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Re-enactment travesty


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mpguy80/08
Honest question:

 

Why would ye wear an award, or even a just a simple ribbon (that ye actually did earn in a "modern" army) on a WWII uniform?

 

The only award I've earned that I've worn on my WWII Ike is the Army Good Conduct Medal, which has been around since WWII so I'm not suspending belief when I wear it.

 

Wayne

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The only award I've earned that I've worn on my WWII Ike is the Army Good Conduct Medal, which has been around since WWII so I'm not suspending belief when I wear it.

 

Wayne

 

 

And yer entiteld to wear it....

 

however, in a historical context (and this is in no way having a diga at ye Wayne) what would one wear according to what uniform and what date of that particular uniform yer wearing?

 

which, brings me to...I have two impressions, one is the Canadians after the breakup of the FSSF, and the 474th U.S....Do I wear ribbons which every FSSF Canadian/American would wear at that time period?..well, no, but then that makes my impression "wrong", but then I am "right" ....

 

An interesting conundrum.... :w00t:

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willysmb44

It’s funny how this whole “you didn’t earn that patch or boots” argument came up. When I display my WW2 US war correspondent collection and especially have that impression at an event, people sometimes have the same attitude about me representing a correspondent. For some, only once I tell them I’m a staff writer for a WW2 magazine and used to work for a newspaper, does this “justify” my impression to them. It’s also equally funny when I’m at events where every third person is dressed in a 506th jump suit, and people find I was in the Army, it somehow shorts out their brains as to why I’m portraying a non-combatant and those who have never served are dressed like the killers.

I guess this is something that will NEVER go away.

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mpguy80/08
And yer entiteld to wear it....

 

however, in a historical context (and this is in no way having a diga at ye Wayne) what would one wear according to what uniform and what date of that particular uniform yer wearing?

 

which, brings me to...I have two impressions, one is the Canadians after the breakup of the FSSF, and the 474th U.S....Do I wear ribbons which every FSSF Canadian/American would wear at that time period?..well, no, but then that makes my impression "wrong", but then I am "right" ....

 

An interesting conundrum.... :w00t:

 

In my case, I'm protraying a soldier of the 82nd Airborne Division who was serving before Dec 7th, so my Ike has the Europe-Africa-Middle East ribbon, American Defense, and American Campaign ribbons and the Army Good Conduct Medal. As of right now, I do not have any meritorious or unit citations, nor the forregeres (sp?). I am in no way claiming to be airborne, and if asked, I speak the truth, that I am only protraying an airborne soldier with my impression. I have worn the Ike and my class A impression once, preferring to display it rather than wear it.

 

I do have numerous awards earned on Active Duty... five Army Commendation Medals, six Army Achievement Medals, and a Meritorious Service Medal two Army Expeditionary Medals, an Army Superior Unit award, and a Meritorious Unit Citation and other awards, but none of those were even thought of in the 1941-1945 time frame so I don't wear them for my Impression. Well, maybe I COULD wear the WWII version of the Meritorious unit citation in lieu of the modern one... Look in the Display section of this forum under the Lets see your uniforms sub forum... my Class A jacket is there with my awards.

 

Wayne

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I dare say that if you were representing a specific period eg airborne after D Day etc you COULD wear the correct ribbons etc for that unit, with NO bravery/injury awards. Thid would be as a representation of the uniform of the period.

 

Unfortunatly I dislike the wearing of bravery awards for re-enactments as the individuals wearing the uniform could not in any way 'earn' them. This especialy goes for things like the 'Iron Cross' that seems to adorn so many German re-enactors. There were a grea deal of Iron Crosses awarded in WWII but there were even more soldiers who DID NOT receive one! As for awards such as the 'tank killer' badge, how exactly does a re-enactor actualy qualify for that? Putting one on a uniform on display I can understand but wearing them on a uniform?

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I dare say that if you were representing a specific period eg airborne after D Day etc you COULD wear the correct ribbons etc for that unit, with NO bravery/injury awards. Thid would be as a representation of the uniform of the period.

 

"Which D-Day old bean"... :w00t:

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shrapneldude

The medals and ribbons thing goes back to an old question I asked on this very forum over a year ago. Reenacting combat scenarios in combat uniform and field gear is one thing...but what exactly does one reenact in class "A" uniform with ribbons and medals? Why wear dress uniforms at all in reenacting if you're reenacting the battles? Then there wouldn't be this mad scramble for everyone to come up with reasons as to why it's OK for them to wear medals and ribbons and badges and such. The setting of rules (i.e. "It's OK if your grandfather on your mother's side got a Bronze Star...or it's OK if you did 5 public events to wear a Silver Star...or it's OK to wear the Purple Heart if you banged your shin on the side of a tractor at any point in the last 10 years. etc etc) would be completely unnecessary. There just has never been presented a decent argument for the wearing of dress uniforms, adorned or otherwise, in a historical reenactment of WWII. Combat uniforms w/ field gear and helmets and weapon, sure, but not full class A's with every ribbon under the sun on the chest.

