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Armidale State Forest, Armidale, NSW 2012

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Armidale 2012

He weather was ideal - clear skies, calm and daily temperatures into the mid
teens. Overnghts were several degrees below zero but more on that later.

Erich and Michael arrived Friday afternoon and established the Lager in the
pines, close to the stream on one edge of the forest. Hugh (now also with
Ausreeanct) and Simon had set up their camp some 60m away, higher up among
remnant stone of a small, ruined building. AGS had chosen this year to base
themselves on the flat area across the stream, to allow for their much larger
tents and diverse creature comforts.

Peter, Cenda and Harry arrived soon after in the Jeep, then returned to town to
spend the night there, along with Rosa.

Greg arrived just after dawn on Saturday morning and thus completed the
three-tent Lager.

The day began with a safety and security briefing by Matt and Pat. Forces were
evenly divided between Axis (Heer, Gebirgs, FJ and VS) and Allies (US infantry
and Airborne) with the local partisans scheduled to enter the fray later on in
the day.

The scenarios this year were something different and made for a welcome change.
Participants headed out en mass towards forest entrance and were briefed along
the way at each of the four locations for planned action. In the past, it had
been more a matter of a few major defensive / attacking scenarios in familiar
territory with a return to camp for lunch in between. This time however, it was
attack / ambush / stalking and defence in each of four new locations, moving
ever-closer to the main camp. Axis and Allies alternated roles, with Germans
defending, then next stalking and attacking. Matt and Pat were assigned as
referees for each side.

This series of rolling actions, punctuated by 30 minute debriefing sessions,
rest and eating breaks allowed for a full day of activities in varied terrain –
heavily wooded, open, hill and creek crossings – with different challenges
afforded by each. Our partisans eventually made it and were assigned to the
attacking group for each action.

A night action took place after dinner with Harry and Cenda participating. An
opportunity for plenty of noise and muzzle flashes

It was yet another clear night and this is where the lessons of earlier years
came to the fore. (Michael, in his first visit, has already made mention of
this.) Quite simply, blankets are not enough, and while it might not be totally
authentic, a good quality sleeping bag is essential. (Cover it with a blanket or
two though to hide it.) There was plenty of ice and frost around in the morning
attesting to sub-zero temperatures overnight and while hard ground is pretty
uncomfortable in its own right, being cold is no comfort whatsoever and makes
for a long, long night. This was the first year that I brought a sleeping bag
along and it worked wonders. A must.

Erich, Michael and I struck camp after 8.30 and headed off for breakfast before
the drive home while AGS remained to continue similar scenarios to those of
Saturday.

Another excellent weekend in the winter hills of New England and Ausreenact
members once again acquitted themselves well.

Well done Erich, Michael, Peter, Cenda and Harry for making the journey. And
especially those brave souls who slept out under the pines yet again.

Thank you Erich for your photographs.

 

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