Trouble With Jolanthe

This little piggy first made an appearance on the SF3D era Raccoon decal sheets/camo cards as the insignia for the 30th SAFS Company. It later resurfaced as a graphic on the packaging of the Ma.K generation re-release of the same kit (quite apt as the profile of the Raccoon looks conspicuously porcine). In 2001 the pig was included on the decal sheet of the Modelkasten Snake Eye as the emblem of the 51st Combat Recce Company, 2nd Platoon. More recently the marking has made it's way on to the new Wave Snake Eye decals ...

The 'Jolanthe Kette', or 'Jolanthe Squadron', was the nickname given to the first three Stukas sent to Spain as part of Germany's secret military involvement in the Spanish Civil War. The three Stukas became known as the 'Jolanthe Squadron' most likely because the Ju 87's ungainly appearance as it taxied over rough air strips was reminiscent of the central character of a popular german cartoon film 'Trouble with Jolanthe' ...

"... they were officially incorporated into the Legion as the fighter wing's fifth staffel (5.J/88), but became universally known as the 'Jolanthe' Kette after their unit badge. This depicted a large pink sow, and could trace it's origins back to Barth, where the Gruppenkomandeur of IV.(St)/LG 1, Oberstleutnant Gunther Schwartzkopff (one of the few supporters of the Stuka concept) had nicknamed the Ju 87 after the eponymous heroine of a favorite film comedy of the day that centered around a pig 'Krach um Jolanthe' ('Trouble with Jolanthe')!"

"The popular German stage play Krach um Jolanthe was brought to the screen by producer-director Carl Froelich in 1935. Jolanthe is the name of a prize sow, the pride of a tiny rural community. Trouble begins when the sheriff comes calling, demanding to collect an exorbitant tax on the blue-ribbon oinker. When the owner can't pay up, the sheriff holds an auction to sell the sow to the highest bidder. The loyal townsfolk boycott the event, then plot a "jailbreak" when the sow is placed in custody of the local constabulary. Subtlety is hardly the strong suit of Krach um Jolanthe; the audience is invited to park its dignity at the door and laugh out loud unashamedly." ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

The U-Boat Connection

This long armed froggy was originally included on the Nitto Konrad decal sheet as the insignia for 2./JG 26 and then later also appeared on the Oskar and Lunar Konigs Krote decals as well.

Interestingly this is not a luftwaffe insignia but instead a Kriegsmarine U-boat emblem. In fact it is the unique symbol applied to U-124 by Kptit. Jochen Mohr when he took command of the vessel ...

"The emblem of U-124, the Edelweiss, was inspired by the loss of U-64 in April, 1940. The boats had the same crew for the most part, including the commander Kptlt. Wilhelm Schulz. They were saved from the cold Norwegian waters by members of the German mountain troops. The grateful U-boat men adapted their emblem on their next U-boat, the U-124 commissioned in June, 1940.
When Kptlt. Johann Mohr took command of U-124, in late 1941, he added his own personnal emblem, a green frog, to the front of the tower. Keeping the Edelweiss on both sides."

It is possible to just make out the frog insignia on the tower of the U-Boat in the pictures below ...

Dead Eye Open

This marking appeared on the Nutrocker decal sheet as the insignia of the 500th Independent Heavy Battle Car Battalion.

"The 500th Battlewagon Batallion, 1st through 3rd division were deployed from the Middle East extending through North Africa. When on maneuvers in the desert, all vehicles were painted with a dessert pink. The dry, sandy environment caused many problems for the NutRocker hover tank, with sand frequently being sucked into the turbines. Advanced filters were attached to the air intakes of some tanks to solve the problem. Peeling paint was also very common and noticeable on the tanks because of abrasion from the sand."

The emblem was actually the Holzauge ('Wood Eye') insignia of 1.J/88. Jagdgruppe 88 (J/88) was a German Condor Legion fighter group serving in the Spanish Civil War.

