4th Annual Canadian D-Day Big Game

4th Annual Canadian D-Day Big Game

By Terrence McEachern, Leader-Post
Photograph by: Michael Bell, Leader-Post , Leader-Post

"Fire in the hole!" shouted Stephen Dombowsky over the sound of explosions as his troops ran for cover on the battlefield.

Dombowsky, dressed as an Allied general, was the organizer for this year's Second World War paintball re-enactment on Sunday at the Prairie Storm Paintball field near Moose Jaw.
"World War Two is just that iconic battle that had such an impact on this world as we know it today," said Dombowsky, 29, a history buff and co-owner of Prairie Storm Paintball.
This is the fourth year Dombowsky has organized the event and the second year the June 6, 1944 battle at Juno Beach has been reenacted. The first two years involved the battle (or siege) of Bastogne, but he decided to change to Juno Beach because of its level of Canadian involvement and its importance to the Allied victory.
An important addition to this year's event was the $300 pyrotechnic explosives that launched the battle. "Next year, it'll be even bigger," said Dombowsky with a grin. He plans to re-enact Juno Beach again next year.
During the battle, Dombowsky watched his troops exit three black wooden structures resembling landing crafts and scurry into trenches as German paintballers perched high in bunkers fired on them.
"Look here, we're moving up," he points out after a few moments, and then shouts more orders at his troops through a bullhorn. "Reinforcements, let's go! Move out! Move out!"

Standing across the battlefield was Dombowsky's brother Jesse dressed in full uniform leading the German army.

The battlefield sits on land that Dombowsky leases from his parents for his paintball business.
"It's amazing land, really. It's land that you only use for something like a paintball field," he said.
Prior to the battle, Dombowsky explained the rules of the event and the significance of the battle to the estimated 200 participants. He then asked anyone who has served in the Canadian Forces to stand at the front so they could be acknowledged for their efforts. With about five former members of the Armed Forces at his side, Dombowsky led a moment of silence to remember those who have given their lives in battle for Canada.
Jeremy Lee of Regina emerged from the battlefield after about 30 minutes with yellow paint splattered on his camouflage uniform after being shot by the Allies. A paintball enthusiast for 19 years, this was Lee's first time at the Second World War re-enactment. He said he is planning to come back next year.

"It's pretty exhilarating, actually,"


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