One of the most important military campaigns in history has been re-enacted in one of the strangest possible settings.
History lovers donned German and Allied uniforms and recreated the invasion of Normandy in front of bikini-clad tourists in Benidorm, Spain.
Crowds of bemused holidaymakers watched on at the popular resort as the gun-toting military enthusiasts stormed the beach from replica landing craft and ducked for cover behind sand dunes during a fake fire fight.
The reenactment was run by Spanish historical society Codex Bilex, which has recreated battles from as far back as Roman times.
According to its website, the group has a ‘passion for history’ and an ‘eagerness to reconstruct and understand the past’, while it also embraces the ‘Anglo-Saxon roots’ of the area.
‘Soldiers’ carried heavy machine guns and manned artillery cannons just yards away from sunbathers relaxing on the beach under parasols.
The recreation area was fenced off but still drew a lot of attention from bemused and interested tourists who stopped to watch the fighting, with realistic explosions in the sand recreated from the real thing.
The Normandy attack was the largest seaborne invasion in history with 156,000 troops from the UK, US and Canada landing across five beaches, while 24,000 paratroopers were also dropped behind enemy lines to support the assault.
It also proved to be a bloody campaign, with almost 4,500 Allied troops killed and up to 9,000 Germans killed.
Holidaymakers at Benidorm watched on as history fans donned Second World War uniforms to reenact the invasion of Normandy, pictured, in one of the most bizarre locations possible
A holidaymaker carrying an ice box makes her way to Poniente beach in Benidorm past a military enthusiast dressed in full German uniform carrying a machine gun, with Spanish society Codex Bilex staging a three-day military reenactment of the famous D-Day landings
Participants dressed up as US soldiers made their way onto the beach from replica landing craft used in the real invasion, wading through the water in front of thousands of bemused and interested tourists
Despite the huge audience gathered around the fenced-off part of the beach, the history society got on with the reenactment without any distractions, as ‘Allied troops’ ducked for cover behind a makeshift bunker as they attempted to breach German defence lines
Codex Bilex began the reenactment on Friday and put real effort into making the action as genuine as possible, with explosions in the sand and participants hitting the floor after being ‘shot dead’, while the invading Allied troops ducked down in trenches as they continued their advance
Codex Bilex said it has a ‘passion for history’ and an ‘eagerness to reconstruct and understand the past’, while it also embraces the ‘Anglo-Saxon roots’ of the area, with British troops, pictured, featuring in the reenactment
A German ‘commander’, left, and soldier, right, watch the Allied advance during a regular summer’s day at the popular tourist attraction. The Normandy landings became a bloody battle, with around 4,500 Allied troops killed while the Germans sustained around 9,000 casualties
Allied troops hit the Normandy beaches at five different zones, although they kept to just one in the Benidorm reenactment. It took six days for the Allied forces to unite all five beachheads after successfully breaching the German defences and driving them back into France
‘German troops’ are pictured surveying the area, although during the real battle they were not faces with holidaymakers and sunbathers relaxing under parasols or playing football in the sand
History fans dressed in US uniforms, pictured, walk along the promenade at Benidorm, standing out from the crowd in their military kit compared to the hundreds wearing very little as they enjoyed a day in the sun
‘German soldiers’ duck behind sand dunes as they try to resist the Allied assault during the reenactment. It is thought more than 200 members of the historical society took part in the action over the three days, while an exhibition and parade of Second World War military vehicles also took place at the Spanish resort
A group of Codex Bilex members dressed as German soldiers pose for a picture during the reenactment, which ended with a fireworks display
…and the Brits batter the French at Waterloo again too (and this one is actually in the right place!)
Hundreds more history fans took to the fields of Waterloo in Belgium to recreate the famous battle that saw Napoleon defeated by a joint British-Prussian force led by the Duke of Wellington.
The annual event is focused on accuracy, with the soldiers on both sides wearing uniforms designed to be as realistic as possible down to the buttons.
There are large-scale re-enactments every year, with people from all walks of life joining forces to fight the Battle of Waterloo.
On June 18, 1815, Napoleon led his 72,000-strong army into battle with 120,000 Allied soldiers on the gently rolling plateau of Waterloo in Belgium. The Allied army was a coalition of British, Dutch, German, Belgian and Prussian soldiers.
The two sides remained in a bloody conflict for several hours, but at the end of the afternoon the French emperor’s Great Army was defeated by the Duke of Wellington and Field Marshal Blucher, commander of the Prussian army.
It meant the end of Napoleon’s reign as Emperor of France and he abdicated just days later before he was exiled to the island of Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean, where he eventually died due to ill health in 1821.
Napoleon lost about 41,000 troops, with around 26,000 killed, and the Russian/British led forces sustained 24,000 casualties, although only around 5,000 died.
History lovers reenacted the 1815 Battle of Waterloo in Belgium this weekend, attempting to accurately recreate every detail, down to the buttons on the uniforms. Pictured is a French commander in front of officers and cavalry troops
A ‘general’ surveys the French infantry at the reenactment, which took place on the real Waterloo battlefield in Belgium 202 years after the original conflict. The recreation takes place every years and the public can watch with tickets costing five euros
All members of the community are welcome to take part whether young or old, with a French trooper pictured here addressing the marching band and other soldiers in the car park ahead of the battle reenactment
The French cavalry, pictured, lead the charge against the British-Prussian led coalition forces, with Napoleon ordering several attacks against the enemy army during the real battle that were repeatedly beaten back until the Duke of Wellington was able to lead a successful advance that breached the French lines, while the Prussians broke through the French right flank
Dutch soldiers, who fought with the coalition against the French, are pictured among the smoke of the battlefield as they fought back against the French forces