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"The Red Baron" gun truck was displayed at the 2011 War and Peace show July 20-24 in Paddock Wood, England, by a living-history group named Rolling Thunder. The truck is a replica of the one used in the Vietnam War by Army Sgt. Wayne Dobos and his team. Photos provided by Dobos of the original gun truck were used in the re-creation.

"The Red Baron" gun truck was displayed at the 2011 War and Peace show July 20-24 in Paddock Wood, England, by a living-history group named Rolling Thunder. The truck is a replica of the one used in the Vietnam War by Army Sgt. Wayne Dobos and his team. Photos provided by Dobos of the original gun truck were used in the re-creation. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

"The Red Baron" gun truck was displayed at the 2011 War and Peace show July 20-24 in Paddock Wood, England, by a living-history group named Rolling Thunder. The truck is a replica of the one used in the Vietnam War by Army Sgt. Wayne Dobos and his team. Photos provided by Dobos of the original gun truck were used in the re-creation.

"The Red Baron" gun truck was displayed at the 2011 War and Peace show July 20-24 in Paddock Wood, England, by a living-history group named Rolling Thunder. The truck is a replica of the one used in the Vietnam War by Army Sgt. Wayne Dobos and his team. Photos provided by Dobos of the original gun truck were used in the re-creation. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

World War II re-enactors enjoy a break at the 29th annual War and Peace show July 22 at Paddock Wood, south of London. Many of the re-enactor groups at the event try to be as authentic as possible.

World War II re-enactors enjoy a break at the 29th annual War and Peace show July 22 at Paddock Wood, south of London. Many of the re-enactor groups at the event try to be as authentic as possible. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

German soldier re-enactors sit in a machine-gun nest in full fatigues during the War and Peace show. Next year, the event will take place  July 18-22.

German soldier re-enactors sit in a machine-gun nest in full fatigues during the War and Peace show. Next year, the event will take place July 18-22. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

A re-enactor poses in front of a German World War II aircraft at the War and Peace show on July 22.

A re-enactor poses in front of a German World War II aircraft at the War and Peace show on July 22. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

Authentic clothing and gear make re-enactors at the War and Peace show look like real World War II-era 101st Airborne Division soldiers. Many re-enactors buy deactivated World War II weaponry, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Authentic clothing and gear make re-enactors at the War and Peace show look like real World War II-era 101st Airborne Division soldiers. Many re-enactors buy deactivated World War II weaponry, which can cost thousands of dollars. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

Mock base camps similar to these housed hundreds of re-enactors during the five-day War and Peace show July 20-24 in England.

Mock base camps similar to these housed hundreds of re-enactors during the five-day War and Peace show July 20-24 in England. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

A row of Daimler Ferrets on display July 23 at the War and Peace show. Many of the vehicles featured in the show are privately owned.

A row of Daimler Ferrets on display July 23 at the War and Peace show. Many of the vehicles featured in the show are privately owned. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

A couple dressed in the traditional World War II British "Tommy" uniforms at the War and Peace show. Re-enactors and many event goers dressed in uniforms mainly from the British, U.S., German and Australian militaries, as well as other countries.

A couple dressed in the traditional World War II British "Tommy" uniforms at the War and Peace show. Re-enactors and many event goers dressed in uniforms mainly from the British, U.S., German and Australian militaries, as well as other countries. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

Even the kids get involved at the War and Peace show. Here a young boy re-enactor patrols a mock base.

Even the kids get involved at the War and Peace show. Here a young boy re-enactor patrols a mock base. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

Re-enactors from the All American Pathfinders, a living-history group, pause for a cup of tea on the hood of a jeep.

Re-enactors from the All American Pathfinders, a living-history group, pause for a cup of tea on the hood of a jeep. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

Thomas Isted spends his afternoon at the War and Peace show in a foxhole wearing U.S. Army attire from World War II. Isted, 16, has been with the All American Pathfinders living-history group for about a year.

Thomas Isted spends his afternoon at the War and Peace show in a foxhole wearing U.S. Army attire from World War II. Isted, 16, has been with the All American Pathfinders living-history group for about a year. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

Deactivated weaponry such as this mounted machine gun are for sale at the War and Peace show.

Deactivated weaponry such as this mounted machine gun are for sale at the War and Peace show. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

A gentleman portraying Lt. Gen. George Patton stopped by this particular camp to assess his troops at this year's War and Peace show.

A gentleman portraying Lt. Gen. George Patton stopped by this particular camp to assess his troops at this year's War and Peace show. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

A re-enactor dressed as a member of the German forces from World War II rides his vintage BMW motorcycle with sidecar, at the War and Peace show.

A re-enactor dressed as a member of the German forces from World War II rides his vintage BMW motorcycle with sidecar, at the War and Peace show. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

Two ladies in costume push lavish prams at the War and Peace show a few miles south of London.

Two ladies in costume push lavish prams at the War and Peace show a few miles south of London. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

A gentleman portraying a World War II-era German officer sits behind a photo of the officer he portrays. The officer in the photo is shaking hands with Adolf Hitler.

A gentleman portraying a World War II-era German officer sits behind a photo of the officer he portrays. The officer in the photo is shaking hands with Adolf Hitler. (David Hodge/Stars and Stripes)

Each year, just a few miles south of London, thousands of die-hard military fanatics and re-enactors of all ages assemble at the War and Peace show to portray the world’s armies past and present, shop at the many trade stalls and take part in numerous mock battles.

World War II-era tanks, half-tracks, armored cars, motorcycles and airplanes from countries representing Axis and Allied powers are not only on display, but many are put into action as well at Beltring, Paddock Wood, England.

Most of the equipment used by the living-history groups is either personally owned or shared among members — not many people collect 32-ton tanks as a hobby.

Most participants dressed in World War II- and Vietnam-era uniforms, but some smaller groups represented the more recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Some portrayed soldiers from World War I.

“… It’s great to show people what wartime was like,” said 16-year-old Thomas Isted. He is with the All American Pathfinders, who portray the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division around the time of the D-Day invasion in June 1944.

“I like to spend time with like-minded people who enjoy re-enactments,” Isted added.

Re-enactors go to great lengths to ensure authenticity of uniforms, gear and weapons.

Paul Bishop, a 10-year veteran of the War and Peace show and whose group re-creates the Vietnam-era U.S. Special Forces unit known as MACV-SOG, said he and other members keep in contact with about 20 former Special Forces soldiers to get advice about equipment usage, tactics and what life was like.

Bishop and crew also play recorded Armed Forces Network radio transmissions and unit communications traffic from Vietnam. Bishop even prepared Asian food each night.

Rolling Thunder, one of the larger living-history groups, had about 45 re-enactors and a host of fully functioning military vehicles with dedicated crewmembers at this year’s show.

One of those vehicles, an M-54 heavy cargo truck, was converted into a Vietnam-era gun truck, which was common during that war. Army Sgt. Wayne Dobos was in charge of the original gun truck, named “The Red Baron” because another gun truck from the unit was named “Snoopy.” Dobos supplied group organizer Roger Jerram with photos.

Jerram said the vehicle’s restoration is about 95 percent accurate — or as accurate as current UK laws allow — even down to the large bullet hole in the hood.

The 2012 event is scheduled for July 18-22. Find information at http://www.thewarandpeaceshow.com.

hodged@estripes.osd.mil


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