The Great War saw the face of armed conflict change forever as weapons technology increased and breakthroughs were needed to punch through the static trench warfare. The traditional force multiplier and queen of the battlefield –horse-mounted cavalry – had been proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to no longer hold the throne as machine guns and eventually armored vehicles displaced all of the horseman’s traditional roles. For instance, the Model T Ford was used in a wide variety of battlefield roles during the Great War: As an ambulance, a reconnaissance platform, and weapons carrier – all roles traditionally handed to horsemen or horse drawn carts.
After WWI, the automobile became commonplace. More specialized military vehicles were also produced, from armored scout cars to tanks, but many civilian vehicles were impressed into service as well.
French, American, British, Russian, Italian, and German motorcars all served during WWII. King & Country has produced a wide range of these cars in highly detailed 1/30 scale.
After the fall of France, Germany seized the French armory, including thousands of Citroën Traction Avants. These reliable vehicles were the first mass-produced car to combine three huge improvements into one package: A unitary body with no separate frame, four wheel independent suspension, and front wheel drive. During the ill-fated Operation Market Garden, Arnhem’s German Military Commander, General Friedrich Kussin, had the fatal misfortune to run into some of the advancing British paratroopers on the outskirts of the Dutch town in one of these captured cars. King & Country reproduced this fateful encounter in miniature in the “Arnhem Ambush” set (WH044).
Meanwhile, the Free French Resistance was equipped from the armories of America with vehicles such as the M3 Scout Car manufactured by the White Motor Company. King & Country’s model (DD103) is the M3A1, which came equipped with a front mounted unditching roller that kept the vehicle from getting hung up in steeper terrain. It comes festooned with three pintle-mounted machine guns and a two man crew of French Resistance fighters. The M3A1 was also used by the Russians under lend-lease and the US equipped the National Revolutionary Army of China with the M3A1 starting in 1942 as well.
The Germans had their own fleet of wheeled vehicles, some of which were taken from the civilian sector while others were produced to order. One such car was the Mercedes-Benz 170 V, which came in many variants. This model (WS248) features a canvas top and four doors, painted in the familiar feldgrau of the Wehrmacht. The ‘V’ designation in the model number denotes that the four cylinder engine was mounted “Vorn” or in the front as opposed to the “H” model that mounted the engine “Heck” or in the rear.
Civilian vehicles were less common in Soviet Russia, which prioritized and mandated production of tractors and utility vehicles as well as military vehicles over cars for the individual. The four-wheeled Soviet answer to the light half-tracks and reconnaissance vehicles, specifically the Sd. kfz. 222, of the German invader was the BA-64. Small, lightly armored, and four wheel-driven, it was built on the chassis of the Russian equivalent of the Jeep and could mount a 7.62mm DT machine gun. The King & Country version (RA049) is the BA-64B, which solved the tendency of the initial model to overturn with a wider wheelbase and added an armored turret for the machine gun.
Leaving aside the war wagons for just a moment, the British pilots of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) were known for their love of speed in all its forms. During the Interwar period, the LeMans race would be run each year, with engineers and drivers pushing the envelope for performance. Some of these drivers would later don the sky blue uniform to serve in the skies above Britain during the Blitz.
While Aston Martin changed their production line to manufacture airplane parts for the duration of the war, their “T-type” 1.5 liter “Ulster” race car may just have been a pilot’s best alternative to a Spitfire! The King & Country “Ulster” comes in either sky blue (RAF074) or fire engine red (RAF071), complete with pilot/driver.
For information on these, other fine AFVs, or any of the items King & Country produces, contact Treefrog Treasures Military Miniatures at (866)-394-2418, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.