Old Bedford Village – East Front Tactical 2010

December 31, 2010 - No Comments

by Jim Barnes

The annual Fall Eastern Front event was held at Old Bedford Village on the weekend of November 12-14. This year offered an interesting  change from the usual format. Rather than just a series of firefights between the combatants, this year involved a day-long scenario in which German units (in this case, Grossdeutschland and 11th Panzer) occupy a Russian Village. The villagers have to deal with the occupation while the Red Army probes German defenses and masses for an all-out attack later in the day.

In a departure from my usual participation, I took the role of a civilian for the weekend-in this case, an old Cossack-the village elder. There were a number of male and female civilians in the village. Each had their own agenda. Some helped the Germans and others worked to undermine the invaders. We even had a small market in the village square in which we sold various goods. I found that I had few takers for the salt fish that I offered, but the Fritzes were quite taken with the gerkins which I was selling. Laurie Watson did a fine job of coordinating the civilian participants for this event. I hobbled around the village on a handmade crutch and apparently convinced some of the younger Germans that I was really crippled. This image was dispelled late in the day when, during the Red Army’s main attack, I tossed a grenade toward the German officers and ran down an alley firing my Nagant back at them.

After the Soviets retook the village, trials naturally had to be held for those who had collaborated with the fascists. As the main intelligence officer working underground in the village, my testimony was crucial, as was that of Mia Kirby-Smith, my very able assistant. Afterward, the Reds chased the Germans to the bridge out of town and ended the day with an all-out fight to take the bridge.

Overall, this was an interesting weekend. It combined living history with battle reenactment and gave the hams among us a chance to use our acting skills. I had a good time. I think things were slower for some of the military reenactors, but this is something that can be tightened up based on this weekend’s experience.  A tip of the hat to Bob Lawrence and John Pepper for running a fun event.

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