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I have just received two(2) sets of Srelets World War II Union of South African infantry. Very happy and blessed am I. They are everything I expected and more. The plastic soldier review photographs do not do full credit to the figures in hand being examined by one's Mk.I human eyeball. Don't get me wrong the review photographs are exceptionally good but any camera compared to the human eyeball pales into second spot.
Yes, to answer the question as regards the Union of South Africa infantry figures, Strelets have got the South African "Polo Pattern" sun helmet absolutely correct . There is no further work, redesign or anything needed to produce a better South African "Polo Pattern" sun helmet. As modelled by Strelets in their World War II Union of South Africa box they are perfect. This set "is not broke so don't fix it".
As regards the sub machine gun I have identified it as definitely a Mk. V Sten gun. The Lee Enfield MK.IV rifle foresight gives it away as well as the butt(wooden) and wooden furniture under the Sten gun. The side mounted magazine alsobrands it as a Sten gun. The Mark V Sten gun was a better produced, much better finished Sten gun than all the others. It was usually issued to the paratroopers and was produced in 1944. I am not sure when they were issued but would hazard a guess that they would have been issued to the paratroopers before the D-day invasion on the 5/6th June 1944.
As regards the Sten gun armed figures in the Strelets Union of South Africa infantry set, due to the Lee Enfield MK. IV foresight I would have no hesitation myself in removing the side magazine from the Sten gun and using them as ordinary riflemen. I can hear the utter shock from the "purists" as regards this sacrilege, burn him at the stake. Too bad I am a wargamer first and I wargame for fun and I am not one of those rivet counters or people who walk around with micrometres.
However as regards the South Africans and Sten Guns in Ayssinian campaign I have noticed that the campaign in Italian East Africa(Abyssinia) lasted from the 10th June 1940 - 27th November 1941(1 year, 5 months, 2 weeks and 3 days). Ist pattern of the MK I Sten gun was made in December 1940/January 1941. Could the South Africans have received MK I Sten guns before the end of the Abyssinian campaign ??? After all the Sten gun was so simple a design that it verged on sheer brilliance and it would have not have been impossible to produce it in the gold mining machine shops if the blue-prints were sent out by air courier to the Union of South Africa. The Union of South Africa was given a manual on the Radar sets used in the United Kingdom and the South Africans very quickly produced their own sets in short order.
Definitely a moot point. Perhaps somebody out there can give us a definite answer.
Anyway perhaps we get too pedantic in our wargaming. Perhaps we can allow the South Africans Sten SMG's in Abyssinia or what if the South Africans were equipped with Lanchester SMG's and they didn't all go to the Royal Navy or Airforce. Wargaming is powered by our imaginations not batteries.
Please excuse me as I will have to sign off now as the "purist" gentleman from the local wargaming club have arrived in black hoods and cans of petrol for suggesting such sacrilege as using imagination.