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What are some things that reenactors can do to be more authentic?

Started by DOGFACE1944 , Jan 16 2008 09:57 AM

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#41 Jeeper704

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 03:22 AM

True ..... the other half of the American Army was 82nd Airborne. http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/devil.gif

We all know that the war was won by the glorious 4th Armored Division with a little help from other - obscure - units. ;)

It would be great if some re-enactors would portray other units than 2AD, 29ID, 101AB, etc.
Where are re-enactors of let's say 5ID or 26ID or 6AD?

Erwin

#42 dogface44

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 04:59 AM

It's really funny when I wear my War Correspondent stuff and some knucklehead comes up to the one of the other guys (or gals) in the group and accuses me of being a pacifist or something or someone who didn't feel worthy to dress like "a real soldier."


Ever heard of Beaver Thompson ?

#43 willysmb44

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 05:38 PM

Ever heard of Beaver Thompson ?

You're talking about John Thompson of the Chicago Tribune, right? He's listed by many books to the be the first airborne war correspondent (with the 509th, if my memory is correct), but there is evidence that least one other was jumping from planes around the same time, maybe two by then. I think I have one of his original typewritten dispatches lying around here somewhere…

Thanks for your reaction, it reminded me of Pvt. Oddball in "Kelly's Heroes" when he said his unit "acted" like they were always in maintenance (to avoid combat).

Seriously, I am currently negotiating on a pack howitzer right now and that's exactly what I'll do with it if I can get my hands on it! Yeah, I too was thinking of that movie as well. Seriously, my idea is at the very first event I go to with the crew, we'll fire maybe two or three rounds then complain that the ammo hasn't caught up to us. We'd just hunker down by the gun and joke the rest of the time!

I've been told I'd make a good MP. (Would be cool to run into a dance and beat the cr.p out of them Airborne re-enactors ... http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/devil.gif )

There are a few really good MP units out there. But to be authentic, you must be prepared for folks to avoid you and talk smack about you all the time. Along those lines, I was at a small tactical event many years ago, and there was one "LT" ordering everyone around. I kept giving him grief every time I saw him, yelling, "Hey, Loot, where's the best chow?" or, "Hey, Loot, the front is this way!" This went on most of the day. By the afternoon, he came up and started yelling at me, demanding to know what he'd done to me to warrant me acting like this as we'd never met before then. I pulled out my active duty card (Army, O-1) and said, "If you're going to wear those bars, you need to be ready to be treated like real Lieutenants get treated by the line soldiers." To his credit, he didn't say another word.

#44 Jeeper704

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 10:20 PM

Ah well, no problem avoiding people .... don't like crowds anyway.
Would be great being an MP Sergeant with my dog as "guard dog".
If I get "flak" from other re-enactors ...... "Brandie, go fetch!". http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/devil.gif http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/naughty.gif

Erwin

#45 dogface44

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 03:12 AM

You're talking about John Thompson of the Chicago Tribune, right? He's listed by many books to the be the first airborne war correspondent (with the 509th, if my memory is correct), but there is evidence that least one other was jumping from planes around the same time, maybe two by then. I think I have one of his original typewritten dispatches lying around here somewhere…


Yes, thats right. Hey id be interested to have a look at that typewritten dispatch if you locate it someday... Thompson jumped with the 509th in N africa and with the 82nd in Sicily. If my memory is good i think he also jumped in Normandy no ? The funny thing is that during his first jump with the 509th he had never jumped before! So whenever these idiots tell you bad things about war correpondants tell them about Beaver!
There is a photo of him and much info in Dropzone Sicily by Breuer.

#46 YankeeDiv26

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 08:46 PM

Wow what a great thread!

@Jeeper, The Yankee Division (26ID) is still alive and kicking in reenacting my friend! If I had to guess, we're one of the biggest US Infantry units in New England and usually have about 4-5 events a month for most of the year (even more in the summer). Check us out at www.26yd.com if you'd like (shameless ad)

@p51, I'd be down for that any day! A few big fun booms and then get to hang out in the hole (on gaurd depending on how big/hot the tactical is) and brew a few good cups of canteen cup joe.

