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beyond the farb


hbtcoveralls

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I was beginning to think that I was alone :)

 

Following a battle in which my old reenactiment unit had, in my eyes, been pathetic I put together an after action report of what we did that was bad. I then placed forth proposals to help correct the issues. I was training NCO so they took it seriously enough to implement many of my suggestions. The result was good. The new guys were melded in, we performed very similar to an actual infantry platoon and as a result we rolled over a German unit that was used to dominating the battlefield. They were shocked and I was proud of the guys for antying up.

 

The problems arose when I realized that they actually resented having to act like soldiers would (in the field anyway). They didn't like my initial critical analysis and while I was correct, the resentment grew. They couldn't outright say anything about it to me due to my real life experience but their treatment of deteriorated. I never was that popular, nor do I care, but I became shunned because they were more interested in "having fun". Many of them are younger guys with no a small experience window and lack of maturity. It's a battle reenactment, and a simulated military environment, yet they all acted like they were on the make for chicks constantly. While that is a nice endeavor, it's ludicrious to us older married guys. So you couple a lack of willingness to do things properly in the field, with a lack of maturity, and leaving battles early every time, and it got old.

 

I take my responsibility for being over critical of reenactors. For them, battles are a game but for me it's a serious, deadly job. It's hard for a guy that's experienced the actual thing to have a group of guys be so nonchalant about it. Imagine being a real Infantry NCO and having a group of guys that don't care to learn the tactics and techniques of warfare?! Your unit would be doomed to failure and casualties in combat. Every bone in my body was conditioned to take very seriously combat training- For anyone to diminish the importance of tactical prowess at any level is to miss the point of the Infantry. So many reenactment units represent combat arms unit's, especially the infantry-- Over and over they seem so focused on their uniforms and gear to the detriment of knowledge. There is ample opportunity to learn about infantry tactics and it's like riding a bicycle; You never forget. If a unit trains their guys once in a while then the difference is astounding. Most leadership is more interested in drinking beer in celebration of what? Their uniforms and how they look! It's important to look the part but what can you do?

 

If you ask any former or current infantry nco what is the most important part of his job the answer will not be how authentic his uniforms and gear are. He will tell you that his guys being good at what they do is most important.

Rock

 

Amen.

 

Funny I think I now understand what has been eating me for a while.

 

Say what you want about airsofters, but they seem to "get IT" much more than the blank firing shootem up crowd.

 

I sure wish there was a way to get the best of both sides.

 

Are there any units which are tight on tactics and authenticity?

 

T-Bone

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo
Amen.

 

Funny I think I now understand what has been eating me for a while.

 

Say what you want about airsofters, but they seem to "get IT" much more than the blank firing shootem up crowd.

 

I sure wish there was a way to get the best of both sides.

 

Are there any units which are tight on tactics and authenticity?

 

T-Bone

 

Depends on your location. There are some in California. The WWII 82nd Airborne is pretty good. THey're a NorCal group. The WWII 1st ID as well. Both groups often fall in together and have a nice complement of infantry and at weapons. They can take on a larger german armored unit and fight them to a stand still. The WWII 101st Group in California has a lot going for them but they're large. The 101st Group has some outstanding individuals that are dedicated to the Veterans and perform a ton of great work but there are too few in that unit compared to the drinker/partier types. I was in the WWII 101st and sometimes they were outstanding. I have an appreciation for a few guys in the unit and the rest are just dudes. Some are apathetic and pathetic but sadly they're in leadership positions. The popular dude buddy promotion system is in high effect there.

 

I haven't reenacted for a over a year but if/when I go back out I'll be falling in with the 82nd/1st ID guys. They have fun at battles by actually winning their engagements (or taking a ton of Krauts with them). They're a tight group and participate in veteran related activities all year long. The 101st, excepting certain individuals, participates in almost no extra activities--> which lends support to why I left. They like to get together as a group, keep to themselves, and think they're the cats meow. If not for the work and dedication of one or two guys the group would be average.

 

One guy in particular spends his life studying the 101st Airborne (Fox Co. 506th), takes care of unit leadership and planning, collects gear for individuals, travels the country, entertains his many WWII Veteran friends (who respect him), and often goes on trips to around the Country to see them. He has friends in Europe where he travels the battlefields in search of locations and stories. He often brings with him an old WWII vet or two. I have a ton of respect for him as a WWII historian. He knows his tactics but leaves them to another guy whois somewhat apathetic.

 

They're all mostly good guys.

 

Rock

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That's why I started doing an AAF ground crew impression. Nobody knows what they are doing as what a crew chief would do so I decided "hell, I are one, I'll study the 1930's and 40's airplane stuff I need and portray one". I get so tired of the captain running 3 men and ALL of them are staffs and ABOVE!! All well, that's why I refuse to do infantry anymore. Oh, and Rock, some of us Air force types WERE trained in infantry tactics for our jobs.

