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


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I thing that our population has more to do with overweight. The owerweight people have chance to do elite combat unit! They need only to find they place in unit. You describe below his oportunity as a cook, admin, supply, or some other. Our group 194th GIR 17th AB have researching all in our archive for get results for owerweight people. I attached one photo of medic. Go ahead. :thumbsup:

 

OMG!! :blink::rolleyes::unsure: :ermm: :crying:

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I can play I got a picture too!

 

http://www.ww2civreporter.com/images/skbitaly2.jpg

From my personal collection, a middle aged pudgy guy in Italy

 

http://www.ww2civreporter.com/images/skbowner.jpg

same guy again (notice the age lines and chubby cheeks)

 

http://www.ww2civreporter.com/images/skbitaly6.jpg

again (no tie and a green t-shirt egads!)

 

http://www.ww2civreporter.com/images/skbnyc1.jpg

same guy NYC 1942 with his distinguished looking buddies (No tunics, mix of head gear and uniforms all in the same unit, Oh My!)

 

http://www.ww2civreporter.com/images/skbitaly4.jpg

Naples 1944 the previously pictured fellow is in the middle (do I need to point out all the violations here?)

 

and just to show the ww2 generation was far from perfect:

 

http://www.ww2civreporter.com/images/skbtol741942.jpg

him in his lovely wife 1942

 

http://www.ww2civreporter.com/images/skbpinup.jpg

Not his lovely wife, but received by him in Italy and kept none the less.

 

Researching WW2 and all the wars after it is very different then researching earlier time periods because of all the film evidence. When looking at WW2 picture I see a great deal of subtle variation in soldiers. Maybe it is simply human nature to try and differentiate ones self from all the others. Finding original pictures were every G.I is kitted out the exact same way and wearing their gear in precisely the same manner outside of ceremonial and training functions is actually rather rare. I think subtle variations are necessary to be authentic.

 

-Bitsy

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

Researching WW2 and all the wars after it is very different then researching earlier time periods because of all the film evidence. When looking at WW2 picture I see a great deal of subtle variation in soldiers. Maybe it is simply human nature to try and differentiate ones self from all the others. Finding original pictures were every G.I is kitted out the exact same way and wearing their gear in precisely the same manner outside of ceremonial and training functions is actually rather rare. I think subtle variations are necessary to be authentic.

 

-Bitsy

 

It is common in training or training mode for soldiers to have the same manner and style of gear as per a training SOP. In combat the changes become more personal and a matter of necessity and simplicity. I watched it happen as the chain of command cared little about appearance and allowed soldiers to personalize their gear, hootches, manner of dress, food prep etc.. Some guys ate cold rations, some had heaters, some used whatever they had.

 

The ingenuity of a combat soldier will never change.

 

Once back in garrison the stupidity starts anew and the chain of command reverts to appearances and such.

 

Rock

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

Chubby guys don't last long in the infantry and there just werent' that many chubby people in the military during WWII. I submit that they were the exception. I have seen good soldiers that were stout though. That's all I knew.

 

Rock

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Chubby guys don't last long in the infantry and there just werent' that many chubby people in the military during WWII. I submit that they were the exception. I have seen good soldiers that were stout though. That's all I knew.

 

Rock

 

 

Actually Rock it depended on their MOS. More rear area fellows were a bit more "stouter" than the combat troops. Such as our impression the ground crews there were some who were a bit "plumper" than others.

 

Scott

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo
Actually Rock it depended on their MOS. More rear area fellows were a bit more "stouter" than the combat troops. Such as our impression the ground crews there were some who were a bit "plumper" than others.

 

Scott

 

I agree with that. Riding versus walking, mess hall chow, bad rations, time to eat, etc.. is the life of an infantryman even in peactime. But like I said, not many fat guys in the infantry. Stout, yes. Lt. Waverly Wray of the 505th PIR, Capt Michael Steele (Somalia Rangers) etc. They were big but strong. A decent percentage of SF guys are stout as well. WWII, muscly and some stout guys but not many chubby guys in the infantry.

 

Plump usually = Rear Echelon

 

Rock

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Wear your uniform & gear on hikes to give it that used broken in look.

 

Reproduction uniforms should be washed to make them look used, boots should be worn in the field to give them some wear & tear and the leather should have creases from long road marches

 

lots of soldiers didnt change clothes or take a bath for several days at a time

 

Etools [shovels] should show finish wear from use, lots of time digging fox holes would have made them look worn from digging

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Wear your uniform & gear on hikes to give it that used broken in look.

