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1stPanzer Admin
Now I am not one to moan about things (generally) but can anyone tell me why reenacting Germans march so much better than reenacting Americans or Brits?!

We were at Gunpowder Mills in Essex last weekend - a glorious location for an event set amongst 170 acres of parkland dotted with old wartime and cold war buildings where they used to test rockets and bombs including the infamous 'bouncing bomb'. It made for a perfect setting, especially the amazing battle fought around the mostly falling down and abandoned scenery. We saw deer every day, the public were talkative (until we deafened them with the gas-firing MG34!) and the other groups were really friendly. We made some good friends that weekend, and I managed to actually get a little tipsy!

Anyway back to the point - while cooking our eggs (borrowed from the Russkies) and sausage (liberated from the Polish) a rather ragged bunch of Americans 'marched' past us singing a rather rude song! Well that was it - they had obviously laid down a gauntlet, for about 15 minutes later along come a band of slightly more professional looking Para troops, marching a lot better and almost in time however singing an even ruder song! Entertainment for breakfast time indeed.

Until not 10 minutes later along came the Grossdeutschland... wow, just wow. Not churning out a rude song but marching in time to an officer singing out 'links, rechts!' by the side of the men in his leather patched breeches just like the regular Wehrmacht officers from upper class backgrounds used to effect. They looked amazing, but wow how much training went into that! 

I ventured to their camp later in the day - I thought we were pretty authentic but theirs was incredible. They were actually really nice chaps though obviously very dedicated to their reenactment - and in the battle it was again a perfect storm. All praise to them indeed for giving the admiring public a chance to see how it might have really looked.

On another note - I had a very interesting conversion with a member of another group who are a little like WWIIRESW in that they are a loose band of all sorts who play Battle for Berlin and basically have people turn up when they can, representing all units. We had a discussion about equipment, and he made a very valid point about how people can be quite bonkers regarding ageing everything. He said, well actually equipment would probably have not been more than two years old, so wearing new equipment, and having non-rusty gear would generally be more accurate - after all, it wasn't 70 years old back then!

Great point. Think I will polish my boots again :-)

See you around.

Rose x 

1stPanzer May 9 '17 · Comments: 6 · Tags: equipment, marching
1stPanzer Admin
I suppose I saw it coming - being a complete tomboy I knew acting the part of a nurse at reenactments was never going to be enough for me. But the usual 'German women didn't fight in WWII' comment stuck with me for ages, so I reluctantly stopped looking at photos on the 'net of the beautiful burnished wooden stocks of K98s.

Then I read somewhere in my research about the Leibstandarte that in the Battle for Berlin, and at the defence of Breslau, some women did take up weapons. Though this was in defence, of course. My interest was piqued however, so I started some serious searching for sources that always seemed to be very well hidden.

At last I found an article by a lady American historian, determined to unearth untold tales of American servicewomen. In doing so, she discovered some interesting facts about all the women who fought in WWII, including a very few Germans!

"In November 1944, Hitler issued an official order that no woman was to be trained in the use of weapons - excepting those women in the remote areas of the Reich that could easily be overrun by the Soviets. In one such area, a 22 year old woman named Erna was awarded the Iron Cross when she, together with a male sergeant and a private, destroyed three Soviet tanks with panzerfausts. Lore Ley, daughter of a prominent National Socialist official, once knocked out a Soviet armoured car and captured military documents. However weapons training was still unofficial for German women until February 1945, when Hitler created an experimental women's infantry battalion. The war ended before they finished training."

In all, 39 German women were awarded the Iron Cross for their duty, though I have to admit these ladies were mainly nurses!

But the evidence is there and precedent exists for me to go and buy that K98, pull on my muddy jackboots and carry it with a sense of humility.




1stPanzer Dec 10 '16 · Rate: 4 · Comments: 3
1stPanzer Admin

A typical conversation:

"Oh so you play the Germans! Eeek, why?"

