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WATCH VIDEO | D-Day Conneaut | Event comes to a close with huge battle on beach

  • 2 min to read

CONNEAUT — The rata-tat-tat of machine gun fire dominated Conneaut Township Park beach as thousands of people watched a reenactment of the D-Day battle unfold around them.

More than 2,000 World War II reenactors dressed in period costumes hit the beach with the help of tanks and boats as German reenactors waited on the beach for the Allied forces racing in their direction.

The growth in the number of soldiers increased the early ferocity of the battle as wave after wave of soldiers pushed towards the German defenses, with people dropping quickly on both sides, and little children holding their ears 100 feet away.

An announcer provided historical information for the visitors seeking to learn a little bit about their country’s history.

The visitors came by the thousands and parked in lots around the city; then were transported by school bus to the site.

“I love this era. I like the 1940’s. It’s awesome,” said Ron Parnell of Saybrook Township. He said he has been attending the event for the last several years.

Morgan Babic, of New Lyme, was busy selling kettle corn on a “period” wagon. “People just come and buy me out,” he said.

I tried to get to the Axis Camp four times and I didn’t get halfway there, he said.

Women reenactors had a significant role in the battle this year with the WAC units helping troops get on and off tanks and landing craft, said Cathy Haynes of western New York state. “I am the second lieutenant of the First WAC Battalion, she said after assisting troops.

Haynes said female WAC units were not on site at D-Day, but learned about the invasion before there male counterparts. She said they found out while typing the orders for military commanders in London.

After 38 days, the women did arrive on site of the Normandy invasion. “They camped on the beach just like the men,” she said.

Ed Satterlee, of the Youngstown area, said he wishes the Youngstown media would make more people aware of the event. “This is my second year. I loved it last year,” he said.

Conneaut resident Roni Cottrell and her 1-year-old son Dylan almost got swallowed up by American troop reenactors prior to the battle. “We just came down to visit and see everything. It gets bigger every year,” she said.

Several medical facilities were put together on site for the visitors attending the event. “We have had quite a few transported out with heat issues,” said Conneaut Fire Chief Steve Lee.

Jim Paulchel, of Ashtabula, said the event organizers do an amazing “historic” feat to create a live history lab. “It (D-Day) is something everyone should know about; especially the younger generation,” he said.

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