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Kovel was the site of a major WWI battle between Austrian and Russian troops. In WWII, fighting once again ebbed and flowed around this former Polish city. In March-April 1944, Kovel witnessed a fierce contest between German troops of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking and Soviet forces. Kovel was an important rail center, and German troops of Army Group Center had retreated to this ‘Fester Platz’ (fortified place). Indeed, the Fuhrer had decreed no retreat or surrender for the 9000-strong garrison that included Wiking Division soldiers. After the Soviets had cut rail lines leading to Kovel, soldiers of other Wiking units launched a relief effort to rescue the besieged garrison. While these troops succeeded in reaching the city and opening a corridor, only 2000 trapped soldiers from Kovel managed to escape from the fierce battle.
Dragon’s newest 1/35 figure set depicts four German soldiers from the Wiking Division, an elite division predominantly made up of foreign volunteers. The finely detailed plastic figures are suitably posed for house-to-house fighting such as occurred in and around Kovel. Each figure is fully equipped with an assault pack (Sturmgepack) that includes personal gear and even a rolled coat. For maximum versatility, the uniforms and footwear of the four figures vary somewhat. The poses are realistic, and the soldiers could easily be transplanted into another battle in a different location. Of special interest is the machine-gunner firing his MG42 from the hip. This is a useful and practical set of 1/35 scale German soldiers, with infinite possibilities for dioramas and vignettes.