Aegna scene of holiday battle reenactments from two very different eras

War of Independence reenactors on Aegna.
War of Independence reenactors on Aegna. Source: ERR

Military history buffs got two periods for the price of one on Friday, thanks to a midsummer holiday show put on on the island of Aegna, which lies close to the capital, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported.

The battle reenactors staged mock encounters from the Great Northern War (1700-1721), and from the Estonian War of Independence (1918-1920).

While there were no major engagements in either conflict around the time of Jaanipäev, June 24, nor on Aegna itself, the location and weather turned out ideal for giving audiences a taste of the warfare of the past.

Annes Kruberg, commander of the Preobrazhensky Regiment, of the Tsarist Imperial Guard, told AK that: "I am an artilleryman, in essence, the artillery commander. Will will be showcasing phases of battle, how command structures were distributed, what the clothing was like – we will demonstrate and explain, and will be firing off cannon and musketry."

Fast forward two hundred years and the British-made Maxim machine gun, a mainstay of the independence war and the first fully-automatic weapon widely available, was also on show to the public.

Chief of the "Pommiauk" reenactors' club Sergei Jerjomin said: "The Maxim machine gun belongs to the Narva boys. Clubs can also have guns; naturally they are not 'real', they are the type of firearms that we are permitted to have under the weapons law, designated salute guns, they fire blanks. However, of course, they are very authentic to the era."

The same could be said for the uniforms presented from both conflicts.

Jerjojim noted that he was fighting as a Latvian, a real individual called Osolvs, under the Estonian flag, during the war of independence – the conflict traversed the borders of both lands, while many reenactors go as far as to personalize their participating as a real historical figure.

Those who missed Friday's events can attend the "Ajast aega" festival on July 17, in the central Estonian town of Jõgeva, where more reenactments are to be carried out.

The two wars recreated effectively bookended Estonia's occupation by Tsarist Russia. Peter the Great's ultimate victory over the Swedish empire brought to an end the "Good Old Swedish Time" (Vana hea Rootsiaeg) in Estonia, while Estonia's victory in the independence war was followed by the 1920 Tartu treaty, which established the independent state and the First Estonian Republic.

The original AK slot is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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