 

Reproduction uniforms should be washed to make them look used, boots should be worn in the field to give them some wear & tear and the leather should have creases from long road marches

 

lots of soldiers didnt change clothes or take a bath for several days at a time

 

Etools [shovels] should show finish wear from use, lots of time digging fox holes would have made them look worn from digging

 

 

However;

 

That doesnt give carte blanche for reenactors to start looking like Joe Sh*t the Ragman at events. There were laundry units that cleaned uniforms (someone posted pictures of a WWII impression that they actually have a WWII laundry system), and there were mobile showers. Troops still found a way to shave and do all the personal hygeine stuff in the field (GI ingenuity).

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Wear your uniform & gear on hikes to give it that used broken in look.

 

Reproduction uniforms should be washed to make them look used, boots should be worn in the field to give them some wear & tear and the leather should have creases from long road marches

 

lots of soldiers didnt change clothes or take a bath for several days at a time

 

Etools [shovels] should show finish wear from use, lots of time digging fox holes would have made them look worn from digging

 

 

Juts need to be careful in regards to weathering gear, i have seen people go out of there way to weather something so it matches a current photo of a 60+ year old item, remembering that when it was new it would have looked new, i've seen people weather wooden ammo boxes so the look like they have been sitting for 60 years, a bit of wear is good but over the top can just look farby.

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However;

 

That doesnt give carte blanche for reenactors to start looking like Joe Sh*t the Ragman at events. There were laundry units that cleaned uniforms (someone posted pictures of a WWII impression that they actually have a WWII laundry system), and there were mobile showers. Troops still found a way to shave and do all the personal hygeine stuff in the field (GI ingenuity).

 

That woul dbe us guys (FSSF-UK)...

 

Though partly true, there where times when it wasn't happening, like in the mountains of Italy, or the Franco-Italian border, weeks in them mountains, and the only water was carried, on mens backs, it was very scarce, and ye see beards appearing, and as one vet said "touch my water and I'll kill ye", and he said that to an officer (didn't get that from a book)...

 

Having spent less than a week up them mountains myself, my clothes got ragged and torn, and I was filthy, and I wasn't hugging the ground dodging bullets, just ambling around... Every day we had to go back down and get water, or one could add that we where lucky enough to able to.......

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That woul dbe us guys (FSSF-UK)...

 

Though partly true, there where times when it wasn't happening, like in the mountains of Italy, or the Franco-Italian border, weeks in them mountains, and the only water was carried, on mens backs, it was very scarce, and ye see beards appearing, and as one vet said "touch my water and I'll kill ye", and he said that to an officer (didn't get that from a book)...

 

Having spent less than a week up them mountains myself, my clothes got ragged and torn, and I was filthy, and I wasn't hugging the ground dodging bullets, just ambling around... Every day we had to go back down and get water, or one could add that we where lucky enough to able to.......

 

I wasn't speaking about private "tacticals" or private unit training/ get togethers. I was talking about public events that include static displays and close interaction with the public.

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I wasn't speaking about private "tacticals" or private unit training/ get togethers. I was talking about public events that include static displays and close interaction with the public.

 

My first part was a very public show, Waltham Abbey:

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...showtopic=75221

 

The second part wasn't a tactical, but was used as an illustration as to how easy it is to actually get "looking like shite" as ye say, never mind several days in combat, which, correct me if I am wrong, most of the static displays are aimed at (many, many days in combat?), and I reiterate, in the mountains of Italy (for one example) it is real easy to look like shite, compound that with mortars and bullets flying thru the air at ye, and the (illustrated) lack of water and boot polish, it ain't rocket science to realise one would indeed "look like shinola" :thumbsup: and if yer gonna portray that aspect of war, then one has to consider that... And I've seen some static displays, supposedly "combat" dislpays, where the guys are nice and clean, polished boots etc and that looks like shite :blink: ...

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My first part was a very public show, Waltham Abbey:

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...showtopic=75221

 

The second part wasn't a tactical, but was used as an illustration as to how easy it is to actually get "looking like shite" as ye say, never mind several days in combat, which, correct me if I am wrong, most of the static displays are aimed at (many, many days in combat?), and I reiterate, in the mountains of Italy (for one example) it is real easy to look like shite, compound that with mortars and bullets flying thru the air at ye, and the (illustrated) lack of water and boot polish, it ain't rocket science to realise one would indeed "look like shinola" :thumbsup: and if yer gonna portray that aspect of war, then one has to consider that... And I've seen some static displays, supposedly "combat" dislpays, where the guys are nice and clean, polished boots etc and that looks like shite :blink: ...

 

 

That's what most units seem to go after at statics, they want to show a "combat soldier who's been in the field a while so yes they should look rough. As our unit does a ground crew unit we are clean shaven BUT our boots are NOT polished and our coveralls are oily and greasey as they should be.

