U.S., German WWII re-enactors to gather at Baumholder
June 21, 2006
BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Re-enactors playing old enemies will come together for fun later this month in Baumholder, re-creating both sides during a major World War II remembrance event.
The Baumholder-based Phantom Regiment, a private command-supported historical group, is putting on an international weekend June 30 through July 2. Re-enactors from the Germany-based PzAbt101, representing World War II mechanized infantry soldiers, already are signed up, said Sgt. 1st Class Kevin DeVos, Phantom Regiment commander.
The German group will re-create a military encampment in a field at H.D. Smith Barracks, said DeVos, assigned to S-1, or administration and personnel, for the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
That campsite will be “sterile,” DeVos said — purged of anything that might tip off spectators that it’s 2006 instead of 1943.
DeVos also hopes to get current German soldiers from the German army, as well as re-enactors representing Great Britain and other U.S. World War II Allies, with about 150 re-enactors participating.
The weekend is free and open to the public, and attendees will see some of the rarest equipment and uniforms from a bygone era, DeVos said. “We’re bringing in extremely rare vehicles you’d never see in the United States,” he added.
World War II vehicles on display will include a German half-track, an American half-track, motorcycles and a Kübelwagen, Germany’s version of the military jeep.
A huge collection of tanks, artillery and other equipment are on display at the 1st AD’s official museum, which will be open for the event.
Attendees will be able to watch a demonstration of a combat simulator.July 1
Engagement skills demonstrations from 9 a.m. to noon. A re-enactors’ collectibles-and-equipment swap meet will be held at about the same time.Re-enactor combat action demonstrations with blank ammunition at Baumholder’s military operations on urbanized terrain, or MOUT, site from 2 to 5 p.m.A “night combat operations patrol,” although it will not include firing blanks.July 2
Church services by a U.S. re-enactment chaplain (in English and German).A convoy with “troops” through the post from 11 to 11:45 a.m.A combat demonstration at noon. All eras will be represented up to the current U.S. Army M2A3 Bradley tank.The only thing missing from World War II will be some of the period’s more infamous symbols, DeVos said.
Although the post is exempt, the weekend will observe German law, which forbids the display of swastikas and other symbols of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich and National Socialist Party, or Nazis, he said. So the “Viking Division” will represent the Waffen SS, Hitler’s elite troops.
Every other element will be as authentic as possible, DeVos said.
“We want to show people how they looked, how they lived, how they did their work.”