"Well we like the weaponry, the hardware and the chance to educate people about the Waffen SS"

"Really? But are you sure, is it not just the uniforms!?!"


What can I say? We get plenty of comments from the public about 'the uniforms', and Simon does get asked many times for photos (including a lovely old lady in a wheelchair!), and sometimes even slightly propositioned! I dread to think how much he populates the internet, and a quick search using 'officer, SS, motorbike" brings up yours truly, or indeed him indoors.

But on to the serious stuff - we have talked with many veterans at shows, and to date not one has been offput by our acting 'The Enemy'. Indeed, they ask us many questions, and also give us their unbelievably incredible stories, which we have listened to avidly. I was always concerned about the veterans, as both of us want to show the most utter respect at all times, and be grateful for their sacrifice.

At a show in August, we were invited to take part in the Remembrance Service, so we duly did not wear headgear and stood to attention at the correct times, avidly singing the hymns. We gave respect, and gladly received a little back.

So the question is, who is it that we do 'get flak' off? To date, it has been one isolated case of a group of school kids booing us every time we rode past on Bertha (our combo).

Well, to be honest, I think we can let them have that one - particularly as the school posted photos of the kids climbing all over Bertha on Twitter.

Rose, 1st Panzer.

1stPanzer Nov 14 '16 · Rate: 4.50 · Comments: 3 · Tags: 1st panzer, germans, waffen ss
LHolland82nd Member

Operation “Normandy Part Deux" was a success and now I find myself reflecting on my time in the French bocage two years on from the first amazing trip that changed the way I re-enact. It was hard initially to get to grips with how we could better the last trip, but we certainly did.  This year we decided to rough it, shunning the comforts of our gite for the damp, cold confines of the Normandy hedgerows and it certainly proved testing at times.

Our mode of transport was once again our reliable work horse ‘D-Day Doll”, at 77 years of age we were all nervous of whether this trip might be one too many for the old girl, after all we had covered around 700 miles in 2014. French port strikes and fuel shortages also threatened our pilgrimage to Normandy, running at about one pound a mile it would not of been the ideal place to run short on fuel so far from home. Alas, these worries did not arise and we arrived in good time at Cherbourg on June 4th. I found myself wondering about the the brave men and women who made this same journey 72 years ago, not knowing what fate awaited them.

We started our journey by heading south towards Carentan with a quick detour down the length of Utah beach, for the new recruits on our trip this was a splendid way to start, it’s hard to imagine these beautiful golden beaches as war torn battlegrounds. We avoided the crowds at Sainte-Marie-du-Mont and headed for Saint-Lo for our first nights camp which proved to be the coldest nights sleep I’d ever experience, leaving my modern sleeping bag at home in preference to a wartime wool one I found at my local salvage yard may have been a mistake but one that made me realise just how lucky I was that I even had it.

The rest of the week was spent touring the French coastline with stop offs at all the usual memorials and tourist destinations including Pegasus Bridge, Merville Battery, Colville Cemetery, Longues-Sur-Mer, Pointe Du Hoc, Arromanche-Les-Bains and Sainte-Mere-Eglise, to name a few. Having visited Normandy many times its fair to say I have seen a lot of change since my first visit as a 13 year old. It’s easy to see that the Anniversary of D-Day is massive financially for local tourist industry, shops, museums, restaurants and cafes really go to town for the week leading up to the 6th. Many people might have a problem with the way that some shops and and cafes make large amounts of money out of what essentially was a bloody battle in which thousands of soldiers and civilians lost their lives, personally I don't have any issue with this as long as it keeps the memory alive for that bit longer. The price of original memorabilia/artefacts has massively inflated over the years and and thats the only thing I find slightly contentious, looking at rusty pieces of metal with a price tag of five euros, what was it I was looking at? pieces of a German aircraft apparently! but we are to blame, we buy it and they supply it.

