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Author Topic: Fixables vs. Un-Fixables  (Read 3366 times)
35divmp
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« on: July 25, 2010, 08:19:05 AM »

All:

In this hobby we at times have came to verbal blows in what each of us considered "authentic" or "farby." Some times it was based on things beyond one's control. I call these things the "un-fixables" and "fixables" of WWII reenacting.

Here they are:

UN-FIXABLES

1. Height (or lack there of) - In some ways many of us are unauthentic due to our height. We are far taller than the majority of the WWII soldiers we seek to recreate. Just look at all the 34S Ike jackets that pop up at militaria shows. Very few of us can fit into original uniforms based on our height. But with reproductions this has become almost a moot point so almost anyone can be outfitted regardless of height.

2. Weight (for some) - This has always been a bone of contention in the hobby. Most people who are overweight and look like baby sperm whales in uniform can and should lose the weight (if for no other reason than it's more healthy and you'll live longer). But there are some people who due to health reasons CANNOT lose the pounds.

Should we give these people a "free pass?" The answer is yes, for this is a hobby (and not the real military) and we should encourage as many people as possible to participate. If a 300-lbs person wants to do 17th ABN and is willing to put out the effort to be 100% correct in everything but weight, then it should be allowed. However, that person should be made to know in the strongest terms of the health risks involved in doing this hobby (that's why those waivers we sign at events are there).

3. Race - This has been one of the biggest problems we face in this hobby - a lack of minority groups. The argument is that we should be as accurate as possible up and including placing some minorities in only the units/roles originally assigned or deny them memberships in units that never had minorities of any kind.

Example: Recon Joe is an Africian-American male who wants to reenact WWII and has no interest being a truck driver. He wants to wear the US 1st Division patch or do 10th SS instead. Do we let him?

The answer has to be yes. This is 2010 and not 1940. We are obligated by law on this one and all of us who are either current or ex- military above the rank of E-4 has to have the box on their NCO-ER marked "yes" on the EE/EO question. It is the right thing to do.

And if nothing else, a single Africian-American (or other minority) in a W-SS uniform would help dispell some of the racist overtomes that have popped up over the years in this hobby.

4. Age - This is becoming a bigger issue as we older reenactors continue to age. Is it authentic for a 50-year old person to be running around the woods as a WWII paratrooper?

We can't stop us from aging (some of us are coping better than others). But the sad fact is the older folks usually have the "cooler" or "big" stuff like full-autos or vehicles that his hobby needs to make it authentic (and enjoyable). So what to do?

5. Medical Problems - There are some in this hobby who have actual medical conditions that require them to make certain decisions to participate. They can can range from neck injuries to loss of a limb to allergies. From diabeties to skin conditions to cancer.

We should do our level best to accomidate these people because it's the right thing to do as long as they strive to be as close as possible to being 100% authentic. We should NOT turn our noses up at a person at an event who pulls out their modern-day insulin pump.

6. Gender - Like race, this is the 500-lbs monster in the corner that few want to discuss without the discussion turning into a heated argument or the pros or cons of letting females reenact as men.

Regardless how one feels about females doing a male impression, every WWII organization has a paragraph about allowing females to do a male impression (along with a paragraph that allows anyone regardless of race, height, weight, etc. to belong to and participate in the group's activities).

But a female that decides to do a male impression must be as authentic as possible in the "fixables" department and be as "un-female" as possible (no make-up, hair cut short or pulled tightly up, etc.) in order to play.

However, if one actually counts the number of females disguised as males in WWII reenacting one will find out that the numbers are so small as to be almost a moot discussion.

FIXABLES

1. Uniform(s) - Unless one is doing an impression of something so left-field (Example - 1940 Greek Army Private or late-war German Railroad Conductor) then getting the correct uniform should be no problem. There are so many different reproduction uniform vendors out there now that getting correctly outfitted should be a snap and the average reenactor can no longer complain that he/she can't get the correct uniform for the impression being done.

2. Field Gear - Like uniforms, reproduction field gear for almost any impression is available from any number of sources. Toss in the proliferation of good reference books and no reenactor should have to use non-period field gear and the "I didn't know" defense no longer can hold water.

3. Weapons - There has been a constant debate on the use of captured weapons, "Lend-Lease" and "battlefield pick-ups" in WWII reenacting since the start of the hobby.

Yes, there are documented reports of units and individuals using captured weapons. But unless the unit or individual(s) continuely used said weapons in lieu of their issued weapons for a long period, then said usage is incorrect.

Yes, weapons are expensive, but they are one of the most important (and most noticed if wrong) parts of an impression. If one wants to do the impression correctly, start with the weapon.

And yes, there is the argument over the usage of long-barreled semi-auto clones of full-auto weapons at events. This will have to be discussed as if this should be a "fixable" or "un-fixable" item.

