D-Day on Lake Erie

20th Anniversary of Conneaut Reenactment
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by Peter Suciu

 As vehicles came to shore, troops invaded the “Normandy Beaches” of Conneaut, Ohio, for the 20th Anniversary D-Day reenacment this past August.

As vehicles came to shore, troops invaded the “Normandy Beaches” of Conneaut, Ohio, for the 20th Anniversary D-Day reenacment this past August.

Rain had come throughout much of the week leading up to the “big day.” Storms even threatened to disrupt or even cancel the beach landings. While that describes the events 75 years ago when the largest amphibious landing occurred on the beaches of Normandy,it also summed up the largest D-Day reenactment in North America in 2019. This past August saw D-Day Conneaut celebrate its 20th anniversary. It brought out reenactors from around the country — and even a few from Europe and beyond.

D-Day Conneaut began in 1999 as a small event where a handful of reenactors sought to “relive June 6” at the beach in Conneaut Park. Unexpectedly, the event drew some spectators who came to watch the landings from the bluff overlooking the beach.

 An M18 and M7 added mobile firepower to the invasion forces.

An M18 and M7 added mobile firepower to the invasion forces.

In 2007, D-Day Ohio, Inc. incorporated, and with that, the event has become an essential event for reenactors, military vehicle enthusiasts, and really just anyone who has an interest in military history. If you couldn’t make it to France for the celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the actual landings (or even if you could, for that matter), Conneaut, Ohio, was the place to be.

The three-day long event featured Higgins Boats rides, weapons displays and demonstrations, stories from actual World War II veterans, USO and canteen shows, a tank parade, and multiple combat reenactments including two beach landings

MVM is delighted to share some images from this summer’s D-Day Conneaut. It was an event to remember!

 Undeterred by the German defenses, amphibious vehicles continued to ferry troops and supplies to the battlefield.

Undeterred by the German defenses, amphibious vehicles continued to ferry troops and supplies to the battlefield.

D-Day Conneaut

D-Day Ohio, Incorporated educates about and commemorates the Normandy Invasion of 6 June, 1944, predominantly through living history.

It is the purpose of D-Day Ohio, Inc. to faithfully preserve the events of June 6, 1944 by annually sponsoring “D-day Conneaut”. The event commemorates the World War II battle that occurred on the Normandy coast in early June of 1944 between the Allied and Axis armies.

D-day Conneaut is a cultural and historical reenactment of the WWII era. Great attention is given to participant authenticity so we can create a living history of WWII. Beyond the reenactment of the beach attacks by WWII re-enactors, an encampment of both Allied and Axis troops will be held to share the daily life of the soldiers of both armies.

Through the encampments, battle reenactments, lectures, displays and tours, the public gains an understanding of the events that occurred prior to June 6, 1944, and the sacrifices made during and after the invasion. Special recognition is given to all U.S. veterans, particularly those who served in WWII. Profits from the event are dedicated to continuing the event in future years.

The 2020 event is scheduled for August 21 - 22. Reenactor Registration opens May 8, 2020. Log onto www.ddayohio.us for more info.

 One of several of the mocked-up German Panzer IIIs from the front – these were impressive tanks to see up close.

One of several of the mocked-up German Panzer IIIs from the front – these were impressive tanks to see up close.

 A common sight at D-Day Conneaut was German officers in the sidecar!

A common sight at D-Day Conneaut was German officers in the sidecar!

 There were no shortage of German motorcycles and sidecars at D-Day Conneaut this year.

There were no shortage of German motorcycles and sidecars at D-Day Conneaut this year.

 A German Leichter Panzerspähwagen looks ready to go on a reconnaissance mission.

A German Leichter Panzerspähwagen looks ready to go on a reconnaissance mission.

 This “Berliet” style truck couldn’t be more French if was carrying croissants and wine!

This “Berliet” style truck couldn’t be more French if was carrying croissants and wine!

 Some nicely restored American bicycles from the Second World War. Pedal power beats walking!

Some nicely restored American bicycles from the Second World War. Pedal power beats walking!

 There was no shortage of properly camouflaged German softskin vehicles and accessories.

There was no shortage of properly camouflaged German softskin vehicles and accessories.

 German armor answered the enormity of the allied landings.

German armor answered the enormity of the allied landings.