After action report: OBV/Elbe Tactical, Bedford, Pa. 2014

February 28, 2014 - No Comments

by Jim Barnes

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The following is a report from our correspondent, Bill Donegan, just back from the front:

 

For those who don’t know or who have never been, you can time travel back to Germany 1945 via Old Bedford Village (OBV). OBV is located 1 minute from the Pa. Turnpike off exit 146 Bedford, 220 Sawblade Road. 814-623-1156 or 800-238-4347. However, “The Elbe Tactical” is not open to the public. It is only for WW2 reenactors. I must emphasize this strongly. If you are not a reenactor you cannot get in! Tom Chiricos and I ended up as Feldgendarmes guarding the bridge against public intruders. If you want to attend this event contact Roger Bombard at 703-431-6843.

I had decided to attend the event with my Volkssturm Unit, as I was still sporting my beard from the Civil War events coming up shortly. However, I was the only one to show up (Except for Tom). Some of the southern WV group bailed out due to high fuel costs, and Lt. Forschauer (Jim Barnes) had to take a detail to Templehof Airport in Berlin to meet a visitor from Brazil. Yes we now have planes which can travel non- stop from Brazil to Germany without refueling!

The 24th I.D. made a surprise visit this year and brought their Flak gun, as well as a female crew to operate it. They deployed along the road from the covered bridge to the village. We had a couple of Luftwaffe FJ manning the road, as well as a couple of SSFJs guarding the bridge with us (us being myself and Tom, who was the town Burgermeister).

Instead of taking defense positions, the 2nd Gebirgs, 137th decided to mount an attack against the American invaders. I saw Joseph Ramminger leading a large group through the forest toward the Ami positions. Later we heard an enormous amount of firepower being unleashed in that sector. Tom and I began by digging in the snow along the road, under the trees, in the shade. We maintained that position for quite some time. We were kept advised by officers from every German unit there to expect the Russians to try and sneak up on us, but they never arrived. We moved our position inside the covered bridge, then began acting as bridge police turning away public visitors. After about three hours, Drew of 1944 Militaria (The premiere vendor there) advised us that the Americans had all abandoned their positions and were having lunch. Tom had to go put on the sauerkraut and Linda wanted to take me to the town bistro so we retreated leaving the bridge to the ss.

The highlight of the event for me was discovering that Robert Weaver, whom we had met two years ago at the pottery shed with the 193rd Russian Naval Infantry, was now the Chaplain of the 1st Battalion, 394th Infantry Regiment, 99 Division. He was holding a period Church Service at the Tavern at 4:30. Ray Partenheimer and another German a Herr Foster, joined us in song to the glory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We sang a couple of German Hymns: “Come Christians Join to Sing,” and “Grosser Gott wir loben Dich!” “Holy God we Praise Thy Name” Weaver then read the 30th Psalm and delivered a short message about the power of song. Incidentally the power of song was felt because the Holy presence of God was made known during the service as His Spirit was felt among the worshippers down stairs as well as those upstairs, who fell silent during the singing. We finished the service with “God Bless America”.

Respectfully submitted by

Bill Donegan

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