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Silence of the Bells
Jberardi
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Georgia, United States
Joined: July 10, 2007
KitMaker: 70 posts
Armorama: 63 posts
Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2019 - 05:10 AM UTC
I was recently listening to military oriented podcast which provided the inspiration for my next build. During World War 2, the Third Reich seized approximately 175,000 church bells from bell towers in Europe. The bells were confiscated for their copper and tin and ultimately utilized by the Nazi armament industry. Newer bells were shipped to Hamburg and other German refineries to be smelted. Virtually no European nation escaped the seizure as significant bell losses were recorded in Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, the USSR and Yugoslavia.

The idea for the build is to depict a smaller village church as the Nazi’s arrive to confiscate the bell. I plan on including an Opel Blitz as the vehicle that will cart away the prize. The focal point of the scene will be a verbal confrontation between a Nazi officer and the local priest as villagers / civilians look on. Background actors will include German soldiers preparing to enter the tower and remove the bell.

My thought was to model the officer as a Senior Lieutenant (Oberleutnant). Not sure if that rank would be considered too high for such a task, so any thoughts or suggestions here would be greatly appreciated.

I’ve scoured Google Maps of western Europe and have come up with a couple good examples of smaller rural churches. Most likely, I’ll blend a few together so that I have a structure that fits the scene. The key here is not to have a church so big or a tower so high that it dwarfs the rest of the dio.

As always, comments and thoughts are always welcomed.
ivanhoe6
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Wisconsin, United States
Joined: April 05, 2007
KitMaker: 1,811 posts
Armorama: 1,106 posts
Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2019 - 05:38 AM UTC
Great idea ! Good luck on your project and PLEASE post lots of picture !
jrutman
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Pennsylvania, United States
Joined: April 10, 2011
KitMaker: 7,440 posts
Armorama: 7,434 posts
Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2019 - 05:39 AM UTC
Great idea! I look forward to this one coming to fruition.
J
Jberardi
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Georgia, United States
Joined: July 10, 2007
KitMaker: 70 posts
Armorama: 63 posts
Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2019 - 05:50 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Great idea! I look forward to this one coming to fruition.
J



Thanks Jerry. I've followed most of your builds and you seem to have an uncanny eye for detail and accuracy. What are your thoughts on the Oberleutnant as the officer in this scene? Too high of a rank?
southpier
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Alberta, Canada
Joined: December 11, 2009
KitMaker: 478 posts
Armorama: 287 posts
Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2019 - 07:59 AM UTC
interesting subject and one which I never thought about. following along.
Golikell
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Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: October 25, 2002
KitMaker: 1,347 posts
Armorama: 507 posts
Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2019 - 11:46 PM UTC
Good, and often ignored subject. Though the impact on the war itself must have been of limited impact, the impact on the local community (specially the smaller ones) was immense, not to mention the loss of historical important bells!!!!
I honestly would not know the ranks of the officers for such a job. Sounds like an unpopular one though, so I could imagine that the higher officers would delegate this to lower ranking ones...
jrutman
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Pennsylvania, United States
Joined: April 10, 2011
KitMaker: 7,440 posts
Armorama: 7,434 posts
Posted: Monday, November 25, 2019 - 02:17 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Great idea! I look forward to this one coming to fruition.
J



Thanks Jerry. I've followed most of your builds and you seem to have an uncanny eye for detail and accuracy. What are your thoughts on the Oberleutnant as the officer in this scene? Too high of a rank?



I would say it's entirely dependent on the time during the war,IE,early/mid/late. By the middle of the conflict there were not nearly as many officers available for such mundane tasks. I would say a mid level NCO would be more accurate here. By the end of the war we had Oberlt's commanding batallions!
J
americanpanzer
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Iowa, United States
Joined: May 12, 2014
KitMaker: 491 posts
Armorama: 488 posts
Posted: Monday, November 25, 2019 - 04:15 AM UTC
As a clergy person and modeler this is especially interesting to me; I've read about these confiscations; it would be cool to see a diorama depicting one. Am looking forward to seeing your project.
Pongo_Arm
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British Columbia, Canada
Joined: January 27, 2017
KitMaker: 114 posts
Armorama: 114 posts
Posted: Monday, November 25, 2019 - 04:44 AM UTC
This story is one of many interesting ones told in "The Wages of Destruction" by Adam Tooze. I highly recommend this book. But it never occured to me about what a fantastic diorama it could be.
obg153
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Texas, United States
Joined: April 07, 2009
KitMaker: 940 posts
Armorama: 926 posts
Posted: Monday, November 25, 2019 - 03:04 PM UTC
Your idea sounds like a scene that could have occurred in the movie, "The Monuments Men," where they were trying to recover looted works of art. Towards the end of the movie, they read a list of numerous other things the Nazis looted, and church bells were mentioned. Using the Opel sounds good, but how are they gonna get the bell down from the tower? Looking forward to see how you work this out.
Dioramartin
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New South Wales, Australia
Joined: May 04, 2016
KitMaker: 1,089 posts
Armorama: 1,085 posts
Posted: Monday, November 25, 2019 - 11:13 PM UTC
Great idea Jim - presumably if a small church then smaller bell(s), and assuming the belfry was open or had windows they’d just detach & drop ‘em straight down to the ground…?
Jberardi
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Georgia, United States
Joined: July 10, 2007
KitMaker: 70 posts
Armorama: 63 posts
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 03:23 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Great idea Jim - presumably if a small church then smaller bell(s), and assuming the belfry was open or had windows they’d just detach & drop ‘em straight down to the ground…?



