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Opinions on Reenacting


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giconceptsjw

Please keep in mind the following is just my opinion and really doesn’t mean anything. It’s more venting than anything else and it’s not my intent to criticize or offend anyone.

 

Maybe we’re whipping a dead horse at this point but in my opinion, re-enacting doesn’t work. It simply doesn’t achieve the stated goals of the activity. It doesn’t preserve history, it doesn’t re-create history, it doesn’t honor veterans and it doesn’t provide the re-enactor with an accurate experience of what it was actually like in combat. I tried very hard for 20+ years to do all of those things but never even came close. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. However, I think re-enacting is fun for the same reasons playing paintball wars is fun. Actually, I don’t see much of a difference between the two.

 

I’ve seen how the real military works. Each individual follows the orders passed down to him/her from the people appointed above them. When you’re given orders, you don’t talk about it, suggest you have a better idea, or discuss it. You carry it out. That’s your job and you’re punished if you don’t do it.

 

I’ve also seen how TV & film projects work and they function in much the same way. The director is God. What he/she says, goes. There is no argument or discussion. If you don’t do what you’re told, you’re fired or asked to leave the set.

 

Re-enactments don’t work that way. For lack of a better description, re-enactments are nothing more than an elaborate costume party. There are unit leaders posing as authority figures but they have no real power or authority. In the field, you can tell re-enactors to do something and 60% of them will do the opposite. You can tell them to fix their uniform or attitude and they’ll do nothing. The only organization is that of a tree-house club or bowling league. Hypocrisy is the rule and most re-enactment units are true good-ole’-boy clicks, impenetrable by outsiders.

 

There is a very definite hierarchy and social class structure at re-enactments. This is based on who has the nicest, most expensive stuff. It also leads to snobbery, jealousy and bickering. People will attend a re-enactment battle not because they are interested in the scenario but only because they want to show off their new expensive WWII item. It’s a never-ending pissing contest with everyone competing to one-up everyone else. The one with the most toys wins and I’ve seen people put off paying for rent & food in favor of buying WWII stuff.

 

So why did I do it for over 20 years? At first I loved it. It was new & exciting for the first couple years. Like someone with a gambling addiction, I was waiting for that next great payoff. This event sucked but the next one will be better. I always had to keep going and pull the slot machine handle one more time, two more times, etc. I always thought it would get better but it never did. In fact, the longer I stayed in re-enacting, the more ridiculous the entire concept became to me.

 

On the other hand, I think of “living history” as something different than re-enacting. Some of you have spent a weekend in the field, living in a foxhole and suffering the elements in a realistic setting without shooting a single blank round. I’ve done that too and those were the most realistic moments for me, especially when the authenticity standards were kept high.

 

My 20 years in re-enacting did teach me a few good lessons;

 

If you want to honor veterans, join a veteran’s association and attend their dinners & reunions. They really love to see younger people there and it’s always a great source for amazing personal accounts. Running around in the woods shooting blanks at each other doesn’t honor anyone.

 

If you want to preserve history, read about it and learn all you can about it. Preserve it in your mind. Pass it on to your kids that way. Be a story-teller. If you want to preserve the tangible pieces of history, restore & repair original items and keep them in a safe place so they will be around longer than you will.

 

If you want to personally recreate history or relive it, you can’t. We don’t have time machines yet. In the meantime, read all of the first hand battle accounts that you can. Many of them are well written and illustrate what combat was like in very graphic and shocking detail. Read their words and let your imagination take you there. After that, you may wonder why any sane person would want to relive or recreate the nightmare that war can be. Still, I believe that every person interested in WWII should (at least once) put on a uniform & gear and spend a weekend in the field somewhere. Learn what it’s like to dig a foxhole, walk for miles, then dig another one and sleep in it. Hopefully the weather will be either freezing cold or unbearably hot. You don’t need to fire a shot to gain these experiences and you will carry the memory of them with you always.

 

If you want to go to a re-enactment because you enjoy them and they provide you with a good time, by all means do that too. I think I did it for too long and was looking for some kind of holy justification but never found it. If you can get past all the BS and still have fun, I say go for it with my best wishes.

 

J.W.

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo
Please keep in mind the following is just my opinion and really doesn’t mean anything. It’s more venting than anything else and it’s not my intent to criticize or offend anyone.

 

Maybe we’re whipping a dead horse at this point but in my opinion, re-enacting doesn’t work. It simply doesn’t achieve the stated goals of the activity. It doesn’t preserve history, it doesn’t re-create history, it doesn’t honor veterans and it doesn’t provide the re-enactor with an accurate experience of what it was actually like in combat. I tried very hard for 20+ years to do all of those things but never even came close. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. However, I think re-enacting is fun for the same reasons playing paintball wars is fun. Actually, I don’t see much of a difference between the two.