 

Scott

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
However;

 

That doesnt give carte blanche for reenactors to start looking like Joe Sh*t the Ragman at events. There were laundry units that cleaned uniforms (someone posted pictures of a WWII impression that they actually have a WWII laundry system), and there were mobile showers. Troops still found a way to shave and do all the personal hygeine stuff in the field (GI ingenuity).

Depends on the unit and what you're trying to portray. Combat, particularly lengthy/sustained combat, is a dirty business, dirtier than you might ever imagine without actually experiencing it, and it often called for long periods in the field and/or on the line. I've talked to Marines from the Chosin Reservoir battle who said they went several weeks wearing the same clothes and without a shower/bath and often without a shave. There's no way to look both pretty and and look like you're in combat; you can't look combat dirty without being dirty....same with your weapon and gear.

 

In Recon, when on the combat base clean uniforms, showers, shaves, haircuts, and spotless weapons were the order of the day. However, things were different in the field (in combat). There were no showers or laundry in the bush. We came out of the bush in the exact same clothes we went into the bush with 4-5-6-7+ days earlier, sometimes in shreds. Occasionally guys brought a change of socks but that was about it...not even a change of skivvies (assuming anyone wore them at all). Taking a change of uniform to the bush would have been an incredibly rare exception; I don't personally remember anyone doing so. Many of us carried a poplin sleeping bag outer cover to the field to sleep in. It was throwwn on the ground in the dirt, dust, mud, etc and used to protect you from the mosquitos during the couple hours you got to sleep. They were seldom washed.

 

Everything you were going to need for the entire duration of a combat patrol (plus a day or two extra because patrols were often extended); ammunition, illumination flares, booby traps, CS and smoke grenades, LAAWs, frags, Claymores, det cord, C-4, extra magazines and M-60 belts, food, water, etc, all had to go into your ruck and it was often at 100 lbs or more to start with. The water we had was what we brought to the field, particularly in the dry season (I sometimes carried 8 canteens in my ruck or n my belt). The only non-drinking use of water was to clean a wound or occasionally (and I mean very occasionally) brush your teeth. The only time we had anything close to a bath was when we had to cross a stream. We usually had a local Vietnamese wash out clothes when we were back on the combat base. They washed them in a muddy stream and didn't use pretty-smelling laundry detergent so our bush gear didn't smell pretty.

 

Sounds pretty gross.....and it was but it also worked to our advantage. You'd be surprised how far smells carry in the jungle. The NVA didn't bathe and anything not smelling like the jungle would be detected immediately. The NVA smoked a particular kind of tobacco that had a very distinctively acrid odor that could be smelled at some distance. They also cooked with wood fires and we could smell the wood smoke on them. Of course that worked both ways and the only thing that would have smelled like Lifebuoy or Tide in the bush would have been an American...and that was never a good thing.

 

post-1107-1291732425.jpg

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How about this photo? It is autentic because is taken in our Pub called Field Popy here in Prague CZ.

Who's the guy with what looks like WW-II Marine utilities, a beret?, and long red beard?

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Agree with USMCRECON's sentiments. If you're going to "reenact" and not just play dress-up, it helps to know the history of the unit (WHERE they fought, WHEN (rainy/muddy? hot/sweaty?), and under WHAT circumstances). Being "dirty" just for the sake of looking the part is purely speculative.

 

By the way, not one of my proudest nor cleanest moments, but I went 42 days without a shower in OIF I. Good thing about the charoal-lined MOPP suits...they kept the smell down! The first real shower after I got back to the base looked like I was dumping chocolate milk down the drain...

 

Semper,

 

Ski

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Agree with USMCRECON's sentiments. If you're going to "reenact" and not just play dress-up, it helps to know the history of the unit (WHERE they fought, WHEN (rainy/muddy? hot/sweaty?), and under WHAT circumstances). Being "dirty" just for the sake of looking the part is purely speculative.

 

By the way, not one of my proudest nor cleanest moments, but I went 42 days without a shower in OIF I. Good thing about the charoal-lined MOPP suits...they kept the smell down! The first real shower after I got back to the base looked like I was dumping chocolate milk down the drain...

 

Semper,

 

Ski

 

 

That's what most units do. We portray an Army Air force ground crew unit and our HBT coveralls are greasy and dirty (as they should be) BUT when we go "out" we clean up and put on our class A's. After being a crew chief (For real) for 27 years in the air force I decided to do a proper ground crew as they were NOT as some people THINK they were.

 

 

Scott

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That's what most units do. We portray an Army Air force ground crew unit and our HBT coveralls are greasy and dirty (as they should be) BUT when we go "out" we clean up and put on our class A's. After being a crew chief (For real) for 27 years in the air force I decided to do a proper ground crew as they were NOT as some people THINK they were.

