Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Season Begins

Spring Drill

Tawawa Park, Sidney, Ohio

April 25, 2015

The 2015 reenacting season finally arrived with the 1st Tennessee Spring Drill, at Tawawa Park in Sidney, Ohio. Our camp was located at the back entrance to the park, which proved a bit confusing to find. There was no sign to the back entrance, which looked like a residential driveway, with the only building near that entrance looking like a house. I drove past the entrance twice before seeing others of the 1st trying to figure out where the camp needed set up.

Cpl Silvers and I were the ranking NCOs on site at the time, but we had GPS coordinates set by Capt Sharp, so tracked the Google Maps marker like a witching rod to the right spot and staked our tents.

The drill was only planned for Saturday, so about half of the 1st chose to not camp, but instead arrive in the morning and leave Saturday night. Private Winston, the designated firestarter, set up our campfire and we relaxed around it long into the night. The weather didn't feel all that cold, and we were all able to keep warm enough, though fearful of our memories of Franklin.

Light rain tormented us off and on throughout the following morning, but was never enough to keep us from our drills, where we drilled by platoons, and covered the manual of arms and did a good part of the school of the soldier. Eventually, Capt Sharp brought us back together and we performed additional drill as a company, including skirmish drills.

After a break from the drilling, Capt Sharp broke us into two platoons and limited us to five rounds per man, and sent us into a tactical of platoon versus platoon.

First platoon, commanded by Sgt Kletzli double-quicked down the path to the objective, while Sgt Carte gathered second platoon, with me as the corporal for second platoon, and began a mosey down the other path, keeping an eye out for the caches of ammunition.

Sgt Carte sent privates Cochran and Broughton off to scout our flank, and we advanced down the trail, approaching the marker indicating the objective, where encountered a few of the first platoon re-positioning to defend their ground.

I ran to locate Cochran and Broughton to gather our force. Upon locating them, I considered taking them back to second platoon, or flanking around and up the hill to create a distraction at first platoon's rear. Returning to the platoon could lose a time, but advancing around would leave us out of communication, and hoping that Sgt Carte might not know that we have engaged.

Cochran, Broughton, and I headed up the hill behind first platoon, trying to make it to the top undetected. Climbing the hill, we somehow lost Pvt Cochran, but kept pushing forward, until we ran into Cpl Silvers and Sgt Nyman of first platoon defending one of the ammunition caches--or at least that is what they claimed.

We charged once they fired, but it was of no use.

In the end, first platoon held the objective, as second platoon was unable to push them away.

After the tactical, rain decided to let loose and turn the rest of our day into a chilling torment, never ceasing and turning the area around our campfire into a soup of mud.

The city of Sidney sponsored our time at the park, providing necessities and Saturday dinner. The chicken meal was a delightful way to conclude a long day. After the meal, a few of us participated in the dance the historical society held.

That evening nearly all of the 1st returned home, packing up in the rain. Only Sgt Kletzli, Private Winston, and myself braved the weather to sleep the night in the park. We were all too tired and wet to deal with packing up in the waning light, and with at least an hour and a half drive home, we didn't want to have to deal with fighting sleep while driving. Though the night was a bit colder than the previous, and the rain did stop around 10 pm. I did still struggle a bit with the cold, but managed to get sufficient rest.

Despite the rain, I think all of us agree that this drill was one of the more successful spring drills the company has had in its history. Our turnout was among the highest at around twenty, and we worked the winter rust out of our system in record time. We are more than ready for the season ahead.