 

I’ve seen how the real military works. Each individual follows the orders passed down to him/her from the people appointed above them. When you’re given orders, you don’t talk about it, suggest you have a better idea, or discuss it. You carry it out. That’s your job and you’re punished if you don’t do it.

 

I’ve also seen how TV & film projects work and they function in much the same way. The director is God. What he/she says, goes. There is no argument or discussion. If you don’t do what you’re told, you’re fired or asked to leave the set.

 

Re-enactments don’t work that way. For lack of a better description, re-enactments are nothing more than an elaborate costume party. There are unit leaders posing as authority figures but they have no real power or authority. In the field, you can tell re-enactors to do something and 60% of them will do the opposite. You can tell them to fix their uniform or attitude and they’ll do nothing. The only organization is that of a tree-house club or bowling league. Hypocrisy is the rule and most re-enactment units are true good-ole’-boy clicks, impenetrable by outsiders.

 

There is a very definite hierarchy and social class structure at re-enactments. This is based on who has the nicest, most expensive stuff. It also leads to snobbery, jealousy and bickering. People will attend a re-enactment battle not because they are interested in the scenario but only because they want to show off their new expensive WWII item. It’s a never-ending pissing contest with everyone competing to one-up everyone else. The one with the most toys wins and I’ve seen people put off paying for rent & food in favor of buying WWII stuff.

 

So why did I do it for over 20 years? At first I loved it. It was new & exciting for the first couple years. Like someone with a gambling addiction, I was waiting for that next great payoff. This event sucked but the next one will be better. I always had to keep going and pull the slot machine handle one more time, two more times, etc. I always thought it would get better but it never did. In fact, the longer I stayed in re-enacting, the more ridiculous the entire concept became to me.

 

On the other hand, I think of “living history” as something different than re-enacting. Some of you have spent a weekend in the field, living in a foxhole and suffering the elements in a realistic setting without shooting a single blank round. I’ve done that too and those were the most realistic moments for me, especially when the authenticity standards were kept high.

 

My 20 years in re-enacting did teach me a few good lessons;

 

If you want to honor veterans, join a veteran’s association and attend their dinners & reunions. They really love to see younger people there and it’s always a great source for amazing personal accounts. Running around in the woods shooting blanks at each other doesn’t honor anyone.

 

If you want to preserve history, read about it and learn all you can about it. Preserve it in your mind. Pass it on to your kids that way. Be a story-teller. If you want to preserve the tangible pieces of history, restore & repair original items and keep them in a safe place so they will be around longer than you will.

 

If you want to personally recreate history or relive it, you can’t. We don’t have time machines yet. In the meantime, read all of the first hand battle accounts that you can. Many of them are well written and illustrate what combat was like in very graphic and shocking detail. Read their words and let your imagination take you there. After that, you may wonder why any sane person would want to relive or recreate the nightmare that war can be. Still, I believe that every person interested in WWII should (at least once) put on a uniform & gear and spend a weekend in the field somewhere. Learn what it’s like to dig a foxhole, walk for miles, then dig another one and sleep in it. Hopefully the weather will be either freezing cold or unbearably hot. You don’t need to fire a shot to gain these experiences and you will carry the memory of them with you always.

 

If you want to go to a re-enactment because you enjoy them and they provide you with a good time, by all means do that too. I think I did it for too long and was looking for some kind of holy justification but never found it. If you can get past all the BS and still have fun, I say go for it with my best wishes.

 

J.W.

 

This is what we all have to look forward to. I guess it's just paintball with realistic equipment.

 

Rock

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I just use reenacting as another excuse to go camping with friends, drink beer, shoot machines guns, drive around in vehicles, and use all this goofy crap I have an interest in.

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2ndiddogface
In the field, you can tell re-enactors to do something and 60% of them will do the opposite. You can tell them to fix their uniform or attitude and they’ll do nothing.

 

No doubt! I'm fortunate that a lot of the guys in my reenactment unit check their ego at the door at reenactments. I wish more would.

 

I still reenact because I have fun!

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I really had not seen much in the way of reenactors until this year when we went to Fort McArthur Days where there had something like 60 groups reenacting everything from Roman Centurions to Desert Storm GI's.

