This is my new model, a french SAS jeep called “LA GUEPE” (The wasp).
My nickname in modelers world.
A great story for such a small model!
THE STORY :
From what I was able to reconstruct, "La Guêpe" was one of the first jeep parachuted in June 1944. One of the four who participated in the Battle of the Maquis of St Marcel, although she was not yet baptized at this time.
On the night of June 5 to June 6, 1944 will be parachuted the first stick of French SAS for, mainly, operations Dingson (South Brittany) and Samwest (North Brittany).
Around June 7th, the first French SAS of the Digson operation will start to regroup at Sérent, near St Marcel on the drop zone with the code "Baleine” (Whale).
Almost every night there is a drop of equipment and new french SAS.
At the same time FFI and Resistance begin to rally the area and equip themselves with weapons and ammunition. Other SAS, whose actions are completed, including those of the Samwest operation as well as those of the "Cooney parties", other actions commandos scattered in Brittany, will join them later.
It will be nearly 2500 men surrounded, advised and supervised by about 200 French SAS who will be present on June 17, on the eve of this battle. In the same night, 4 jeeps will also be dropped on zone, a world first in operation.
On June 18, the Germans will launch an attack on this area of 800 hectares.
The 4 jeeps will serve as mobile fire support. Support however limited because Vickers containers crashed on the ground and they are no longer in a state of service. It will be Bren that will be mounted on the jeeps but the rate of fire will be reduced.
On the evening of June 18, the maquis dispersed. The balance sheet results in the loss of thirty dead, sixty wounded and 15 prisoners, these figures being random according to sources. Opposite the Germans will have suffered much more losses with figures between 300 and 600 soldiers killed and wounded. The following days, the Germans will exercise a real manhunt with many abuses committed, including the civilian population suspected of assisting the SAS.
The SAS will not stop their special actions as well as the training and supervision of the FFIs. And this until the complete liberation of Brittany.
At the beginning of August, the SAS began to regroup little by little on Vannes and collect their equipment and their vehicles (Jeeps and Bedford trucks). They will also reform, train and see their numbers increase by the arrival of volunteers FFI bretons. Now motorized, each combat platoon is made up of 3 super-armed jeeps. All garages in the area were requisitioned to transform the jeep received, which also explains their great diversity of "clothing", each tinkering in his corner.
So back to our sheep, or rather to my wasp!
In a garage near Vannes therefore, it will be refurbished (and probably baptized) before the Spencer operation, which will begin late August with the aim of going along the Loire to hinder by rapid action and harassment while withdrawing German troops from south-west to northeastern France and cause them maximum damage.
Source website FFLSAS : http://lerot.org/joomla25/index.php?lang=FR
Men of the Wasp during Operation Spencer, photo taken in Nevers
From left to right, Patrick de Foucher, Henry Hirsh, Denys Cochin and René Dessablon
THE WORKS TO DO :
A reconstituted copy of the Jeep "The Wasp" is present at the Breton Resistance Museum in St Marcel but I found some elements too differents from SAS jeep photos that I found on the web.
I preferred to trust the reconstruction made by Henri Pilon and published in the magazine "Classic Military Vehicle". The SAS jeeps of this era are still an intermediate version between an airborne model jeep and the SAS Europe jeep with their armor and their tanks at the rear. This reconstruction also seems more faithful to the picture above.
So I started from a mix of Jeep SAS Europe from Dragon Models (for SAS specific equipment) and that of S-Model, for me the most beautiful at 1/72. Scratch, and some parts of that of Heller (pretty too!) Complete the set.
Like Mr. Pilon on his re-enactment, I will make the same changes to my basic S-Model Jeep:
- Cut-out front grille,
- Bumper shortened in the manner of airborne jeeps,
- Black headlight left,
- Removable flywheel type "airborne",
- Back basket,
- Bren support left side,
- Jerrycan holder right side,
- Vikers paired with search beacon and passenger side support,
- Vikers and back support,
- Extra tank under the passenger seat,
- Modification of the exhaust in "Deep Mud" version induced by the installation of the second tank
- Basket on right wing for bag / first aid kit
- Spare wheel on bonnet and handle