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Some more questions about uniforms and weaponry.

Discussion in 'Living History' started by Generalfeldmarschall Matthew Bluhm, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. Generalfeldmarschall Matthew Bluhm

    Generalfeldmarschall Matthew Bluhm Member

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    Hello again. I have a couple more questions. I think i've changed my mind on what i'd like to portray, as me being only 18 (this coming february) it would be pretty innacurate for me to hold the rank of Oberleutnant in a reenacting group. I've decided to look into the Feldwebel rank and have some questions.


    1.)

    Schirmmutze:

    http://www.ima-usa.com/product_info.php/cPath/14_65/products_id/244
    In the above link is a reproduction Schirmmutze. My question is, did Non commisioned officers wear them? If so did they have the Wreaths like this: http://www.militarytour.com/Reproductions/WW11/German/Tabs/Badge/SS/W6.htm

    Or would they simply wear the hat as seen in the first link?
    Also, is the definition of an NCO anyone holding these following ranks?
    ________________
    Oberjäger/Unteroffizier

    Unterfeldwebel

    Feldwebel

    Oberfeldwebel

    Hauptfeldwebel
    ______________

    2.)
    Weapons:

    Are real weapons used when reenacting? Obviously not real ammo but blanks are used. But I was wondering if for reenacting if say i wanted to use a K98, would i buy a working K98 that can fire real live rounds and use blanks in it?

    Thanks again,

    Matt
     
  2. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    While not a reenactor, I have lots of military experiance. The rank of Feldwebel in general is equivalent to that of senior NCOs in the US military. That is a Feldwebel is the equivalent of a Marine Gunnery Sergeant, an Army First Sergeant, or a Navy Chief Petty Officer.
    Typically, a Feldwebel would be a bit older than most of the troops, say late 20's early 30's in age.
    The headgear issue is one of personal preference. In the US Navy (my service) for example, a Chief could either wear a garrison cap (often refered to as a "piss cutter") or the peaked combination cap ("hard hat"). I was one of the old school hard hat guys seeing it as a mark of rank as much as the anchors.
    A Feldwebel in many units would also have to be "der Speiß." That is, the duty officer or officer of the day in position. This would entail a double row of silver piping on the cuffs of his uniform and the muster book placed in his jacket between buttons at an angle when "on parade."
    Normally, a Feldwebel is more of an administrative position within a company. While he may be a combatant in the equivalent of a platoon sargeant he would be less likely involved as the company NCO.
    In a typical German infantry company there would only be three or four Feldwebels in most cases, possibly as many as six. That is, they are nearly as rare as officers.
    Just a few thoughts.

    The ranks you list equate to current US ones roughly as:

    Unteroffizer: Lance Corporal / sergeant. It is sort of an NCO but not an NCO position...ie more than a corporal but not truly a sergeant.

    Feldwebel: First Sergeant. An NCO that runs a platoon.

    Unterfeldwebel: Staff Sergeant. A senior sergeant. Could be either a squad leader, assistant platoon NCO or staff position.

    Oberfeldwebel: Sergeant major. A company level NCO. Generally the senior enlisted in the company. The British equivalent is the CSM.

    Haumptfeldwebel: The equivalent of a US or British Sergeant major acting as the senior NCO in a battalion or regiment. An RSM.
     
  3. Generalfeldmarschall Matthew Bluhm

    Generalfeldmarschall Matthew Bluhm Member

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    Thanks for the info Gardner [​IMG]

    Would anyone below an NCO and officer be able to wear the Schirmmutze? Also, what rank would you suggest for me to portray. Above private i mean, and preferably able to wear the Schirmmutze. Keeping in mind i probably wouldn't start reenacting until a year or two from now so i would be either 19 or 20, ample time to exell in the Luftwaffe ranks assuming i'm a good soldier [​IMG]

    BTW, any idea if the NCOs wore the officers wreath on the schirmmutze or not?


