Fire and Rain – Newville 2010

March 16, 2010 - 3 Comments

by Jim Barnes

James Taylor may not have been at Newville this past weekend (March 12-13), but there was a lot of firing and plenty of rain…not to mention mud. Despite this, the hardy reenactors who ventured out into the trenches seemed to have a rip-roaring time. The event at the Great War Association site was sponsored by the 193rd Rifle Division and the WWI German Group FR90.

To those who have never been to the GWA site, I can only describe it as an awesome reenacting location. There are few anachronisms visible at any point on the field. Also, the entrenchments and no-man’s land give a good impression of a battlefield. Accomodations on the field consist of WWI style bunkers belonging to the various GWA groups. The 193rd members were allowed to use the bunker belonging to the Russian Legion WWI group. This bunker is comfortable and close to the front lines, which is convenient as a command bunker. The biggest problem is  the occasional intrusion by trench raiders, but that is an occupational hazard, I guess.

The battles started Saturday night and continued through wind and driving rain until around 10:00. Russian trench raiders brought in a somewhat disoriented SS man who had approached them in the dark saying he was lost. They informed him that he was now a prisoner of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army. After an interrogation, he was, of course, ‘shot’ and sent on his way. Saturday continued the theme of wind and rain pretty much all day. As the Soviets were outnumbered, we were largely restricted to holding defensive postions against constant German raids. The scenarios ended shortly after three o’clock and the combatants returned to their lines to get some hot food and tea. The sponsoring units furnished a large and hardy meal of stew and dumplings for anyone who wished to brave the continuing rain to get it.

Saturday evening, Starshina Pertsov and I visited the 3rd Rifles, RKKA and were their guests for an evening of Russian music, vodka, cards and general merriment. They are fine comrades and excellent hosts!

To sum up, the weather for the weekend was truly atrocious, but in its own way, it added to the event. Both sides had to adjust their plans to take the conditions into account. That is realistic and to some extent, that should be what it is about. I  didn’t hear anyone say they were sorry that they came.  I am still pretty sore and tired, but I am glad that I attended. I hope we do it next year.

Thanks to John Niemiec for additional pictures.

Comments (3)


March 18th, 2010 at 7:28 pm    

Great story, Jim. Looked like an awesome event. Very realistic. I am going to check out some of the photos John has sent me and see what they look like in B&W…try to give it that period look.

Jim Barnes

March 18th, 2010 at 8:05 pm    

Glad you liked it. Seems funny to think you could have a good time getting soaked like we did, but it worked out.


March 19th, 2010 at 11:43 am    

Like kids and puddles!

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