Plzen, West Bohemia, April 24 (CTK) – About 400 military history clubs from Czechia, Slovakia and various other countries will co-create historical military camps’ atmosphere during Plzen’s Liberation Festival on May 3-6, Pavel Rogl, from the 16th Armored Division’s military history club, told CTK on Tuesday.
The annual Convoy of Liberty, which will involve 220 historical U.S. military vehicles riding through Plzen on May 5, is probably the biggest of its kind in Europe, Rogl said.
“There are various convoy rides in Europe, but I don’t know about any other town that would have so many military vehicles in such a long convoy through the town centre,” he said.
This year, the convoy’s lead will comprise of 70 pieces of heavy military machinery, including armoured carriers, half-tracks and tanks. It will have dozens of jeeps ridden by war veterans, historical motorcycles, ambulances, trucks and other historical military equipment.
A flyover of Gripen fighters and historical aircrafts will start the convoy.
Regardless of their high age, three U.S., four Belgian and three Czech WWII veterans will participate in the festival, one of the largest celebrations of WWII’s end in the Czech Republic and in Europe.
Tens of thousands of visitors arriving at the celebrations will be able to enjoy this year’s cultural programme, exhibitions, commemorative ceremonies and popular military camps, too. Fans from military clubs will be also joined by individuals from wmilitary vehicles, Rogl said.
Military camps focusing on the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division and the 16th Armored Division, the Czechoslovak independent armoured brigades and the Raiders camp with a display of the U.S. infantry, will be also reconstructed.
A programme named Plzen 1945 will be conveying the images of a U.S. military camp and of a street from May 1945, including historical animation programme.
For the first time, the visitors will be able to see a reconstruction of the Royal Air Force (RAF) camp, whose 100th anniversary is being celebrated this year and in which 2,402 Czechs and Slovaks served,” first deputy mayor Martin Baxa said.
The camp will also include women, members of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), who were assisting in the camp from 1939 with parachute packing, radar and aircraft maintenance and by operating telephones and telegraphs.
Plzen’s restored ‘Thank You, America’ granite memorial dating from the 1990s will return to the American Avenue this year. It will be erected on April 25 and its ceremonial unveiling will take place on May 3.