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Presents
MICHAEL WITTMANNS StuG III in the Balkans Campaign
 

Background

The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; Lord Byron 1788-1824

The hardy inhabitants of the high valleys and montane landscapes of upper Macedonia were no strangers to foreign invasion. From the vast hinterlands to the north, barbaric incursions had for centuries been a threat to their way of life. Whether from the savage hordes of wiry tribesmen on their shaggy ponies of ancient times, or the panoplied splendour of successive conquering armies, they had all come this way in the quest for plunder in the lands of Thessaly, Epirus and classical Greece.

Now it was happening again. These dark, lupine shapes slipping down by rocky trails from the forests and high passes were no plumed cohorts as Byron saw the invaders of another era. Absent were the greens and golds of Islam or the red St George banners of the Crusaders, or their wild horns and trumpets, but to the Macedonians, the symbols and trappings borne by these silent, fair-skinned giants, though less flamboyant, were just as alien and touched off the same ancient fears. It was, to them,just another manifestation of the recurring blight on the land, of pillage, plunder and submission to the "Wolves from the North." For the Grenadiers in the half-tracks and the Panzers manning the assault guns it was a different story. With the near zero temperatures, the mud, the almost constant rain and the savage fighting of the Klidi and Klissura Passes now behind them, it was like a glimpse of the Promised Land. Well-tended estates and manorial farmsteads in an Arcadian landscape were more like their ideal expectations of rural Greece than anything they had seen so far.

The inhabitants need not have worried about plunder and despoliation from these stern faced newcomers. That would come, sadly enough, in the years of occupation ahead, but at this moment they were about to come into contact with some of the most highly disciplined troops in the German Wehrmacht. For this final print of the Wittmann Trilogy, Barry Spicer, in perhaps his most splendid work to date, brings us this idyllic scene as the scouts of the Leibstandarte Aufklarungs pause to survey the ground ahead in their drive to the south. Overhead, the Henschel HS 123 dive bombers snarl off in search of resistance hot spots, but at this point the Commonwealth troops from Australia and New Zealand are in full withdrawal to form new defence lines further south. With the vehicles drawn to a halt our scene goes into still frame as the leaders consider their next move. Instructions from the chief of the reconnaissance section Sturmbannfuhrer Kurt Meyer, better known as 'Panzer' Meyer, were that extreme caution must be observed when entering centers of civilian habitation. The mood of the Greek civil populace had yet to be accurately gauged and there was danger of ambush or even open resistance to be considered. One of the SdKfz 251 half tracks would descend from the high point, which was affording them such an excellent field of view, and 'dismount its troops in the vicinity ofthe dwelling and outbuildings below. The second 251 would remain at the top of the rise maintaining radio contact with the first. If there was any sign of resistance the two StuG IIIs would be ready to provide support fire with their MGs or with HE from their short 75s.

Michael Wittmann, commanding the Sturmgeschutz (StuG) IlIA in the foreground, sits above the commander's hatch as he passes instructions to his loader. As soon as the half-tracks go into action the StuGs will pivot to the right and cover the target area.

The Balkans campaign has been a learning experience for' Michael. Recently promoted to command a new vehicle and weapons system like the StuG III, he has risen to the challenge and gained mastery over the many foibles of his machine. Michael's ability to adapt and apply himself, to refine his techniques and broaden his knowledge, allowed him to achieve excellence and continue to build on his success, eventually earning himself the title of the greatest tank commander of all time.

But that was in the future.

Print Specifications

Main Print:

"MICHAEL WITTMANNS StuG III in the Balkans Campaign" Limited Edition
Limited to 745 Prints, Certificate of Authenticity provided
Full colour, 930mm (width) x 690mm (height)


Array

"MICHAEL WITTMANNS StuG III in the Balkans Campaign"
Limited Edition Print

signed by Artist and numbered

Limited to 650 Editions
Price: US$130.00 plus shipping


Array

"MICHAEL WITTMANNS StuG III in the Balkans Campaign"
Limited Edition Print

signed by Artist and numbered

Limited to 30 Proofs
Price: US$195.00 plus shipping


Array

"MICHAEL WITTMANNS StuG III in the Balkans Campaign"
Limited Edition Print

signed by Artist and numbered

Limited to 65 Remarques
Price: US$250.00 plus shipping

 

 



 




 

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