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”Rommel’s Taxi” (27 posts)

  • Erwin Rommel used Fieseler Storch 156 aircraft to transport himself around the various theatres of war he led his men in. He is known to have used quite a number of these through his career. The photos that follow show some of the planes he used (and sometimes piloted). One photo is said to show him flying above his troops in Northern France. Another shows a photograph he took with his famous Leica III rangefinder camera from a Storch while on a reconnaissance flight.

    So, having a Tamiya Fieseler Storch in the cupboard, that will be my build for the group! “Rommel’s Taxi’ (or at least one of them).

    5 attached images. Click to enlarge

  • Paul, looking forward to seeing your interpretation of the color scheme. I’ve been trying to figure that out since I bought the 72nd Airfix bagged kit, way back when. The Tamiya is a really nice kit.

  • I very rarely build anything with a black and white cross on it but this and the Arado floatplane could tempt me and for a Nazi Rommel wasn’t too bad, looking forward to seeing this.
    N.

  • Paul, I’m so pleased to have you onboard, and doing this project. It’s a little poetic that the first post is about Rommel’s personal platform, used for coordinating his famous tactics. There’s nothing imposing about the bird itself, but oh, what damage it did through the one it ferried about!

    Rommel is a fascinating persona all by himself, and even more so in the American psyche. That a somewhat sympathetic portrait of him was presented in American cinema as early as 1951 (with James Mason in the title role) speaks volumes about the romance and attempt to redeem the image of this remarkable military leader who had put his skills at the service of a monstrous ideology. One of the reasons I like the North Africa campaign is the post-facto sense (right or wrong) of the “gallant enemy” thing shared between the Axis and Allied forces. Everyone knew that it is was bitter battlefield, and there was something of a comraderie that went on. It is an interesting episode in WW2, and our build group is trying to tell that story.

  • I’ve been intimidated by all that glass for years, but one day I may bite the bullet! I still don’t have one in my stash… I just avoid them when I see them! Looking forward to your rendition.

  • I did a 32nd Storch (forgot the manufacturer) way back when, and as I recall it wasn’t a pleasant build – but that could’ve been just me. I DID, however, like the “looks” of the plane (still do) – saw one fly at Kermit Weeks’ “Fantasy of Flight” one time.

    4 attached images. Click to enlarge

  • Nice pics, Craig!

  • Craig, the 32nd Storch was a Hasegawa. Only big ‘un I know of.

  • This is an amazing bird with an amazing history. Rommel’s use was just one bit of history. The original STOL, almost like a helicopter, an Fi-156 was used to rescue Mussolini. Later Generaloberst Ritter von Greim with Hanna Reitsch flew one into Berlin to evacuate Hitler, but the Fi-156 was damaged and Hitler refused to leave Berlin. Here is a diorama of that moment – http://dioramas-and-models.com/hanna%20reitsch%20april%201945.html

    A Störche was the victim of the last dog fight on the Western Front and another was downed by the allied counterpart of the Storch, an L-4 Grasshopper (J-3 Cub). The pilot and observer, lieutenants Duane Francis and Bill Martin, opened fire on the Storch with their .45 caliber pistols, forcing the German crew to land and surrender. The French produced it for their own use.

    1 attached image.

  • David, thanks for your thoughts, on Rommel especially, and the desert camaraderie (if that’s not too strong a word). There must be a poignant diorama waiting to happen, based on the ‘cemeteries’ that combatants of different sides shared during the African campaigns. Rommel may have used a Storch to visit them I guess, or more likely ‘Greif’.

    Rommel’s legend as the estimable ‘Desert Fox’, perpetuated by the British Army and press to ameliorate the defeats he had inflicted on the Allies, allowed for him to be viewed as an outstanding soldier by his enemy in his own time. That must be a rarity. And while it has been shown that he had his flaws, and wasn’t invincible on the battlefield (even though some key defeats obviously resulted from logistics, failings of others, and overwhelming material superiority in the Allies), his ‘redeeming features’ are compelling. That he ‘spoke truth to power’ before and after the shattering realisation that he’d swallowed the Big Lie, I guess, lead many to elevate him to a place above the Nazi regime he served. Ignoring Hitler’s monotonous ‘stand and fight to the death’ edicts, to regroup for strategically more valid rear-guard actions shows him to have been loyal to Germany perhaps more than the regime in the end. His scorn for The SS and Hitler’s sycophants also make it harder to paint him as a ‘willing executioner’, as does his empathy for those he fought and defeated. Protecting his family through his own demise is an heroic end. I’d need to read much more before professing to more than a grudging admiration, but his is surely one of the most compelling histories of soldiering.

  • Greg, I think the glass is the reason this has sat in the cupboard! I really struggle with canopies. It’s going to be a steep learning curve!

  • Craig, thanks for the great pictures – very useful – the fuel stains on the front of the under-carriage struts has already helped with the weathering process!

  • G.Ley, thank you – the Fi-156, for an unassuming aircraft surely has a lot of history behind it!

  • I think you do a good job of describing the general ambivalence we must naturally feel towards this man. To pretend that his situation was easy is to duck its complexities, often from an armchair. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to romanticize things; he was certainly a fallible man and no Übermensch. He was brilliant, but he was up against it; he faced all you mentioned, plus that little detail of Ultra…

    Funny how a little plastic model can stir so much discussion!

  • Neil, it is funny you mention that Arado floatplane. I’ve always been taken by it and could easily be tempted myself!