What you describe here is exactly the case. See below:



I don't plan on showing the removal of the bell, but the lead up to the removal instead. My thought is to have a couple of soldiers carting tools (rope, lumber, and a sledge hammer or two) into the church. I'll probably show a bell from a previous confiscation in the back of the Opel to better convey what's about to happen.



TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 31, 2016
KitMaker: 88 posts
Armorama: 86 posts
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 11:41 AM UTC
Jim, a fascinating idea.

You may have seen that I built an Italian church complete with bells for my Liberation, Italy 1944 diorama. If you have not sourced the bells already I can recommend the ones I used from Aero-Naut (and they're German I believe!)



Interestingly, in Britain I believe church bells were silenced until 1943 - so that they could be used only to signify the invasion that never came - but not actually melted down...
HARV
#012
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Wyoming, United States
Joined: November 07, 2003
KitMaker: 2,965 posts
Armorama: 1,158 posts
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 01:51 PM UTC
That is an interesting bit of WWII history that I wasn't aware of. Now you have really piqued my interest and I plan on doing some research on that myself. I am looking forward to seeing your diorama as I really like the idea of it and think it would look great.

Thanks,
Randy
Frenchy
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Rhone, France
Joined: December 02, 2002
KitMaker: 12,313 posts
Armorama: 12,101 posts
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 10:34 PM UTC
Here's a similar scene in Crest, France in February 1942 (Crest was still in the "Zone libre" at that time). But here the church bell is replaced with a bronze statue. Those in charge of the job are civilian workers and so is the truck in the background.



Related article in French

H.P.
Jberardi
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Georgia, United States
Joined: July 10, 2007
KitMaker: 70 posts
Armorama: 63 posts
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - 04:36 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Jim, a fascinating idea.

You may have seen that I built an Italian church complete with bells for my Liberation, Italy 1944 diorama. If you have not sourced the bells already I can recommend the ones I used from Aero-Naut (and they're German I believe!)



I have been following your build for a while now. I was able to find a couple of model ship sites in the States with some scale bell options. Thanks for the suggestion.
vw8243
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Cork, Ireland
Joined: February 03, 2016
KitMaker: 5 posts
Armorama: 5 posts
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - 05:29 AM UTC
Jim great idea
for the people removing the bell you could have some civilian workers been directed by a couple of reich Arbeitsdients men,
there uniform adding a bit a color!
timcc2008
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United States
Joined: May 12, 2010
KitMaker: 133 posts
Armorama: 129 posts
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - 06:30 AM UTC
Jim- This sounds very interesting. I will be following.

vr,

Tim
Removed by original poster on 11/28/19 - 02:00:16 (GMT).
Removed by original poster on 11/28/19 - 02:02:14 (GMT).
Jberardi
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Georgia, United States
Joined: July 10, 2007
KitMaker: 70 posts
Armorama: 63 posts
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - 02:27 PM UTC
While I'm waiting for the Opel kit to arrive, I've started to work the framework for the church. I'm using 1/2 inch foam insulation board for the structure. I will ultimately include the roof and three finished sides with the rear wall painted black to denote it is out of the scene. The photo makes the structure appear as though it is out of square, but I promise it isn't. I think its the printing on the board.



I still need to cut in another window on the main floor and an opening in the belfry. I plan to use 2mm chipboard to simulate cut stone around the windows, doors and corners of the building. I'll give the whole building a coat of Durham's Water Putty and scribe in all the detail.

Cutting foam isn't neat or pretty especially for the windows and doors. So to clean it up, I used very thin Plastruct pieces to smooth things out. The image below illustrates what I mean.



Jim
Golikell
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Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: October 25, 2002
KitMaker: 1,347 posts
Armorama: 507 posts
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - 07:14 PM UTC
The pictures don't seem to work?
Jberardi
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Georgia, United States
Joined: July 10, 2007
KitMaker: 70 posts
Armorama: 63 posts
Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2019 - 05:05 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The pictures don't seem to work?



Thanks for the heads-up. Should be visible now. I've been trying to find a suitable photo storage and sharing site that will provide links to be used with this forum. So far, no go.

Golikell
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Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: October 25, 2002
KitMaker: 1,347 posts
Armorama: 507 posts
Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2019 - 07:21 AM UTC
No problem
I use scalemates, created a project, uploaded pictures and copied the links. Pasted in here and hey presto...
Golikell
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Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: October 25, 2002
KitMaker: 1,347 posts
Armorama: 507 posts
Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2019 - 07:43 AM UTC
Base of the building is starting off fine, by the way