Newville Eastern Front Event 2011

March 27, 2011 - No Comments

by Jim Barnes

On March 11-12, 2011, the 193rd Rifles and the German WWI group, Fusilier Regiment Nr 90, sponsored what has become an annual event at the GWA site at Newville. This time, it was a spring 1945 scenario. For those of you have never been there, the GWA site is an amazing place. No other reenacting environment that I have seen gives you quite this sense of a battlefield. One of the other reenactors told me this weekend, that he had looked at a Google Earth picture of the site and it looked like a WWI battlefield. I believe it.

When I got near the site, I got a nasty surprise in that the main route in was blocked by flood waters. I thought that I remembered the back way in and started in that direction when I got a call from a friend, who proceeded to google the directions on her computer and relay them to me via cell phone. I didn’t get that GPS for Christmas, but in this case, it worked pretty much the same. Thanks Stacey! I hope no one else had the same problem and failed to find a way in.

After a safety inspection in No-man’s land, the action kicked off on Friday evening. The temperatures were cold and were made much more so by a constant, cold wind which was blowing in out of the west. The Red Army used the miserable weather to it’s advantage and launched a series of reconnaissance missions into the German defenses. These seemed to cause a great deal of confusion in the German lines for the remainder of the evening. The action was called at 10:00pm and everyone settled in for the night in whatever bunker they had available. It was certainly no night to be outside. The cold wind which had blown all evening picked up steam and howled all night.

By morning, the wind had died down and the sky had cleared. It was cold but beautiful and as the day wore on, it warmed up to a very comfortable temperature. Bill Gibbs did an excellent job as overall Soviet commander.  We began pressuring the Germans early on with attack after attack. On the only foray out that I actually attempted, I made it out to the far end of the Trench line and was ordered to keep the SS in that sector pinned down with occasional fire, while my comrades attempted to flank the end of the line. I never saw my squad again and as the Germans figured out that I was alone, I figured that I would soon be a casualty, however, to my relief, four Razedchikii scouts came up into the brush beside me. One of them was carrying an SVT-40. So, when the Fritzes came boiling out of their trench, we all opened up on them and they were cut down like the dogs they were!

Inevitably, the Germans figured how to get into our trench line, too, so there was a good deal of sparring in the area as well. By 3:00 in the afternoon, nearly everyone was tired, hungry and low on ammo, so things began to grind to a halt. The comfortably warm temperatures that had settled in by that time had also made me a bit drowsy. I was not too upset when we called it a day. The Fusiliers put together a big pot of great-tasting goulash and some superb pierogies for everyone who wanted some. Much thanks to Joe Murray and his kameraden!

Another tradition which has taken hold for the 193rd involves an after hours victory celebration with our brave comrades in the 3rd Rifles. These frontiviks are not only good with a DP-28,  but can  also play accordian, balaliaka and guitar and sing…all po-ruskie! Not to mention that they have excellent taste in vodka.

So, to all who worked hard to pull this one off and to those put a lot of effort into the tactical scenarios as well – bolshoya spacebo! for a job well done.



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