Our event was officially terminated on Sunday, 14th August 2016, at 18.00 hours. We are drawing a positive final summary.
There were no incidents with vehicles, participants and visitors. On the terrain, at the Convoy-Parade through Argovian Jura and Fricktal as well as on the approaches and departures and the air demonstrations everything proceeded safely. The parking and traffic concepts in the Birmenstorf area proved successful. The police noted no special incidents.
New Record Attendance
There were 630 military old-timers from 15 nations enrolled. After the Swiss, the Germans provided the largest number of participants. The longest way here had to be mastered by the participants from England. The oldest vehicle was from 1931. One of the oldest visitors was a 90-year-old war veteran from Pilsen.
Convoy Parade with 600 Vehicles
We were surprised by the particularly high number of vehicles which lined up for the motorcade in ideal weather conditions. Instead of the anticipated 350 vehicles, an estimated number of 600 participated. At the Convoy-Parade many thousands of military old-timer enthusiasts watched the drive-past of the motorcade. Particularly many spectators were present in the Polenstrasse area, in Zeihen, as well as in the old-town of Brugg. The long column caused a temporary traffic jam in the area of Birmenstorf-Gebenstorf-Brugg, which, however, dispersed within a short time.
Among the chief attractions of this year’s Convoy were in the air the show of Patrouille Suisse, as well as the operation of a combat airfield of the US Army Air Corps, shown for the first time in Switzerland. The starts and touch-downs of the Stinson L-5 on the improvised airfield enthused the many spectators. Jumps by paratroopers in the original equipment of the 101st US Airborne Division from a C-47 Dakota, which had been in combat in Normandy in 1944, complemented the demonstrations on the invasion of 1944. The modern equivalent were the long-distance scouts of the Swiss Army with the highly precise landings in the middle of the terrain.
On the ground, a central feature was a special ride-past on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Convoy to Remember. Historic formations as the Cavalry Squadron 1972, a BAT-platoon, pedal-bikers as well as a dozen old-timer rarities paraded in the midst of the spectators. In great demand were the expertly commented tank demonstrations „of yore and today“ with 28 tanks, among them the whole assortment of the Swiss Army. 25 re-enactor groups shone with the precise details of their camps - from the construction of their tents to the kitchen equipment.
Visitor Numbers Achieved, Plenty of Families and Women
On the terrain in Birmenstorf we had an estimated number of round about 20,000. Numerous non-registered spectators stayed on the nearby hills to see Patrouille Suisse. Together with the many spectators at the Convoy-Parade, an estimated number of 20,000 to 30,000 people observed Convoy. In particular, we saw many families. Again we noticed a growing proportion of women, who participated either as visitors or at the steering wheel of an old-timer.
It is not clear yet whether the 20-year success story of Convoy to Remember will see a continuation. The greatest problem for the organizers usually proves to be the availability of the terrain, where vegetable growing and gravel pits are the big industries. The goodwill of the owners was and is high. But because the large gravel pit continuously changes, it is not clear if the terrain will be suitable for the next Convoy in three years’ time.