 

Scott

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo
That's why I started doing an AAF ground crew impression. Nobody knows what they are doing as what a crew chief would do so I decided "hell, I are one, I'll study the 1930's and 40's airplane stuff I need and portray one". I get so tired of the captain running 3 men and ALL of them are staffs and ABOVE!! All well, that's why I refuse to do infantry anymore. Oh, and Rock, some of us Air force types WERE trained in infantry tactics for our jobs.

 

Scott

 

I stated as much.

 

A guy in my old unit said the same thing. Training to be a reaction force is what he was trained as. Being trained in infantry tactics, as he was, was not being trained to be an infantryman. All Army Soldiers are trained in basic tactics, which are infantry based, but being an infantryman is different.

 

A story: I was assigned to attend the RECONDO Course at Fort Bragg. It was the 18th Airborne Corps version of ranger school (no slots were assigned to EM's unless you were being assigned to a Ranger Batt). The Recondo School gave so many slots to each unit with the Corps. Some to SF, 82nd, 18th Corps, and so on. Each unit sent it's best troops because, as you probably know, everything is competetive and they want their guy to be honor grad for bragging rights. Anyway, slots are available to any MOS. We had Signal, Cooks, MP's Infantry, and even SF Support personnel. It was a recon course based heavily upon the Ranger Manual. What surprised so many non-infantry types was the tremendous amount of individual task expertise, combined with team movement techniques, culminating in leadership tasks- that was required to truly understand the art of patrolling. Patrolling is essentially the heart of what the infantry does and it takes a tremendous amount of knowledge and practice to become good. As in most things in life, it takes about two years for a soldier to become proficient enough at his job to be graded as experieced and in some cases an expert. It takes about five years to become at expert for most. This being said, to be a good leader in infantry tactics take many years. To fire and maneuver takes about an hour. Both are infantry tactics.

 

So, this Air Force guy I'm talking about refused to hook up with me to learn anything. He thought he knew what he needed to know. He's right, for an average reenactor he could operate his rifle and say "follow me". He was "trained in infantry tactics" as a member of a flight crew (in case of ground fire that necessitated the crew having to disembark and take up positions to defend the aircraft). Yes, he was trained in what amounts to *some* infantry tactics. But he was not an infantryman and didn't care to understand it. Most reenactors of his ilk don't care because they get to wear their uniforms, fire their blanks, and pretend to be Supa Dupa Paratroopa's. They put him in charge because he's funny and aggressive. Comedians usually don't win battles. Aggression, for it's own sake, if not tempered with proper tactically based decisions often leads to lots of dead guys and a lost battle. Even in reenacting that was the result of this guys leadership. Never once did I see his decisions win a single firefight. More often than not he left the less popular guys behind to "cover his six" while he went snipe hunting with his friends.

 

"Its's only reenacting" he said.

 

Minimizing the most important aspect of being an Infantryman. These tactics are used by Rangers, SF and Delta also. So he's saying that they're not important to him because it's "just reenacting", thus minimizing his mission as a reenactor, and therefore removing his responsibility as a "living historian".

 

Nothing against the Air Force or you personally.

 

Rock

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

I am not expecting reenactors to become expert infantryman. I am expecting long time reenactors, specifically squad leaders, to learn more than average so that they can lead using proper techniques. I watch the actors in "Go For Broke" using hand and arm signals, passing directions up and down the line, fire and maneuver, creep, crawl, rush, and so on. It was a good movie and they were actors. Reenactors spend YEARS doing this hobby and they have ample time to read books.

 

Military manuals, specifically combat manuals, are training aids that are supposed to be combined with an experienced instructor so that the technical knowledge can be practically applied and then combined into the tactical operating knowledge of the student. You cannot take a land navigation manual and learn to be an expert land navigator. You cannot take a manual and learn to be an expert marksman. Each task is to be part manual, part hands of instruction and then practice and practical application

 

So guys that pick up a soldiers manual from wwii can learn the individual tasks to a degree, but must be instructed by an instructor to fully understand it. Half of the squad leaders in my old unit refused in one form or another to be taught. It was either personal (I can be abrasive since I am a former Active Duty NCO), they didn't like me, they actually thought they knew it all, or they thought it wasn't important.

 

Rock

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No problem Rock, I know where you are coming from. Like the one "kid" on the ww2 forum who doesn't want to learn any manual of arms or anything as "it's not needed for my combat impression". Yup, that and the ones who only watch saving Ryan's privates or bandwagon of brothers for their research. All well at least my unit will portray the ground crews as they were, as it sould be!!

 

Scott

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo
No problem Rock, I know where you are coming from. Like the one "kid" on the ww2 forum who doesn't want to learn any manual of arms or anything as "it's not needed for my combat impression". Yup, that and the ones who only watch saving Ryan's privates or bandwagon of brothers for their research. All well at least my unit will portray the ground crews as they were, as it sould be!!

 

Scott

 

 

Exactly. The manual of arms was used by all services and service members regardless.

 

I was reminded of a point;

 

Circumstance #1

The plan is made, the General approves it, the Colonel briefs it, the Major prepares it, the Captain calls his Leutenant, who briefs his Plt Sgt----- but it's the squad leader that carries out the physical orders. A failure by the squad leader to ensure command and control will ensure mission failure.

