IF YOU GO
* What: Remembering Our Heroes, living history, cookout, battle re-enactment
* When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
* Where: Barnhardt Circle Polo Field, Fort Oglethorpe
* Cost: $10 adults, $5 military, student and seniors over 63
* Contact: 6th Cavalry Museum at 706-861-2860
On the former training grounds of the "Fighting 6th" Cavalry, hundreds of American and German soldiers will clash Saturday — for a good cause.
More than 400 World War II re-enactors are scheduled for a fast-paced, maneuver battle before an expected crowd of 1,500, if last year's numbers hold, said Chris McKeever, executive director of the 6th Cavalry Museum.
In its third year, the combination re-enactment, equipment display and cook-off this weekend is the museum's signature event and draws participants from 11 states as far away as Texas and Wisconsin, McKeever said.
The museum honors the U.S. Army's 6th Cavalry, which was housed in Fort Oglethorpe from 1919-1942.
The event will open with an address from 30-year Gen. George S. Patton re-enactor Denny Hair. A group of living historians will portray nonsoldier war figures such as actors Judy Garland, Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable and Bob Hope.
Historians and re-enactors from other conflicts or periods also are invited, McKeever said.
Owen Suits, a 20-year-old resident of LaFayette, Ga., participates in both Civil War and World War II re-enactments. On Saturday, he'll play a German infantryman.
"It's kind of like a football game," he said. "Only there's a winner pre-determined."
There are many similarities between re-enacting the two wars: intensive equipment preparation and inspection, a love of historical research and tight-knit camaraderie among re-enactors.
But the major differences between the two performances are speed and numbers, Suits said.
In the Civil War battle, each side needs up to a few hundred soldiers and often the groups march forward, slam into each other, then regroup.
In a World War II battle, Suits said, small units of 10 or more can fight each other and outflank the other in minutes.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...