Newville – March 2012

March 21, 2012 - No Comments

by Jim Barnes

It’s February, 1943. The invincible German juggernaut isn’t so invincible now, but it is still dangerous. The Red Army is gathering its forces, setting the stage for what will later in the summer result in the great battle of Kursk. But for now, the lines are static, the nights are cold and the bleak silence is broken occasionally by the crack of a sniper’s rifle or the chatter of a Maxim.

This is the annual Newville March WWII Eastern Front event. Sponsored by Fusilier Regiment Nr. 90 and the 193rd Rifle Division. Over the years, this has become an extremely well-run and fun event for all involved (hats off to Joe Murry and his crew for a fine job!).  As I volunteered to serve as regimental Povar, or cook, I spent most of the weekend back of the front lines, but did manage to get in a little action.

While I have not yet heard the exact numbers for the weekend, there appeared to be over 150 participants. There could have been more, but it was necessary to cap the number of Germans to keep the numbers from getting silly. As a result, quite a few potential Fritzes had to be turned away. The lucky ones who did get in line first showed spirit and aggressiveness and generally took their hits. You could ask for no more from fascist invaders!

On the Soviet side, Starshina Nikolai Ivanovich Federov (Mike Snyder) of the 3rd Rifle Division exercised overall command and did a fine job motivating the comrades to defend the Rodina. While members of the 193rd and the 3rd Rifle Divisions made up the bulk of the Soviet forces, there were representatives of a number of other groups, all of whom contributed to the effort.

One event stuck out for me for the weekend. On Friday night, I was heating chai and discussing pressing world issues with Doc Marvin, when Starshina Ivan Pertsev (John Pepper) came to the kitchen and told us that the Boss needed us to help defend the front. Grabbing my rifle and following him through the maze of trenches in the night we eventually came to the sparsely manned left flank of our lines. After firing several rounds in support of an attack off to our right, we settled in to see what would happen next. Suddenly, I felt a tug on my arm and a Teutonic voice telling me to “Kom mitt me!” In the sparse moonlight, I could see SS runes on the man’s collar. Three things became apparent, I was being taken prisoner, he had seen my rifle laying on the top of the parapet, and in the darkness, and he did NOT see the Nagant revolver I was wearing under my right arm. I immediately drew the pistol, stuck it in his ribs and BANG! the Fritz was dispatched. I quickly did the same to his companion and called for back-up, as there appeared to be more down the trench. Eventually all the dogs were eradicated. Score: Cook 2,  Fascists 0.

Following the conclusion of the battle on Saturday night, Starshina Pertsev, myself and some other comrades visited the 3rd Rifle Division’s bunker for a victory celebration. There was much merry-making with good comrades. A fine time was had by all.

I think this was one of the best Newville events in a long time. The weather was beautiful and everything seemed to go smoothly. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Thanks to everyone for putting out a strong effort!

 

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