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Why all the arguing. I am a Civil War reenactor. I as with most reenactors do this out of respect of our history. We also do it so people will not forget what our fathers and grandfathers did for this country. When I see a WWII German reenactor I thank him. It takes alot of guts and money to do this and when you do it as a Confederate or German it is so WE NEVER FORGET. The old saying is "those who forget are doomed to repeat". Most is all out of respect of our past.

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That's a very interesting discussion,I'll try to add my 2 ç .I am on the "collectors' side" rather than the "reenactors' side".I respect too much those who wore and used (and of course those who at present wear and use)any military uniform and equipment.

I DO greatly respect,as someone (e.g. 187th and Shrapneldude) has perfectly written in one previous post,the sacrifice,the fear,the rage,the anger,the sadness all the combined emotions and sacrifices that war brings with it and that ONLY those who lived it (and are living it) can narrate and can say how it really was.

Saving Private Ryan,or BoB,or Pacific just to name some are great remaking,they can make me jump on the chair while watching my tv confortably sitting in my dining room but....yep reality is something else. I have a quite small,very different and partial knowledge of some aspects of the dark side,the smell of blood,faeces,vomit,sweath and fear of death that human being emits in certain terrible situations ( I am talking about my "experience" as a volunteer in a 1st aid association here in my Country)but then again it's not the real thing,although it's real the fear of death that sometimes it's to be seen in the eyes of the victims,the desperation and pain in the faces of those who are losing or have just lost a relative) .I don't miss the war,nor what comes with it.

I repeat,all those who got involved in a war(and all those that are presently fighting to defend our freedom)deserve all my deepest respect for what they substained (substain) and for their sacrifice.

In the past I happened to make some reenactment here in Italy,but probably I met the wrong people and that drove me away from it.The reenactors that I really cannot stand are those 200% "wanna-bees".I hate them.I hate how they walk around acting like invincible warriors (be they italian,american,german-mainly Waffen SS of course or whatsoever),manning terrible weapons with ugly grim on their faces,as if they were going to start shooting around and then,asked if they ever were in the Army most of them answer either liyng or saying that they did not serve at all...as said,probably I met the wrong people but that made me feel it was not the right hobby for me,I'd call it the bad side of reenactment....

Please reeenactors don't start yelling at me!!!I have nothing against the "REAL REENACTORS" (silly as it sounds it is not a contradiction),because,as I read in many posts in this thread and as I saw here in Italy too in many different occurences,there is a really right way to reenact as many of you pointed out.

In the end it's just me,I would not feel confortable to wear an uniform because I have no title to wear it.

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REspect...but why are we all justifying ourselves?...If that is what this thread is about? then ... No, i won't tell some about seeping gelignite, or waiting for the "visitors" to come back and chop me and my wife with unborn child in her belly in the middle of nowhere wi no buddies to save us...no...

 

C'mon guys, it's a fkn hobby! We ahve all "been there" in some way or another, but that doesn't give anyone the right to look down their noses at those who haven't...

 

But I do feel sorry for some farby's... ;):rolleyes:;):lol:

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Cobrahistorian

Interesting debate guys. It's been done here before, so I won't add to the fire, but I agree with the original intent of the post. It is one thing to do a display timeline event (I'll be doing one at FDR's home next week) but it is something completely different to create a farb-fest melee like what Willysmb44 is talking about. Dog & pony shows are one thing, and they serve one purpose: to entertain the public.

 

The event I'm doing next week has a small "tactical" scenario to it. I don't participate because it is hokey as hell, but the public loves it. Basically a squad of GIs or Marines advancing on a bunker, it opens fire, the good guys take it out and everyone's happy. It works on one level and one level only. To entertain. Now the redeeming factor I see in this is that each of those guys participating has met authenticity standards and they are wearing accurate uniforms and gear and have been instructed on proper WWII squad tactics.

 

The "for the veterans" argument doesn't really hold water here, but this demonstration shows the general public what GIs/Marines moving across a field would have looked like. It cannot represent the horror, fear, stench and uncertainty of combat.

