WWII Airborne Reenactments

Normandy 2004, disguised as a "Leg" MP with a superb 29th Div reenactment group from all over Europe and the US.

Normandy 1999. Here I'm preparing to throw a pineapple grenade into the opening of a German Coastal Defense System somewhere behind Utah Beach, France. Note the liberated German canteen I have attached to my suspenders. Also of worthy note is the felt padding under the suspenders cut from the lining of a paratroop drop bag. Alan in the background provides cover while I let loose the grenade. Both model 1942 Jump suits shown have been heavily reinforced with canvas which was a standard practice by many Paratroops prior to D-Day do to the frailty of the uniforms to hold up in combat.

Normandy 1999. The next series of photographs were taken in the town of Hiesville, France. Although a 101st ABN Objective some Paratroops from the 82nd ABN found themselves in this area by misdrop and linkup with 101st boys to capture the town. Hiesville eventually was the first HQ for the commander of the 101st ABN Div, General Maxwell D. Taylor in France. As we approached the town we slowly rounded the church in two jeeps and stopped off the road by the cemetery. Their was a old farmer cutting the grass on the side of the road with a cycle. When he saw us he dropped his work and quickly came to greet us. His eyes were wide and jaw dropped as if he had seen us before. We greeted and spoke with him to realize he was a little boy when he first saw an American Paratrooper, he said he was waiting for us to return. His dress was the same as 55 years ago, not much has changed in Normandy since the war. I guess as he looked at us he thought the same. We asked him if we could make some photographs in his farm and with him and he warmly agreed.

Normandy 1999. Standing right is my good friend and Airborne buddy Doug Charette, Luckily he spoke French. Doug is a retired Engineer, Sergeant First Class who was stationed at SHAPE HQ in Mons, Belgium. He is wearing the markings of an Engineer from the 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion (note the big white letter "E" on his helmet). His reinforced Model 1942 Jump Suit is a very nice reproduction made byWW II Impressions. The color is exact! Zippers are the correct Tallon zippers even the air holes under the arms are present.

BACK TO TOP

From L to R: Doug, Geronimo, Hugh, Me, and the Farmer.

BACK TO TOP

Leading us into his Farm for some Calvados. Note the Engineer Demo Bag slung around Doug's chest. Attached to the outside is a coil of Det Cord with blasting cap attached. Barely visible tied to my left trouser leg is a British made MK 2 Hawkins Mine issued to paratroops prior to D-Day.

BACK TO TOP

On the Left is my good friend Hugh Marlot. He's a French Policeman who works in Paris. His father was a French medic in WW II who served with the American forces. My father was also a Medic who served in the 10th Mountain Div in Italy during WW II. Note the 48 star flags worn on our right arm. The one Hugh is wearing is of correct size issued to Paratroops and printed on medical gauze material. Mine is the larger plastified model usually issued to the Glider troops.
If you look at photos of the Normandy campaign you'll notice that Paratroopers assigned to the 101st ABN wore no US flag on their right arm as the 82nd ABN did. The 101st ABN was issued the toy cricket noise makers made so ever popular and famous by the motion picture "The Longest Day". Usually 101st Troopers wore a sleeve Gas Detector on the right arm which was made of a thin paper material that turned red if exposed to chemical agents. My general Porpoise bag slung around my shoulder has a rigger made carrying strap of white parachute harness material. Paratrooper chin cup is an original. My Model 1942 Jump Suit is made some years ago by a company in the US called Chattahoochee. Hugh's reinforced Jump Suit was built from scratch by his lovely wife. She has also reinforced my Jump suit and she has done a fantastic job on both! What a talent she has!!

BACK TO TOP

Here's a good shot to see Doug's Det Cord attached to his Demo Bag (2nd from left). M1's only fire blanks-French law!

BACK TO TOP