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Buy the book, “Blood on the Talon”

Some viewers are emailing me asking how to find the book, “Blood on the Talon”. I’ll leave this as a sticky post for a while to help readers get there easier. Simply click on the book image and it will take you to the secure ordering site where you can use Paypal or buy from Amazon. The introductory price has ended due to the sales volume. The retail price of $44.95 is in effect.

Working on Volume II to Blood on the Talon

Work on Volume II to Blood on the Talon continues. This volume will include information, details and images of militaria and artifacts from the 139th AEB. It will have hundreds of detailed images of uniforms, insignia and equipment used by the engineers of the 139th. It will be in the same size and format as Volume I, and include hundreds of extremely detailed color images of the artifacts.  Chapter 1 covers glider and airborne wings, Chapter 2 covers the 17th airborne shoulder sleeve insignia in GREAT detail and chapter 3 will delve into cap patches. Chapter 4 will be all other insignia worn by members of the unit. From there the book will travel through uniforms of Camp Mackall, those worn in Bastogne and for operation VARSITY followed by the service dress uniforms worn after VE-Day. Field equipment will be covered, but specialized engineer equipment and demolitions/explosive items will get scrutinized in great detail. Here are a few screen shots of the contents. keep in mind, it has not been edited, and work will begin on Chapter 4 shortly.

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Museum!

Almost done! :)  I am close to being done with this project and can get back to writing. The stucco is lightly weathered, although it could use another shade of dark brown. I will get the shutters soon, weather them, add some 9mm holes and hang them. Then the back drop is finished. I’ve added the two figures. I have everything I need for the airborne engineer, but still need low quarter shoes for the surrendering flak troop.  I have all the insignia for the fliegerbluse, just need to sew them on with original thread for a nice restoration.

 

I have to reconfigure the engineer’s arm so he can hold the pistol grip of the STEN, then I have to do the phosphate coating and British black paint for the gun.

 

This has been my vision for the junk room for several years now. The incessant moving with the military has prevented doing something permanent like this. I think I would really enjoy working in a military museum, if they gave me more of a free reign with the displays and a modest budget for dioramas. The backdrop construction did not cost all that much.

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Progress on the Display

IMG_0866IMG_0865 I weathered the bricks and painted the stucco and added my two period signs. Next I will add a dirty wash to the stucco to bring out the highlights of the stucco. I will use a set of wooden louvered doors to make my shutters. I’ll simply cut them along the middle support and paint them a dark color as would be found on a 1940s period farm house, usually a darker shade of hunters green or black. Not sure which i’ll use yet.

Creating a Dackdrop for an Operation VARSITY Display

Militaria013Several months ago I envisioned creating a backdrop of a German farmhouse on Landing Zone N. The idea was to create a small life-sized diorama of a 139th AEB Engineer and a captured German Flak troop. I sketched out the idea and began construction last week. The project will cost about $100 and should be complete in about a week. I have all the equipment for the engineer and only need a few uniform items for the Flak troop. Here are the stages of construction.

 

For the final part of the construction I used a medium thickness coat and went over it with a small “joint knife”. I used a large “taping knife” to knock down the ridges made by the small tool. This gives the mud an  exterior-like appearance and will produce some smooth ridges and valleys to hold a darker shade of paint in the depressions when I paint. I’m leaning towards off-white with a dirty wash to bring out the highlights. I’ll give it a few days to dry slowly, and I hope I did not go too thick on the mud. It tends to crack is it dries too quickly when thick. :wacko:

 

I’m thinking my display is a bit too narrow (6feet). I should have started it at a corner, gone 8 feet and then turned the corner back. I have two transitions in the display in stead of two. I’ll have the 139th CP on the left, the VARSITY display in the middle and the Camp Mackall display on the right. Probably too much crap for the eyes to view with little in the way of transition. I guess you have to make do with the space you have. Then again, 6 feet should suffice to place the Engineer with MG and the captured FLAK troop and a pile of combat refuse on the ground.

 

 

 

 

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Working on Museum Displays

I purchased two Detolf glass display cases from Ikea. They assemble easily and have sufficient room for many of my German WW2 Engineer and inert demolition display items. Here is an image of the finished product.

