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GITom1944

7th Infantry Division, Kwajalein, in progress...

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I first did this 1/6th scale figure a few years back, but I'm now updating it. My main interests are U.S. helmets, the U.S. Army, and the Pacific theater. I wanted to portray the distinctive gear used by the 7th Infantry Division during the Marshalls Campaign. I thought I had pretty good references when I first did the figure, but some new information has come along, prompting me to rework the fig.

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The biggest changes are the helmet camo and the colors on the identification panel.

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I stalled when it came to finishing the two tone cloth panel worn by 7th Division soldiers on Kwajalein. I had searched high and low for good references. I had looked at dozens of period photos and film footage. The trouble was, it was all in black & white, so I was unsure what colors were right. And then a book on the campaign came out with an illustration showing that the panels as red and white. So I went ahead. On the left is how it first came out. Since then, I discovered more references including an article by the Company of Military Historians and some color footage shown in WW2 in HD. The dark sections actually seem to be a blue black color. I repainted the panel. I tried to tint some black paint with a bit of blue, but it looks all black. I may try to dry brush a bit of blue on these sections...

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In his outstanding book, Painted Steel, helmet researcher/author Chris Armold showed some surviving WW2 camoed helmets with yellow tone paint. I tried to replicate the camo style and color shown in the book.

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Since joining the forum, I've viewed original camo helmets by Costa, Warpath, gecko NZ and others that showed original pots with tan and green camo paint, and then unterhund posted "My father was a rifle platoon leader in the 7th Division's 17th Infantry Regiment during WWII. At least some of the helmet nets worn by the 7th Div. dogfaces during Operation FLINTLOCK on Kwajalein Atoll were hand-woven by civilian women in Hawaii and given to the division before the operation. The men were issued paint and instructed to paint their helmets themselves in a camouflage pattern. The colors were a shade of green and a mustard-yellow. Most of the men retained the nets and the painted helmets for Operation KING II on Leyte in the Philippines and Operation ICEBERG on Okinawa." http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/129959-eniwetok-battle-helmet-photo/page-2 So, I decided to redo the helmet. I am using a DID helmet, which I think has a more accurate profile than the old Dragon lid.

 

 

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Lookin' good. Call me "Mr Dummy" but what was the purpose of the red/white vest...apart from being a great target for Japanese snipers!?


"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!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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The old helmet has a Japanese style net made from Kevlar fishing line superglued to the helmet. It was never a true net - and I can't re-use it. I had hoped to save time & effort by using a Battlegear Japanese net, but it is too small to fit the DID pot. So, the current plan is to create a net from thread. (Perhaps glued on line, by line.) Period photos show that Hawley type fibre liners were typical on Kwajalein, so I plan to replicate the thick ribbed appearance by gluing elasticized cord around the edge of the liner. To be continued...

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Lookin' good. Call me "Mr Dummy" but what was the purpose of the red/white vest...apart from being a great target for Japanese snipers!?

 

Sabrejet - That was my initial reaction as well. I don't have the Company of Military Historians article handy, but I'll eventually track it down. I believe the intention was to protect GIs from friendly fire, primarily from U.S. carrier planes and U.S. naval gunfire. Perhaps there was also a concern about U.S. tank crewman peering through periscopes mistaking GIs for the enemy. To me, the equipment seemed like an exercise in contradictions: camo paint everyone's helmets and then have them wearing garish attention-getting panels; avoid looking like the enemy but put enemy-looking nets on everyone's helmets (the part of a soldier that first becomes exposed in combat). Those tactical contradictions prompted me to include the Japanese flag on the ground - I was trying to suggest how the red and white squares could also be confused with the small personal battle flags carried by some Japanese soldiers. As it turns out, the "red" panels were actually black, but IMO, their size and colors still put GIs at risk of being more easily seen by the Japanese. Here is part of a screenshot of one of the panels on a fallen GI. I hope it comports with the forums rules and the sentiments of forum members.

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Roger that...thanks. Great model BTW!


"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!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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I wonder if any of those panels survived the war.

 

I'd love to see one. From Fall 1996 Military Collector & Historian: "One aspect of the Aleutian Islands operation which had a profound effect on the Hourglass Division was a number of friendly-fire incidents... As a result... the 7th Infantry Division fabricated black and white friendly recognition vests for the Kwajalein landings."


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Great Work! Very nice indeed .. I may have some photographs at home to use as reference. If I do, I'll post them here.

Love to see this sort of stuff!

 

Bayonet!


Donald E. Shook Jr.

B Company, 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry - Ft Ord, CA 1984-1988

Distinguished Member of the 17th Infantry Regiment

National Infantry Association Order of Saint Maurice

deshook@7thinfantry.com

Embroided Patches For Sale - Embroidered Patches

sig02.jpg

 

I'm interested in anything to do with the 17th Infantry Regiment, and or the 7th Infantry Division and would be interested in buying, trading, or just talking about any items related to these units!

 

 

 

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Great job!

 

I wonder if any of those panels survived the war.

I truly doubt it.

Many years ago (sometime in the mid 90s I think), someone contacted me to do a drawing for an article on this battle for the publication for the company of military historians. They sent a stack of photos and I think I might have them around here somewhere, so I know all about the recognition panels. If I recall correctly, I was told then that there were no known surviving panels.

