Monday, January 15, 2007

Bantam 16 and the Army of Friends

Yes, he's Bantam 16 now. Even though his birthday isn't until Sunday, his birthday party was Saturday--and that was the Big Deal.

He's been planning this party for months. It was an Airsoft tournament/re-enactment of the Battle of Bastogne, the perfect marriage of his two current passions: World War 2, and Airsoft weapons. (If you've seen Band of Brothers, you'll remember the Battle of Bastogne; it took place in winter under extremely adverse conditions.)

As everyone arrived, they were given badges designating the "AF Army" (Army of Friends) and military stripes were pinned on to indicate their ranks and which side they were on. The decisions of who would command and second-in-command each battalion had been hashed out in conversations with the guests over the past several months, and each had been asked to complete an enlistment form as an RSVP. This was no surprise party.

Next, there was a briefing, in which General Bantam 16 outlined the scenario for the Battle of Bastogne--a tactical withdrawal. He also covered safety rules, the dead man rule, tactical formations--such as the fire team wedge, single file line, and skirmish line--and the boundaries of the battlefield: our next door neighbor's property.

We are wondrously blessed to live next door to an older gentleman who owns nearly two acres of mostly trees and raspberry bushes, with cleared areas here and there, a couple of scrap metal piles, a rock pile, and a small field and barn rented to the owners of two horses. All this is well-hidden from the general public by a row of fir trees, but our children have grown up knowing every inch of his property. His generosity with his land has been an incredible gift to our family! (When asked if he'd mind if a group of teens and preteens swarming all over his land, shooting Airsoft pellets at one another, he only said, "Just make sure they don't scare the horses.")

After the briefing, the battle began. Round One went not so well--the Germans won. Bantam 11 was demoted and a new commanding officer named to the German side. Rounds Two and Three went on till dark. Blondechick 14, the war photographer, documented the event and even got off a few rounds herself.

Eventually both sides came inside to watch a video clip of the battle from Band of Brothers, while chili and cornbread were served up in the mess hall.

After dinner, the General opened gifts from his troops, and then presented a short Powerpoint presentation he's been working on for months, full of graphics relating to Airsoft and WWII.

Then it was outside for one last nighttime battle.

They're all planning to do it again--birthday or no birthday!


5KidMom said...

Happy Birthday General Bantam 16!! It looks like it was a spectacular party. The battles appear to have been great!!

This is probably horrible of me to say, but I do especially like the picture of Blondechick 14 and her friend; very "Charlie's Angels" like.

Jennifer said...

that sounds like such a fun party!
and the power point presentation made me smile, so homeschoolish!
I am impressed at how well planned out this must have been.

thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

How fun!!! Happy 16th!

blestwithsons said...

Outstanding!! Ooh-Rah!! (and Happy Birthday, too!)

You probably have, but I must ask, have you ever heard of/watched Combat? It's an old b&w tv show - mid 60s - about an Army squad battling their way through France in WWII. We are TOTALLY addicted to it. I'm worse than my Marine Hubby- every night it's "C'mon! C'mon! Let's watch some Combat!" Netflix has it...

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Hey, it the older guy here. Do you think the black vest makes me look fat?

At A Hen's Pace said...


How am I supposed to answer that? Better ask your CO.

(Commanding Officer, don't you know...)