 

It was pretty impressive I must say. Even my wife was impressed, perhaps even more than I because she had no idea what we were going to. She brought a chair and a book so she could go sit in the shade while I roamed around doing whatever it is one does and whatever this even was" well she was astounded at the living history on display there and we ended up going both days and putting wearing out some shoe leather trekking up and down the steep hillside of Ft McArthur to see everything. I think the next time she goes she wants to dress as her great-grandmother, a US Army nurse who served in France in WWII.

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Cobrahistorian
Please keep in mind the following is just my opinion and really doesn’t mean anything. It’s more venting than anything else and it’s not my intent to criticize or offend anyone.

 

Maybe we’re whipping a dead horse at this point but in my opinion, re-enacting doesn’t work. It simply doesn’t achieve the stated goals of the activity. It doesn’t preserve history, it doesn’t re-create history, it doesn’t honor veterans and it doesn’t provide the re-enactor with an accurate experience of what it was actually like in combat. I tried very hard for 20+ years to do all of those things but never even came close. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. However, I think re-enacting is fun for the same reasons playing paintball wars is fun. Actually, I don’t see much of a difference between the two.

 

I’ve seen how the real military works. Each individual follows the orders passed down to him/her from the people appointed above them. When you’re given orders, you don’t talk about it, suggest you have a better idea, or discuss it. You carry it out. That’s your job and you’re punished if you don’t do it.

 

I’ve also seen how TV & film projects work and they function in much the same way. The director is God. What he/she says, goes. There is no argument or discussion. If you don’t do what you’re told, you’re fired or asked to leave the set.

 

Re-enactments don’t work that way. For lack of a better description, re-enactments are nothing more than an elaborate costume party. There are unit leaders posing as authority figures but they have no real power or authority. In the field, you can tell re-enactors to do something and 60% of them will do the opposite. You can tell them to fix their uniform or attitude and they’ll do nothing. The only organization is that of a tree-house club or bowling league. Hypocrisy is the rule and most re-enactment units are true good-ole’-boy clicks, impenetrable by outsiders.

 

There is a very definite hierarchy and social class structure at re-enactments. This is based on who has the nicest, most expensive stuff. It also leads to snobbery, jealousy and bickering. People will attend a re-enactment battle not because they are interested in the scenario but only because they want to show off their new expensive WWII item. It’s a never-ending pissing contest with everyone competing to one-up everyone else. The one with the most toys wins and I’ve seen people put off paying for rent & food in favor of buying WWII stuff.

 

So why did I do it for over 20 years? At first I loved it. It was new & exciting for the first couple years. Like someone with a gambling addiction, I was waiting for that next great payoff. This event sucked but the next one will be better. I always had to keep going and pull the slot machine handle one more time, two more times, etc. I always thought it would get better but it never did. In fact, the longer I stayed in re-enacting, the more ridiculous the entire concept became to me.

 

On the other hand, I think of “living history” as something different than re-enacting. Some of you have spent a weekend in the field, living in a foxhole and suffering the elements in a realistic setting without shooting a single blank round. I’ve done that too and those were the most realistic moments for me, especially when the authenticity standards were kept high.

 

My 20 years in re-enacting did teach me a few good lessons;

 

If you want to honor veterans, join a veteran’s association and attend their dinners & reunions. They really love to see younger people there and it’s always a great source for amazing personal accounts. Running around in the woods shooting blanks at each other doesn’t honor anyone.

 

If you want to preserve history, read about it and learn all you can about it. Preserve it in your mind. Pass it on to your kids that way. Be a story-teller. If you want to preserve the tangible pieces of history, restore & repair original items and keep them in a safe place so they will be around longer than you will.

 

If you want to personally recreate history or relive it, you can’t. We don’t have time machines yet. In the meantime, read all of the first hand battle accounts that you can. Many of them are well written and illustrate what combat was like in very graphic and shocking detail. Read their words and let your imagination take you there. After that, you may wonder why any sane person would want to relive or recreate the nightmare that war can be. Still, I believe that every person interested in WWII should (at least once) put on a uniform & gear and spend a weekend in the field somewhere. Learn what it’s like to dig a foxhole, walk for miles, then dig another one and sleep in it. Hopefully the weather will be either freezing cold or unbearably hot. You don’t need to fire a shot to gain these experiences and you will carry the memory of them with you always.

 

If you want to go to a re-enactment because you enjoy them and they provide you with a good time, by all means do that too. I think I did it for too long and was looking for some kind of holy justification but never found it. If you can get past all the BS and still have fun, I say go for it with my best wishes.

 

J.W.