One of the things I don't think has been addressed is going thorugh drilling/marching/manual of arms and doing it right. The reenacting unit I belong to always fall in/out formation and do so properly when we are breifed/debreifed, even if it's in the parking lot before a tactical. Learning the basics and doing so properly makes you look far more like a professional soldier (even if you aren't) than a lot of other things and you can do it with just a some good instruction and practice. I bet if you ask a lot of WWII veterans, they spent more time and work on the parade ground in basic than they did on the artificial battlefield.

General Military eticique should be followed as well. There are one thousand and one little things that people should do. When you put on a uniform you should put on the attitude that goes with it. A simple (and appropiate) correction here and there from someone who knows the rules makes a new guy learn a lot and fast. Respect the uniform and what it stands for (well...mabye not if you're axis :lol: )

Another thing is I think if you're at an event where being the "battle weary line doggie" look isn't appropiate, then dont. I think it's GREAT if a guy is at a LH display and looks like he REALLY was in combat the past few weeks, but if he's half-a$$ing it (aka being clean hygenically and having clean gear but doing things only acceptable when on the line) then it's just not right. You should either go through the effort of looking really good (ie pressed uniforms, clean grooming, good haircut, tie) or really bad (dirty/soiled/stained, tired, hungry, and in need of a 3 day pass), doing something in the middle doesn't do your impression any good. It's a little aggravating to see a guy who's too lazy to make his gig line right, take his jeep cap off, get his uniform nicely pressed, shave, and wear a tie at a display because he says its "what a combat GI what have looked like" but is there in a squeaky clean, all golden khaki, repro uniform with boots that have never walked a mile on a dirt road.

Some of the things I'd like to agree with are things like DIGGING HOLES! My great uncle (a 26ID combat vet during WWII) said he dug god knows how many half-done foxholes before moving out. There are god knows how many E-tools in reenacting that have never seen the light outside of their carriers.

I think that if someone can't move around the battlefield like they need to, then they should either get in shape enough so that they can or take a back seat at tacticals. Front line GI's were the definite minority, it's fine if you just cant be at the front of the front. It won't kill a guy if he's too old or unhealthy to sit back at HQ, but it may if he's pushing his body too far. I think a few years ago someone actually had a heart attack at FIG and passed away, I'm not sure if it was directly from over-working (I wasn't there) but something as unfortunate as that should never happen again.

I'm a young guy (16) and a good size (about 6'3 and 200lb) so I probably won't be sitting one out anytime soon but when that day comes I most definitely will. Should there be an elimination of everyone who can't do 50 pushups or run/jump/dive around the battlefield at full speed? No thats absurd, but if its unsafe for someone to do it, then they shouldn't.

reenacting will never be perfect because WW2 will not re-play itself, everyone should just make sure every step they take is in the right direction.

#47 Jeeper704

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 11:00 PM

Very well said!
I know I will not be the ideal soldier, but hope to drive along in an M-18 one day.

Btw, your familymember was in 26th Division?
What Regiment?
I have known a few Veterans from the 26th in all those years I did research.
Thanks.

Erwin

#48 hbtcoveralls

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 04:58 PM

Hi,
You're lucky to have such a great unit as the Yankees to fall in with. Brian Dugrenier and all the boys were a squad in my Platoon at the Gap (company K first Platoon) for a bunch of years and they always stood out for their excellent skills and deportment.
Just to set the record straight about Dennis the troop who passed from a heart attack at the Gap in 1999, It was a truly unfortunate thing, but aside from having a few extra pounds he was actually in decent shape (a high school wrestling coach I think) but never got the warning heart attack and instead got the "big one" first. I always remember that someone who I respect told me that he could have gone shoveling snow but instead it happened there.
Just thinking what we can do to be more authentic? Join the YD and follow the lead! Say Hi to all the guys for me,
Tom Bowers
in Sunny South Carolina.

#49 YankeeDiv26

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 07:40 PM

Tom, I can't rightfully speak on behalf of the YD (I'm only a pvt :lol:) but thanks very much for the kind words! I know LT. (Brian) Dugrenier does more than enough to keep the YD well oiled and always moving forward, as does everyone else within the unit. I'd be more than happy to pass your kind words on to them and I'm sure they would be more than happy to recieve it.

I won't be able to attend the GAP until 2010 (I have finals the same week every year http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbdown.gif ) but I've heard some very positive reviews of the K. Co. guys as well, I'll be looking forward to meeting all you gentlemen.

