By Mr. Ed Worley (Army Contracting Command)June 11, 2014
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--Army Contracting Command employees got to experience a portion of the D-Day airborne assault through an interactive program presented by the command historian.
Mikhael Weitzel used 28mm miniature characters and scaled terrain to recreate a battle during Operation Overlord's airborne invasion. He conducted the program June 6, the 70th anniversary of the Allied landings on the coast of France.
"I aimed to provide a different perspective and learning experience to introduce the airborne invasion piece of Operation Overlord, and to show an alternate method of interacting with history," he explained.
Weitzel set up scaled terrain of the battlefield and used miniature painted metal figures to represent the events depicting the 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and a platoon from the 326th Engineer Battalion. They landed at Drop Zone D, south of Vierville and east of Angoville Au Plain, in Normandy.
Chris Lindberg, ACC's deputy chief of staff, Intelligence and Security G-2, said the experience allowed him to continue using his skills as a G-2 by playing the enemy. He learned about a house in the landing zone the Germans set ablaze to light the night sky and backlight the airborne troops as they landed.
"I also learned that the unit that landed at Drop Zone D was one of the most accurate drops for D-Day, he said."
Kevin Burleson, an engineer assigned to the ACC Deputy Chief of Staff, Installations and Logistics G-4, said the interactive program was "an excellent tool for learning about that historic day."
"Mikhael did an excellent job explaining some of the history of the invasion and I got a better perspective of what took place that day," Burleson explained. "It helped me better understand what these men were up against when they dropped into the landing zone with all the decisions that had to be made during the chaos of war."
The miniatures were from Weitzel's personal collection. He estimates he spent more than 100 hours painting the U.S. miniatures and made or painted all of the terrain as an extracurricular interest in World War II history.
For more on the 506th in Normandy, go to http://www.history.army.mil/documents/WWII/506-Nor/506-nor.htm