    Thanks much, Matt
     
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Given your age, I would say that it is extremely unlikely you would look right for any rank you might be right for wearing a Schirmmutze (peaked cap). You might be able to do so as an Unteroffizer but it would be a rarity as this rank rarely wore the cap in service. An exception might be if, by some chance, the unit you were in put you in the position of der Speiss as an Unteroffizer (it did happen but not normally) when the wear of the Schirmmutze was reqired by regulation.
    The reason most lower ranked NCOs and officers did not wear the Schirmmutze is that it is difficult to tote about in the field. I know I would never have taken mine (combination cap) on a field exercise (I was in several units (real military not reenacting) that did that sort of thing). It is bulky, difficult to keep from getting damaged and just inconvienent in those circumstances.
    Officers that are not right up front and senior NCOs have more opportunity and baggage space to keep such a luxury item in the field. The other reason a senior nco or officer might wear this cap is to distinguish their rank in the field. Here it would be worn as a symbol of position to make them more identifiable to their troops.
    The "wreath" is standard on the schirmmutze. Ncos wear it with a leather strap while officers get a double silver cord on theirs.
     
  5. Generalfeldmarschall Matthew Bluhm

    Generalfeldmarschall Matthew Bluhm Member

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    Thanks so much for all the info Gardner. I think I've finally settled on Obergefreiter. Only two ranks up from Private it's one of the most realistic ranks to be had. I may purchase a Schirmmutze just because they're so neat :D But for reenacting i've grown quite attached to the look of the Schiffschen (side cap). So i think i've settled the info i need for the uniform.

    Any info about the weapons used in reenacting though? I'm still wondering if real weapons are used. I think it would be very nice to have an actual G 41/43 that can fire live rounds or blanks seeing as i'm a farmboy who loves to target shoot [​IMG]
     
  6. William

    William Member

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    Coming from a living history background (as many on this site have read before, I HATE the word reenacting), I have a few questions for you to help you decide. Maybe...

    What unit in particular are you planning your impression around?

    What year of the war are you planning your impression around?

    What theater are you planning your impression around?

    What kind of personal research have you done?

    It might be best to figure out what you are wanting to portray, then look up those units/theaters/time periods, and base your impression off that.

    Look for photos of guys that are your age now. What rank do they hold?

    Talk to veterans. Granted, they are hard to come by, especially the German ones (spoken from experience-I began contacting/interviewing veterans in 1987).

    Read personal accounts-diaries, memoirs, first person accounts.

    DO NOT base an impression solely on something that looks "cool". Remember, soldiers in the field try to be as inconspicuous as possible. Something you think looks "cool" might just be something a real enemy in a real war would look for to knock off.

    And, if you've never reenacted before, honestly, good luck hoping to join a unit with rank. Most decent units (read historically accurate) make you earn your rank through participation, field craft, knowledge, safety, etc and so forth. Any unit that lets you join, never having done anything like this before, as anything above private, watch out for. Chances are they are lacking in a lot of areas, safety included.

    As for weapons, yeah, for the most part they are honestly to goodness, working weapons. Some are gas operated (as in propane gas-mainly a lot of the MG's), but personal weapons, for the most part, can be true ammunition firing weapons.

    A word of caution on that. If you plan on live firing, double, triple, and quadruple check before you take the field for an event.

    I hope this doesn't deter you. I hope it actually gets you to buckle down and research. That's the best way to get a decent impression, and be HISTORICALLY CORRECT.

    Any questions, let me know, and I'll help if I can.

    Wm.T. Ripley
     
  7. Generalfeldmarschall Matthew Bluhm

    Generalfeldmarschall Matthew Bluhm Member

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    Hi, you can pretty much discard what I posted before. I've done much more research and found a reenacting forum. I plan on portraying a Fallschirmjager in either the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Regiment. And yes I plan out on starting as a private.

    Thanks for taking to time to reply to what I posted, though I should have reposted telling people that i knew what i was looking for so you wouldn't go through the trouble of writing up what you did.

    Matt
     

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