 

 

Hmmm... I don't really disagree with this. However, the one major sticking point I have with this is, while no, it doesn't necessarily provide an accurate experience of combat, it does give the person a solid idea of what things felt like, if they're doing it correctly. If you've researched thoroughly and assembled a correct impression, you can get the feeling for what things felt like in everyday situations. "Hours of boredom punctuated by minutes of sheer terror." Wearing my WWII uniform on 6 June this year, standing on Omaha Beach, helped make the experience that more real for me. Granted, I was wearing M43 pants (44 dated!) and no web gear except my dispatch case, but the feel of the wool shirt and sweater, the weight of the helmet and standing 200yds out looking up at the Vierville draw made it that much more visceral an experience.

 

Jon

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

A Reenactment battle is a good excercise in training. In actual military training in an Airborne Infantry unit did not include a combined arms affect. Most of the time they "penciled" in mortar fire, artillery fire and ignored such things as armored support. In a reenactment battle we have used mortars, rifle grenades, grenades, armored cars, half tracks and tanks. There is a more realistic combined arms affect and there is less organization, much like combat. In real training they can stop, reassemble, and rehearse again. In a reenactment battle the battle goes until once side wins. Like in combat, the reenactment battle often disintigrates the lines and the battle becomes a small group affair.

 

I have found that real military training is good for individual tasks, rehearsal and tactical awareness. Reenactment battles have the confusion of real battle and at the end of the day nobody gets killed (on purpose :D )

 

It is a sad fact that there are politics and superiority complexes that happen in reenactments. I would propose, and have proposed changes that would positively affect US reenactment units. The simple fact is, the Squad Leaders are the key element in the infantry. After all of the orders are issued, the SL's make all movements happen. If you have strong upper leadership but weak SL's then there will be lower rate of success. Having weak or non existent upper leadership but strong, cohesive SL's will ensure a higher level of success.

 

Squad Leaders, real or reenactment are the key to military maneuvers.

 

Rock

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When I saw this thread, I hesitated to make any comment at all. However, assuming that honest and heartfelt comment is being sought, I decided to go ahead and offer mine. I hope I don't step on any toes with my comment. My intent is neither to encourage nor disparage the hobby of reenacting but merely provide my own personal opinion.

 

I've seen combat in several theaters and at several stages of my life. It wasn't all that much fun. Normally, I don't even like to talk all that much about particular combat experiences and I have a hard time understanding why someone would want to pretend at it but, each to his own.

 

Like some other commenters have stated, I feel that civilians dressed for reenacting look like civilians dressed up for a costume party. Talking the talk does not equate to walking the walk. When I see someone dressed up in WW-II, or Vietnam era combat gear, I can’t get the feeling of a wanna-be out of my head....regardless of the individual's personal motivation for doing so. Regardless of the individual's stated motivation for reenacting, only that individual knows the true reason for doing so and no one else can know that.

 

Those who did it for real have taken lives in anger. They have seen buddies die violent deaths, experienced 5+ days at a time with 2-3 hrs sleep (if lucky), worn the same clothes, socks, underwear (if any) for a week or more at a time, humped a 110+ pound rucksack, slogging through the steaming, muddy jungles and blistering desert, battling leeches, poisonous snakes and centipedes, scorpions, biting flies and malaria-carrying mosquitoes, et. al. And all the while constantlyanticipating the bullet that will come out of nowhere and blow your head off or the explosive device that will traumatically amputate your legs.

 

All of the above “adversities” bring on a certain general attitude/demeanor; sort of a “luv it, don’t mean nothin’” sort of feeling that is hard to describe to one who has not experienced it and needs no description to one who has; just lighting up a smoke doesn’t get you there. I’ve never seen that in the eyes or behavior of a reenactor.

 

It is hard for me to see that sort of look/expression on a reenactor who has just had a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed, a nice hot shower, put on clean utilities and web gear, stopped off for an Egg McMuffin and cup of coffee, now standing around in mufti with clean clothes, 10-40 pounds overweight, well-trimmed goatee or beard, spotless weapons and field gear, laughing and joking with his/her buddies. I've seen reenactors "putting on a war face" for cameras and spectators but, to me, it just looks contrived and theatrical. No one can pretend a true 1,000 yard stare; it comes from excessive fatigue, stress, and having seen too much.

 

I have nothing personally against those who reenact and I hope my comments are accepted in the spirit they are offered, my honest, non-sugarcoated, and heart-felt opinion. I have offered suggestions, offered opinion and comment when asked, and have shared my photos of the real thing. However, I think that reenactors tend to take the whole thing too seriously. If you're doing it to have fun, have fun but remember that's what you’re doing it for and that’s all it is. A reenactor who has not walked the walk or been there, done that, no matter how authentically he/she is dressed, fitted out, can never play the role with true 100% realism and shouldn't try to do so.

