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The Allied invasion of Europe’s underbelly began on July 10 1943 with the invasion of Sicily. What followed was Operation Baytown, the British landing in the “toe” of Italy on September 3rd. The Italian government surrendered five days later, but German resolve and resistance stiffened. Though the Italian Campaign was always considered a secondary theater for the Allies, it still resulted in the deaths of 90,000 Allied and 110,000 German soldiers. Gritty defense by German soldiers in Italy’s rugged terrain led to such famous battles as Salerno, Anzio and Monte Cassino.
Dragon’s fine new set of German panzergrenadiers poignantly depicts four men involved in this protracted fighting. The 1/35 scale set will have broad appeal, the mix of uniforms and personal equipment allowing modelers to portray soldiers anywhere within the 1943-45 timeframe. They are wearing a wide variety of warm-weather uniforms commonly seen in Italy, including the cotton herringbone twill (HBT) uniform. This alone makes them very valuable to figure modelers, but they have other advantages too. Each figure is shown in a casual pose, perhaps reflecting their exhaustion from the constant fighting. One of the figures is resting his weary frame on a chair, the latter being delightfully crafted and included in the set. All figures come with an option of two heads so that either a cap or a steel helmet can be worn. It was soldiers such as these panzergrenadiers who managed to hold up the Allies in Italy until April 1945, and this new Dragon figure set captures their look beautifully.