Greetings fellow wargamers! I have been in southern Germany (the Black Forest region) and France on business this past week. The company I work for owns a paper mill in the region and I was visiting some of its customers. The region is rife with military history, especially the Alsace-Lorraine region of eastern France, where for generations, France and Germany sparred over its ownership. Even today, the towns are a mixture of German of French names. The restaurants are superb, as a result! The best of both worlds integrate to make a delightful culinary experience!
A couple of times a year, I visit our German paper mill, which is located in the state of Baden-Wurtemberg, a couple of hours on the autobahn south of Frankfurt. The area has a rich connection with the American Civil War. The German Revolution of 1849 had considerable impact on this region, and thousands of expatriates fled to America as a result of the conflict, many settling in Missouri, Illinois, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin in communities already rich with German heritage. Many of these men would enlist in the Union army during the Civil War.
Quite a few of these former German revolutionaries and immigrants became important officers in the Federal army. Several fought at Gettysburg, including Carl Schurz of the ill-fated XI Corps. Ironically, my own ancestors were also from this area (from the Heidelberg region), but had moved to North America several generations before (in 1709).
From a wargamer’s perspective, the Frankfurt / Heidelberg / Baden-Baden area offers a large selection of hobby shops and model railroad stores with extremely nice accessories and terrain items. Faller and other German plastics companies produce extensive lines of model RR items that are directly useful on the miniature wargaming tabletop – trees, grass flocking, fencing, scenery items, buildings, etc.
Anyone else use German-made model railroad items for your layout? What is your favorite and why?