"The colors chosen for this emblem were already the habitual ones used by the Legion Condor in the majority of the standards that represented their Staffel, that is to say white and black. The image of 'Holzauge' appeared on a white disk trimmed by a black circle, located on both sides of the fuselage under the cockpit of the Messerschmitt Bf-109. From the 2nd of September 1938 and to the end of the war in April of 1939 the pilots of 1.J/88 'Holzauge' had several “mounts”. The Messerschmitt Bf-109 B was replaced on 17th of November 1938 and with that the Staffel accomplished missions on the Catalonia front from the aerodrome at Cenia. After occupation of Catalonia the Staffel received the new Messerschmitt Bf-109E “Emil”, that featured great advances such as the incorporation of a radio and oxygen masks. Like its predecessor the “Hababuk”, the image of “Holzauge” was not used by the Luftwaffe during the Second War World."

The 'Wood Eye' (English equivalent - 'Dead Eye') represents an expert marksman.

“The first Staffel has a Holzauge. Wood Eye -- what the Americans would call a dead eye. He was a cartoon figure, his eyes peeled skyward."

"The new emblem of 1.J/88 presented/displayed the image of a peculiar clown registered inside a white circle. This figure appears to be pointing at its eye while at the same time it glances at the sky. The name of this figure, which at that time would have been the indicative name of the Staffel, was 'Holzauge', that is to say 'wood Eye'. 'Holzauge 19' was the code name that was used by the Luftwaffe to designate an airplane or airplanes whose main mission was to watch the formation, warning others of the presence of the enemy and entering into combat with them so that their comrades could continue with their mission. As well, the Germans also called the adversary who undertook the same mission “Holzauge”. The gesture shown in the emblem corresponds nevertheless to a typical Spanish gesture, to put oneself on guard when danger is present by placing the forefinger on the eye."

'Umbrella Man'

Ever wondered about the SDR's apparent hatred of umbrellas? Well the Luftwaffe's cartoon images of umbrellas being shot, hacked and thrown were a personal attack on Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1937 to 1940, nicknamed Umbrella Man because he often carried an umbrella in public and was invariably depicted with it in cartoons - sometimes even drawn as an umbrella. One such caricature appears on the Krachenvogel decals and cards.

But it wasn't just the luft. Below is a picture of Kriegsmarine U-47 ...

"A well-known photograph taken before U-47's departure to Scapa Flow on 8 October 1939 shows a drawing on the starboard side of the patchy conning tower. This drawing, of a skull and crossbones adorned with a top hat and umbrella, mocked the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. Other U-boat insignia, such as those which adorned the towers of U-46, U-53, U-56, U-58, U-60 and U-61, also at some point included caricatures or references to Chamberlain."

All Hail The Rat

The egg with hatchet and pistol is probably the most iconic of the Mercenary army's unit insignias. It was originally released as one of the decal options for the Nitto S.A.F.S. and has recently been re-released by Hasegawa on the new decal sheet included with their 'Ma.K figure set A (Mercenary Troops' Arms Cold District Maintenance Soldiers)'. According to notes on the cards that came with the figure set, the markings belong to the 15th AT regiment.

I believe that the 'egg' symbol is a pastiche of the emblems of two Luftwaffe Aces, Adolf "Dolfo" Joseph Ferdinand Galland and Lieutenant Colonel Oskar-Heinz (Heinrich) "Pritzl" Bär. Both men (who were apparently good friends) had variations of 'Micky Maus' painted on their planes and the 'egg' seems to borrow elements from both. Clearly the hatchet, pistol and pose come from Galland's ...

"Adolf was a constant cigar smoker. In fact the insignia on his Messerschmitt depicted a cigar smoking Mickey Maus also brandishing a pistol and hatchet! It was said that Galland got through 20 cigars a day and actually wrote orders giving him permission to smoke while flying on a mission. His was the only Messerscmitt with a cigar lighter and a cigar holder for when he was on oxygen."

... while the red circle was likely inspired by the blue one around Heinrich's Maus (which was also the unit symbol of 1./JG 51)

The origin of both 'Mickys' goes back as far as the Spanish Civil War (of which Galland was a veteran), as can be seen in this picture of Condor Legion pilot Hans Schhmoller-Haldy ...