I did a black/white drawing based on their photos, and they came back with tons of revisions. I did them and never heard from them again. I have no idea if the article ever got printed and it's the primary reason I stopped doing drawings for free. Ask any artist and they'll tell you that the most demanding customer is always the one who isn't paying you.


Lee Bishop Formerly known as "Ratchet 5" with the 2nd Infantry Division (yes, in REAL life)

US WW2 War Correspondent collector

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That's very nice work GITom1944. I appreciate being quoted. The B/W panels were indeed meant to prevent incidents of fratricide. Some of the participants for Operation FLINTLOCK, the invasion of Kwajalein Atoll, had been on Kiska Island five months before when "friendly fire" from fellow infantrymen took the lives and also wounded several members of the 87th Infantry Regt. I have a copy of General Corlett's standing orders for Operation COTTAGE, the invasion of Kiska, and ironically, it indicates that similar panels were issued for that operation as well, in addition to very large fluorescent orange panels for squads to deploy on the ground. But they were either not used or were not visible in the fog of that island when some panicked members of the 87th fired on each other. The fratricide on Kiska was an unfortunate start to an otherwise splendid record of the 87th in subsequent European campaigns.

 

The B/W panels were used by the 32nd and 184th Inf. Regts. on Kwajalein Island (code-named CARILLON) on February 1st-4th, 1944, but not by the 17th Inf. on January 31st on CARLOS and CARLSON Islands, nor by the 17th Inf on BURTON Island on February 3rd and 4th. The panels were discarded by the 32nd and 184th Regts. afterwards and not used in the 7th Division's fights on Leyte and Okinawa.

 

As might be obvious, I've done a bit of research on the service of the 7th Division during WWII, primarily focusing on the 17th Infantry Regiment, in order to learn more about my late father's experiences. Operation FLINTLOCK was considered at the time to be an important event and called by many "the most perfect amphibious operation of the war," but with the passage of time and the death of most of the veterans, FLINTLOCK rarely appears in the short versions of Pacific War histories. My old man would have been gratified to see your model.


Illegitimi Non Carborundum

 

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A correction to my post from yesterday: CARILLON was the code name for the entire atoll; PORCELAIN was the code name for Kwajalein Island itself.


Illegitimi Non Carborundum

 

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As might be obvious, I've done a bit of research on the service of the 7th Division during WWII, primarily focusing on the 17th Infantry Regiment, in order to learn more about my late father's experiences.

 

unterhund - Thank you for your comments, your research, and your postings about the 7th Infantry Division and Operation Flintlock - a fine tribute to your father and the men he served with. From the Aleutians to Kwajalein to Leyte to Okinawa, your father's unit saw combat across the full span of time, terrain and territory of the war in the Pacific. Their contribution should never be forgotten.

 

The B/W panels were used by the 32nd and 184th Inf. Regts. on Kwajalein Island (code-named CARILLON) on February 1st-4th, 1944...

Thanks for this info as well. I hope to have more progress on the figure soon. (Sometimes real life gets in the way). :)


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I saw this on youtube this week and wanted to share it with all of you .. It was just posted several months ago and it's a great source for helmets, uniforms, and equipment used on Kwajalein

 


Donald E. Shook Jr.

B Company, 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry - Ft Ord, CA 1984-1988

Distinguished Member of the 17th Infantry Regiment

National Infantry Association Order of Saint Maurice

deshook@7thinfantry.com

Embroided Patches For Sale - Embroidered Patches

sig02.jpg

 

I'm interested in anything to do with the 17th Infantry Regiment, and or the 7th Infantry Division and would be interested in buying, trading, or just talking about any items related to these units!

 

 

 

donation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gif

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There's several shots showing men wearing these panels .. the first is of a dead GI (5:53) then others in frames - 6:39 - 6:57 - and 7:01


Donald E. Shook Jr.

B Company, 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry - Ft Ord, CA 1984-1988

Distinguished Member of the 17th Infantry Regiment

National Infantry Association Order of Saint Maurice

deshook@7thinfantry.com

Embroided Patches For Sale - Embroidered Patches

sig02.jpg

 

I'm interested in anything to do with the 17th Infantry Regiment, and or the 7th Infantry Division and would be interested in buying, trading, or just talking about any items related to these units!

 

 

 

donation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gif

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Buffalo Grunt - Thanks for that link. It's the best, most complete color footage of Kwajalein I've seen so far. Outstanding shots of helmets too. I may have to go back to the drawing board...


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Yeah, and I agree ... what great footage!

I couldn't believe it when I first saw it ... and I knew that you'd appreciate.

 

 

Buffalo Grunt - Thanks for that link. It's the best, most complete color footage of Kwajalein I've seen so far. Outstanding shots of helmets too. I may have to go back to the drawing board...

 


Donald E. Shook Jr.

B Company, 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry - Ft Ord, CA 1984-1988

Distinguished Member of the 17th Infantry Regiment

National Infantry Association Order of Saint Maurice

deshook@7thinfantry.com

Embroided Patches For Sale - Embroidered Patches

sig02.jpg

 

I'm interested in anything to do with the 17th Infantry Regiment, and or the 7th Infantry Division and would be interested in buying, trading, or just talking about any items related to these units!

 

 

 

donation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gif

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