 

Again, my comments might make some angry and I’m sure many will disagree. However, I hope the all with take them at face value for what they are.

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In my earlier comment, it seems I unintentionally included a profanity in the 5th paragraph that seems to have been edited by a moderator.

 

I apologize for that but when it was changed to luv it, don't mean nothin", it sort of loses its meaning.

 

"Screw it" would have been a more descriptive non-profane translation.

 

Again, I apologize for the inadvertent insertion of a profanity in that post.

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

This is the thing that gets me riled up also. The military, the infanrty, training, and combat are serious and deadly matters. It boggles my mind that at reenactments guys are so nonchalant. The more I stress the importance of the things I know to be true based upon experience, the less they seem to take it to heart. I...just....don't....understand.

 

Reenactors claims of doing it for the veterans and honoring the veterans seems to fall on deaf ears when someone actually joins their ranks that lived a similar experience. Even with all of my experience honed to wwii era training and knowledge, there was active resentment to it. I thought these guys were serious and wanted to "Live History", but they have Civilian temperments and they're not all *really* dedicated.

 

It's dress up and play war time. I just ask that the most of them that are not serious about living history battles don't claim to be.

 

Rock

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Mercenary25

I don't reenact, I just can't dress up and display front of people. But from what I see, I appreciated people portraying history. They are fond of history so I respect them. I don't care if they must be airborne (popular theme) as long they do it accurately. I enjoy see people at display wearing uniforms and talk about history of unit they portray. But however, there are few things that disturb me is FARB. I don't mean ones that easily changed (wrong pouches from period which can be changed), nor too common mistakes such as cell phone on WWII uniform. I'm referring to people; re-enactors themselves. I once saw 60 years old over-weighted man dressed in inaccurate "modern" gear (Woodland BDUs without patches, K-pot with WW2 style net, LBV with strange uncommon combo of pouches, etc....). What were he trying to portraying? I've seen some photos of "hollywood" germans, I call them hollywood because it is stereotype came from movies for instance, fat germans. There was oversized man portraying Panzer Division, but his size he won't be able to fit in tank! There were some 12 year olds playing "army" during reenacting. Age is a problem. Some is too young to be soldier or some is too old to be private. IMO, older soldiers should be MP (common to see MP in old ages) or higher ranking officers. I don't mean a vet who decided to wear his old uniform (Just like my grandfather do for parades). And now, for Japan, they are TOTALLY INSANE about WW2. I saw photos of their event, they all are wearing German SS uniforms. I don't recall any Japs in German Army or specially SS. Their reenactors wear American uniforms as well, but one of them even have Sgt. Rock style insignia on helmet. They should've reenact Japanese-American unit with proper patches, or even Imperial Japan. Instead of displaying, they play war with smoke grenades and prop-made tanks. As you can see, those problems are massive, because it is person himself, which can't be changed. They enjoy history so they do it even though they are unfit. Don't get me wrong, I'm not discriminating anyone. The basic logical is Americans reenact Americans which makes sense. Japanese reenact Americans?

 

Now I'm just saying is that if re-enactors do it properly, and able to show and tell history they portray, then I would be able to enjoy them and learn something new.

 

We shouldn't worry about re-enactors because they are fond of history.... But we should worry about airsofters. They ruin pieces of history by running through woods and shooting pink pellets at each other. I don't care if they use replica or brand new tactical gear directly from vendors. But many of them have some of hard to find items that are highly sought by collectors. They used them for play instead of displaying or reenacting for historical purposes.

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I have heard of Disgruntled Vets but Disgruntled Reanactors is going to far !!!

 

 

owen

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DOGFACE1944

Riddle me this: Why do we collect militaria? Why would someone want to collect something that caused so much pain and bloodshed? Those who collect Nazi memorabilia, are they to be shunned because they collect items that were used in many cases by people who murdered thousands of innocent people? Why not tuck all of this away in the closet so that it can be forgotten and the world will not have to suffer through remembrance?

For me, Living history is an extension of collecting. I would rather use my body as my display table so that people understand what these guys looked like, what they carried, how heavy their weapon was etc. Its great for people to experience this, kids especially. Many of the folks who attend living history events walk away with a greater appreciation for the soldiers who served because they were able to experience a visual, "hands on" presentation.

The bottom line is that whether you are a collector or Living historian, the goals should be the same.... remembrance. For if we do not remember we will surly forget and history is bound to repeat those events that are forgotten.

 

Mike

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Riddle me this: Why do we collect militaria? Why would someone want to collect something that caused so much pain and bloodshed? Those who collect Nazi memorabilia, are they to be shunned because they collect items that were used in many cases by people who murdered thousands of innocent people? Why not tuck all of this away in the closet so that it can be forgotten and the world will not have to suffer through remembrance?

