)

The M4 Sherman "Dozer" tank was first used in Italy in 1943 and used in many locations afterwards. One of the more critical times where the modified dozer blade came in handy was shortly after the D-day invasion as the allied forces pressed the attack against the Germans nesting in the Bocage.

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German Krauss-Maffei Sd. Kfz. 10/5 Prime Mover w/ 2cm Flakvierling Anti-Aircraft Gun - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944 German Krauss-Maffei Sd. Kfz. 10/5 Prime Mover w/ 2cm Flakvierling Anti-Aircraft Gun - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Sd.Kfz. 10 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug - special motorized vehicle) was a German half-track that saw very widespread use in World War II. Its main role was as a prime mover for small towed guns such as the 2 cm FlaK 30, the 7.5 cm leIG, or the 3.7 cm PaK 36 anti-tank gun. It could carry eight troops in addition to towing a gun or trailer.

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German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer with Porsche Turret - 3/schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Germany, 1945 German Sd. Kfz. 186 Jagdpanzer VI Jagdtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer with Porsche Turret - 3/schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 653, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

Early in 1943, orders were given to design a heavy, self-propelled anti-tank gun, which would mate a 12.8cm gun with a Tiger II chassis. On October 20th, 1943 a wooden mock-up of the enormous vehicle was shown to the OKH planners who authorized that a prototype be finished by April 1944.

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US M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage with Covered Ammunition Trailer - Unidentified Unit, Northwest Europe, 1945 US M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage with Covered Ammunition Trailer - Unidentified Unit, Northwest Europe, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

First deployed during the end of WWII and then again in the Korean War, the Maxom quadruple .50 caliber AA machine gun mount was called "Meat Chopper" because of its impressive firepower when used against human wave attacks.

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German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. M Medium Tank with Schurzen Side Skirts and Turret Girdle - 6.Panzer Division, Germany, 1945 German Sd. Kfz. 141 PzKpfw III Ausf. M Medium Tank with Schurzen Side Skirts and Turret Girdle - 6.Panzer Division, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

As early as 1934/35, General Heinz Guderian envisioned two basic types of armor to act as the lead elements of the future German Panzer Divisions. The first vehicle was to be armed with an anti-tank gun and two machine guns while the second one was to be a support vehicle, armed with a larger caliber gun.

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British Bedford QLT Cargo Truck - Unidentified Unit, Northern Europe, 1944-1945 British Bedford QLT Cargo Truck - Unidentified Unit, Northern Europe, 1944-1945 (1:72 Scale)

The Bedford QLT lorry was the most common British-made 4x4 truck produced, with over 52,000 supplied to the British Forces between 1941 and 1945. Many of these later continued in service with the British Army in Cyprus, Korea and Malaya.

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