It’s always interesting to peruse the new characters that have been released in Thomas ‘Stoessi’ Stoesser’s range of World War Two character figures, when we’re at Tactica, and Thomas actually treated us to a few sneak peeks of pre-releases, including Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Vandervoort (as played by John Wayne from the Longest Day movie) and Jock Lewes, inventor of the Lewes bomb and principal training officer of the Special Air Service.
To provide a little more information, Thomas kindly provided the following info:
Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Vandervoort was the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, 505th PIR, during the airborne landings in Normandy. Vandervoort led his battalion in defending the town of Sainte-Mère-Église on 6 June, despite having broken his ankle on landing.
During ‘Operation Market Garden’ in September 1944, he led the assault on the Waal Bridge at Nijmegen while the 3rd Battalion, 504th PIR, made the assault crossing. General Matthew B. Ridgway described Vandervoort as “one of the bravest and toughest battle commanders I ever knew”.
Lieutenant John Steel (Jock) Lewes was a British Army officer during WW2 and the founding principal training officer of the Special Air Service. Its founding commander, David Stirling said of Lewes: “Jock could far more genuinely claim to be founder of the SAS than I.” He improvised a new, combined charge out of plastic explosive and cans of petrol which was used throughout WW2.
Jock Lewes was killed in action in December 1941.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Blair “Paddy” Mayne was a founding member of the British SAS.
Mayne participated in night raids deep behind enemy lines in Egypt and Libya, where the SAS destroyed many enemy aircraft on the ground. On one mission Paddy personally destroyed 24 German fighter planes with Lewes bombs.
Haupsturmführer Fritz Klingenberg was a German officer in the Waffen-SS who served with the SS Division Das Reich and was a commander of the SS Division Götz von Berlichingen. He was best known for his role in the capture of the Yugoslavian capital, Belgrade for which he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.
Hauptmann Günther Viezenz was a Hauptmann (Captain) of 10th Company, Grenadier-Regiment 7 of the 252nd Infantry-Division. No German soldier was awarded more Tank Destruction Badges than him: he destroyed single handedly 21 enemy tanks with close combat weapons such as handgrenades, panzerfaust, t-mines or hollow charges.
Ivan Pavlovich 91st Tank Regiment served as a cook for the 91st Tank Regiment of the Red Army. Ivan was cooking dinner one day in August 1941 when he noticed a German tank which had stalled in reach of the field kitchen. He was alone. Grabbing a rifle and an axe, Ivan waited for the crew to start to exit the tank. When they got out, Pavlovich charged, and the crew, seeing an axe-wielding Soviet running toward them, quickly got back into the tank and opened fire. Pavlovich climbed onto the tank and bent the machine gun barrel with his axe, then blinded the tank with a tarp and ordered his imaginary comrades to pass him an imaginary grenade. At this point the four-man crew surrendered.