By: Enid Burns
This past June marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, but the greatest amphibious invasion to that period was reenacted on Lake Erie this August at D-Day Conneaut, an event that has grown to become the largest Normandy reenactment in North America.
The event began as a private, almost low-key event, with just a few dozen reenactors in 1999, but in 2007, D-Day Ohio incorporated, and with the help of Conneaut, Ohio, it has ensured that every year is just a bit bigger and better than the previous.
This year’s events included…
D-Day Conneaut is a living history event where visitors can see World War II vehicles such as this replica Panzer II tank.
More than 2,500 reenactors set up camp for the three day-long event in August.
There were numerous weapon displays, such as this German MG-42 in a heavy machine gun configuration. Also seen were other period small arms, including a replica Panzerfaust anti-tank rocket!
German armor patrolled the beaches of Lake Erie. This newly made tank is actually built on the chassis of a British APC (armored personnel carrier), but it looks very close to a late war Panzer III tank with its appropriate camouflage paint.
American soldiers on the march in the lead-up to the "invasion." These men might be a little older than those who took part in the liberation of France 75 years ago, but they are outfitted with uniforms, equipment, and weapons accurate to the period.
Members of the French Resistance in a short engagement with a German patrol – this was one of several reenactments that took place over the three-day event.
German soldiers advance on the French positions.
A German MG-42 machine gun crew guards the buffs over the beach.
These German reenactors are outfitted with period-correct uniforms, equipment, and weapons, and were providing visitors to the event a "weapons demonstration."
An American M4 "Sherman" tank was one of the dozens of period vehicles brought out to Conneaut this year. This event is part living history reenactment and part military vehicle show!
U.S. soldiers on the beach plotting how the invasion will take place.
While only about a half-mile wide, the area does offer similar conditions to Normandy and makes for a great location to react the greatest amphibious invasion!