Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

General guidelines for re-enacting and living history impressions

Discussion in 'Living History' started by Stefan, May 27, 2003.

  1. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2001
    Messages:
    5,368
    Likes Received:
    333
    Historian, why? He is not saying other people shouldn't stay on but that he would feel uncomfortable as a US GI in his mid 30's. How is this for a better example, my father is fifty-something, he has a short beard and mustache which he has had since he could grow one. A few years ago I joined a 12th SS unit, he joined too after a short while but recently he has become very uncomfortable with the unit not because they are SS but because they are Hitler Youth and that is one thing he is not, in response he has decided to stop being 12th SS and start doing Volkssturm. Many people would stick with the 12th SS thing but they would also look stupid. It is all about ones own standards, I would say that someone aged above say 40 in the 12th SS looked really stupid (for whilst many men from auxhilliary units were grafted into the 12th SS the chances of them being much older than 40 are minimal) and so I would not do so, if others are comfortable with it then so be it.

    As for the underwear thing, I am impressed. To be honest though I will stick by my original analysis, I reckon that most 'impressions' are worked on at certain levels:

    1. basic uniform and field gear, people get their uniforms sorted, sometimes they are a bit rough or badly done but they are there, basic field gear to go with the uniform, thats enough to go into the field with.

    2. High quality uniforms and kit, people get good reporductions and 'perfect' that element of their impression

    3. Specialist gear, people get together kit that fits in with a particular role within the unit, this usually comes with a biography of sorts which would explain how the individual became a signaller, medic, gunner etc. This would also include things like peperwork and stuff that can go on displays to make them more interesting

    4. Unseen personal items, odds and ends to fill pockets, that kind of thing. This would also include underwear etc I guess. This is the point at which people start to try to sort things that people sometimes scoff at, contacting veterans for information about clothes for example. The fact is that this kind of thing may not make much difference to the way you look to the public, it does however make you feel more authentic and that makes a huge difference, after all for a lot of us that is what its all about, getting a feel for what it was like.

    Going back to the German underwear thing, I am currently on the lookout for an airtex vest (which is what the Germans wore incidentally, they are still produced these days in much the same material) and trying to do some research into the kind of civilian underwear that would be available. Actually I am currently trying to sort some wool for my nan to knit some socks out of, of the sort that were sent from home to German soldiers.
     
  2. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    18,987
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    Location:
    Stirling, Scotland
    Stefan.
    OK-I'll rephrase it. IMHO it's taking it to absurd levels.

    Regards,
    Gordon
     
  3. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2001
    Messages:
    5,368
    Likes Received:
    333
    Why? If you are a re-enactor and look totally wrong for a reason like age, then you are not re-enacting because you look so drastically different from those you are supposed to represent, you are just dressing up.
     
  4. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    18,987
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    Location:
    Stirling, Scotland
    Stefan,
    Without causing a diplomatic incident this early in the year, my point is this:
    Britain called up ALL men between 18 and 41. So a 35 YO WOULDN'T look out of place in uniform at a re-enactment event. I don't believe for one minute the US (or any other combatant)turned away men as "too old", especially later in the war when new blood was urgently needed.
    Wasn't one of the most famous German Fallschirmjager a pre-war champion boxer who had to be in his 'Thirties during the war?

    Regards,
    Gordon
     
  5. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    18,987
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    Location:
    Stirling, Scotland
    [ 01. January 2004, 11:17 AM: Message edited by: The_Historian ]
     
  6. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,458
    Likes Received:
    1,373
    Location:
    London, England.
  7. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    18,987
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    Location:
    Stirling, Scotland
    ;)
     
  8. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2001
    Messages:
    5,368
    Likes Received:
    333
    Historian, yeah, they did recruit people above the age of 35, however the chances are they would have gone into rear units rather than line infantry (particularly in the US, having more men than Britain and all). More to the point it is about the rule not the exception. What I mean to say is that whilst there obviously would have been men over that sort of age on the front line, most would not have been and as re-enactors our aim is to show what the majority of people would have looked like.

    Don't worry about the diplomatic incident, anyone who can get that angry over re-enactment that it causes one is in the wrong hobby ;)
     
  9. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    18,987
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    Location:
    Stirling, Scotland
    Aye! very true! [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Gordon
     
  10. BratwurstDimSum

    BratwurstDimSum Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Messages:
    515
    Likes Received:
    1
    You should have seen the commotion I caused when I turned up at last year's Beltring Military day.

    Imagine a Chinaman in a wehrmacht outfit :D

    But when I dished out the cover story, all was good, I was serving with the 352nd after being captured by Germans near the Russian border, and am now defending Normandy from the invasion of the capitalists hordes! ;)

    Historian, we've been through the hoops before on this and I'm glad to have someone (like yourself) who is honest and prepared to air his views.

    Essentially , its the same question as we ask of people who buy a 5 series BMW over a Saab over my Peugeot 106, It still gets you from A to B? So Why be pedantic? It comes down to the old adage:

    Look Good Feel Good.

    As William Adequately put it, some people come to fire blanks some for the history and some because they want to feel what the people of that period felt, note the word FELT. If one is to be camping for 7 days in a forward position in an reenactment, then period underwear would a MAJOR difference between your boll*cks feeling one way and another :D won't it?

    Its not for me, I'm about half way between the 1st category and the 2nd. Having said that I am going to try and get into a private event where I'm going to dig a foxhole in the middle of January in English winter conditions with nothing more than winter kit an entrenching tool and period rations, just to see how it might've been like in the Ardenne for instance. :eek:


    William/Stef, what were typical rations for Germans in 1944? If they smell/look like anything that Sapper describes (ie, smelly fish) I'm going to smuggle some pot noodle into my brotbutel [​IMG]

    [ 02. January 2004, 08:57 AM: Message edited by: BratwurstDimSum ]
     
  11. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2001
    Messages:
    5,368
    Likes Received:
    333
    Would that be the beltring battle you are trying to get into? If so I will see you there.

