Aged 56 by the time his first aircraft had flown, Professor Hugo Junkers can be described as one of the greatest aviation pioneers and a maverick to boot. His approach to how an aircraft should be built was like no other and, rather than modifying, re-designing or copying ideas from other pioneers, Junkers took his own unique route and doggedly stuck to it for the two decades. Proceeding in the face of the theory that aircraft should be built from wood and fabric, all Junkers aircraft, from the 'Tin Donkey' of 1915 onwards, were made of metal, a material that was regarded, right up to the early 1930s by many other aircraft manufacturers as being too heavy. Wood and fabric were of course ideal from a performance and massed production point of view, but Junkers was a visionary who had no ambition to make money on the back of military aircraft. His goal was to prove that metal would display a much greater durability from a long-term commercial service point of view and his unceasing efforts to prove this also made Junkers and his aircraft as pioneers of the airline industry.
I decided to build this vignette after reading the Squadron Signal Publications book titled SS Armour (ref 6014). One of the photos showed several German officers chatting in front of a "LSSAH" Panther while a large group of expectant civilians watch the scene around them, as if admiring a new race car. I made a personal interpretation of the scene, preferring to make the civilians stand in the background in a slightly higher position, watching the scene from a vantage point. The vignette takes place on a 13x13 cm square chipboard with sealed edges. The basic base elements are a brick panel and a wall made by Mig Productions and also an Evergreen plastic panel sidewalk. Both the side walls and the terrace floor were made with a 1,5 mm Evergreen panels. I placed a photo etch railing on the upper wall, the handrail had to be thickened with a specially shaped Evergreen rod. I placed an Aneste streetlamp and bench that was scratch built using rectangular section plastic rods as the only urban furniture. I started airbrushing a layer of Tamiya buff and added several tones with medium grey, using flat green paint on the grass.
In 2001 the citizens of Leeds, England, erected a bronze statue in honor of Acting Flight Sergeant Arthur Louis Aaron, an RAF bomber pilot and Leeds' only World War II Victoria Cross winner. Unveiled by the last survivor of Aaron's crew, the statue depicts the pilot standing beside a tree, up which climb three children, representing the generations that have enjoyed freedom because of his and others' sacrifice. "In appalling conditions he showed the greatest qualities of courage, determination and leadership," Aaron's VC citation reads, "and though wounded and dying, he set an example of devotion to duty which has seldom been equaled and never surpassed." In March 1941 Aaron was a student on scholarship at Leeds School of Architecture when he became one of 23 founding cadets of the Leeds University Air Squadron. He trained as a pilot at the No. 1 British Flying Training School in Terrell, Texas, earned his pilots wings in June 1942 and subsequently joined the No. 218 "Gold Coast" Squadron at RAF Downham Market airfield in Norfolk.
The superlative "greatest" is often applied to commanders, battles and countless aspects of military history -too often, it seems. One can hardly read an account about a battle or leader without finding the word "greatest" in it somewhere. In this issue of Armchair General, however, we strive to put the "great" back in "greatest." The Korean War accomplishments of General Matthew B. Ridgway, the subject of our Battlefield Leader feature article, were described by General Omar N. Bradley as "the greatest feat of personal leadership in the history of the Army." Given Ridgway's remarkable achievement - miraculously transforming the beaten, retreating U.S. 8th Army into a revitalized fighting force - Bradley's "greatest" description seems right on target. The U.S. Army's World War II chief of staff, General George C. Marshall, used "greatest" to describe the achievements of U.S. 4th Armored Division - aka "Patton's Best." Marshall called the dramatic "race across France" that the 4th spearheaded in the summer of 1944 "one of the greatest feats of American arms." Our current You Command interactive article challenges YOU to lead a combat command of the 4th as it battles German forces in a key September 1944 attack.