Thursday, January 23, 2014

Battle for the Airfield - WWII event in Stow, Mass.

Tanks and trucks and planes oh my! This is a long over due post but here it is as promised. Back in early October, Cori and I along with our good friend Erin attended a WWII event. This is an annual event held each year at the Colling Foundation in Stow, Mass. The event is called the Battle for the Airfield, you can read a description of the event here. There are also video clips on YouTube.

Warning! Lots of photos in this post!

Erin and I in front of a German tank. Photo by Will Ritcher of Itinerant Dispatches Images 
Photo by Will Ritcher of Itinerant Dispatches Images 
The Collings Foundation is home to a landmark collection of military vehicles and aircraft from WWI to Vietnam as well as antique cars. The collection spans almost 80 years of aviation history. Many of the planes, including their B-17G Flying Fortress and B-24J Liberator, can be seen at public at airshows and events across the United States. These WWII bombers actually traveled to my home town when I was a little kid. I can remember sitting out at the very end of the airport run way watching them fly in and land. What a site! The sound of those big planes is something I will always remember.

The aircraft that took part in the Battle for the Airfield were a Boeing PT-17 Stearman, used as a trainer,  and a German Fiesler Fi-156 Storch. Many of the military vehicles at the event belong to the Collings Foundation but some are owned by individuals or reenacting groups.

Tanks and trucks and planes oh my!
Can you tell these are American? :)
The "LoLo" was one of the planes on display inside the hanger.

We had the chance to talk with a member of a very unique group of living historians. I don't remember the specific group, I think he might have been part of the 82nd Airborne 2508. I say unique because these guys, unlike most guys who portray WWII paratroops, actually make live jumps from a WWII era C-47. They mostly perform at air shows and other big WWII events. Many are former military and all of them must be jump certified.

We watched a short video about the C-47 known as Whiskey 7 which will be taking part in the 70th anniversary of D-Day this June. Members of the Liberty Jump Team are working to raise enough funds to send the plane back to Normandy. They will participate in the 70th D-Day anniversary commemorations by jumping over the original D-Day drop zones. Talk about the ultimate living history experience! To find out more check out the site Return to Normandy.

Watching a short video about U.S Paratroopers and the Whiskey 7
And of course we had to take some fun photos. And by 'we' I mean Erin and I as Cori was off being a social butterfly. :) At least four different reenacting groups tried to recruit him including one of the German tank units. As the only sailor present at an otherwise all Army event he was quite noticeable. Later in the afternoon he got to 'play" on one of the US tanks. He was like a kid a candy store.

Want to know something that gets re-enactors really excited? Buttons. Yes, buttons. Cori's chambray shirt had white buttons when he bought it but after doing some research discovered that WWII area chambray shirts had black 2 hole buttons. We found some at out local fabric store and changed them. A couple of the army guys, who also portray sailors at some events, went nuts over them! I love this hobby! :)

Can I join your tank crew?
I told Erin to pick a vehicle to stand next to and she picked the one with the 50 cal. That's my girl! :)

WWII staff car
I think these are my favorite photos of the day. One in color and one made to look more 1940s.

And one nice close up to end the day!

Out fit details
Cori - Dixie cup hat, chambray shirt, and dungarees all Navy surplus
Erin - Dress from Ebay, hat thrifted, fur cape from yard sale
Me - WAVE skirt from Ebay, shoes from Etsy, coat Morning Glorious Vintage, sweater and hat thrifted


  1. Love the photos that look hand-tinted! You two ladies look stunningly authentic!

  2. So many vehicles! That looks like fun. You both have fabulous hair dos. :)


  3. Can I just say that I'm quite jealous of your hair? It looks FABULOUS!!! You've mastered that style so well. Next time I see you, I might just have to get you to do mine... :-)

  4. Thanks ladies!
    Rebecca, absolutely I can help with hair! We have to get together again sometime soon. You should join Cori and I for a vintage event this year.

  5. Hi, my brother met you guys in Stow. We dress as WW2 British officers. What a coincidence finding this we page. I actually have a picture of you guys and us.


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