Thank you for clarifying the story over the man who had a heart attack, I was only going on speculation.

I think that just some of the biggest issues this hobby has are the simplest. I mean just plain old honesty is a simple one, I'd much rather say "yes, I am wearing double buckle boots for a Normandy event, but they're the only thing I got and I put some leggings over them, I'm sorry" than "well...they were designed in 1943 and through my "GI ingenuity" (aka a reproduction manufacturer) I obtained them in time for overlord, besides I saw a picture (out of thousands) that shows a guy with them". It's only criminal if someone decides against better judgement and justifies something that isn't there. Are the boots authentic? No probably not, but there are far greater sins in this world. You can fix a pair of boots a lot easier than you can fix an attitude, but the attitude applies to everything and the boots only to your feet. So if the boots fits, wear it!

(and yes this bizarre example is based on no actual event :lol: )

Another thing, people should take things far less personally then they sometimes do. I've seen on (other) forums where people post pictures of their impression asking for comments/criticisims and then act like you just slapped their mother when you actually give them. They're commenting on your uniform, your helmet, your webgear, hardly ever you (asides from occasionally a physical comment). There is a certain amount of pride one puts in their impression, but if they're mature enough to be involved in a hobby such as this one they should be mature enough to take legitimate criticism if they subject themself to it. Again, this type of attitude only applies to certain people, and not very many at that.

Another thing I tend not to love is the "elitism" that sometimes pops up, there are occasionally these "Super-Reenactors" that seem to think that if someone else's kit isn't as good as theirs, they should not be allowed to get on the field with them. Yes certain standards must be followed (and have been dramatically improving since the hobby's beginnings) but not everyone can come out every weekend, be as "hardcore" as someone, or put as much money into the hobby. Although I've never witnessed it happen in person, you can see it through "forum bullying" in different amounts depending on which forum you frequently visit. Being a 16 year old kid with a 40hour job during the first and last 2 months of the school year and a life outside of reenacting (although I'm slowly losing that too :rolleyes: ) I've come to realize that there are certain times I cant dedicate myself as much as I'd like too, and I cant blame anyone else for their level of commitment, nomatter what it is. I garuntee you most reenactors would rather go spend a weekend with the guys than go to work or stay at home because of the gas money (dont get me started there!). We all aren't in this hobby or be committed to it for the same reasons, and we shouldn't shun each other for it.

RANK! Who needs it?! If you didn't earn it, dont wear it. The only two exceptions I can think of for a guy needing those 2nd LT bars or all them Master Sergeant Stripes is that they either A) NEED someone to fill that position or B) It's more accurate for them to have rank than not. There weren't many 50 year old privates in the infantry, do yourself a favor and sew on a few stripes for still getting out there with us young guys and typically being our mentors http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif You really dont NEED many guys with moderatly high ranks to fill in a reenacting unit anyways, just say the Company Commander/Platoon Sgt/squad leader was hit and you haven't gotten a replacement if you dont have anyone qualified enough for the position. It seems like the most hated guy at a reenactment is the one who's General so-and-so storming around bossing the enlisted men and ends up having NO credentials for the position whatsoever. I personally have no problems giving said jerks a smothering of "yes SIR" until it breaks through their thick ego's. If they're just as civilian as me and always have been, then their mommy must have told them they were special a few too many times for them to put on that rank.

Are there more things we can do to be authentic? Yes, and that's one out of the many reasons why I love this hobby, there is always possibility for the next event to be better than the last. I can think of a thousand and one things we can do to make this hobby better, and you'll probably hear more from me soon :rolleyes:

What always makes me feel better though is that the most bickering, flare ups, and issues I've seen over this hobby have taken place online (not on this forum though) instead of in person. I think people are far less likely to be an a$$ if they're looking in your eyes and not at their computer screen. At the times when it really counts (an event) people seem to generally get along REALLY well http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif To me, thats what actually matters.

