Sunday, May 5, 2013

WWII Reenactment

I love personalizing the children's education with reenactments.  We have watched Revolutionary War and Civil War reenactments, but War World II reenactments are rare.  I stumbled upon a WWII reenactment at Latta Plantation, while researching WWII for our unit study.  Latta Plantation is only an hour and a half drive from our house and I thought it would be a fun field trip.

We were pleasantly surprised by the event.  The men and women doing the reenacting were very approachable and extremely passionate about their roles.  

This man was making dog tags.
Right away, we were whisked into the reenactment.

The Nazis stopped and searched Little Man.
Egee goes through the obstacle course.

Getting instruction on how to use a bayonet. 
We visited a medic tent and learned how the wounded soldiers were cared for and processed.  We were shown the different materials used by medics and the pack the medics carried when they parachuted out of planes.

There were several displays of items the soldiers carried with them.  Troops from the infantry, airborne, and coast guard talked about their life. They explained how different things worked to the spectators.  Many children were interested in the airborne soldier's parachute.

This is the chaplain's display.  Every chaplain was required to parachute with a  communion set.   His other items would be delivered several days later.  

The reenactors had set up a working field kitchen and were serving lunch to soldiers.  The food was served in mess kits or large stainless steel cafeteria trays.  Little Man kept eyeing the chocolate cake!

We made our way to the communication tent.  They had all different kinds of radio equipment, decoders, homing pigeons (replicas), etc.  The officer explained how messages were sent and received and focused on the usage of the pigeons.  We learned that the Army would parachute boxes of pigeons to the front lines.  Then the communications officer in the front would attach a message to the pigeon and let it fly back to back lines or headquarters.  The officer explained that the Army had technical manuals for the operation and care of pigeons.  The children found it quite interesting.  We also learned about Vmail and how it was processed. The officer gave the children a Vmail form.

For the gun lover, there were a large variety of weapons used in the different campaigns.  Hubby and Little Man enjoyed looking at the weapons.  There were pistols, machine guns, rifles, cannons, etc.  The reenactors loved talking about the weapons and their origins.  This was right up Hubby's ally.  

We noticed a distinct difference in the German encampment.  Unlike the Allies, the Axis were enjoying wine and beer with their meals.  Their manner was more relaxed for the common soldier, but more serious for the commander and his staff.  Many things were similar to the Allies.  They had a fine display of weaponry.  Their soldiers had many similar items they carried with them into battle.

We enjoyed listening to a young nurse/medic explain the items used to treat injured soldiers.  She explained how all the soldiers were required to carry two types of bandages in their jackets (a rectangular and triangular bandage).  She also explained how all German soldiers had to carry a gas mask.  The Germans were very afraid of chemical warfare being used against them.  

Finally, it was time for the battle.  We witnessed the German Soldiers take over an Italian house.  They forced the family outside and searched them.  The Germans were then surprised by Allied Forces moving into the area.  The battle broke out and immense gunfire erupted.  The children put their fingers in their ears.  As the Germans fought off a small band of Allies on the north-side  another band moved in from the south-side   Now, the Germans were divided and another band of Allies moved in from the east-side of the property.  This proved detrimental for the German forces and the Allies were victorious. 

I hope to attend another WWII reenactment with the kiddos.  We had a wonderful time and want to bring my father-in-law out to one.  He is a walking encyclopedia of WWII and would have enjoyed the event.  Our children need to understand the importance of WWII and not forget those that gave so much to protect our freedoms.