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Friday, September 13, 2013

Bolt Action - Hitlerjugend

I got my hands on a bunch of surplus Germans for Bolt Action recently.  Most of the figures were 28mm Warlord or Foundry, but a hand full were 25mm figures.  I am not entirely sure who the manufacturer was, but if I was a betting man I would bet they are from Battle Honors, which is available through Old Glory 15s or War Web.  These 25mm figures were too small to go with my 28mm figures or my 1/48 vehicles.  So I boxed them up and put them on the shelf.  Then recently I was paging through the Armies of Germany book, looking for hidden gems, and found the Hilterjugend squads.

For those of you who are not neck beardy armchair generals/amateur historians, the Hilterjugend were more or less the Hitler Boy Scouts.  This paramilitary youth organization took adolescent and teenage German males and indoctrinated them into the Nazi ideology.  Tragically, towards the end of the war, the Hitlerjugend were formed into military units and children as young as 12 were given rifles and panzerfausts and sent to fight the Allies.

Most of these children had no choice but to join the Hitlerjugend.  In fact membership in the Hitlerjugend was so wide spread that there was no attempt to blacklist political figures in East or West Germany after the war who had been members.

Hitlerjugend units were one of the last lines of defense when Berlin was attacked by the Soviets in 1945.  Reports indicated these indoctrinated children were some of the fiercest fighters in the city, but many were just scared kids.  To represent this Hitlerjugend squad are inexperienced, but have the Party Indoctrination special rule.  Party Indoctrination is similar to Green, but if the squad becomes regulars on their check they roll again.  If they roll another 5+ they also become fanatics.

Hitlerjugend can also be equipped with bicycles and up to five Panzerfausts and their NCO may have a submachine gun.   In my google research I found many examples of Hitlerjugend in uniform.  I opted to go with a combination of the an all black and SS camo uniform.  Hitlerjugend also wore red and white striped arm bands with a swastika on their left arm.

The NCO for my Hitlerjugend is a 28mm SS NCO from Warlord games.  He represents either an older more senior child or a male of normal fighting age. The 28mm figure also helps show the contrast between the size of the 28mm and 25mm figures.    In Bolt Action I would uses these troops as inexperience tank hunters, all decked out with panzerfausts.

Sorry if this post offended or seems in bad taste, but I have to confess, I struggled with this post.  In fact I struggled with even painting these figures because of the subject matter, child solders.  One of the things about wargaming is that we are recreating some of humanities most tragic moments on the table top.  War disrupts and destroys life.  I think most historical war gamers have a profound respect and gratitude to those who serve and also recognize the tragedy of war.  We don't game because we, in some way, are war mongers or glorify the tragedy. To me, a post like this is humbling and brings our hobby into perspective.  Children being sent to war did not stop with Nazi Germany and to this day it plagues many parts of the world.   I hope that this post not only taught you something about the war, but also brought attention to the plight that many children face today.

Mentioned in this Post
Bolt Action
Old Glory 15
War Web
Armies of Germany book

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