    German rations consisted generally of rye bread, 300g of meat (ish, frou various sources) and some coffee. This was supplemented with whatever people found.
     
  12. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    18,987
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    Location:
    Stirling, Scotland
    Brat,
    Cheers mate-sometimes a bit too honest for my own good in here! :eek:
    Personally, I drive a '91 banger.....but I take your point ;)

    Regards,
    Gordon
     
  13. BratwurstDimSum

    BratwurstDimSum Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Messages:
    515
    Likes Received:
    1
    Stefan,

    No I wasn't reenacting, I just turned up in theme gear to the 2003 show. Unfortunately I am not going to be in the country for next years show :(

    Oh man, no bully beef? I was counting on bully beef! Did they have any soup? They must've used their camp stove/burners for something :(

    Rye bread...no wonder they were so mean. [​IMG]

    [ 03. January 2004, 02:59 PM: Message edited by: BratwurstDimSum ]
     
  14. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2001
    Messages:
    5,368
    Likes Received:
    333
    Take some bully, take the label off and claim it was captured from some brits.
     
  15. BratwurstDimSum

    BratwurstDimSum Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Messages:
    515
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yeah, and made the POWs eat the rye instead [​IMG] I can live with that.
     
  16. William

    William Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2002
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry, but was gone for 4 days helping in-laws move.

    Historian-
    Ridiculous and absurd levels? Well, okay, that's your opinion. Each person is allowed one I guess. Saying again, each person has something they want out of reenacting. Being the type of person I am, I can't go out in front of the public doing anything less then what I do. I can't stand there in front of that little kid and say "I'm representing a US rifleman of WWII" and then not be kitted up as best I can, or show reproductions. For me, it just won't work. No, the public, except for one major incident when the seat of my pants ripped out, will never see the underwear I am wearing. They can see the pair I just washed sitting on the tree limb drying however.

    It's how I do it, it's how the guys in my unit do it, and it's how a lot of the guys I go do events with do it. Others mileage may vary. Ridiculous and absurd levels, okay. So what? The vets seem to appreciate the levels we go to, and I guess that's the important thing.

    "I don't believe for one minute the US (or any other combatant)turned away men as "too old", especially later in the war when new blood was urgently needed."

    You are absolutely right. Everyone, young, old, man, or woman, was in the fight somehow. But, you'd be hard pressed to find a US soldier in his late 20's at the front. They were there to be sure, but the average age of front line soldiers (read "the guys that lived in the holes with no one in front of them but the enemy) in the US Army
    was about 18-22-ish. Most vets I've written as a matter of fact make it a point to let me know that even after fighting overseas they were still too young to legally buy alcohol once they were discharged (one of the questions I ask involves alcohol).

    Okay, another long post from me. Sorry 'bout that.

    Let's just leave it to the fact there are varying levels of what folks think is right, and you can fall into whatever category you'd like, and you can think whatever you like about the category someone likes to call home.

    Wm.T.
     
  17. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    18,987
    Likes Received:
    2,155
    Location:
    Stirling, Scotland
    Thanks-awfully nice of you.

    Regards,
    Gordon
     
  18. William

    William Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2002
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    0
    My pleasure Historian-I do what I can.

    Take care,
    Wm.T.
     
  19. panzergrenadiere

    panzergrenadiere Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've finally returned after a several week absence. I lean on with williams point of view. I prefer to wear repro or original compared to anything postwar or converted. I love suffering, uh i mean sleeping in a foxhole and I completely understand his views on reenacting. I know that people get into it for different reasons. Mine are to be as accurate as I can. I still have a long way to go, but I'm always trying to improve my impression. I'll seen william's impression in person and was quite impressed. I also know how it feels for something to seem right or wrong. I used to have the correct german haircut and then I cut it last summer, granted its ok as long as your hair is short, but I missed having my period style hair and personally didn't feel right at events, so now I'm growing it back just because I miss the feel that it added to my impression. I've also been spending my time working on my personal kit, having the right unifom and gear is one thing, but I believe it is equally important with what you fill your pockets with. In all the orginal pictures I've seen the tunic pockets of soldats are stuffed full with stuff and then I see guys with completely empty pockets and breadbags which to me looks really bad.Well before I start to blab on about nothing I just wanted to I come into the issue having the same feelings for it as william. (maybe one day I will get invovled in an immersion event with you).
     
  20. raj-rif

    raj-rif Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    6
    i just want to add about age, ok most frontline troops could be placed at around the 20 yrs mark, however look at the troops that have just been in combat for an extended period, british troops in the desert, american 101st at bastogne, british paras at arnham etc, look at how old they look when they finnaly come out of battle. like stefan says a bio is a great idea, for instance when someone says to me i look a little old i reply that i was nearing the end of my service in India when war broke out so the fact i was close to the end of my 5 years overseas service meant nothing to his majesties government so hear i am up the blue in Egypt. as long as you know what the potential questions are going to be and have an answer ready then all is fine, we also have a few non regulation items amongst our kit that some ex soldiers see and ask about which makes things interesting for other members of the public, for instance there is a ladies razor amongst one soldiers wash roll, so we explain to the public that this soldier recieved it in a care package from his lady in lahore, or we will fake an inquiry with him as to where he has managed to aquire that from when we have been in the desert for 9 months, another planted item is the sterling silver knife and fork which we use to explain to the public that all our kit was lost when our truck was bombed and that these items were purloined from the alexandria hotel when we were last there on leave. members of the public love this sort of thing and always walk away with a smile.
     

Share This Page