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Battle For The Airfield

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This has been a good week for me being at aviation events. I previously reported on my B-25 ride and then the weekend comes and it's time for the annual "Battle For The Airfield" at the Collings Foundation HQ not far from where I live. Since 1979 the Collings Foundation has assembled a collection of classic cars, historic aircraft and more recently military vehicles. The large bombers tour all around the country, some of the other flybable planes are based in warmer regions than New England, but the foundation headquarters is still in Stow, Massachusetts and there's a lot to see there.

The Collings Foundation hosts three living history events in Stow each year. Some time back I reported on the Race Of The Century where various vehicles are matched up and race each other. This weekend was something different, the "Battle For The Airfield" focusing on WWII.



This weekend brings in a lot of outside participants. So, in addition to seeing the Collings collection there are also some 300 reenactors, acting as Americans, British, Russian, German and more. Plus lots of vehicles and other items to look at.



I went with a friend and we ended up spending most of the day, including watching one of the two battles, touring the hangar and car collection, visiting the camps and of course watching the planes. They were flying two Stearmen biplanes, a T-6 Texan and most unusual, a Fieseler Storch. The other planes are fairly common but there are not many Storchs still operational and its unique flying abilities made it fascinating to watch. In the air it seemed it could turn in practically its own length and both takeoff and landing took very little ground.



The battle is of course the high point of the event. They hold it twice each day and vary the results so even if you've been to this event before each time will be somewhat different. What you will see is a bunch of military vehicles in actual operation and though they're shooting blanks the smoke and sound is quite memorable.

Between battles there's lots to see. On permanent display is the classic car collection...all pre-WWII and all American built. These are cars any buff will drool over. In addition to the early cars there are also race cars--sprint and Indy type cars. These are stored in the hangar while the classic ars have their own barn.



That big hangar is packed with vehicles these days. In 2013 the Foundation acquired the Jacques Littlefield Military Vehicle Collection and some of those vehicles are now in Stow, tucked into the hangar. By the end of 2018 there will be a entirely new museum building to house the collection (it's now under construction) but for now vehicles are stuffed wherever they happen to fit.

I think this is a story that's best told in pictures, so please take a look at the photo gallery I've set up. The photos are arranged by topic as follows:

  1. Allied camp
  2. Batle For The Airfield
  3. Classic Cars
  4. Germany camp
  5. Hangar contents
  6. Other photos


Check out the photos here.

Related

Collings Foundation


My ride in the Collings B-25


Race Of The Century

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