 

Circumstance #2

The plan is made, the General is incompetent, the Colonel half passes it on, the Major is AWOL, the Captain gives it straight to the Plt Sgt------ But a good Squad Leader understands the concept of the operation and ensures mission success because he is technically and tactially competent.

 

Conclusion-- Regardless of how competent or incompetent the senior leaders are, you must have competent squad leaders. They are the BASE unit in all Services and they are THE critical element that determines success. Given the failure of all senior officers and NCO's, if the squad leaders do their job then you are ensured of the highest probabiity of mission success. Having excellent senior leaders does not ensure proper success either way.

 

I have tried to instill upon reenactors that the basic element of hands on leadership is the squad leader. In the absence of senior leaders the SL's should be doing their job. In my old reenactment unit they failed to do so due to ignorance, incompetence, and apathy. The rest of the unit can be complacent but with excellent SL's, the unit goes as they lead. They didn't lead and the others were lost much of the time. A reenactment SL representing an infantry unit should spend the xtra time to learn the craft of his impression. He owes it to those guys that he claims to be representing to do what was important to them. It's sad that it falls upon deaf ears so that guys can "have fun".

 

Rock

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For me, a farb is somoene in a WWII uniform who wears it like they did in the modern Army...Let me give you an example...

 

I just saw on someones website yesterday, a Brit Para with his beret shrunken down to a little pimple like they do in the modern army, and worn just above his eyebrows...Or a G.I with the same, only it's a U.S garrison/overseas hat worn just above the eyebrows straight front and centre...Like they did when they served in the Army and wore their headgear this way, this tells me there are serious issues with these chaps who served and are now reenacting, what I do not know, yet...

 

Or those dingly dangly trouser blousers, a farby pet hate of mines...Again, something they done in the modern army...

 

Our group don't do drill, there is absolutely no need for it in our mainstream living history...the ONLY exception was in Italy, whilst attending an official function, but apart from that no...

 

We also don't do battles, public or otherwise (though saying that, we ahve done in the past, and have been invited to one, but guess wot, we will be doing the field cooking :thumbsup: )...We just do living history...We have a veteran of our unit who has been coming over from Canada for the past four years as well as going on a field trip with us twice to Italy now, and will be coming to southern France in August, and we never do drill or battles, it's not important to him or us, indeed, it simply doesn't factor into our impression...Not that we can't do it, some of have done it for real...

 

No, to me farby is wearing yer gear modern style, listenning to modern music (a Brit Para, U.S airborne, or SS stormtrooper boogieing to john travlota is somewhat disorientating), eating out the burger van, bottles or cans of (modern) coke/beer etc on display, or taking it too seriousely (when it's not necessary)... :thumbdown:

 

If your mipression is not up to scratch, some bits not right, I don't really care, as long as you do your impression with INTEGRITY... ;) :thumbsup:

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

For me, a farb is somoene in a WWII uniform who wears it like they did in the modern Army...Let me give you an example...

 

I just saw on someones website yesterday, a Brit Para with his beret shrunken down to a little pimple like they do in the modern army, and worn just above his eyebrows...Or a G.I with the same, only it's a U.S garrison/overseas hat worn just above the eyebrows straight front and centre...Like they did when they served in the Army and wore their headgear this way, this tells me there are serious issues with these chaps who served and are now reenacting, what I do not know, yet...

 

Guys wore their caps in all different ways- Cocked, straight and forward, back on their heads etc.

 

Or those dingly dangly trouser blousers, a farby pet hate of mines...Again, something they done in the modern army...

 

If you can't see it then who cares what they use to blouse their boots. Rubber bands, bicycle tires, rubbers- were all used during wwii.

 

Our group don't do drill, there is absolutely no need for it in our mainstream living history...the ONLY exception was in Italy, whilst attending an official function, but apart from that no...

 

Except that not knowing military bearing, drill, or customs and courtesies places you at a disadvantage. You may look like history, you may dress like history, but when you ,move or speak up you remove all doubt that you aren't really dedicated to it. Now if all you care about are the uniforms and the displays then don't wear them. If you love the soldiers then you will honor them by learning what was important to them. You will have no respect for reenactors if you act like a civilian in soldiers garb.

 

We also don't do battles, public or otherwise (though saying that, we ahve done in the past, and have been invited to one, but guess wot, we will be doing the field cooking :thumbsup: )...We just do living history...We have a veteran of our unit who has been coming over from Canada for the past four years as well as going on a field trip with us twice to Italy now, and will be coming to southern France in August, and we never do drill or battles, it's not important to him or us, indeed, it simply doesn't factor into our impression...Not that we can't do it, some of have done it for real...

 

Many modern veterans are returning. They still want the rush of comaraderie and to hit the field to maneuver. More and more are coming out to battles. They're not so into just posing in uniform.