 

Dan, as far as wearing Class A uniforms, the only purpose is to wear them to an event like a big band dance, which is quite a lot of fun. Dancing with your girl under the nose of a B-17 is a pretty amazing thing. When everyone, including the band is dressed in period clothing, it is a pretty great experience. I used to do an Infantry/FSSF impression, but since becoming an Aviator, that's really the only impression I feel comfortable doing. My class A uniform has original WWII pilot wings on it (because Army wings didn't exist until 1950) and either no ribbons, or the ones that I've earned. I used to wear a CIB on my dress uniform because it was accurate for the impression I did (FSSF). Looking at it now, I'm not comfortable doing that.

 

Anyhow, nowadays, I just throw on a WWII flight suit, grab my chute and try to figure out where the hell the ground crew moved my P-47. I've recently switched out my rank insignia though. A 37-year old Jabo pilot in WWII would most likely have been a Lieutenant Colonel.

 

Jon

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  • 11 months later...
willysmb44

I found a shot of it taking place here: http://www.creativeflashes.com/Events/Arme...870834044_Q3iCz

It’s been a year and I’m getting ready for the next year’s event this weekend. I talked with some civil war guys over last weekend and a couple of them told me there were rumors they’ll repeat the “all hands on deck” battle, and one even asked if my Desert Storm group wanted to take part. I advised some of us will be bringing blanks adapters for our rifles just in case (I have actually heard there might be a couple of people with decent Iraqi Army impressions showing up), but NO, we won’t be taking part in such a cluster of a spectacle.

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I found a shot of it taking place here: http://www.creativeflashes.com/Events/Arme...870834044_Q3iCz

It’s been a year and I’m getting ready for the next year’s event this weekend. I talked with some civil war guys over last weekend and a couple of them told me there were rumors they’ll repeat the “all hands on deck” battle, and one even asked if my Desert Storm group wanted to take part. I advised some of us will be bringing blanks adapters for our rifles just in case (I have actually heard there might be a couple of people with decent Iraqi Army impressions showing up), but NO, we won’t be taking part in such a cluster of a spectacle.

 

The odd thing is some of the impressions seem to be quite good.

 

The American Civil War guys also seem to look tired, and dirty, enough for a modern 11B to almost believe the scenario.

 

This is probably a very interestin LH event, why crap it up with this...

 

Having read through this thread, BTW very interesting, let me come right out and say;

 

I am a Veteran

 

I have nothing but respect for those who came before me and love for those who will follow me in the future

 

I am a reenactor, and a collector, and I do both for fun

 

I like busting caps

 

and I fing love the fact that (most of the time) nobody gets hurt and/or dies

 

I also found it helped me sort out a whole buch of baggage I had, I still remember hitting the dirt the first time I heard an MG fire towards me at an event. Pretty soon I had others learning to do the same. They could not quite understand the fear factor, but they learned the reflex.

 

T-Bone

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They did it again this year. :crying:

 

Reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode where a modern tank crew on maneuvers in Montanasomehow gets transported back to the Battle of the Little Big Horn... when their CO goes looking for them, he finds not sign of them, but their names are now listed on the battlefield monument as being among the fallen...

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I'm a flight gear collector and at one time I was a re-enactor. Since my time period contained events that happened 1000 years ago, I wasn't too worried about offending vets. The Viking era can be a difficult one to perform LH in. Documentation and artifacts are rare. All too often some chap tries to inject fantasy elements or a silly horned helmet. Our group relied on archaelogical finds as evidence as to how we should portray ourselves. We were pretty strict about it and sometimes made enemies within our parent group for standing firm.

 

Our Viking group attended an event like the OP's at Jamestown Island in the late 80s. While our camp took great pains to present what a Viking expedition to N. America would look like ( and we were rewarded for it) we were asked by the show's officials to particpate in a tactical display with WW1 re-enactors. Two Doughboys and a 30 cal MG against 15 Vikings armed with axes, sword, and shield. Prior to the display, we co-ordinated with the WW1 guys as to which direction they would be sweeping the machine gun as it fired. They were going left to right, as we advanced toward the Doughboys we dropped in the right direction and the crowd enjoyed it.

 

Guilty as charged I guess.

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They did it again this year. :crying:

Wow - do you know any of these cats?

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I've heard of this happening at other events, but as an after-hours event for the participants.

 

It is absolutely ludicrous to do it in front of the spectators unless perhaps you are at a science-fiction/fantasy convention.

 

And reenactors wonder why they get a bad rap. Sheesh.