4. Hair - This one is a no-brainer ---- GET A HAIRCUT. If you're going to do a correct WWII impression (of any country) then the hair is short. It will grow back.

4.a - Beards - Unless you are doing an Indian Army, Cossack, or Gerbirgsjager impression that regularly had beards, then off they come. Sub crews shaved upon returning to base so unless you're standing on the deck of a Gato-class submarine or U-Boat then shave.

I'm sure that this list will cause some intense discussion. But like many of us have said, there are some things that we just can't fix and many things that should be fixed before we let people leave the parking lot and go out into the field for a closed tactical event or participate in a living history venue that the public will see.

Jay Sproat
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Jay Sproat
Sgt. 35th Inf. Div., MP Plt (US-recreated-HRS)
Class III owner, historian, WWII reenactor
ex-Point editor 1985-87 (HRS)
ex-Breakthrough editor 1988-95 (TSG)
ex-High Ground editor (1 issue) 2005 (WWIILHR)

www.cheapcrapyoudontneedenterprises.com or www.ccydne.com
battlebaby2
Event Coordinator, Bridge at Remagen,1945 Tidioute ,Pa
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2012, 09:15:33 PM »

I agree with quite a few of your above ideas. As for women as men in WW II if they can show a women passed as a man in combat in the American Army then they can wear a uniform. In Civil War we let the good she-male impressions in the hobby. Heck I didn't know the"man" next to me was a girl at 135th Wilderness. Then we to had poor female Impressions. They looked like girls. At one event 3 girls brought a lawyer trying to force us in The Brigade TO EXECEPT them. We said they can stay and we all, yes 300 plus men march off the field to camp. They lost. You have to pick your battles.
 For modern wars WW 1 , WW II, Koreanand Nam the Veterans will eat your unit alive if they spot a girl dressed as a guy. There is a lost nitch in this hobby ladies doing the jobs they did in WW II. reenact them and honor them.
 For what it is worth--   Pat
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35divmp
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2012, 05:28:59 AM »

Pat:

Oh, I understand fully what you're saying.  I have no problem with a female doing a male impression, IF she goes 100% (or as close as possible) to hiding her "Fem-look" before hitting the field at a tactical.  My wife has been doing this since 1994 and has fooled people into thinking she's just a pudgy GI. In fact she kissed me once in the field and several German reenactors were wondering WTF was going on...  Grin

When she does Soviet she doesn't bother trying to hide it.  Wink

Jay
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Jay Sproat
Sgt. 35th Inf. Div., MP Plt (US-recreated-HRS)
Class III owner, historian, WWII reenactor
ex-Point editor 1985-87 (HRS)
ex-Breakthrough editor 1988-95 (TSG)
ex-High Ground editor (1 issue) 2005 (WWIILHR)

www.cheapcrapyoudontneedenterprises.com or www.ccydne.com
Dinadin
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2012, 07:43:06 PM »

What do you think of the GI with a captured Luger or whatever as a supplement to the normal gear?
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Rich
Schafer's Folly?

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -- Edmund Burke
battlebaby2
Event Coordinator, Bridge at Remagen,1945 Tidioute ,Pa
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2012, 07:58:33 PM »

 I am not shure if this is a fixable or Un-Fixable but here it goes.
 Units or  other reenactments that wish to destory and harm another unit and their event.
 These phantoms use Facebook and other websites like this to attack and mislead people. They go as far as saying your unit busted up , you died from a falling rock from outer space and your event was cancelled. I like these people who say are part of your unit or talk to people in your unit like they are at your monthly meetings.
 I myself try to keep away from theses folks once the names come to light and they always do. What makes it funnier that after they trashed you, the unit and the event itself they call up and  they wish to attend. It's like inviting the person who robed your house to dinner. Ya that's ok, you stole everything and kicked the poop out of the dog but hay lets be buddies, NOT!!
 Maybe I am getting older and not in this Y generation stuff--

Pat
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battlebaby2
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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2012, 04:25:13 PM »

As for enemy captured gear from the Combat Vets I talked to, they get rid of the Luger's ect. If they were captured with the enemies gear or other stuff they would be shot on site. Both sides didn't like soldier's with captured gear.
 Alot came home with them but I'd say when the war was over or at the very end. Now for the rear area that is a different story--

 Pat

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Dinadin
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2012, 06:54:05 PM »

I was just wonder because I have a couple of pictures of GIs with captured gear.  One being a soldier manning a .50 the pulpit of a halftrack, where he is laying on the hood next to a BAR and there is a German dagger poking out from under his jacket.  Another one I have shows a group of GIs walking towards the camera along a street.  One of the GIs has a luger or P38 holster on his hip, there is also another GI with a bottle of wine in hand.  I am not sure about the date of either picture, but it could be late in the war.
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Rich
Schafer's Folly?

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -- Edmund Burke
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