 

No, to me farby is wearing yer gear modern style, listenning to modern music (a Brit Para, U.S airborne, or SS stormtrooper boogieing to john travlota is somewhat disorientating), eating out the burger van, bottles or cans of (modern) coke/beer etc on display, or taking it too seriousely (when it's not necessary)... :thumbdown:

 

Wearing what gear modern style? Gear is gear. Agreed on the music. Our group brings old style radios and plays only period music and news programs. I'm in to correct wartime rations, snacks, food etc. Taking it too seriously?------> WWII was serious. Every veteran takes serious pride in being a veteran. They take serious the honor and dedication of their service. They take serious their friends that didn't come back. They take serious the traditions, ceremonies, training and all that it represents. So, you Reenactors that use this term "or taking it too seriously" need to check yourselves. I served in combat arms and I take my time in the service with great pride. If you represent me but say that you don't "take it too seriously" , then you're saying you don't really care.

 

If your mipression is not up to scratch, some bits not right, I don't really care, as long as you do your impression with INTEGRITY... ;) :thumbsup:

 

No impression is going to be perfect. If you're 50% but have integrity then you're half wrong. Do it correctly and learn all you can. I keep hearing this term "living history". You want to live it then learn what was important to soldiers. Learn what they did in the field. Learn what kept them alive. Every combat veteran had a guy in their unit that was a professional and he set the standard. If you want to be "living history" then you'll find that guy and do all you can to emulate what he did and what he knew. Otherwise you're just dressing up and posing for the cameras.

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Guys wore their caps in all different ways- Cocked, straight and forward, back on their heads etc

 

The fashion of the time was cocked to the right (dating back many, many years), also was regulation....I have a few pictures of men wearing in all manner aswell, usually not the norm, and also in "fun" photos (hats cocked in stupid angles)...A real clue to what I am on about though is "Brit Para with his beret shrunken down to a little pimple like they do in the modern army"...Berets where large and floppy, and worn usually at the back of the head, and slightly to the right (as was the fashion)...To get "into" the 1940's just watch the movies and you will see where the majority of the "citizen soldiers" got their ideas from (I will touch on that later)...

 

Regarding dingly danglys..."If you can't see it then who cares what they use to blouse their boots. Rubber bands, bicycle tires, rubbers- were all used during wwii"...Very true, however, as I have tried to point out, it's the chaps coming from the modern military who do "as I done in the Army" and not neccesarily "as they done in WWII" mentality...

Also, of note, it was not common practise, mostly, I have heard, from the Airborne types...And I have had a few veterans show me how they tucked in their trousers, or "bloused" them...The Brits had been doing it that way since 1937 (forming a "T" then foldling over, and tuckin into rubbers to create "wings" as one veteran called it..Just have a look at original photos and you will see a diference in the way the trousers sit from tucked with a T method as opposed to "modern" style dingly dangly bloused)...

 

Drill...

Except that not knowing military bearing, drill, or customs and courtesies places you at a disadvantage. You may look like history, you may dress like history, but when you ,move or speak up you remove all doubt that you aren't really dedicated to it.

I am sorry, but having spent nearly £12,000 on kit, and much more in man hours, as well as actual field trips (Italy and France), networking with veterans and current Forces, I think I have some amount of "dedication"...

 

Now if all you care about are the uniforms and the displays then don't wear them. If you love the soldiers then you will honor them by learning what was important to them. You will have no respect for reenactors if you act like a civilian in soldiers garb.

They where (unlike the modern British Army, and the British as well as the U.S Army of the 1930s) Citizen Soldiers, and if you don't know what that is, then I cannot help you there...But I will try and show you later... :thumbsup:

 

We also don't do battles, public or otherwise (though saying that, we ahve done in the past, and have been invited to one, but guess wot, we will be doing the field cooking :thumbsup: )...We just do living history...We have a veteran of our unit who has been coming over from Canada for the past four years as well as going on a field trip with us twice to Italy now, and will be coming to southern France in August, and we never do drill or battles, it's not important to him or us, indeed, it simply doesn't factor into our impression...Not that we can't do it, some of have done it for real...

 

Many modern veterans are returning. They still want the rush of comaraderie and to hit the field to maneuver. More and more are coming out to battles. They're not so into just posing in uniform.

 

My context was aimed at WWII, not modern..If you are a Vietnam Vet and want to re-enact what you done, or Iraq, then fine, go ahead...But a WWII veteran is a bit old to be running around a field blatting a toy gun...And the last one who done that in the UK is no longer doing it...I think the use of the term "blatting with a toy gun" should be noted :think:

The thing with public battles (private ones I'll deal with later) are they are pure pantomime, not real and pure theatre, and here in the UK, there has been some debate about that, folks from the real army might have good experience, but they know nothing of theatre and acting, and that, is what a public battle is...

Private battles, or tacticals, I have been on a few, and with some former serving officers as well as enlisted, and it always turned into a fiasco...Except when in one, where taking hits was not on the agenda and only squad tactics, then it went well and everyone enjoyed themselves, and that, is the main reason why we do this, is it not?...Enjoyment!...

Ok, yer comment about posing, don't you think everyone ain't posing in front of the camera?...Living history is just that, posing in an historical uniform and equipment, and for one diference than a museum display, the public can ask and get a hands on approach to information and education...And my 9 year old daughter loves it in her "real" original 1940's Sears and Roebuck Child's Uniform...Or her 1940s Girl Scouts uniform, complete with original girl scouts handbook full of info she can read and share...Or civilian evacuee clothes with original suitcase...