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willysmb44
Wow - do you know any of these cats?
I don't get along well with the few WW2 guys who've taken part and the rest are other groups I have no idea who they are. None of the guys I know well do this. This year, many people were really looking forward to doing it. It was even more stupid this time, nobody got close enough to call it a "fight" at all, just formations standing there looking stupid.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Seeing that this took place on the west coast it all makes sense to me.

 

At first I was disappointed in this post. Really? Regional bashing? And then I remembered a similar "Fantasy Battle" (as they termed it) that happened here in Southern California. Twice in two years, and during public attendance. And then I was sad. Maybe it's in our water. On a good note, they got such crap from several sources that they stopped doing it.

 

You're welcome to view some of the shame here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/magiclens/832727006/

 

Yep! Real super educational. Things like this don't help the image of reenactors. This was event sponsor requested, but the reenactors could of opted to bow out (like many of us did).

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Since this is a forum where one can express feelings and opinions, I figured I would throw in my contribution to this. I have opted on several occasions to keep my mouth shut, but this really set off a nerve in me, and I want to vent... I have nothing against people who want to re-enact for the historical purposes, and I think that living history displays capture that quite well.... Enough said about that.....

 

Now I want to address those folks who want to run around in the woods shooting blanks at each other, and for lack of better terms I will use what Rob said and "play war using tactics and formations, where accuracy is pivotal". Thats great, more power to you, until someone is shooting back at you... So .....I'll tell you what... when you can come up with a way of experiencing your buddies arm or leg being blown off or seeing your best friend torn apart by an IED, having blood and tissue matter sprayed all over you ( and I'm not talking about ketchup or red dye to give it that "realistic affect for you weekend "re-enactors"), come talk to and spend some time with the real actors, who you claim to portray in your "weekend battles" I think you'll get a different idea of re-enacting and maybe you'll realize that you can play dead all you want in your reenactments, and then get up, brush yourself off and go to work Monday morning, but think about the Soldier's, Sailors, Airmen/Airwomen and Marines who are on the front lines day in and day out. They don't get to "Play War" or "Play Dead" They just get dead....PERIOD... No getting up, dusting yourself off etc... When a re-enactor can capture the emotions and physical and psychological factors of fear, anger, frustration, smell, sight, touch, pain, agony, dispair, humiliation, then maybe you'll be justified in "reenacting a battle"... Here's a thought.... Instead of spending a day running around the woods for "historical preservation and living history" Go to a veterans home, volunteer at a VA hospital, go to a veterans homeless shelter, serve food in a homeless kitchen....if you really want to help preserve history...

 

The real "Living History" is with the veterans who are sitting in VA homes, hospitals, ect.., wishing that someone would visit them and take some time to spend with them... No-one considers visting them to get their "Living History" accounts..., but instead the re-enactor in order to preserve history would rather run around in the woods firing blanks...

 

Memorial day is coming up in 8 days. The plans that my wife and I have include: Saturday placing US Flags at the National Cemetary at the gravesites of our heros, then visiting the VA home here in El Paso, Texas, and on Sunday our Church is having a Special Memorial Day Service for all. Monday for most will be another day off, an excuse to get drunk, or just another Holiday whose purpose has been long forgotten.....

 

I also want to reiterate what David Harvey stated in a previous post...

 

"If folks want to play soldiers then join the army and do it for real. Reenactment is to show a recreaction of history, not for big boys to get their hollies".

I want to apologize for my vent. It has been a long time since something has really angered me to the point where I wanted to express my feelings. Moderators, if you should feel that this post is inappropriate and is offensive in nature, by all means remove it. I am merely wanting to point out that for some of us veterans the loss of a friend can't be portrayed in a weekend re-enactment...

 

Thank you..

 

 

Agreed. It's the reason I quit. But one thing we all must remember...folks reenact for many different reasons. It's your choice whether or not you want to rise above the level or join the non hackers. After all your trying to portray something that most of us have never and will never experience. You cannot reenact death, stench,real bullets, and the psychological destruction combat does to a person. Rant over.

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At first I was disappointed in this post. Really? Regional bashing? And then I remembered a similar "Fantasy Battle" (as they termed it) that happened here in Southern California. Twice in two years, and during public attendance. And then I was sad. Maybe it's in our water. On a good note, they got such crap from several sources that they stopped doing it.

 

You're welcome to view some of the shame here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/magiclens/832727006/

 

Yep! Real super educational. Things like this don't help the image of reenactors. This was event sponsor requested, but the reenactors could of opted to bow out (like many of us did).

 

Reminds me of a Mel Brooks comedy. :thumbdown:

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