For me, Living history is an extension of collecting. I would rather use my body as my display table so that people understand what these guys looked like, what they carried, how heavy their weapon was etc. Its great for people to experience this, kids especially. Many of the folks who attend living history events walk away with a greater appreciation for the soldiers who served because they were able to experience a visual, "hands on" presentation.

The bottom line is that whether you are a collector or Living historian, the goals should be the same.... remembrance. For if we do not remember we will surly forget and history is bound to repeat those events that are forgotten.

 

Mike

 

I don't see the riddle and I'm not sure if this is directed at my earlier comment or not.

 

I have a small group of WW-II German items in my possession. All but one item came from family members who - horror of horrors - served in the German Army or Luftwaffe in WW-II. The other item was a gift from a very notable WW-II German pilot. I know full well what the Nazi party and the SS did in WW-II. None of my family items are prominently displayed and the one notable pilot's gift is well secured in a safe deposit box. Anyone who thinks mere possession of such items glorifies Nazis or Nazi-ism is delusional. I don't parade around in public wearing any of it, or even in the privacy of my own home (why would I want to?).

 

My collecting started, again, with items that came from relatives. I kept it to keep their memories alive and over the years have acquired other items, much of it given me by friends and acquaintances. I've built that into a rather average collection of WW-I, WW-II, and a smattering of Korean War US uniforms and a handful of Royal Marine (and one Airborne) uniforms as well. That said, I don't think that collecting directly leads to, or equates to, reenacting. There are probably hundreds of thousands of military collectors around the world and but a fraction of them are reenactors. As I said, I've been collecting since I was a kid in the 1950s but I've never had a desire to reenact.

 

I think this is probably the last post I want to make on this topic. As I said earlier, I have nothing at all against reenactors. I've assisted some right here on this forum with answers to questions, comments, and shared my period photos. My only rub is that, on average, they tend to take it a bit too seriously. I've previously stated my reasons for those feelings and don't need to replay them. I will continue to offer help and comment if asked; I just don't personally see the kick in it and, have no desire to participate.

 

This thread was opened with a request for personal opinions on reenacting and I gave that. An opinion is neither right nor wrong; it's merely an opinion and it has no bearing whatsoever on anyone else. As for the true goal of reenactors, only they, in their own herart(s) know.

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

...My only rub is that, on average, they tend to take it a bit too seriously."

 

I have seen reenactors painstakingly restore a jeep.

 

I have seen reenactors require the proper rations.

 

I have seen reenactors require the proper helmet and liner (although subtle)

 

I have seen reenactors mock movies with incredible critiques.

 

I have seen reenactors require the correct "look" in the barracks.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Then, they can't do basic facing movements when doing Drill and Ceremony.

 

Then, they can't maneuver, communicate, or control rates of fire.

 

Then, they can't perform basic military combat formations.

 

Then, they sit around talking or eating in the middle of a firefight.

 

Then, they get mad at you when you bring up their faults.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On one hand, they're very serious, but on the other they're not as professional as they want you to think or that they look......and they don't want to be.

 

Rock

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Just spoke to one my mates who spent a few years in the Forces...His opinion:

 

Those who wear their uniform as they did in the modern Army...

 

Those re-enactors who think they're still in the Army....

 

Those who are former Forces, think they are better than re-enactors in public battles, which are really just simply theatre, pantomime, shows (which is better for theatrical displays/battles ex forces or ex theatre workers)...

 

Re-enactors who have/haven't been in the Army and/or who haven't been in combat but portray troops who have...

 

Grown men who run around with realistic looking toys going bang who are trying to legitimise and justify themselves by saying their doing it for the vets/educating the public etc...

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo
Just spoke to one my mates who spent a few years in the Forces...His opinion:

 

Those who wear their uniform as they did in the modern Army...

 

Those re-enactors who think they're still in the Army....

 

Those who are former Forces, think they are better than re-enactors in public battles, which are really just simply theatre, pantomime, shows (which is better for theatrical displays/battles ex forces or ex theatre workers)...

 

Re-enactors who have/haven't been in the Army and/or who haven't been in combat but portray troops who have...

 

Grown men who run around with realistic looking toys going bang who are trying to legitimise and justify themselves by saying their doing it for the vets/educating the public etc...

 

I was in the modern Army- Here's my opinion:

 

My unform was bloused jump boots, garrison cap included.

So was my wwii counterpart.

 

I was in the Army and if you were, it always stays with you.