-Tim

#50 hbtcoveralls

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 04:26 PM

[quote name='YankeeDiv26' date='May 18 2008, 07:40 PM' post='140058']
Hi Again Tim,
I attended my first WWII event in 1991 (17 years ago) so that makes me an old-timer now, although I was young then and still haven't been fitted for any gray hairs. I have to say that it makes me happy to see young men still joining and participating with a great attitude and energy all these years later.
Your comments, espcially about rank, are also right on point. I think numbers are the key when it comes to rank. If you have 5 guys at an event, then you don't need a bird Colonel!, but if you have 150men, then for goodness sakes you better have a Captain.
I also see your points concerning authenticity when it comes to uniform. Here again attitude is everything, if a group or an individual is giving it their best shot and falling a little short, I have to respect their attempt. But when I see groups of "loose cannons" and people who just don't care about doing a credible impression I feel disappointed by their effort.
Tom Bowers

#51 possum

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 10:49 PM

True ..... the other half of the American Army was 82nd Airborne. http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/devil.gif

We all know that the war was won by the glorious 4th Armored Division with a little help from other - obscure - units. ;)

It would be great if some re-enactors would portray other units than 2AD, 29ID, 101AB, etc.
Where are re-enactors of let's say 5ID or 26ID or 6AD?

Erwin


Our group doing 6AD. Enjoy!

Jon

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#52 possum

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 10:52 PM

Our group doing 6AD. Enjoy!

Jon


More. I'm the skinny sod in the middle of the last picture.

Regards,

Jon

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#53 Custermen

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 04:07 PM

Interesting inputs. It all sounds good. I like to go to see troops usually at Living History events just to see---and hopefully---handle their equipment. Then I would like to talk to them about their experiences that will hopefully shed light on what they've learned about living back in those days. And I always like it when I can ask a difficult question about a unit and someone actually knows their stuff. I think evey reenactor should be required to pass a written history test if they plan to be in direct contact with the public,

Most of my experiences has been with American Civil War reenactors and living histories. Some of those guys go a little overboard with plaid pants and homespun knapsacks.

But my #1 pet pieve is ---- DO NOT WEAR YOUR HAT BACKWARDS. You may look cool doing that on MTV but I don't think anyone born before 1956 wore their hat like that.

I have been to some live Civil War cannon competition that was great. You got to see them in action doing the real deal---no pretend here. Of course they had to have red flags and a range safety officer with a bull-horn. I can edit that out of the photos or try to hold my camera until he turn away. But it is hard to edit a hat and turn it around.

No. 2 for Civil War reenactors: Don't go to the field if your gun won't fire. The 20 grain powder loads on those .58 calibers do not make much of a noise. If it misfires, then it sounds puny and makes you look stupid. I borrowed a Sprinfield and a uniform so I could try out reeancting and the darn Nipple fractured in half right in the middle of a battle. An officer helped me purchase a replacement from another soldier and get back into action. MY guns would never do that.

Steve

Edited by Custermen, 11 July 2008 - 04:11 PM.


#54 twhigham

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 06:20 AM

Destroying a WWII barrel so the blank adapter doesn't show is damn retarded. Unless they start making repro M1's to use, if I find out you tapped a vintage barrel I'm slapping you like Patton. Putting a 'rat barrel' on a vintage firearm is even a dumber idea.

Only carbines have an obtrusive blank adapter, because no one has made anything better. There are 'hollywood' Garand blank adapters that are parked and only add 9/16ths of an inch to a barrel. If you can see it from 10 feet then you are very, very good.

Stop using propane MGs.. now THAT I can get behind.


I agree with PFarber on the M1 carbine barrel. Any M1 carbine made to or used by USGI is a piece of history that's being destroyed when you render the barrel unshootable. However, you can take a "shot out" barrel and tap it in such a way that it is still shoot-able, if the machinist knows his business. There's a link out there that explains how to do it (essentially, you drill the barrell and tap it, then recede it so the threads don't interfere with the rifling).

Swapping out barrels on a rifle just for a public battle or a tactical is a waste of time and money.

And the cheapest shoot-able M1 carbine you're going to find nowadays is through CMP for about $400, if you're lucky enough to meet their criteria.

My choice was to get the 2007 repro from Auto Ordnance and tap it for a BFA. Total cost was about $600. No history destroyed and only cost a little more than a CMP rifle, and a little less than a collectible WW2. Plus it came with the proper flip site, push-button safety, and no bayonet mount. And a warranty!