 

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The Drive into Germany

Here are a few 139th AEB images from their drive into Germany on the way to Essen. These were probably taken in April of 1945. In the left most photo are Henry “Hank” Wisnewski with the helmet and Ralph Grooten sitting with some curious German lads. (This one may have been taken shortly after VE-Day)  The photo on the right depicts (l-r) Paul E. Colvin, Charles B. Wilhelm and Edwin E. Hoffman.  Note the modified M43 uniforms and the first aid packets attached to the helmet nets.

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139th AEB Situation Report: 29 Mar 1945

Back to posting the 139th AEB Situation Reports from the post Operation VARSITY time frame. Here is the report for 29 Mar 45.

 

No6 29 Mar 45 p1 – Copy

Display Expansion Continues

I have assembled the second portion of my museum displays. The seated engineer is manning the Command Post taking message traffic from the company radio network via the Handie Talki radio.  He is wearing leather buckle boots, unmodified M43 Field Trousers, wool shirt with a Red Cross hand knit sweater-vest. His helmet is an early war M1 fixed bail model with liner. IMG_0806

Adding to the Museum Display

Four new additions to the museum (aka junk room) arrived today. I am beginning to set them up, check for fit, and see how I will arrange things once I have all four assembled and fitted. This example depicts a 139th Airborne Engineer preparing for an early morning patrol near Bastogne. He is wearing a British pattern snow camouflage pull-over jacket on top of a high-neck knitted sweater. He wears unmodified M43 Field Trousers and has covered his para-boots with rubber galoshes. The hood of the camo jacket is worn over a brimmed knit cap. He is armed with the M1A folding stock .30 caliber carbine and has an M1911A1 automatic pistol in a holster on a web belt. He carries a spare ammunition bag and had one Mk2 Fragmentation Grenade at the ready.  The map covers the area of Bastogne, Belgium and the area to the West where the 17th Airborne Division fought.

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PFC Charles Shinn, C Co. 139th AEB

 PFC CHarles Shinn    I received a great photo from the son of PFC Charles Shinn. He was wounded on 24 Mar 45 during the early part of Operation VARSITY. The action surrounding PFC Shinn were part of the events that led to the award of the Silver Star for a few heroes of the 139th. The event is recounted in the book, “Blood on the Talon”, written by the blog master.

“Meanwhile, the 3rd Platoon of Charlie Company assembled quickly and began attacking the various strongholds in their sector. They immediately attacked two houses and killed, wounded or captured several troops, most likely elements of the 84. Infanterie Division. When the platoon attacked a third farm house, PFC Charles Shinn was wounded, but was able to crawl back to a position of comparative safety. The Platoon Leader, Lt. Earl A. Goodman learned that PFC Howard V. Dowlan had also been seriously injured in the same attack and was still within the enemies’ sights. Lt. Goodman, who had a few days earlier received a battlefield commission for his actions in Belgium, solicited two volunteers to assist him in an effort to retrieve PFC Dowlan. Accompanying Goodman were PFC Edward R. Knox and PFC Louis Zerby.
 
     The rescue effort was extremely dangerous and well within the sight and range of the enemies’ automatic weapons’ fire. The men must have realized their chance for success was very slim, yet for the benefit of their brother, they were willing to risk their lives. In the ensuing rescue attempt Goodman and Knox were mortally wounded and Zerby was seriously wounded but returned. PFC Dowlan did not survive the ordeal. All three would receive the Silver Star for gallantry in action, along with the Purple Heart. The action of Goodman and his men resulted in the capture of thirty of the enemy. Trooper Grooten also confirmed the rescue attempt made by Lt. Goodman, PFC Knox and PFC Zerby and indicated the farmhouse they assaulted was heavily fortified.”
 
 
     PFC Shinn’s son recently shared some photos provided by his father. The first shows Shinn near a tent wearing his four pocket service dress. The sign indicates the tent belongs to the compound of C Co. 139th AEB. I would assess the image to be from late 43 or early 42 at Camp Mackall before Shinn went to the parachute school. It does not look like he is wearing jump wings, but his boots are bloused. It could be that the images is a bit blurred and this is post jump school for Shinn. The remaining images are taken from a popular photo booklet sold at the Post Exchange at Ft. Benning and outline the typical training regimen for jump school.jump_1_001