Scott

 

 

:thumbsup: I turned wrenches and loaded bombs for MANY years, and I don't care HOW many showers you take, you STILL smell like JP-5 and have grease under your fingernails! Incidentally, what airframes did you work on?

 

Me:

 

F/A-18A/B/C/D

F-14D, EA-6B (OJT on the boat)

AH-1W

UH-1N

CH-53E

CH-46E

AV-8B+

UH-1Y

 

Thanks for your service!

 

Semper,

 

Ski

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:thumbsup: I turned wrenches and loaded bombs for MANY years, and I don't care HOW many showers you take, you STILL smell like JP-5 and have grease under your fingernails! Incidentally, what airframes did you work on?

 

Me:

 

F/A-18A/B/C/D

F-14D, EA-6B (OJT on the boat)

AH-1W

UH-1N

CH-53E

CH-46E

AV-8B+

UH-1Y

 

Thanks for your service!

 

Semper,

 

Ski

 

 

 

I agree, but for me it's JP-4 and JP-8! As for airframes here they are.

T-37, T-38A, F-5, F-111D, E, F, RF-4, KC-135E and R model.

I got tired of everytime I went to an airshow there was 2 million pilot and aircrew reenactors and NO ONE knew what WE DID. So I started a ground crew unit that covers so far USAAF, USMC and USN, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE ALSO! Later brother!

 

Scott

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Who's the guy with what looks like WW-II Marine utilities, a beret?, and long red beard?

 

Also, the Sailor in the background looks like his "dixie cup" is too small for his head

 

Bill

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Also, the Sailor in the background looks like his "dixie cup" is too small for his head

 

Bill

 

I didn't want to say, but wot about the auld geezer in the oversized A2 and hat?

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  • 2 years later...

I have read through most of these and there are many excellent suggestions...the problem is that re-enacting is a hobby and as with any hobby you will find all kinds who wish to participate at all levels. I, unfortunately, do think weight is a serious issue (and a sensitive one). A spectator will mostlikely not be able to judge field gear oddities, rifle variations, etc. but someone who is heavy does stand out to them! It is a very hard issue to discuss because no one likes being called "fat" and when it happens the person usually becomes very defensive. Reguardless, I am going to try...

 

As I got older I creeped into the overweight category which I didn't see anything wrong with. I was happy/comfortable with my life style so who cares! It took three things to snap me into reality...1) not being able to fasten my G.I. trousers 2) a horrible picture of me in my Class A's 3) a rough tactical (in which I couldn't keep up). I decided I needed to do something so I began to eat better and to exercise. No, I was not a fanatic...No I did not join an expensive gym...No I did not devote hours a day toning...No I did not go onto a crash diet...I simply got up a 1/2 hour earlier in the morning and worked on the treadmill...I simply put on the walking shoes and walked (which morphed into running) around my neighborhood...I simply counted my calories and ate less (little by little). I have since dropped over twenty pounds (which places me into my "ideal weight" category) and I am now running marathons (I completed my third last week). I feel great, my once tight uniforms now are loose and I can keep up at tacticals! It feels great to run down a road with my field gear on and not become winded! I also enjoy the compliments and the attention from people who want to take my picture. This was not an overnight endeavor by any means. It took me over a year to complete but trust me...if I can do this most anyone can (well maybe not marathons...which I should stress were not goals but end results!).

 

On a completely different note...

Reenactors need to learn how to wear their gear. Droopy, sloopy, loose items just shouldn't exist. Wearing your ammo belt so low that it functions as more of a speedo is just plain wrong. Even if you have a bit of a gut...wear it high over your gut not under it! The best test of your gear is to put it on and go run around the yard. Drop to the ground. Roll over. Sit. See what gets tangled...what trips you up...what hurts you when you fall...etc. and fix it. These soldiers from WWII (or any war) were fighting for days on end. If something was rubbing, banging, causing issues, etc. it was fixed or tossed.

 

These are my two cents...if I have offended anyone I apologize...but for most of us out there who are overweight (and not suffereing from a medical issue) we can correct this to become more authentic. Remember, I am writing this as someone who was there so I DO understand!

 

Steve

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  • 10 months later...
audacia cum prudentia

Any Ideas? Care to show us your impression? What are some tips for authenticity in WW2 reenacting / living history?

 

 

Co-operate, form larger units, subdue a rigid "patch" doctrine to combine to form larger, more authentic units, Do less small scale events, co-operate to do a few large scale ones.

 

Get to Europe every so often if you live elsewhere in the world

post-7941-0-25158300-1388056318.jpg

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