On Sunday May 3rd, WWII reenactors will be recreating Germany on 7 May 1945 at Latta Plantation in Huntersville, NC. The following represents a brief synopsis of what the 504th P.I.R. was doing in the days before the surrender of German troops, otherwise known as VE (Victory in Europe) Day:
2 May: All throughout Germany roads are clogged with German soldiers and other displaced persons attempting to reach American and British lines before being overtaken by Soviet troops. Under these conditions the 504th is advancing towards the town of Ludwigslust, a city of about 10,000 people. General Gavin, commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division meets with and accepts the surrender of the German 21st Army Group. The surrender will take place over the next 7 days as all of the army group’s troops filter through 82nd roadblocks and checkpoints.
3 May: 82nd paratroopers make contact with Soviet troops in the town of Eldenberg. Toasts to Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill are accompanied with copious drinks of vodka. For the 504th, the fighting is over.
5 May: The 504th discovers Wobbelin, a concentration camp home to Russian, French, Spanish, Belgian, Polish, Dutch, and German citizens who were considered undesirable by the Nazi party. While not an extermination camp, hundreds of dead litter the camp from a combination of being worked to death, starvation, and disease. Citizens of Ludwigslust are forced to help exhume and respectfully bury bodies found there.
7 May: German General Alfred Jodl signs documents of unconditional surrender at 02:41. In Ludwigslust 504th chaplains lead a service to commemorate the dead.
8 May: Full surrender of German forces goes into effect at 11:01 am.
For the following weeks the 504th performed occupation duties, mainly looking after German prisoners.
The weekend of 1-3 May, the All Americans will be participating in a living history event at Latta Plantation in Huntersville, NC. We will be representing the 504th P.I.R. in the days following the invasion of Holland and the taking of the critical bridges that the 82nd Airborne Division became famous for. Our specific scenario will be of H Company on the main line of resistance in the vicinity of the Den Huevel (Dutch for “Den of the Devil”) woods where the the 504’s third battalion became engaged in a small yet ferocious fight with the Germans. Here is a timeline for the action with a focus on the Den Huevel woods action: (more…)
This document is meant as a guide for reenactors wanting to portray a paratrooper company aid man/medic in the 82nd Airborne Division during WWII. These notes are mainly taken from the book The Way We Were: Doc McIlvoyand his Parachuting Medics by Michel De Trez (D-Day Publishing, 2004) with supplemental information as necessary. The subject of the book, Doc McIlvoy, served as regimental surgeon for the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment so the information is fairly specific to that regiment. However, McIlvoy was very influential in creating and refining combat medical treatment (see page 38) so with a bit of extrapolation one can make assumptions about the practices and equipment of other regiments in the 82nd. This guide will do just that for the 504th P.I.R., along whom the 505th served in Sicily, Italy, Holland, Belgium, and Germany. (more…)
Whether it be to our significant others or our Reenacting Life Partners, the All Americans wish all of you a very happy Valentine’s Day.
In other news, we’ve been doing some checking around and realized that some of our links were still pointing to our old site. We think we’ve caught all of them, but if you find a bad link, please be sure to let us know.
Apologies for the rhyming title, but thanks to Cpl. Matthew James and many others, it may just be that the internet’s most complete set of 325th G.I.R. photos is now online! Both the 504th and 325th photo pages need some curating and organizing still, as well as your comments on what you are seeing, what is going on, and who is doing it, but they’re up for your enjoyment and research purposes.