"The 8th Staffel’s Oblt. Edu Neumann, inspired by the popularity of Mickey Mouse among the Condor Legion veterans, adopted another cartoon character as a symbol for his then 4th Staffel and took it with him to the 8th. He made it known that his choice, Adamson, was a good German rather than an American."

It appears that 'Steamboat Willie' had enjoyed a long history with the Luft even before the war ...

Above is another example of a Condor Legion 'Micky'.

Luftwaffe Ace Horst Carganico also famously displayed a 'Micky Maus' on his Bf. 109G-6 ... another of many examples of the nefarious rodent's ever changing allegiances during the war.
Mickey Mouse ... a true mercenary!

Who's Ma.K Girl?

A while back I discovered that the Japanese model who posed in the Ma.K Falke profile has a website. Turns out that her name is Takako Lopez.

"Another specially selected image girl to represent the 2008 Super GT is Takako Lopez (ロペス貴子), a fine specimen of French (Edit - I have heard it mentioned elsewhere that her father is Mexican) and Japanese descent. This started her grid career last year when she was only 17 in the (スーパー耐久) endurance series and received the honor of first place “grid girl” at the 2007 F1 Japan at Fuji Speedway! I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of Takako in the near future."

In 2008 she 'starred' in her own DVD 'Seventeen' and it's sequel 'Seventeen 2' and in the same year became a Race Queen ...

Recently it was announced that 'Brickworks' will be releasing a Takako figure. A painted example can be seen on Kow's website.

The Early Bird Gets the ... er ... Umbrella?

The last of the PKA HO unit emblems ... this time for the 2nd Heavy Artillery Battalion HQ.

"This PKA HO was deployed to Northern Ireland in November 2885 and was operated by Second Lieutenant Heintz Zakusenberk of the 2nd Heavy Artillery Battalion HQ. Heintz was tasked with the high altitude support of the 'Night Stalker'. The son of a leatherworker, he was considered odd due to the habit of going barefoot even during winter."

The emblem was really the 'weeping raven' of II./JG 51 designed by Luftwaffe pilot Hans Illner. Although Hans' nephew suggests the bird may have been a representation of Winston Churchill, it is more likely that it was a caricature of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain as the emblem had existed before Churchill had been voted to power and Chamberlain was often referred to as the 'umbrella man' by the press. Emblazoned on the shield in red writing is the belligerent catchphrase "Gott Strafe England" ... "May God punish England".

'Escuadron Azul' (The Blue Squadron)

In the Ma.K universe this was the emblem of the 343rd Ground Support Platoon which utilized the PKA HO and PK41 in the Australian Desert in May, 2886.

"This platoon was used very often on operations but had almost no losses, with a very high percentage of it's pilots returning from their missions. But when the new high performance Falke arrived, many were captured."

In fact the unit ID has it's origins in the Spanish Civil War as the emblem of Garcia Morato's squadron 'Patrulla Azul' and was later used by 15. (Spanische) Staffel / 'Escuadron Azul' of JG 51 formed from a group of Spanish volunteers June 21, 1942 (though variations of this emblem were used by all of the Spanish Squadrons).

"By June it was clear that preparations for the Wehrmact's 1942 summer offensive in the east were all but complete. But the only material reinforcement for JG 51 came in the unexpected form of a staffel of Spanish volunteers. This was the second such volunteer unit that Spain's Generalissimo Franco had sent to Russia, the first having served originally under JG 27 during the winter of 1941- 42.
Attached operationally to II. Gruppe, the newcomers' official title was 15.(span)/JG 51, but Major Julio Salvador's unit was more usually referred to within the Geschwader simply as the "spanische Staffel" - the spaniards themselves preferred 2a Escuadrilla Azul (2nd Blue Squadron). Whatever their nomenclature, the Spaniards would fight alongside the pilots of JG 51 on the Moscow front throughout the coming summer and winter months"

The birds in the insignia are flying in the "Kette"- formation. This formation, consisting of three planes flying in a 'V', was used by all airforces at the time for ground attacks. The formation was invented by deputy squadron leader, Captain Muñoz Giménez. The motto "Vista Suerte Y Al Toro" translates as : A Glance, Luck, and at the Bull.

