The Hel D-Day is a historical reenactment commemorating the landing of allied forces on the beaches of Normandy in 1944. Both militaria enthusiasts and professional reenactment groups take part in the show. The numerous spectators can become directly acquainted with the combat equipment and uniforms of American, English, Scottish, Polish (the 1st Panzer Division under Gen. Stanisław Maczek), Canadian, and German troops from the times of World War II.
The main street of Hel, Wiejska, the beach adjoining the Baltic Sea, the pine forest in the Hel Foreland, the area of the Museum of Coastal Defence, and the trade port – these are the stages for the reenacted skirmishes and battles once fought by allied and German units. Many educational dioramas are established in Hel, presenting genuine, carefully-reconstructed World War II vehicles.
Historical and multimedia seminars have also been of huge importance to those interested, as they discuss the history of combat and are held in the Museum of Coastal Defence, on the Schleswig-Holstein Battery, a place where one comes into direct contact with history. Military drills are presented, and concerts by Scottish “Pipes & Drums” orchestra, and big-band groups performing music of the 1940s. Every evening all the members of the reenactment groups, along with their vehicles, parade down Wiejska Street.
The Hel D-Day now spans over a week, every day of which brings new attractions to catch your eye. One can truly feel the atmosphere of those times, thanks to the few hundred performers, stuntmen, historical presentations on World War II, professional fireworks, and the son et lumière effects.
To complete the picture of the Hel D-Day, we can add the realistic presentation of particular episodes of the war, with light and sound effects, and advanced pyrotechnics. Stage settings play a prominent role too, but the star attraction is the landing on the beach – where could it work out better than on the Hel seashore?
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