 

Wearing what gear modern style? Gear is gear. Agreed on the music. Our group brings old style radios and plays only period music and news programs. I'm in to correct wartime rations, snacks, food etc. Taking it too seriously?------> WWII was serious. Every veteran takes serious pride in being a veteran. They take serious the honor and dedication of their service. They take serious their friends that didn't come back. They take serious the traditions, ceremonies, training and all that it represents. So, you Reenactors that use this term "or taking it too seriously" need to check yourselves. I served in combat arms and I take my time in the service with great pride. If you represent me but say that you don't "take it too seriously" , then you're saying you don't really care.

 

Ok. aggreed, language diferences...Gear in the UK is also uniforms, or clothes...

WWII was indeed serious, as is today...But don't you think sometimes it wasn't? I have spoken to a couple of veterans who couldn't wait to get the job done and get out of it, they weren't proud, they hated it, they couldn't be arsed with the spit and polish, and still can't be arsed wi it all, the honour, the tradition, to them it was just a horrible bit of business and a pain in the arse and they hated the regulars who "had their heads up their arses" as one old veteran Citizen Soldier told me (we have a phot of him on Monte Camino) I have also seen interviews from other ones also...And BTW, the majority of WWII vets are or where Citizen Soldiers...

 

Apart from that, the context in my post was about the knob heads in this hobby who take themselves serious, that is, who think they are actually who they portray...I have something to say to them "IT'S A HOBBY"...

 

No impression is going to be perfect. If you're 50% but have integrity then you're half wrong. Do it correctly and learn all you can. I keep hearing this term "living history". You want to live it then learn what was important to soldiers. Learn what they did in the field. Learn what kept them alive. Every combat veteran had a guy in their unit that was a professional and he set the standard. If you want to be "living history" then you'll find that guy and do all you can to emulate what he did and what he knew. Otherwise you're just dressing up and posing for the cameras.

 

I agree about the 50%, or near it...Wot about 70%? 90%...3%...At the end of the day I or you weren't at Anzio or Salerno, so how can you or I possibly be 100% correct for that matter?...

 

I recall climbing La Defensa, Italy in 2005, wearing all original gear (uniforms and eqipment, except boots, repro corcorans), with 50lb pack (1942 Mountain ruck full of original sleeping bag etc), on the actual fce the Force done 65 years ago...REproduced and ate cold K ration (cold ham and eggs...eergghhh) after a nite of torrential rain and only my sleeping bag...But guess what, I didn't have mortars or bullets flying towards me...so am I crap?..guess so then...

But I still had some veterans of the unit I portray shake my hand and thank me and buy me a beer, and also some other current serving SFs...

 

I used to beat myself up with the chaps who weren't as "authentic" as I, but guess what, I wasn't as authentic as I thought...

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Drill...For this I have to recall the Monty Python sketch "marching up and down the square"....

This is not what Living history, or re-enacting is all about...Is it?...

 

It is what a REAL soldier would rather be doing, not?

 

Here's what a real veteran soldier done (as well as a current serving officer):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LhjjZI7KPs

 

Not serious:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hla0MHCa4UY...feature=channel

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

I was a Combat Airborne Infantryman in the 2/505th PIR and my WWII impression is the same. I was only in the Army for five years so I think I know what "Citizen Soldier" is. All soldiers grouse about having to polish, shine, and paint rocks. They have earned the right to complain about the "Regulars". The "Regulars" were anyone of rank above Corporal and most were also "Citizen Soldiers".

 

I have spoken to dozens of WWII Veterans, specifically those of the 101st and 82nd Airborne. Combined with my own experiences, their attitudes regarding "spit and polish" and "drill and ceremonies" are the same. Nobody wants to spend their whole time shining and drilling, but it was part of Army life. Don't know, but perhaps your Veteran friends didn't have the same pride in their appearance that us Paratroopers had. Not my problem. We were proud of our appearance. Speaking of appearance, if you look at regulations for the US Army, the cap is not cocked to one side; speaking of WWII manuals of course. Soldiers still did what looked good to them anyway.

 

Blousing boots- All of the modern methods of blousing boots were invented in WWII. The rubbers changed in configuration and not all guys wore them. In my time, some guys wore them some didn't. Some guys used blousing blocks in WWII but most didn't.

 

You can own the world in military gear and travel to the old battlefields, but if you don't know what soldiers actually do then it is what it is.

 

WWII Reenactment battles are guys using tactics to outmaneuver their adversary. Like in training with the military- using blanks, stealth, team tactics, combined tactics and such. A small unit can take on a larger unit and win if they use proper tactics and techniques. This is called training in the military but if you wish to call it "Pantomime" then you will be what think. You, like many reeactors, are in it for the enjoyment. I have fun by doing what soldiers did (what I used to do). I relive my youth to some degree and teach guys how to properly shoot, move and communicate. The training I used to train them was real (adjusted to WWII), the tactics they used to defeat the enemy were the same ones used by WWII Veterans. We discussed tactics with actual Veterans so that we could adapt what we do to what they did. We eat what they ate, we carry what they carried, and we wear what they wore.