"During World War II, one air section, the "Blue Squadron" (Escuadrilla Azul),operated alongside the Blue Division (Division Azul). The Blue Division was a Spanish volunteer group which fought alongside the Axis Powers on the Eastern Front."

A couple of examples of 'Blue Squadron' aircraft here and here.

Hans Huckebein the Unlucky Raven

"This was the personal suit used by Lieutenant Colonel Gerhardt Lal, Commander of the 2nd Night Assault Regiment. Because of the excessive noise generated by the PK4 when utilized for ground attack operations it was decided to demobilize the regiment for 2 months while alternate tactics were developed, however, during this time the Lieutenant was able to destroy an AFS."

The 'Hababuk', a cartoon diving bird which was the symbol of both 5./JG26 and I. Stukageschwader 1, is the closest match I could find to the 2nd Night Assault Regiment emblem (though I suspect it has borrowed the bomb from the insignia for 9. Staffel, III. Gruppe, Sturzkampfgeschwader 77) ...

As I researched the background of these staffel emblems I came across an interesting quote ...

"All Staffeln aircraft carried emblems from late 1939 until they replaced their Bf 109E’s with FW 190’s in the Autumn of 1941. The 5th Staffel’s was one of the first chosen in the Geschwader. Oblt. Herwig Knueppel’s cartoon raven, Hans Huckebein, was popular in the Condor Legion."

Who was Hans Huckebein and what was Condor Legion? Turns out that Hans was the protagonist of an illustrated children's book, an unfortunate cartoon raven created by German painter/poet Wilhelm Busch in 1867.

Hans Huckebein (the unlucky raven) Prologue

"His ending moves me; only, mind,
A diff'rent one I can't envision.
He dies - for tragically designed
Was our hero's disposition.

There is a predetermined fate,
And fortune seems to be essential;
But how to act, how to relate
- that is his fault, not providential.

The moral, thus, remains unchanged
And is no empty declaration,
For if once more this world he ranged,

He'd be the same old aggravation."

Apparently the likeness of Hans Huckebien had been borrowed earlier by the Luftwaffe during the Spanish civil war by pilots of the Condor Legion.

Pardon My French

The 'archer' symbol from the Wave AFS decal sheet is based on the markings of 1. Escadrille 'Archers', Groupe de Chasse I/1, Escuadron de Chasse 1 of l'Armée de l'Air française (the French air force) ... as can be seen here and here.

Better The Devil You Know

A familiar SDR unit marking in the Ma.K universe, the devil's head first appeared as one of the decal options included with the Nitto Gustav kit and is the insignia of the 401st Armor Hunting Soldier Battalion,1st company.

In reality this iconic Luftwaffe symbol (sometimes depicted on a white shield, yellow shield or even no shield) was commissioned by Hans-Ekkehard Bob when he took over command of 9. Staffel, III Gruppe, JG 54 (a typical aircraft of this unit can be seen here) Seeing this portrait of Hans-Ekkehard Bob makes me wonder if he was one of the models for the Gustav pilot bust?

"Hans-Ekkehard Bob was born in Freiburg/Breisgau, Germany, and grew up in the village of Staufen. In 1936 he joined the Luftwaffe and after training, flew the Arado Ar68 in Czechoslovakia. But later he was assigned the Bf109, his favorite fighter. Throughout the war, he flew the B, C, D, E, F, and G models of this unique little fighter.
With 9./JG54 he flew his first combat missions in Poland and France as a Schwarmfuhrer. His first victory was a Gloster Gladiator. He was later given command of 7.Staffel. But on November 28th 1940, he commanded 9.Staffel, where he asked an unteroffizier of logistics who was a skilled artist, to create several ideas for a unit emblem. The one which Bob chose was the 'Devil's Head,' which was applied to every aircraft and unit vehicle. (After Bob left the unit, the 'Devil's Head' emblem disappeared)."