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"East meets West" Torgau 25th April 1945


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This weekend say GI44-45 linking up with the 2nd Guards Rifle Division, Red Army Re-enactment group (WWW.2ndgaurds.com) to recreate the events of 25th April 1945, where 91 elements of the 273rd Infantry regiment, 69th Infantry Division, met the Russian 58th Guards Division. This historic occasion where “East met west”, had significance for both sides. For the Russians it marked the end of an advance that had included the capture of Berlin a few days earlier. For the Americans it marked the end of an advance lasting just under 11 months from the landings in Normandy. Three small American patrols met the Russians on this date, Patrol # 1-The Kotzebue Patrol at 11.30 AM, Led by Lt Albert L Kotzebue, Patrol #2 - The Robertson Patrol, a four man patrol Led by Lt William D Robertson HQ Co, who met the Russians at 1600 pm on the wrecked Bridge crossing the Elbe at Torgau, and finally the Craig patrol # 3, Major Fred W Craig who met the Russians at 16.45pm.


What footage of the event is available reveals great excitement on the part of both sides; noteworthy is the generally immaculate Russian uniforms compared to the Americans, who still seem to be wearing their combat worn kit, with scarves, and a slightly dressed down look. Did the high command within the Russian military insist on creating an impression that their Red Army was more ordered and disciplined than the armies of the west? Was this the first hint of the Cold war just around the corner? Not only was their great excitement as the two sides met, but footage also shows a hint of trepidation and nervousness on the parts of some of the young Russian soldiers, who the Americans were engaging with.


Our recreation of that event occurred in an area of Peak Rail, where our two groups had a joint camp, but with a limitation of advance imposed upon our side. We tried throughout the weekend to recreate some photos of the time and, of course recreate our own impression of the events of 25th April 1945.


My own personal view is that I enjoy portraying a GI during the late war period; it provides an opportunity to wear new kit issued only later in the war. This weekend also saw the chance for two new members to the Group to work with us. Both are no strangers to the hobby, and I would like to welcome to our group Martin Delaney and Tony Robertson.


Raising the Stars and Stripes with members of the 1st Infantry Div LHA, who also rebadged as 69th.















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Based on film footage- a group of excited GI’s meet a slightly nervous group of Russians, an insistent GI puts out his hand to shake that of one the Russians present, only to be met by nervousness…









Our own take on events of that day..





And of the time..


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And of course at all events there is socialising and genuine friendship where different groups come together to enjoy the hobby in a more informal setting and enjoy a glass or two of friendship! We are a group that likes to work hard at creating the correct impression, but we also play hard as well!!!!

2040084290080671336S600x600Q85.jpg 2737591620080671336S600x600Q85.jpg



On both days we also had a chance to demonstrate to the public our 60mm mortar, courtesy of Corporal “Mighty-Murph” Murphy ..







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Both days also required us to participate in a public battle, I am not fan of these, and participate only with the belief that it might convey a message about those days during the end of the war in Europe.

Part of the battle allowed us to recreate as two groups the meeting on the banks of the Elbe..






To conclude – it was a great weekend, and my thanks go to all within all the groups present who made it a worthwhile event. Watch this space for future Russian and American enocunters!!

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Impressive, really impressive. :thumbsup:


For a hundred percent historical correctness an ocean of vodka ought to be drunk by the reenactors. You are in too good condition in these images ;):lol:

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  • 3 weeks later...
For a hundred percent historical correctness an ocean of vodka ought to be drunk by the reenactors. You are in too good condition in these images ;):lol:


:w00t: :D


Really like the pictures, especially the fraternizing pics! Great job!



Bart P

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