 

Guys that were in the Army are not better reenactors, but they have a built-in advantage that requires less training, bu more likely adaptation. Some are good reenactors, but some are not.

 

Grown men run around with realistic toys= Some guys spend one or two weekends a month performing displays, going to schools, reunions, air shows, commemorations and parades----> I think they deserve the right to go out and reenact a battle now and again. The comeraderie that is prevalent in the modern military can be captured in a reenactment unit provided that they do things correctly.

 

Rock

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I was in the modern Army- Here's my opinion:

 

My unform was bloused jump boots, garrison cap included.

So was my wwii counterpart.

 

I was in the Army and if you were, it always stays with you.

 

Guys that were in the Army are not better reenactors, but they have a built-in advantage that requires less training, bu more likely adaptation. Some are good reenactors, but some are not.

 

Grown men run around with realistic toys= Some guys spend one or two weekends a month performing displays, going to schools, reunions, air shows, commemorations and parades----> I think they deserve the right to go out and reenact a battle now and again. The comeraderie that is prevalent in the modern military can be captured in a reenactment unit provided that they do things correctly.

 

Rock

 

Rock...but you wore blousy dingly danglies...and you wore your garrison hat straight front and centre...Not as they done in the 1940s?

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ABBY K-9: I do not question why one is a re-enactor, but it does puzzle me when some will wear authentic uniforms and insignia in the field rather than good copies. Have met several who bragged about buying vintage uniforms and wearing them and have known people who sell antique uniforms to collectors and get asked what the sizes are maybe hoping to put it on? I am not judging the validity of historians and those who re-enact, just wondered out loud why some people wear stuff meant to display and to keep it from becoming worse off? If they are motion picture "extras" in costume or re-enactors, never think about it one way or the other, other than donning antique uniforms or sewing on original insignia? :think: Sarge Booker of Tujunga, California (hhbooker2@yahoo.com) POST SCRIPT: Some teenagers will wear uniforms once worn by servicemen and women that they sometimes find in The Salvation Army thrift store, that too would seem as though another collectible or antique is lost? Yes? No? Maybe?

 

 

 

I'm not really sure whether this is a question or a statement of fact, so please bear with me.

 

I've noticed that there are some general opinions about reenactors that are really common among non-reenactors. Some people feel that reenactors want to do something in their 'fantasy world' that they could not do in real life. Others feel that it's simply escapism or that it's a kind of cops-and-robbers game for grown-ups. Others think reenactors just have a screw loose.

 

The thing that really gets me is, even people who have negative opinions of reenactors have no problem taking their kids to a place like Williamsburg where living historians are portraying people from that time period for the benefit of the public, often less authentic and frequently less well-informed about the time period than a serious (hobby) reenactor would be.

 

What makes one better than the other?

What makes one a more valid historian than another?

 

I recently found out that a German historian wrote an entire book of first-person accounts of an area I reenact (and have a website on) because she was so offended that anyone would want to reenact that particular area of interest or time period. So she wrote a BOOK to "present history the way it should be presented, on paper" instead of "at reenactments". What the Hades?

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

I have several sets of WWII webgear. Two thirds is original because I can buy it cheaper than repros, and it's of better quality than many repros. I prefer to wear original jackets, repro pants and whatever gear I have, even original. It's up to the owner with what he wishes to do with it and it's inherent value. Lots of veterans have or bought surplus gear and let it rot in their attics, barns, basements. It's their stuff and they can place a value on it as it is perceived by them and only them. I brought back war souveniers that ended up outside to rot. Might be valuable to you but not to me.

 

I wear what I want and if I ruin it then so be it, but I don't because it was meant for abuse and I take care of it like a soldier would.

 

Rock

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I collected my gear in 1992 and 1993 in prep for my first WWII reenactment. It was the D-Day invasion at Virginia Beach Virginia in 1994.

I had all authentic gear except the field jacket, the rest was USGI period gear. My Springfield M1 Garand was a 1942 with lockbar sights. I got my hair cut, bought period GI glass frames, I was all set to hit the beach.

Anyways I spent 4 years in the real army back in the 1970s so I knew a bit about infantry.

Living in Florida I didn't have any connection with any unit down here so I was assigned to be with the 29th from up north someplace and was told where to meet them prior to the battle.

I marched with these guys around FT.Story prior to the battle and the sargent was screaming at everyone like he was John Wayne or something.

Picture this, this guy was about 250 pounds and had a handlebar stash and was trying to what he thought act like a non com of that period.

I broke rank and waited to speak to him on the side. I asked if he was ever in the military, he said he had never served but knew all of the "first person" attributes to do the part. I was then told there was no room on the regular LCs so I was to be on a LC with members of the current Virginia National Guard that were in the battle to make up the troop numbers. They were supplied with wools. boots, helmets, ammo belts and a rifle.

