Helmut’s Newville

May 17, 2012 - 2 Comments

by Jim Barnes


The following is Bill Donegan’s report on the Spring GWA event at Newville:

Newville 2012

For several years my friend and neighbor, Katz, has been inviting me to the WW1 event in Newville Pa. Since I collect WW1 German equipment as well as WW2 I decided to accouter up as an Old Prussian Sgt. With the Winterfeld, Oberschlieses Infantry Regiment

Since my friend, Jim Barnes, was going as a Russian attached to the French Army, I met him at his house and followed him to the event location in Pennsylvania. Linda stayed home for this one.

Arriving in Newville at the Great War Association site, I was transported back in time to France, April 20, 1918. Following registration I parked my car next to John Dubbs and open the trunk to sell some stuff to help defray expenses.

Katz arrived with his usual entourage from West Virginia, and I was informed that I was just in time to take part in the Friday night battle. Since my old 1916 Mauser had broken the spring plate, it was decided that I should take to the field as a medic. I was invited to attend the officers meeting with Katz, as our leader, Rudi Weiss, (AKA Marsh Wise) had not yet arrived (he was procuring gas masks for new recruits for IR 23).

I soon learned that I was the only German medic at the event, and I eventually became the medic for the entire German Army! I was given command of a unit of German Red Cross Nurses (we even had an ambulance), and I was asked to report to German HQ for orders.

The night battle was the most realistic, hardcore, immersion reenactment that I have been to in a long time. I followed 22 men onto the battlefield of no man’s land and had to crawl from crater to crater patching up the wounded as fast as I could.

There is a film of this night battle on You Tube showing flares going off, machine guns blasting and men charging the trenches.

Bill Donegan

Comments (2)

Hugh Dolan

May 17th, 2012 at 8:13 pm    

Great post, interesting story and good contribution to our understanding of WW1.

Bill Donegan

May 19th, 2012 at 8:57 am    

This photo was taken after capture when I was searched by the French and Americans. I am usually more buttoned up than this.

Carl Heudtlass

Leave a reply

Name *

Mail *