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Posted on May 3, 2006 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

Fiction: Wolfheze

By Shane Lowdon

The day started well for us, moving into the outskirts of a small village called Wolfheze. Our party of Reconnaissance and Royal Engineers were to scout an area for further troop and supply drops. Our detachment was under strength due to the Royal Engineers suffering greatly whilst digging in, as it was a wet weekend!

Whilst on a Casualty evacuation we were inconveniently held up by a bunch of Jerry stragglers. A motley crew of cut throats, hoodlums and vagabonds housed typically in a dungheap .We encountered sporadic small arms fire which forced us to deploy the troops and take evasive action in the Jeep.

Once the casualty was safe, the jeep rushed back to the action, using the fearsome Vickers K machine gun to hold at bay the enemy. Trapped in a deadly crossfire, and afraid that his Ersatz force may be eliminated, the Hun Leutnant approached under a flag of truce.

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After a brief parlez, during which the young Leutnant displayed a fine grasp of the English language, no doubt to prepare for his final surrender speech, a cease-fire was called to prevent Civilian casualties. A mutual respect for each others’ fighting abilities was grudgingly given.

As evening fell, a Fighting Patrol was dispatched, to clear the woods North of our position and engage any enemy found. Lying in wait we discovered the German’s patrol route. The earlier good fortune in surviving an encounter with the deadly Red Devils had mad them complacent, for strolling along with rifles slung were three Boche!

Upon laying a snap ambush, safety’s off and ready to go, we waited till the Hun were no more than 5 feet away, chatting and oblivious to their fate. "Fire!" brought Sten Guns spitting death, thunder and lightning! Taken completely by suprise, the Jerries were raked from top to bottom with hot lead. As the gunsmoke cleared I saw the young Leutnant from our previous encounter. Auf Wiedersein, Kamerad!

Pulling back in good order, we continued to engage the enemy, mowing them down with devastating firepower. Just as our Engineer Officer was about to make a killing shot, a lucky stray Jerry bullet struck his .45,forcing him to shoot through his own hand.

Retiring back to Troop H.Q, we posted sentry and planned the night’s work. A Recce Patrol was sent to discover more about our foe. Moving into the German Lager,two sentries met with Messrs Sykes and Fairbairn’s finest steel, allowing us entry to the camp. Observing the shivering cold sentries, we saw that low morale and tendancy to sleep on duty was sapping their will to fight.

Early next morning, knowing that Jerry would want to exact revenge for the embarrassing failures the day before, we posted two ambush parties covering the approach to our H.Q. It was then that the full horror of war was visited upon us. The fresh Engineer troops, unused to combat, broke in the stress filled hours waiting for the German attack.

With the perimeter in danger of collapsing, we pulled back to our final defensive positions to plan further action. It was then a single shot rang out, announcing Jerry’s late arrival to our party!

The defence of the position was left to the Paratroops and Recce men ,who held off a spirited attack by superior numbers. Rifle fire punctuated the rattle of Stens and the battle raged unchecked, neither side giving or expecting quarter. Finally silence fell on the field of carnage. The two sides emerged, bloodied but unbowed, and met in the no-mans-land between them. The epic Christmas truce of WW1 was re-enacted as sworn enemies, only moments before locked in a bitter fight to the death, shared chocolate, cigarettes, and maybe a faint hope for humanity.

Stanley Maxted,
War Correspondent

landing01.jpgABOUT THE AUTHOR

We are the Just Ordinary Men, 1st British Airborne Re-enactment group based in South East England. We have been in existence for 5 years and our aim is to portray men of the Parachute and/or Reconnaissance units around the Market Garden period Sept 1944. We can also show up as 6th British Airborne, 12th (Yorkshire) Battalion Parachute Regiment for Overlord, June 1944.

I am Acting Lance Corporal Shane Lowdon, ex 216 Signal Squadron (Airborne). Many of our members are ex military, but this isn’t a requirement for membership.

I portray a soldier with pre-war experience with the Green Howards in Palestine, during the beginning of the war I took part in the BEF in Arras and Gravelines before the Dunkirk evacuation. Months of inactivity and a chance reading of a notice requiring volunteers for a new Airborne unit, meant intense physical and parachute training. Then followed service in North Africa, Italy and Sicily, finally returning to England to rest and refit. Now, in the weeks following D-Day, there is unrest in our camp, the need to get into action before the war ends.

We take part in most major re-enactment shows, and public/private battles which we use to sharpen our battleskills. We hold training days once a month, and a parade meeting as well. Standards are high, and a reasonable level of fitness, discipline and a high regard for veterans of all sides is a must.

Just Ordinary Men Website

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