 

So if you are being advised by different Vets than me then fine, but my Vets taught us some different things. Perhaps why they are Paratroopers. As for Posing- I don't run around posing for cameras or trying to get attention. I go to private battles to glean the comeraderie of my guys and the veterans. So you can pose, because I was a real Paratrooper and don't have to pose.

 

No same person likes war, but soldiers strive to do their job. Many of them reenlist out of a sense of duty, honor and self sacrifice. Most of the guys in WWII got out and came home. Many didn't like the military, but all soldiers are proud of their uniform and don't like guys that look like sad sacks.

 

As far as climbing WWII battlefields- I spent my time in the service fighting, training, drinking and carousing around. I already climbed my share of hills, road marches, jungles, swamps, snow, ice, rain, bugs, snakes, deserts, and people that wave hello one minute and then shoot at you the next. BTDT.

 

I tell you the same thing- Reenactors make excuses as to why they don't have to do things. Soldier can't make excuses, they just get it done. You wanna dress like a soldier, then get the rest done also.

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I don't know why you left the military....That was one hell of a rant..

 

Private tacticals as I have said are a diferent matter, and as you describe (or should be)...

 

Public "battles" as they are called are pure and simple show, entertainment, as I have said...

 

Both are not re-enacting, as they don't actually re-enact any battle historically...The ACW perhaps do re-enacting properly (as well a maybe the Sealed Knot here in the UK- But I could be wrong about that) but WWII, no...

 

Climbing a 3000 ft mountain in Italy on the actual route, in the uniforms and equipement they used and eating the same rations and sleeping in what they slept on the actualy battlefield could be construed as re-enacting...It can also be called living history...

 

Fashion of the 1940's is completely diferent from the fashion of today...Photos are a good source of reference as we where not there, and many veterans don't remember the small details (like how they wore their hats cocked to one side...They certainly never shrunk their berets down)...

 

I understand you have served, and done your share of climbing etc, and don't want to do it all again, and yet, you then say the opposite when drill etc comes into it...There are a couple of blokes in my group have done that for real and as you said "I spent my time in the service" and they don't want to do drill...You say we should do as soldiers done, and yet you then say we shouldn't, make up your mind mate...

 

Many of them reenlist out of a sense of duty, honor and self sacrifice..I have just been told of a chap re-enlisting to go to Iraq as he enjoys the thrill of killing...

 

The WWII veterans I have spoken to where Special Forces, perhaps a bit more than just paratroopers?

 

This perked my ears up "We eat what they ate", this is a prticular interest of mines, and a focus for my own research, perhaps you can elaborate for me, I am truly interested to know what you guys eat in the field?

 

Just a point of note (And I am sure you do know) MREs of today are comlpetely removed from C rations of WWII...

 

Re-enactors who have served continuousely harp on about doing it for real and look down their noses at those who haven't, well, all I can say is, that's the same as saying "if you haven't been in the Hells Angels, you shouldn't ride a Harley"....

 

There are many different and varied reasons why people do re-enactment, or living history...One group here in the UK look a bag of shite, but bless them, they do very good historical presentations and the unit they do, well, the veterans of that unit who's story wasn't told are more than gratefull they are remembered, as they certainly aren't in the popular books and film...

 

Ofcourse, there are veterans here in the UK, and in the U.S and Canada, who simply don't like re-enactors...There are definately WWII veterans who came out of that experience who have never talked about it and would rather forget, as I have said, to them it was just a pain in the arse....

 

Veterans "over the pond" I have spoken to have changed their mind once they saw how we Brits do it, our historical presentations that is, and not runing around a field with blank firers, that is not remembering them, not doing them honour at all, but putting on historical displays, and presentations to schools and the public are honouring them as we are telling their stories to an otherwise uninformed public...And some of their stories would disapear into the ether were it not for us...

 

As I understand it, British living history and U.S living history are worlds apart, our emphasis is mostly historical displays (some say hysterical...lol) and not so much tacticals...Airsoft seems to be coming to the fore, and though I have never tried it, I quite fancy the thrill of actually dodging real projectiles instead of someone shouting "your hit" and having to take my helmet off...

 

But again, running around a field all day going bang with a blank firer is not honouring them at all...That, is having fun...

 

In our historical displays (FSSF-UK), drill simply doesn't come into it, though for some groups it does, and a bloody good show they do as well...The diference I have been trying to point out, is the ones who have never left the military, who take it all a bit too seriousely when it's not neccesary....I have seen a group here in the UK who do honour guards and in my opinion they look a bag of shite, they are too shabby, their finer details are simply missing, as they think their drill is all that matters, they are not honouring the Men, they are dishonouring them...

 

When necessary, we take ourselves serious, and I could quote you instances, but there is no need to...

 

Anyway, this thread is about FARB...