Re: propane MGs - I disagree on that. If you can hide the tank and the gas lines, then I have no problem with the propane machine gun because it adds a lot to the battle ambiance. The cost of ammo is pretty high otherwise.

Edited by twhigham, 12 July 2008 - 06:22 AM.


#55 Guest_swamp_fox_6_*

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 07:50 PM

I agree with PFarber on the M1 carbine barrel. Any M1 carbine made to or used by USGI is a piece of history that's being destroyed when you render the barrel unshootable. However, you can take a "shot out" barrel and tap it in such a way that it is still shoot-able, if the machinist knows his business. There's a link out there that explains how to do it (essentially, you drill the barrell and tap it, then recede it so the threads don't interfere with the rifling).

Swapping out barrels on a rifle just for a public battle or a tactical is a waste of time and money.

And the cheapest shoot-able M1 carbine you're going to find nowadays is through CMP for about $400, if you're lucky enough to meet their criteria.

My choice was to get the 2007 repro from Auto Ordnance and tap it for a BFA. Total cost was about $600. No history destroyed and only cost a little more than a CMP rifle, and a little less than a collectible WW2. Plus it came with the proper flip site, push-button safety, and no bayonet mount. And a warranty!

Re: propane MGs - I disagree on that. If you can hide the tank and the gas lines, then I have no problem with the propane machine gun because it adds a lot to the battle ambiance. The cost of ammo is pretty high otherwise.


You know, I had to think long and hard about how to properly adapt my carbine. It’s a CMP purchased inland. Couldn’t stand the idea of a bignormous ugly red BFA that never worked properly, and actually would damage the front site. I didn’t want to tap the barrel and damage this piece of history.

Then in the middle of the night, I had my epiphany – MILIONS of these were made (and can be found everywhere), mine is rack grade, has been rebuild sometime in its life, isn’t attributed to be the gun that fired the shot that killed Field Marshall I Forget His Name, and if done correctly can still safely (and as accurately as a carbine is) accurately shoot live ammo.

I guess you can say I destroyed it, but I don’t think so.

Cheers!

#56 twhigham

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 11:48 AM

You know, I had to think long and hard about how to properly adapt my carbine. It’s a CMP purchased inland. Couldn’t stand the idea of a bignormous ugly red BFA that never worked properly, and actually would damage the front site. I didn’t want to tap the barrel and damage this piece of history.

Then in the middle of the night, I had my epiphany – MILIONS of these were made (and can be found everywhere), mine is rack grade, has been rebuild sometime in its life, isn’t attributed to be the gun that fired the shot that killed Field Marshall I Forget His Name, and if done correctly can still safely (and as accurately as a carbine is) accurately shoot live ammo.

I guess you can say I destroyed it, but I don’t think so.

Cheers!


Recess the threads so it can shoot live ammo, and you can increase the street value on that mutt. http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

#57 Lt.

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 11:15 AM

learn the customs of the ww2 soldiers. know what they did in their free time, and how they acted.

#58 Gregory

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 11:56 AM

Gents,

In the field of "authentic"...

Airworthy CG-4A is coming!! http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/bravo.gif

The glider snatch airshows are planned with participation of C-47 and CG-4A. Can you imagine? The GIRs reenactors get ready!

http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

#59 Justin

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 07:44 PM

learn to talk like people did back in the 40's

just like in the old WWII movies, they always had a few guys with New Yorker accents or from the Bronx, Brooklyn, etc

or the Texan mid westerner

other regional accents

If you must cuss, say thing like "keaster", hmm thats all I can think of know, but there is a lot more lol

#60 edstorey

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 09:26 AM

I have not read every post on this topic and I am sure that many of the points I have to say have been noted, but here goes.

Too many elite units - not every unit in the military is Airborne or Commando.
Too many people holding rank from Sgt and above - someone out there has to do the work.
Too many overweight people - this I think speaks for itself.
Too many old guys - after 30 wear a nice jacket and tie and be the 'front man'.
Too many 'cowboys' - I saw it in the movies so that must be how it is for real.
Too many 'wannabees' - I could never cut it in the real military, so I joined a re-enactment unit.

I am not trying to paint every re-enactor with the same brush as I have seen some really good ones unfortunately human nature as it is, you tend to only remember the bad ones.


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