The ‘V.I.P.’ prisoners of Schloss Itter, found themselves the temporary caretakers of the castle on the morning of 4th May 1945. The guards had fled and so it was that some of the most influential former, political leaders of pre-war France were left to ponder their fate. Not unsurprisingly, given the differing political backgrounds, tempers became frayed during their tenure at the castle, but when they realised that they were at the mercy of the marauding SS Troops their resolve suddenly galvanised.
When help did finally turn up they were reported as being somewhat disdainful of the size of the relief column and with the first shots of the battle ricocheting off the stonework, the suggestion of them taking cover with the wives and children was met with Gallic outrage, the gentlemen preferring to stand their ground on the battlements rather than cowering in the castle basements.
I have decided to field a unit of French V.I.Ps. as part of the game and as you will see their shooting is ineffectual, but bravery remains high. The castle defenders will have to decide if it is better to have them hide or add to the melee, in a bid to thin out the SS Troops? Given that the game is effectively over if the unit is completely destroyed this is not a decision to take lightly!
When it came to selecting miniatures, I started with 'Artizan Designs' and stumbled across some likely candidates lurking in the Maquis and Partizans sets. The addition of a couple of chaps from the Department of Paranormal Studies helped to fill out the unit, but felt they needed a little extra to ‘sell’ the idea of them being armed, yet doddery. Fortunately I had a plastic sprue of ‘Warlord Games’ Germans to hand which offered up a few pieces of equipment that seemed to fit the bill.
I haven’t named the individual detainees as part of the game, but may revisit this nearer the time, instead I envisage them supported by characters such as Hauptsturmführer Kurt-Siegfried Schrader, a convalescing SS Officer who was persuaded to stand and fight with the French Prisoners.
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