Thursday, July 30, 2020

Interlude: Ramcke Parachute Brigade in North Africa 1942

The brigade was formed in 1942 and sent to join the Afrika Korps in North Africa. Ramcke's unit fought during the Afrika Korps's assault towards the Suez Canal, fighting alongside the Italian 25 Infantry Division Bologna before British opposition solidified near the town of El Alamein. The British action resulted in the separation of the Brigade from German forces, and, lacking motorized transport, they were unable to move as fast as the battle lines.

Taking heavy losses (about 450) fighting surrounded on all sides, they captured a British supply convoy carrying food and fuel, about which Ramcke later remarked the most welcome surprise was the tobacco and luxury goods. Using those trucks, about 600 survivors returned to German lines.

The brigade was then engaged in the Second Battle of El Alamein, later retreating into Tunisia. Ramcke was transferred back to Germany where he was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross, and command passed to Major Hans Kroh. The remaining brigade was part of the capitulation of German Panzer Army Afrika in May 1943.

I was able to pick up the Warlord Games Fallschirmjager Squad (Tropical Uniform) box which comes with 10 Fallschirmjager dressed in the Mediterranean theater uniform (North Africa, Tunisia, Italy). These are some of the finest metal miniatures I have seen Warlord Games produce and I highly recommend them if you want to do something different for World War II. Beautifully sculpted which makes them a pleasure to paint - even down to two of the figures having NCO insignia on their shirts. Looking at the other range of Warlord Games metal range of Fallshirmjager, there are other figures that can be converted to the tropical uniform.

Here is the Table of Organization for the unit in October of 1942:
  • Headquarters under Generalmajor Hermann-Bernhard Ramcke:
    • 1st Battalion, 2nd Parachute Regiment
    • 1st Battalion, 3rd Parachute Regiment
    • 2nd Battalion, 5th Parachute Regiment
    • 4th Parachute Training Battalion
    • 2nd Battalion, 7th Parachute Artillery Regiment
    • A Company, 7th Tank Destroyer Battalion
    • 2nd Company, Parachute Pioneer Battalion
    • A Parachute Signal Platoon
    • A Medical Company

So if you are looking for something different for your Mid-War Campaigns (many Fallshchirmjagers were transferred to the European theater with tropical uniforms) I highly recommend this unit and the figures from Warlord Games.

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