Wednesday, May 6, 2015

WWII Day at Graeme Park

Every year a local park puts on a weekend dedicated to WWII living history and battle reenactments. The sound of music straight from the 40's drifted through the air, past women done up in rather impressive victory curls and men (and some boys) in uniform. 

I dropped by on a beautiful Saturday afternoon just in time to see a squad of Germans square off against a number of Americans, with a single British Paratrooper and a couple French Partisans tagging along.

As an overall thought - I wasn't particularly happy with the chosen location for the demonstration. It was in a rather overgrown field that blocked plenty of the events going on, so much of what the spectators experienced was a combination of the sounds of blanks being fired and the reenactors yelling at each other (sometimes in German, which I thought was a nice touch), and the occasional colored smoke grenade, which I assumed was used to indicate when certain events in the demonstration should take place. I thought the demonstration I went to a couple years back, which took place in and around a small collection of buildings, gave a much better show. Still, there's nothing quite like watching a bunch of reenactors running through the woods firing blanks out of rifles, sub-machine guns, and machine guns at each other. 


After a mandatory yelling of orders, the Allies went to one side of the field, and the Germans to another.




There were two viewing areas for spectators. The first was placed in between the Allied and German starting positions and was so crowded that I would have needed a stepladder or stilts to see anything. The second viewing area was placed behind the German starting position. Luckily for me, a great deal of the other spectators moved to the other area, so I got to see some of the later action.


The Germans were quickly forced back by the attacking allies, having been flanked on their left from the outset.


Some of the German reenactors were lucky enough to be captured instead of 'shot,' but there were some pretty convincing death tumbles. Kudos to the MG-42 gunner who managed to give the Allies a little scare after they thought all the Germans were either 'dead' or captured.


There was also an area for the living history folks who didn't take part in the demonstration, but whom had dug a convincing defensive positions, complete with machine gun nests and fox holes. I got to watch a little drama unfold as the replica M1917 sprung a leak, and a couple of its crew members leaped into action to repair it.



It was a fun event to attend, and I'll definitely try to remember to visit next year's WWII weekend.

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