Oct 29, 2015

Posted by in Featured, Life & Musings | 0 Comments

Call me Tovarich Nika! The Haydenville Ostfront Tactical

This past weekend, I ended up doing something totally out of the ordinary for me; something that I never imagined I’d ever be doing, but had always admired. I went out, dressed authentically, and in essence transported myself back in time as a reenactor!

Before I tell you about how amazingly fun it was, let me back up and tell you how I wound up at such a thing.

July of this year I ended one relationship, and started seeing someone else not too long after (don’t judge folks, there’s a lot of history behind it). This person is a reenactor, and in August he got the news about the Haydenville Ostfront Tactical. He gave me two choices about this: I could tag along, or I could go to gulag (Russian prison, basically). He was joking (kind of), but my interest was piqued. Despite my anxiety over doing something so wildly different and new, I did want to go. So, he made sure there’d be loaner gear available for me, and we prepared to go. Later on we’d also convince my brother to join us, as he’s a big WWII nut.

Dressed as a Partisan

All dressed as a Partisan!

Now, this was not an event that was open to the public. This time, it was more of a game for reenactors to really get into things, and be as immersive as they desired (without being farby, aka unauthentic). During this event we would be re-creating late WWII, between the Russians and the Germans. So there would be weapons (firing blanks), there was a scenario, and we had goals to achieve. I would be joining the Russian Partisans with Pete (the guy who invited me), and I would not have to pretend to be male because there were a lot of female fighters in Russia.

Our scenario was thus: “After the end of offensive Operation Bagration German forces trapped in Latvia between Riga and the Red army are consolidating their positions. Former Red Army units and the local Jewish resistance fighters are now being pressured by German forces desperate to eliminate them before advanced units of the Red Army can reinforce their position. The local Oberst has instructed his adjutant O.Fw Tietze to form and command a Kampfgruppe. All units not currently absorbed into the fight to protect Riga and it’s strategic surroundings are to destroy a recently discovered Partisan band at their airfield. A small contingent of regular Red Army soldiers under the command of a Starshina Federov has been identified by locals friendly to the German forces, and appears to be attempting to link up with the Partisans to secure their airfield for future Red Air force use.” – From the event page

So, thanks to some lovely landowners out in Haydenville, MA, we actually had a small airfield to defend, and there was some lovely forest and swamps surrounding it. All in all, the Germans were going to have to fight their way across about a mile stretch of land to get to the airfield and take their two objectives: The radio communications and the supply dump. The Red Army was going to try to fight them back, and as Partisans we’d be the last stand at the airfield, since Partisans were nothing more than local guerrilla fighters basically. The Starshina (Russian commander) assured us that the Germans would have to use a bridge to cross the swamps because they were so large and fairly deep, so we set up our defense based on this information (despite our nagging intuition).

We partisans had to plan carefully, too, because there was a whopping seven of us. Even though you can resurrect infinitely, it still takes time and you don’t want to plan poorly.

Group of Partisans

Group of us Partisans. Left to right: Me, my brother, Pete, Rick, and I don’t know the last guy’s name.

The day started pretty calmly, with us getting into positions and… waiting. We did a lot of waiting. The gunfire could be heard, but it would be an hour and a half before we saw any action. During this time Pete, our Partisan Commander, made sure we all knew our strategy and we got into positions.

It was during this time that the Starshina came over to tell us that we didn’t have to defend the swampy back-side as heavily. According to him, the Germans had been engaged at this point and had basically been annihilated. The Russians had managed to flank them as they [the Germans] came upon where they were waiting, and then in their retreat ran into the Red Army they had unknowingly passed. So in the beginning, we came out on top. Like I said though, infinite resurrections.

Eventually we did see action, and once it started we were in it hot and heavy. Like the Starshina said, they were coming from the path of least resistance. Well, they were for the most part anyways. I have so much respect for the team that decided to cross the chest-deep swamps, only to come out on our airfield through pricker bushes; pricker bushes that they had to fight in. These guys were cold and wet, and now their hands looked like an angry cartoon cat had its way with them. Yikes!

The last stand!

The last stand!

We were pushed back, and the Germans did obtain their objectives. But not without a glorious last stand between us and them, which would have resulted in a lot of pain for both sides. Unfortunately, we had to actually coax the Germans to open our booby trapped supply box. :\ We had dummy grenades in a box with the flag of the Red Army hanging out (as enticement) that had a note on the lid that read: “BOOM! If you are reading this, you and everyone within 15 yards is dead. Everyone beyond that up to 25 yards isn’t having too good a day

So overall I’d consider it a stalemate, and a well-fought battle. Had a lot of fun, and met a lot of new people. It never got about 48ºF that day, and in fact it had been 24ºF overnight! We managed to keep warm, and moving around certainly helped. Thankfully, you’re allowed to be farby overnight to keep warm, so Pete and I camped out in a little teardrop camper. Not the Ritz, but it was better than a tent! Hahaha.

Can’t wait for next year! 😀

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