I got to blow up a Panzer tank, with a German officer inside. It takes a lot more work than you would think, especially if you don’t want to hurt the tank, or the German officer.
I volunteered my services to help with a mock battle between WWII re-enactors at the Akron Air show, in lovely and scenic Akron Colorado. The main events at the air show were cool old cars, cool old planes, and cool old people who are obsessed with WWII. Well, most of the guys were not old; they just are obsessed with re-enacting World War 2. Obsessed may be too strong a word, but I do not think so. While setting up pyro for bullet hits, and wiring up the pyro on the panzer I noticed that some of the mock up buildings were decorated even on the sides not facing the audience. I had to take a photo of one of the buildings we were wiring to blow up. One had a propaganda poster and a portrait of Hitler inside. I was in awe of their attention to detail.
Here is a rare photo of the Flounder in action.
I am the one not doing anything at the top of the tank, while my co-workers are frantically wiring up charges. Frantic because the show time was pushed up twenty minutes so we had forty minutes to do an hours work, no pressure. I have a good friend in Nevada that wanted me to get a photo of me on a Sherman tank. Unfortunately I was assigned to the German side of the field, so I missed the opportunity. But I did get time to chat with the enemy forces quite a bit. Great guys, it’s a shame they were going to loose this battle. But hey, that’s how the script was written.
This is a video of a P38 P-51mustang shooting up the field.
Knowing the outcome, I had to tell the German officer that I was rooting for them. He said that he knew how it was going to work out, but he wanted to proceed anyway and be defeated in style. You have to admire the pluck.
Here is a little video of the killing blow to the Panzer.
Yes it was I who pushed the button on the remote control that set off the final charge. Later, after cleaning up the mess, I spoke with the German tank officer, he was really impressed by the pyrotechnics and said that it really made the battle much more realistic, his ears were still ringing.
I had a great time.
See you next year.
A hundred years ago the same kind of re-enactment was displayed in small towns all over America. Wild West shows were hugely popular, and mock battles of cowboys and Indians were all the rage.
Now it’s WWII.
I hope I will be around to do pyro for shows in 50 years. Maybe the re-enactors will bring out antique A-10s and M1 Abrahams tanks… And I can be the old guy waxing poetically about a more romantic age.