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First, thanks to everyone that attended the battle at Ft. Bellfountaine this weekend. Before I start, I don't want to offend anyone or piss anyone off that gets this email. I know several Rangers receive this email and this in no way, personally directed at them.
The reenactment got started at around 10 am. This is the starting time at most of the reenactment at Ft. Bellfountaine. The first mission was to rescue some Airborne troops and take out the Germans in a Orchard field. There were referees at this battle to call hits and to help guide the reenactors. There was to be no organized lunch. It seemed the battle started to fall apart before it even got started. We loaded up in a truck and went to the starting area. The Rangers forgot to get a gate unlocked. We were going to drop off a 1919 to help the Airborne. Then we drove off to the starting area. This gave the Germans an extra 30 mins to get set-up. I was informed that the Airborne unit was taken out before we even got close to where the battle was. At 11am we got into the field and started to engage the Germans when the battle was stopped. The people running the battle said no one could see anything and wanted to restart the battle.
So, once again we waited for the Germans to regroup. Then we reengaged, we didn't even get into the woods and there they were. In short a lot of name calling and a lack of control in general by the event sponsors.
Before the start of the second battle, the event sponsors said there was going to be a lunch break. Wait, didn't they just say "no organized lunch break"..... The objective was to locate and recover a 3 man recon team and take and hold the bath houses. This quickly became a pissing match between the axis and allies. The allies had a good defensive area around the bath houses and were defending it. Then the referee told me not to defend the hill behind us where the Germans were tiring to flank us. So, in the middle of the battle the referees said that there were 2 battles going on, and not defend the hill. So, in the middle of the battle the sponsoring unit changed the whole battle plan from what they decided. Then the referees called for another stop in the battle.
The referee said that the battle was one big pissing match because the Germans could see us on top of a hill 300 yards away and they could take us all out. Then he wanted to know what kind of battle to do next where everyone was happy. So, we did another battle along the river to finish the day. At this battle I personally saw 3 Germans arguing with a referee after I took out their M.G.
My thoughts on this battle are this. Very poorly done. Not much preparation time put into these battle. Not enough back-up battles. No thought about the task of the referees. Poor control of the overall battles. Poor battle plans. Two battle stoppages, one on each battle. There were 2 planned battles and we did 4 battles. In general, the worst River battle yet. When I was taking one of my hits, I was talking to my guy's about how bad the battle was and how I've never seen anything like what was going on. Then Joe Kalal said " this is suppose to be fun!!! aren't you having fun" I said for the first time in my reenacting days "NO".
I know some unit that don't do this battle because of most all the points that I covered. All I can say is the sponsor unit better making this battle a more quality battle or they might loose more quality units.
Just my thoughts. Your thought are always welcome. I hope other had a better time than I did. I did have some good German kills and it's always great to see my friends and fellow reenactors.
Capt. Scott Wilke
14th Armored Division
68th Armored Infantry Bn.