S/Sgt Lafayette Pool
(distributed by Chesapeake Model Design)
|Review Type:||Figure Review|
S u m m a r y
|Contents:||14 parts in offwhite resin|
|Advantages:||First personality figure of a known American tanker; options on assembly provide for a true cameo figure to complement any US collection|
|Recommendation:||For all WWII US armor fans and anyone wanting to collect tank "aces"|
F i r s t L o o k
For years, figure manufacturers have visited us with every variation of German personalities and German WWII tank "aces", mostly Michael Wittmann, and on occasion others, such as Tamiya's package deal kit of Otto Carius and his crew. Other nations got short shrift, particularly the US and Commonwealth, and most of the tank crew figures were very generic. For the first time. Chesapeake Model Designs has commissioned a figure by Mr. Yoshi, the Japanese master figure sculptor, of arguably the top scoring US tanker of WWII, S/Sgt Lafayette Pool.
First, a bit of background. Lafayette G. "Lafe" Pool (1919-1990) is to US tankers what Richard Bong and David McCampbell were to the USAAF and US Navy their top "gun". He served as the platoon sergeant of 3rd Platoon, Item Company, 32nd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, from 1941 to 1944. During a brief 83 days in combat in France with the 3rd US Armored Division, Pool and his tank crew were credited with 258 enemy tanks, SP guns, and armored vehicles destroyed, over 1,000 enemy troops killed, and over 250 taken prisoner. Fighting from three different Sherman tanks, Pool and his crew accounted for at least three 2nd SS Panzer Division Panther tanks and a large number of other heavy weapons. Pool was twice recommended for the Medal of Honor, but an "infantry" mentality Army recommendation board decided since tanks were crew-served weapons, he did not deserve the Medal. Pool was awarded nearly every other medal the US Army gave, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit, the Silver Star, and the French Legion of Honor.
In his last battle, Pool was wounded, eventually losing a leg. Given a prosthesis, he
returned to active duty in 1948 and served until 1962, retiring as a Chief Warrant
Officer. Lafayette Pool is buried at the military cemetery on Fort Sam Huston, Texas.
Finding sufficient photos of Pool to use for making a figure is not easy, but CMD managed to pull it off, and with the help of his widow provided Mr. Yoshi with enough information to do an amazing job on the figure. The figure comes with two heads (one bare headed, the other with US WWII tanker's helmet with goggles up) and two sets of footgear (combat boots and Texas-style "cowboy" boots, which Pool wore in the tank when he was not around senior officers.) There are optional arms for either standing at ease or holding a tanker's helmet. Although early versions of the figure did not come with painting instructions, Pool had sandy blond hair and blue eyes.
Pool commanded three different tanks, all Shermans: one M4 or M4A1 (exactly which is not known, but since Pool was a top tanker and given some "perks" by the regimental staff, probably an M4A1), one later model M4A1 with 76mm gun and "Cullin Device", and a second M4A1 76. All were named "In the Mood".
The figure is available directly from Chesapeake Model Designs, PO Box 393, Monkton, MD 21111, with $3.00 for postage and handling per order.
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