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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 Panzerabteilung 506, Arnhem, June 1944 German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. A Heavy Tank with Porsche Turret and Zimmerit - schwere Panzerabteilung 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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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 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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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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US DUKW Amphibious Truck - European Theatre of Operations, 1944 [With Collector Magazine] US DUKW Amphibious Truck - European Theatre of Operations, 1944 [With Collector Magazine] (1:72 Scale)

The DUKW (colloquially known as duck) is a six-wheel-drive amphibious truck that was designed by a partnership under military auspices of Sparkman & Stephens and General Motors Corporation (GMC) during World War II for transporting goods and troops over land and water and for use approaching and crossing beaches in amphibious attacks.

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US M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage - Unidentified Unit, Northwest Europe, 1944 [With Collector Magazine] US M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage - Unidentified Unit, Northwest Europe, 1944 [With Collector Magazine] (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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US M8 Light Armored Car - 2nd Cavalry Division, Belgium, January 1945 [With Collector Magazine] US M8 Light Armored Car - 2nd Cavalry Division, Belgium, January 1945 [With Collector Magazine] (1:72 Scale)

The M8 Light Armored Car was a 6x6 armored car produced by the Ford Motor Company during the Second World War. It was used by the U.S. and British troops in Europe and the Far East until the end of the war.

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British Achilles IIC Tank Destroyer - Unidentified Unit, 1944 British Achilles IIC Tank Destroyer - Unidentified Unit, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

A British variant, designated "Achilles", was developed to mount the successful 17-pounder anti-tank gun in a modified turret. It was used by the British, Canadian and Polish armies in Italy and north-west Europe.

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US M26 Pershing Main Battle Tank - "Fireball," 33rd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, 1945 US M26 Pershing Main Battle Tank - "Fireball," 33rd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

Early in June 1944, Army commanders expressed a need for a new breed of tank that could mount either a 90mm or 105mm main gun. This request was approved by the Army Staff soon thereafter even though trials of the new T26E1 had already begun back at Fort Knox earlier that year.

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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 [D-Day Commemorative Packaging] German Sd. Kfz. 161 PzKpfw IV Ausf. J Medium Tank with Schurzen Side Armor Skirts - "Black 536", Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1944 [D-Day Commemorative Packaging] (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 Late Production Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 559, Luxembourg, 1944 German Late Production Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer - schwere Panzerjager Abteilung 559, Luxembourg, 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 RW61 Sturmmorser Rocket Assault Mortar with Zimmerit - Unidentified Unit, Germany, March 1945 German RW61 Sturmmorser Rocket Assault Mortar with Zimmerit - Unidentified Unit, Germany, March 1945 (1:72 Scale)

On August 5th, 1943, a self-propelled vehicle was proposed by senior Army officials based on the Tiger I chassis but mounting a 38cm mortar. Alkett was placed in charge of the design. The Company managed to complete a prototype by October 20th, which was run through a series of field tests for approval.

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US M4A3(76)W Sherman Medium Tank - Julia, 761st Tank Battalion Black Panthers, Task Force Rhine, Germany, 1945 US M4A3(76)W Sherman Medium Tank - "Julia", 761st Tank Battalion "Black Panthers", Task Force Rhine, 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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US M4A1 Sherman Medium Tank - Battling Bitch, 7th Armored Division, France, 1944 US M4A1 Sherman Medium Tank - "Battling Bitch", 7th Armored Division, France, 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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Free French M4A4 Sherman Medium Tank - St. Quentin, France, 1944 Free French M4A4 Sherman Medium Tank - "St. Quentin", France, 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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Polish M4A1(76)W Sherman Medium Tank - Polish 2nd Armored Regiment, Polish 1st Armored Division, Holland, 1944 Polish M4A1(76)W Sherman Medium Tank - Polish 2nd Armored Regiment, Polish 1st Armored Division, Holland, 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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US M4A1(76)W Sherman Medium Tank - "Elowee", 2nd Armored Division, France, 1944 US M4A1(76)W Sherman Medium Tank - "Elowee", 2nd Armored Division, France, 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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US M4A3 Sherman Medium Tank with 105mm Gun and HVSS Suspension - 20th Armored Infantry Battalion, 10th Armored Division, Germany, 1945 US M4A3 Sherman Medium Tank with 105mm Gun and HVSS Suspension - 20th Armored Infantry Battalion, 10th Armored Division, 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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British M4A4 Sherman Mk. V Tulip Tank - 1st Armored Battalion, Coldstream Guards, Germany, 1945 British M4A4 Sherman Mk. V 'Tulip' Tank - 1st Armored Battalion, Coldstream Guards, 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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