The return of the night drop was again a highlight of our trip, split into two teams we were tasked in navigating to “DZ O” (objective of the 505th Pathfinders) on D-Day morning, so once again we set off into the night, armed with blackened faces and 1940’s maps. Fortunately we found our field after roughly 45 mins, lighting our version of a Eureka beacon (candle) just after 0115 we sat and watched the flame flicker knowing that 72 years ago to the minute the Pathfinders of the 505th were deploying their Eureka sets in our exact location, this was an extremely poignant part of the trip and one that I will remember for years to come, we were tired, sweaty and wanted our cots, if only it was that easy for the men of the 505th, what an almighty undertaking.

We met one veteran on our journey, Ted Young. Ted lost his best friend after the invasion to a mortar round that left him unscathed. It was very moving to hear his story and be able to pay our respects at his grave at Bayeux. Veterans like Ted are owed a debt of gratitude that should never be forgotten, and their number is dwindling. We want to learn all the stories we can, to tell those same stories as often as we can to whoever will listen; when the last man disembarks, it'll be down to us to perpetuate the memory of these everyday heroes.

It would have been rude not to visit our French friends at the Cider farm that welcomed us into their home with open arms in 2014, this time however we were armed with treats, it was time for them to experience the delights of Cornish cider. Once again they didn't disappoint, letting us camp in their field and feeding us Grandmas famous rice pudding accompanied with calvados, it really is amazing how welcoming the french are to all re-enactors and I can imagine the soldiers of 1944 experiencing the same joyous hospitality, they really are thankful for their liberation.

Pointe du Hoc has a special place in my heart and I feel its because some of the destruction from the immense fire power is still visible. This year the battery was accompanied by an eerie mist and I chose to lay my personal remembrance cross on the bluffs of Pointe du Hoc. We had all been given remembrance crosses to lay were we saw fit. Pointe du Hoc in 2014 was an extremely poignant part of the trip, watching the fire works along the coast. What effected me then was more the sounds than the sights, explosions echoing across the cliffs gave me a tiny insight into what must have been hell on earth for the occupants of the battery.

We stayed in Normandy until the 11th of June, the days after the 6th were extremely quiet in comparison to the days before and it was nice to see Normandy out of the tourist season. It amazes me how there is always more to see in Normandy and highlights the massive scale of the invasion, from finding slit trenches on the Omaha bluffs to visiting La Batterie d'Azeville which I found particularly fascinating. 

Normandy is a “must visit” place for any historical enthusiast and i’d like to thank all the chaps that came along for the adventure this year with a special mention to Matt who did all the driving in the truck “D-Day Doll” and what a truck she is. Seventy seven years old and still going strong, we managed to burn through three fan belts, and over come two blow outs and one flat as well as a serious fuel leak and we all made it safely back home. The last working wiper blade falling off as we crossed the gangway into poole. So if you would like to join us on our next adventure into Normandy then send us an email at or find us on Facebook.

All the Way

Sgt. L.Holland


LHolland82nd Dec 14 '16 · Rate: 4 · Comments: 2 · Tags: airborne, wwii, normandy, 82nd
webmaste Admin
I thought I'd just share some thoughts on Christmas.

The 1st day of Christmas is 25th of December and the 12th day of Christmas is 5th of January.


When do we say "Merry Christmas" - A normal protocol is that this is for Christmas Day, so if you will see someone then, wait until the day.  If not, then the last time before Christmas.  A card is sent for Christmas Day, so no problems there.

Merry or Happy Christmas? - In England you can use either.  Merry is more of a "party on" state, whereas Happy is plain "be happy", but used for every other occasions too.

When is Advent? - Normally starting on the 1st December ( if you have an Advent calendar).  In the Church calendar there are 4 Sundays before Christmas, so if Christmas Day is on a Sunday, then, as this year, the First Sunday of Advent is on 27th November!

I hope this has been useful.  Back in the 40's things would have been very traditional.

webmaste Nov 29 '16 · Rate: 5 · Comments: 1 · Tags: christmas, protocol, traditional