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D-Day on the Great Lakes: Greatest Amphibious Invasion Reenacted on the Shores of Lake Erie

By: Enid Burns

This past June marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, but the greatest amphibious invasion to that period was reenacted on Lake Erie this August at D-Day Conneaut, an event that has grown to become the largest Normandy reenactment in North America.

The event began as a private, almost low-key event, with just a few dozen reenactors in 1999, but in 2007, D-Day Ohio incorporated, and with the help of Conneaut, Ohio, it has ensured that every year is just a bit bigger and better than the previous.

This year's events included…

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D-Day Conneaut is a living history event where visitors can see World War II vehicles such as this replica Panzer II tank.

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More than 2,500 reenactors set up camp for the three day-long event in August.

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There were numerous weapon displays, such as this German MG-42 in a heavy machine gun configuration. Also seen were other period small arms, including a replica Panzerfaust anti-tank rocket!

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German armor patrolled the beaches of Lake Erie. This newly made tank is actually built on the chassis of a British APC (armored personnel carrier), but it looks very close to a late war Panzer III tank with its appropriate camouflage paint.

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American soldiers on the march in the lead-up to the "invasion." These men might be a little older than those who took part in the liberation of France 75 years ago, but they are outfitted with uniforms, equipment, and weapons accurate to the period.

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Members of the French Resistance in a short engagement with a German patrol – this was one of several reenactments that took place over the three-day event.

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German soldiers advance on the French positions.

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A German MG-42 machine gun crew guards the buffs over the beach.

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These German reenactors are outfitted with period-correct uniforms, equipment, and weapons, and were providing visitors to the event a "weapons demonstration."

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An American M4 "Sherman" tank was one of the dozens of period vehicles brought out to Conneaut this year. This event is part living history reenactment and part military vehicle show!

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U.S. soldiers on the beach plotting how the invasion will take place.

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While only about a half-mile wide, the area does offer similar conditions to Normandy and makes for a great location to react the greatest amphibious invasion!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Gunpowder Magazine.