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Notes on Military Reenacting and Reenactors

Rules of the Game:

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Just one Grenade and its "GoodNight Sweet Prince".

Reenacting is a vast field where a young person can gain valuable Military experience without having to make a commitment to service in the United States Armed Forces. It is a great and economical way to, "Try it out and see if it fits".
Reenacting is NOT Military training though...and although you may in fact learn everything you may need to know in order to go into actual combat, you will have to be your own best friend and instructor BECAUSE there are a lot of "Pretenders" involved in Reenacting and you have to take everything ANYONE says with a grain of salt.
This is particularly true of WW2 reenactors. First of all, even if they are ACTUAL WW2 VETERANS, they are teaching skills and techniques that have been outmoded for over 50 years. This doesn't mean that some of what they teach will not be useful, for some of it is universal in concept and transcends ANY WAR. Examples include:
Personal Hygiene.
Weapon Maintenance and care.
Military courtesy and deportment.
Noise and light discipline.
Marksmanship and Weapon Safety.
Camping. (KOA STYLE, Not as in ACTUAL COMBAT).
 
Obviously, if you were in a Civil War unit which builds large campfires at night you would have to temper this with common sense, "Humm...if I were in Afghanistan, would I want to build a fire at all?" and to an equal degree, "Would I want to sing songs around the headquarters to serenade the Commander?"
 
This would seem like common sense, but you better be prepared for more thinking on this subject because what was considered good Noise and light discipline in WW2 would not get a passing grade on today's Battlefield.
 
An old Indian once told me, "You want to hunt bear?....eat Salmon for 2 weeks first". I did...and sure as shitting in my pants the Bear came right to me!
If you are going into combat in Afghanistan you need to eat Afghan food.....and do a lot of other things "Afgan Style", Get it?
 
Now,  in particular as a ww2 Reenactor, you will be learning fire and maneuver tactics that are practically useless today. So with regard to EVERYTHING THEY TEACH YOU, Verify its usefulness by looking it up in the LATEST MILITARY MANUALS AVAILABLE. This will make the transition to Actual Military life easier and more rewarding.
 
An excellent example of a Reenactment unit that makes a good presentation but has no real teeth is Floridas own 3rd ID and it's junior partners, Crew 976 (Formerly the excellent Post 976 of Cadet program Fame).
Their WW2 impression is nearly flawless and attention to historical detail top notch (Well, we ARE trying to be kind here*). The rub is that:
They teach young people these skills so that they have plenty of   
"Privates" to use for running around the woods playing army.
Learning Leadership skills is not part of their program.
The youth learn skills that they have to UNLEARN THE HARD WAY if they actually join the war effort.
 
Contrary to when the post was first established, they haven't assisted one single youth in getting a Full College Scholarship (No Strings attached), whereas before, when Reenacting was an additional activity rather than the main focus, the Cadets were getting 20 or more scholarships a year (With a enrollment of 40 cadets verses a Dozen or so now).
Even the program title has changed for the Post: It is now called "Venture Crew 976" and is no longer "Explorer Post 976". The Post was userped by a group of selfish Men who wanted a venue for living out their own personal fantasys. They took a potent vialable Military Cadet Training Program that generated over a Million Dollars in Scolorship revenue yearly and turned it into a black hole that at best churns out a few enlisted recruits for the active military and runs on deficet every year.
 
Outraged former Cadets (From when it was an Omnipotent Military Cadet Training Program) Who are now Married and have their own Children and who have served (or who are still serving) as Officers in the active military and who are in the 3 figure income bracket have told me that it is their plan to Seize control of the Post once more and return it to its former Glory and excellence. They must wait however until their children get just a little older.
 
These are the Cadets who got full scholarships under the former system, before it was turned into a playground for middle aged men wanting to have fun running around the woods playing Army. No One can blame them for their outrage.
 
The recent genre of "Crew 976" simply has no idea what future was taken from them and how low their sights were set by their advisors.
 
So beware as you seek to learn these Military and Paramilitary skills. Use your time wisely and be your own best friend. Do not take the low sight setting offered you as normal. Your future is greater and brighter than that. 
 