Fallacious

Accoutrements

And

Reprehensible

Baggage

 

There are many varied and different reasons why folk get into this hobby, some more farb than others, I have seen ex army who can do tacticals all day but know shinola about the unit they protray, I have seen guys who don't do tacticals but can tell you almost every minute detail of their chosen unit history...And as I have said, I used to beat myself up about it, but not now...I think as long as they are remembering them with integrity, that's good enough for me...

 

Then again, I have seen some real Farbs around...I suppose we need some form of entertainment...

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Darktrooper

When I did Revolutionary War reenactments (alternatively American War for Indepenence), I knew the drill, and i knew the history of the unit, and I knew the weapons, etc. What I went to those reenactments for was to EDUCATE THE PUBLIC on what life and combat was like in the 18th century. I got more satisfaction out of the weekend by talking to the public and educating them on the reality compared to what is taught in schools today.

 

Of course I had my fun and marched around in a straight line wearing a red coat, 150 yards away from the opponents blasting away at each other with black powder by the ton.

 

Yet, This whole thread only proves why I left reenacting, and why I will never go back.

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Well said, Trooper! I've never done Rev War, but the rest of your post is spot on...despite myself, I'm drawn back to this like a moth to flame...

 

I just haven't yet reached the stage of "...I will never go back" to reenacting.

 

Thrasher

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When I did Revolutionary War reenactments (alternatively American War for Indepenence), I knew the drill, and i knew the history of the unit, and I knew the weapons, etc. What I went to those reenactments for was to EDUCATE THE PUBLIC on what life and combat was like in the 18th century. I got more satisfaction out of the weekend by talking to the public and educating them on the reality compared to what is taught in schools today.

 

Of course I had my fun and marched around in a straight line wearing a red coat, 150 yards away from the opponents blasting away at each other with black powder by the ton.

 

Yet, This whole thread only proves why I left reenacting, and why I will never go back.

 

And yet your actively participating on this re-enacting website... :think:

 

It is a pity you left though, I reckon that would be very interesting, and I touched upon this war in my wargaming days, very bright and colourful uniforms... :thumbsup:

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The one thing that drives me crazy is all the people saluting the same as we do now! My gosh, the soldiers of WW2 one, many were volunteers and two the way they learned to salute didn't look anything like the "Viet Nam" era salute we use today. All well, that's my rant! :D

 

Scott

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mpguy80/08
I was a Combat Airborne Infantryman in the 2/505th PIR and my WWII impression is the same. I was only in the Army for five years so I think I know what "Citizen Soldier" is. All soldiers grouse about having to polish, shine, and paint rocks. They have earned the right to complain about the "Regulars". The "Regulars" were anyone of rank above Corporal and most were also "Citizen Soldiers".

 

Regulars were Active Duty. Citizen soldiers were activated national guard units. LIFERS were those over the rank of Corporal...

 

I have spoken to dozens of WWII Veterans, specifically those of the 101st and 82nd Airborne. Combined with my own experiences, their attitudes regarding "spit and polish" and "drill and ceremonies" are the same. Nobody wants to spend their whole time shining and drilling, but it was part of Army life. Don't know, but perhaps your Veteran friends didn't have the same pride in their appearance that us Paratroopers had. Not my problem. We were proud of our appearance. Speaking of appearance, if you look at regulations for the US Army, the cap is not cocked to one side; speaking of WWII manuals of course. Soldiers still did what looked good to them anyway.

 

In my 28 years of army life, there were always grumbles about drill and ceremonies. Like has been said, shining boots was just a part of daily life. Second nature. In any group of soldiers you will have those who meet the standards. You will have one or two who "suck up" by way exceeding the standards (They are usually the ones who make corporal), and you will have those one or two "Sad Sacks" (those who are perpetual Privates) who look like they jumped on a wrinkle grenade. Throughout my career we always found ways of cocking or Blocking our caps to make them look better. I had often found, the soldiers most out of regulation, (and by far the crappiest looking headgear) were worn by... you guessed it... OFFICERS. Especially when the beret came out. By far the best looking headgear were the Non commissioned officers.

 

Blousing boots- All of the modern methods of blousing boots were invented in WWII. The rubbers changed in configuration and not all guys wore them. In my time, some guys wore them some didn't. Some guys used blousing blocks in WWII but most didn't.

 

You can own the world in military gear and travel to the old battlefields, but if you don't know what soldiers actually do then it is what it is.

 

WWII Reenactment battles are guys using tactics to outmaneuver their adversary. Like in training with the military- using blanks, stealth, team tactics, combined tactics and such. A small unit can take on a larger unit and win if they use proper tactics and techniques. This is called training in the military but if you wish to call it "Pantomime" then you will be what think. You, like many reeactors, are in it for the enjoyment. I have fun by doing what soldiers did (what I used to do). I relive my youth to some degree and teach guys how to properly shoot, move and communicate. The training I used to train them was real (adjusted to WWII), the tactics they used to defeat the enemy were the same ones used by WWII Veterans. We discussed tactics with actual Veterans so that we could adapt what we do to what they did. We eat what they ate, we carry what they carried, and we wear what they wore.

