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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:32 pm 
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Location: Nord-Ost England
Well, were all back safely from this trip, and what a trip it was.

A Brief account:
We (Mick O'Brien, Steve Martin and myself) left Stansted on the 24th with lots of our comrades from second guards and flew to Tampere in Finland. Met by tour operator and guide for the trip, Bair (a diamond of a guy) we were taken from the airport by coach to a country hotel near Helsinki for the night. As we had arrived late, we had time for a small bite to eat and a couple of beers before bed.
Thursday 25th and on to Helsinki ferry terminal where we picked up our new friends from Sweden (Nordland and 63rd guards). I cannot put into words what a great bunch these guys are. Really friendly and approachable, and we seemed to hit it off immediately.
We travelled to the Russian border and onto our hotel in St Petersburg. One word about the border, we Axis re-enactors had to declare our uniforms and equipment, have them checked and approved by experts and issued an import/export license. This was painful work and hopefully will be smoothed out on further trips. Tired and now full of Vodka we arrived at our very impressive and comfortable hotel in St.Petersburg.
Friday 26th saw us re-board our coach for a tour of the city including the main memorial and cemetery, extremely moving) and the Siege Museum. For those who have never been, St.Petersburg is of stunning architectural beauty.
Saturday 27th, suited and booted we headed to the public battle site outside the city at Nikolskoe. The weather was finally kind to us and upon arrival at site we were met with a foot of snow and a brisk –10C temperature with light snow falls throughout the day. The scene of the public battle could not have been better chosen, as this was in fact an original "battle" site from the siege featuring lots of original trenches, the remains of 2 MG bunkers and a Pak bunker. These had been wrested from the 4th SS Politzei by Soviet forces back in the day. Here we met our Russian counterparts portraying various Soviet and Axis units (including lots of 4th SS Politzei).
We were briefed, issued weapons and made our way to our start lines.

The battle was well scripted and featured some serious Pyros. On the Axis side approximately 70 well turned out troops with nearer 90 on the Soviet side.
The battle lasted about 30 - 40 minutes in and went down very well with the public (yes, the Soviets took no prisoners!). We met lots of public and we Das Reich and Nordland guys proved to be very popular indeed. We lost count of the photos we posed for, girls we kissed and hugged and children who posed with us for their familys. Mike O’Brien even had a baby shoved into his arms so his mother could get a picture! Post battle party featured lots of singing, dancing, Vodka, networking and sales of merchandise around the campfire. (Steve Martin has a fantastic singing voice and his rendition of “Tomorrow belongs to me” is a show stopper. He never imagined he would get to sing this on the real Eastern Front).
Now tired (but not cold, folks the winter stuff actually works) we re-boarded the bus for our return to St.Petersburg (we wanted to stay). On the way back to the city we visited memorials and battle sites associated with the siege.

We finally left the city on Sunday 28th, travelling back visiting the Mannerheim line battle sites and surviving bunkers. Our guides Bair (dressed in early war Soviet Kit) and Leonid (dressed in early war Finish Kit) were fantastic.

Many, many thanks to Bair for the opportunity to realise a dream come true, massive thanks and respect to the guys of Nordland, we hope to see you in either Sweden or UK soon, big up to our Soviet counter parts the 2nd and 63rd Guards for being such good guys.

Roll on next year!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:12 pm 
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Posted up some pictures. As temperatures were in the -10's my digital was acting up. Also we were unable to photograph during the action.
We was a bit busy.............

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:13 pm 
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Location: Nord-Ost England
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Das Reich and Nordland on an original trenchline.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:15 pm 
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Location: Nord-Ost England
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Outside the original Pak Bunker.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:17 pm 
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Location: Nord-Ost England
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Bair (Winter war Ruski) and Leo (Winter war Fin)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:20 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
great photo's,
glad you had a great time, as you now know St Petersburg is just fantatstic ! :D

quite fancy having a crack at that myself !


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:23 pm 
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Location: Nord-Ost England
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quite fancy having a crack at that myself !


Should be on again next year.
Will let you know nearer the time, but your sand dancing kit might prove a touch chilly!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:28 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
I agree !, a heer tropical uniform would not best serve my childbearing assets :shock: ...... i guess a set of padded reversables would be in order. When i go back with the wife visiting i usually wear an old afghanka her dad gave me, nice & toasty in that :D ......

did you have a chance to get into the military museum just over the road from the peter & paul fortress ????


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:31 pm 
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did you have a chance to get into the military museum just over the road from the peter & paul fortress ????


Unfortunately no, next year maybe.
Too much to do and so little time.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:39 pm 
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sonderverband288 wrote:
did you have a chance to get into the military museum just over the road from the peter & paul fortress ????


oh I would recommend that! Even the "heroic combatants against NATO Adventurism" hall is good. The full scale painting sin there are superb. I would put tehm right up there with the ones at the hill of victory in Moscow.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:47 pm 
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Location: AFRA - UK Nord
Fantastic Neil! Well done and well done for representing us Brits over there..... Is there scope to make this the equivalent of the Yankees homage to Normandie??????? Would it be worth opening a savings club and hiring a charabang or ten to take a proper Armee Gruppe over?

Maybe we ought to put our heads together to expand this??????

I mean - A real European Battleground, where Axis re-enactors are welcome with no bias and restriction and more importantly - APPRECIATED! - In the footsteps of Pete Skillman's authentic tacticals - Maybe Das Reich would spearhead - kit standard and aubject to passing this - invite people to participate? We could even team up with our erstwhile Soviet Allies here in the UK and send a homogenous pan UK team over?

Could even show some other Euros the way to go? :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:35 pm 
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Do you think they have a beer yurt out there? :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:35 pm 
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Location: livingston(i presume)
Now that sounds like the embryo of a f*cking great idea :D :D

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:37 pm 
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a bit further east for Yurt's ! :shock: but there is a very nice local brew called Nevskoye :D many a bleary morning i've had with that ! .


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:39 pm 
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sonderverband288 wrote:
a bit further east for Yurt's ! :shock:


I know, but I can dream :D


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