 True, you may have a lot of "Harmless" fun and that may be the worst of it...but then again you may find yourself in actual combat someday and may in a moment of stress axiomatically react as you were taught by a "Reenactor".... You may also find your self in a foxhole taking orders from someone who is not as smart as you but who had a better more ethical advisor then you had.
 
REMEMBER: In actual MILITARY training, our Armed Forces see that you safety is paramount. Not so in REEINACTING... You can ecpect to get hurt far more often and far worse than if you were in the actual Military and find that no or little provision has been made for these possibilities. You will also find that if you become disabled that either you have no insurance to cover you or that your insurance Company does not cover such activities and that you are ON YOUR OWN. If you are seeing that you are among a group of unsafe Phuckwads, then get out and find another group.
 
THEREFORE: TREAD lightly and teach your self. Discard what is useless and keep what is useful. Let the publications and instructions of current first class Military instructors light your way. Always Remember: Traditional Scouting and active persuit of the Meret Badges that interest you will provide the best possible preperation for military life. Anything that is left to learn, LET THE MILITARY TEACH YOU.

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Trust only the Best Current Combat Proven Instructors.

* Example: Crew "Advisers and Committee members have often stated that concerning the U.S. 30 cal M1 Carbine, That is the bayonet lug (Or device)  is part of the barrel band and According to the NRA booklet “U.S. Cal. 30 Carbine”, the bayonet lug (Or Device) was not part of the barrel band until May 1944 although major production of the carbine started in the fall of 1942. There were four types of barrel bands, only one of which had a bayonet lug" and  "Therefore, any carbine before May of 1944 with a bayonet lug (Or Device) was incorrect and not suitable for WW-2 reenacting."
What a crock of Horse-Shit!
These self proclaimed "Experts" forget that as it is today with our modern day battle rifles which have numerous accessories available through firms such as "Cheaper than Dirt" or Sportsman's guide", the soldiers (and Units) of WW2 could have done the same as soldiers do today: Buy the extras themselves and go to battle (With the Govt's
blessing, Mind you) with a self customized self paid for rifle or pistol. In fact whole units were equipped with these Bayonet devices as early as June of 1942 (Paid for with UNIT FUNDS when they became available through ABERCROMBIE & FITCH!
So much for the "Experts". Any Doubts? I own one and it was given to me by my Uncle, a D-Day Veteran who bought it (With Bayonet and a flash Suppressor) at A&F's Manhattan outlet. (and they are marked and dated, 1942!)

Supposedly this is impossible (according to "Official records") But that is the problem with "official Records" in that: Official records reflect only that which will steer the records keeper away from trouble.  Books on the subject change or are updated aso often that it just dosent pay to buy them. I have seen "Unshakable facts" Change year after year. These people for all their effore cannot say for sure what is what. My advice is, If you see something  in an actual photo or newsreel, then tht proves it. I have a photo of a pile of m-1 carbines picked up as salvage during D-Day Plus 1 and you can plainly see three of them right on the top of the pile have bayonet luggs!
 
Another case in point is that there was a whole case of bayonets and "lugs" that just sat there at Picatinny Arsenal, laying open for many months until a National Guard unit from Ohio passed through. A Battalion clerk asked if he could "have one" and one of the Armorers replied, "Shit Lieutenant, you can have the whole thing for a hundred dollars." The Lt. quickly withdrew a hundred dollars from petty cash and outfitted  his men with these prized accouterments years before they were released to the Regular Army.
Being a National Guard Unit, they had access to Petty cash funds allocated by their home state. Federal troops such as the "Big Red One" wouldn't have such access or authority...... And so it Go's, another break in the rules of the game. So remember this one basic rule, Soldier:
"There are no rules that cant be broken, but if you are caught, the rules will break you."
 
Be Aware: Reenactors tend to have numerous "Experts" in their hip pockets (Or Books, articles, etc., that they whip out to settle "Arguments"). Christ, if I only had a nickle for every So called "Expert" I have run into that turned out to be a fool. So, if you "Bring up" this "Carbine Story"...expect the so-called "Experts" to refute you.