WWI Reenacting With the Great War Association
HQ Company, 116th Infantry, 29th Division, AEF

Updated 03/09/01

See Virginia War Museum Gallery at the bottom of this page.

Welcome to our page dedicate to reenacting the experiences and sights of the Great War of 1914-1918

A Little About Our Unit

In 1917 as America teetered on the brink of war the local militia units of Virginia were called into Federal service. Members of the these Local Virginia Guard units soon found them selves on the way to Camp McClellan, near Anniston Alabama. It was there that they would receive additional training in the new art of Trench Warfare and organization into combat units ultimately destine for the Western Front.

Men of the old 2nd and 4th Virginia NG as well as some specialty units were organized into the 116th Infantry. The infantry regiments of the new forming US Army were complete combat units, containing not only the infantry but a complement of medical, signal, machine gun, ambulance and other specialties. One of these specialty organizations of the 116th was the HQ Company. It contained not only the regimental command staff but a Trench Mortar (TM) section.

A new concept for the American Army the TM section trained on the British developed Stokes Trench Mortar. An extremely effective and versatile weapon it could provide immediate support by delivering high explosive rounds, smoke or chemical weapons in a high curve trajectory on the enemy with amazing accuracy and in VOLUME. A single Stokes gun could fire with such rapidly that it could keep 5 rounds in the air at the same time and walk its fire from one end of a line to the other. It was just the tool to counter an attack or knock out a position holding down the infantry.

The reenacting unit we have put together attempts to recreate the impression of the 116th HQ TM section. We have constructed a replica of the 1916 British Stokes (modified so that it does not violate Federal weapons regulations). We wear authentic WWI uniforms and use period equipment to help bring back to life this important combat unit of 1917-1918.

As a complete unit we primarily participate in the bi-annual Great War event held at the GWA site near Newville Pennsylvania. The site consists of over 40 acres, honeycombed with authentic trenches, dugouts and WWI era obstacles. The object of the site is to recreate a small bit of the Western Front. The scenarios vary but it gives us a chance to slip back to those days of yore and experience the doughboy's life in the trenches of WWI. We hope you will take time to look at some of the photos below and see the lengths we go to in order to provide realism for our events. Please click on picture to get full size photo>

These scenarios are quite realistic, particularly the night actions. Out in No man's Land, standing your post, listening for the slightest rustle in the wire, trying to pear through the dark of night for a German raiding party, flares and rockets going up spreading an eerie light over the field, an occasional fire fight breaking out up the line and the clack clack clack clack of machine guns. If it wasn't so damn much fun it would scare the Hell out of you.

We also participate in a variety of other events which range from parades to living history programs for the public. We regularly put on exhibits and programs for Veterans groups as well as the National Park Service in the Washington DC, Fredericksburg and Richmond VA area.

For additional information please contact:

Glenn Hyatt, hyattg@erols.com

And please don't forget to view the Great War Association web site at:

Great War Association, WWI Reenacting


Great War Events, Spring and Fall 1998 On this 80th anniversary of the great Armistice of 1918, the Great War Association events held at the Association site near Newville PA held special meaning to many of us. The scenario was the Argonne, fall 1918. The battled raged near the rural village of Newville for three days. Allied units included contingents from the French, British, Australian, Canadian and even a detachment of Imperial Russians. The Huns were heavily fortified, and well armed. Their Maxims clattered continuously and their Minenwerfur fire was deadly.

Great War Event, Spring 1999. The Great War Association event held its first event for 1999 at the Association site near Newville PA. The scenario the AEF has finally reached the battlefield and in coordinated attacks with British, French and the Russian Legion they strive to beat back the Hun..

Photos left to right: Making up charges for the Stokes... No man's Land at night... Round OUT Stokes round on the way... The Battle Field looking toward French sector of the Line... Fresh men in the line... A Vickers goes into action...

Virginia War Museum Event
March 2nd and 3rd, 2001

The HQ Company of the 116th Infantry was invited to participate in the Virginia War Museum's first annual reenactment and school education event. The program was held on VWM property at Lee's Hill Plantation near Newport News, VA.

The program was a two day event with Friday, March 2 planned as a school visitation day and Saturday March 3rd open to the general public with two battle simulations scheduled for the afternoon and the evening.

The 116th took the WWI Stokes Trench Mortar, the 1904 French '75mm Field Gun, as well as a display 1918 Vickers MG and a 1917 Browning simulator gas gun. Unit commander Dr. Marvin Chadab wore a WWI horizon blue French officers uniform and appeared as the French Liaison attached to the 116th.

With the VWM staff doing a top notch job of planning they provided meals, 40 acres of dug trenches and even seemed to have kept the the pending "Storm of the Century" that was barreling up the East Coast at bay. On Friday the school program ran nearly 6,000 middle schools age children from the Newport News school through the display and programs. On Saturday the mock battles and day long living history program was well attended by the area residents. They seemed to have been pleased by the oh's and ahhhs that arose from the crowd as simulated explosions arose from no mans land and the battle raged before them. Although the number of reenactors was not as high as hoped we kept the battle at a fevers pitch. The TM pounded no mans land and the MG's on both side rattled out their message of death. Blank firing cannon (a original '77 Krupp and another small mtn. howitzer) on the Hun's side added excitement to the crash of the battle before the crowds.

In addition several of the female staff from the Museum provided impressions of women who served in the war, fulfilling the roles of the Salvation Army girls who brought the men at the front coffee and donuts. Their service to their flag and the inspirational songs and messages provided to the front line troops help inspire them for the final victory.

We invite you to take a peek at our gallery below for some scenes of the event.

You may click on the thumbnail to view a larger photo and to access the same scene in a war time setting.

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