Summer 2002 Great War Reenactment AAR (after-action report)
I just attended the Great War Association's 1st Summer Living History/Combat Event that was open to the public, on June 14-16, 2002. This was my first reenactment to the site in Newville, PA as well as with the 151ème Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne.
Upon arriving to the reenactment site I was totally amazed at the great amount of time and effort that Great War Association Member Units went into making the place look like the Western Front during the 1917-1918 period, Trenches, Barbed Wires, Shell holes, Craters, Bunkers, etc.
On Friday afternoon about 20 members of the various units of the GWA representing the British, French, American, and German units marched in the Newville Festival Parade giving the local residents of the area their first real look at the Association, as in the past all the reenactments had been closed to the public.
On Friday night the Germans sent a raiding party that penetrated the Allied lines at the British sector, calling for the various American and French units to help repel them out of the trenches. I was placed at the rear of the French column and was giving the job of protecting their backs. As we marched through the various trenches lines to help the British we were attacked by a German, who we dispatched, but not before he killed one of the Americans at the head of the column. We were eventually able to kill all the Germans that raided the lines, then returned to our trenches and bunker for the night. We were rained upon all night, as the French bunker is in process of bieng built, and we only had a tarp for a roof top. I was able to stay pretty dry and warm as I had placed my rubber poncho over my blankets and myself.
On Saturday the site was opened up to the public and we had set up various stations around the site for them to see the different living history programs. In the afternoon we staged a battle for the public. This was to be my first time that I was going "Over the Top." When the whistle was blown for us to attack, we rushed out of the trench only to meet with hail of bullets from the German Maxim MG's.
One poor French Poliu was not even able to get out of the trench as he was instantly killed. I was able to get one of the shell holes in No Mans Land, and fire at the German lines. I noticed that all my fellow comrades were either dead or wounded. The Americans then had come out behind us to carry on the assault but they were also getting pinned down. As one American soilder and myself were retiring back to our trenches were both killed by the German MG's.
Saturday night it was the Allied turn to raid the German trenches. The Germans were totally expecting us to attack that night and had set up their defense accordingly.
After it got dark we started to cross No Mans Land, and the Germans opened up with their MG's. pinning down the Allied attempt to get into their trenches. Both the germans and us were using Grenades to no effect. I was able find my way into a real big crater, which the Germans had not bothered to guard and was able to work my way foward without anyone even knowing I was there and get into a unguarded portion of their trenches. I worked my way down the trench when I was only about 100 feet from one of the German Maxims, when the tactical was declared over. I was disappointed at that as I was so close to taking out the Maxim Crew. I was the only Allied soldier that was able to penetrate the German trench though.
Even though this was a small event with about 50 reenactors and the weather was mostly rainy, I had a great time there and am now looking foward to going to the Fall event there in November.
Here is a picture of me standing guard at one of the firing positions waiting for the Germans to attack.
Here is the French Commander, Matt Williamson, dressed in the 1915 French Officers uniform with Red (Garance) trousers--these were worn up to 1916, when they switched to the horizon blue
Some of the members of thec 151ème marching through the lines to the staging area for the assault on the Germans
Waiting in the staging area for the grand assault.
Relaxing in our section of the line. The men are relaxing after had just eaten, brought to us by the American Red Cross Volunteer Nurse who was assigned to the French Army.
Picture of some of our trench line as you are coming from the rear area up the communications trench
A look across No Mans Land from our trench position--you can see one of our listening posts in the picture
A section of hasty built trench
This page last updated: dimanche 8 juin 2003 -- 4:28:50 AM