 

They were ALL to be killed as the ramp went down on the 3 LCs they were on for the realistic effect that the 29th suffered.

I collected over $1500.00 worth of gear NOT including the rifle, drove 600 miles and was damned if I was getting shot without getting into the fight. I know it happened at D Day but that didn't cut it with me.

I ended up getting a ride on an LC with guys from an armored group from N.Carolina and we took a MG nests prior to getting hit. Nice bunch of people.

 

Anyways the others folks were all very clickish and not at all friendly to a FNG. I did one more battle the next year then sold all my gear.

Way too top heavy in most of the units I looked into as far as rank structure.

I think alot of the ranked people have no life or wish they could order others around as they themselves have been beat down most of their life and now it's payback time.

 

As far as being a "farb" goes at a battle in Pennsylvania the guys in the Battle of the Bulge didn't have shaved faces or perfect webgear as they were not just leaving the QM or PX, most if not all were needing a shave and had torn/damaged or dirty clothing and gear. Many of the guys I saw were more concerned with not getting their gear dirty and ruining it.

 

My late father in law was there and told me a bit about how it really was.

 

I got into it from a love of history and to honor these heroes. I'm sure there are many that do them justice but I ran into many that do a disservice to all of it. :thumbdown:

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Way too top heavy in most of the units I looked into as far as rank structure.

I think alot of the ranked people have no life or wish they could order others around as they themselves have been beat down most of their life and now it's payback time.

 

The funny thing is that the higher my real world rank went, the lower my reenacting rank became...today in most Vietnam events I will portray a Spec 5 Medic...yep that is where I feel real comfortable.

 

Also when the people ask why I am 40 and only a Spec5, I get to say "I was busted for hitting an officer"... Why am I unshaven?..."well we have not seen razor blades in 3 weeks, the damn ammo and plasma just takes up to much room".

 

In short I give the same responses that I got when I asked silly questions to the "Old Men" who were still troopers.

 

Wishing he was an E-Fuzzy again,

T-Bone

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo

I think I my reenacting rank should be private. I want to show up, set up and hang out. No responsibilities like before. I was training nco, supply sgt, px guy, and overall new guy babysitter. The rest of the unit hung out, chatted, smoked and joked. I spent the entire first afternoon and evening getting the new guys ready to act like paratroopers. Then Saturday I became a line NCO, then Saturday night I assisted with unit functions, then Sunday the guys usually bailed out on the 1/2 day battle.

 

The whole thing would have been more worthwhile if some of the NCO's were trained and knew what I was teaching the new guys but; They didn't want to know because they were in the unit longer than me and didn't care to know. Just watching them in the field, you could tell that they weren't sure, or just plain didn't know what they were doing. It was worthwhile for a time and then I got sick of beating my head against a wall. I'd rather show up, light up a cigarre, open a beer (period) and chat. Battle, drink beer, chat. Battle for half day, clean up and go home.

 

I'm gonna be a private again.

 

Rock

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I do not question why one is a re-enactor, but it does puzzle me when some will wear authentic uniforms and insignia in the field rather than good copies. Have met several who bragged about buying vintage uniforms and wearing them and have known people who sell antique uniforms to collectors and get asked what the sizes are maybe hoping to put it on? I am not judging the validity of historians and those who re-enact, just wondered out loud why some people wear stuff meant to display and to keep it from becoming worse off?

 

Define what "display" means to you. Does it mean putting the item on a mannequin and maybe bringing it out to an event, if there is an indoor place in which you can exhibit it? Does it mean folding the item up and putting it in the bottom of a footlocker, with a handful of mothballs, so it will be preserved? Or does display mean putting it on so kids and adults coming to an event can see it and touch it and ask questions about the history of the item and the impression you are doing?

 

IMHO there is a big difference between going "to the field" with your impression and going to an event with your impression. There are many "display" events where your main and primary purpose is to be there to talk to the public, let them see your stuff, let them ask questions. I don't see a reason why an original item should not be worn or brought to such an event. Tearing them up in the field, that's another story altogether, and I agree, it's not a nice sight when that original uniform or piece of gear is ruined out there.

 

I do have quite a few original items and I do wear them to (living history) events. I know some collectors are going to be upset and annoyed with it, BUT unless they can point me to adequately authentic and, more importantly, available reproductions of the original items I am wearing, I don't really care whether they are annoyed with me for wearing the original items that fit me. I'm not tearing them up in the field, just wearing them at public displays.

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