 

So if you are being advised by different Vets than me then fine, but my Vets taught us some different things. Perhaps why they are Paratroopers. As for Posing- I don't run around posing for cameras or trying to get attention. I go to private battles to glean the comeraderie of my guys and the veterans. So you can pose, because I was a real Paratrooper and don't have to pose.

 

No same person likes war, but soldiers strive to do their job. Many of them reenlist out of a sense of duty, honor and self sacrifice. Most of the guys in WWII got out and came home. Many didn't like the military, but all soldiers are proud of their uniform and don't like guys that look like sad sacks.

 

As far as climbing WWII battlefields- I spent my time in the service fighting, training, drinking and carousing around. I already climbed my share of hills, road marches, jungles, swamps, snow, ice, rain, bugs, snakes, deserts, and people that wave hello one minute and then shoot at you the next. BTDT.

 

I tell you the same thing- Reenactors make excuses as to why they don't have to do things. Soldier can't make excuses, they just get it done. You wanna dress like a soldier, then get the rest done also.

 

Amen. Well said. You can still be in this hobby for fun, and do what it takes to honor the veterans you portray. Anything less dishonors yourself.

 

Good impressions are remembered. Bad Impressions are remembered... badly. Why go to all the trouble of shelling out thousands of dollars for an accurate Impression, only to ruin it by having a lacksidaisical attitude and not learning what it is to be a soldier?

 

Wayne

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Dirteater101

Wow,

 

I think the "humorous look at how we are all a little farby" has taken a decidedly un humorous turn...... It is starting to sound like another forum....... Not good......

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo
I would like to respectfully ask:

 

Is this a hobby, or real life?

 

Depends: If you like goofing off and burning blanks it's a hobby. If you want to live history, suffer a little, march, sweat, and learn then it's Living History. If it's real life then you're already a veteran or are currently in the military.

 

When soldiers train, they train without being shot at or actually killing people. They shoot blanks, throw pop grenades and practice the art of war. That's not real life either, it's training. So if you are going to move out to the field and perform reenactment field maneuvers, one would figure you would want "reenact" what soldiers did. If not in battle, but simulated battle--> which more simulates training.

 

Reenactors are into their gear, uniforms, weapons and dressing up. Believe me, soldiers, even old ones can spot a reenactor and it's not always for good reasons.

 

Rock

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Depends: If you like goofing off and burning blanks it's a hobby. If you want to live history, suffer a little, march, sweat, and learn then it's Living History. If it's real life then you're already a veteran or are currently in the military.

 

When soldiers train, they train without being shot at or actually killing people. They shoot blanks, throw pop grenades and practice the art of war. That's not real life either, it's training. So if you are going to move out to the field and perform reenactment field maneuvers, one would figure you would want "reenact" what soldiers did. If not in battle, but simulated battle--> which more simulates training.

 

Reenactors are into their gear, uniforms, weapons and dressing up. Believe me, soldiers, even old ones can spot a reenactor and it's not always for good reasons.

 

Rock

 

Well, going by that definition, I guess I do living history, and not in a "little field in England", or north America, but in the fields where it happened....

 

"Firing blanks" in the UK (that is the United Kingdom, which is Scotland, Northern Irleand, Wales and England together) has a different connotation ...

 

Gee, and they call us in the UK "anal"....

 

As one real WWII veteran said to me "if you do it, make sure you have fun guys".... He is the real deal, I take what he says not with a pinch of salt...

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo
Well, going by that definition, I guess I do living history, and not in a "little field in England", or north America, but in the fields where it happened....

 

"Firing blanks" in the UK (that is the United Kingdom, which is Scotland, Northern Irleand, Wales and England together) has a different connotation ...

 

Gee, and they call us in the UK "anal"....

 

As one real WWII veteran said to me "if you do it, make sure you have fun guys".... He is the real deal, I take what he says not with a pinch of salt...

 

Never met a WWII vet that told us to just "have fun". They, to a man, all say that war is a waste of humanity and that we never seem to learn. They hate war and don't think it's fun. They are humbled and honored by their experiences, training and time in the service. They think battles are interesting to see but none of them think that's it's fun. What's fun is the cameraderie in the barracks. Several old Paratroopers (6) came to one event and they drank like they were 20 years old again. Now that's fun.

 

As a veteran I look through the goggles of a 20 year old Sgt when it comes to battles (not in a field but over miles of terrain). It's not my fault that I can't have the same "fun" *playing* war like civilian minded reenactors do. The art of war was, is and always will be a deadly serious game to me. The reason many reenactors hate real veterans is because we reenact too seriously. Can't help it.

 

So guys can line up like civil war soldiers and charge the enemy, laughing all the way (if they have any breath left). I'm going to use terrain, mission, troop strength and time as a factors for my maneuvers- like a real soldier would have. In the meantime, reenactors will be lost as to what that means, mostly.

 

Rock

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Hey Dirt old friend,you are correct,the humour level has really dropped precipitously!!!!

I bet we could mine this thread for diamonds and get rich so we can buy some really farbtacular thing....like our own Millenium Falcon,get it?hahahahhahahaha.

There my contribution to raising the humour quotient!

post-4746-1247013193.jpg

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