Sometime in 1995 was visiting Germany and around 11PM went to an out the way gasthaus. There I ordered a wiezenbier (the best German beer) and sat down. The gasthaus had the ambience of a place that had been there a long time and was empty except for two men in their seventies sitting a few tables away. As I sat there enjoying my wiezenbier I could not help but overhear some of their conversation, some of it in heavily accented English and some in American English. After a while I walked over and asked if I could join them and buy them a beer.
They looked at me with the suspicious eyes that would greet an intruder, they looked at each other and I perceived a subtle almost invisible motion of shoulder shrugging then invited me to sit down. I introduced myself as Marshall , the German introduced himself as Gerhardt and the other man who turned out to be American, introduced himself as Mayo.
After the usual banalities I asked if this was one of those meetings between former World War II enemies (many beers had transpired by now). Gerhardt laughed and said "Nein,nein I vas Leutnant Gugger, Panzerkommandant of a Jagdtiger, a piece of schiesse as you Amis say, and ve und our men fought bravely together". My eyebrows shot up, brain synapses totally firing, my attention riveted. The American then spoke in a Texas drawl "Well I was in charge of an artillery forward observer unit in an M3 halftrack in western Germany near the end of the war and what he says is true".
The Jagdtiger crew and a few infantry stragglers needed a respite and headed to a small glade. Unaware of each other's presence the American unit had the same thought at the same time and located the glade on a map and headed there. Both groups arrived at the same time at the same place and in that nanosecond of mutual recognition, there was a bright flash, the ground trembled and erupted in a hellish roar.
"Ja, the sound vas vorse dan ze red artillery on the Eastern Front" Captain Thompson then said "After the bright flash and that roar, my brain could not process what was happening, the Jagdtiger got a round off in the direction of the sound, then it was wasted, the commander knocked out of it. The M3 was disabled quickly as well, and then they came". "We are the only one's that got out".
There are no chronicles in Wermacht or U.S. Army records of this encounter. Today somewhere in Germany there is an area cordoned off, guarded by the Bundeswehr with deadly force authorization to prevent trespassing. If you could look in there you would see an old rusted tank destroyer and halftrack, and most curiously spears and arrows in pristine condition.
What follows is what was related to me.
Here's a great overhead shot of the whole diorama!
Want to learn more about this diorama and how Marshall made it? He has some tips and info for us here. The Making of Desperate Allies
The New Scenery Tips & Techniques (Model Railroader) Looking for a good book on how to make Diorama scenery? This book is not just for railroaders. It is perfect for the diorama maker.
How to Build Dioramas - Looking for a good book on how to build Military dioramas and how to paint the models, tanks, airplanes and other things? This book is terrific. I own it and love it.
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