Wednesday, 6 July 2016

A spectrum of reenactment

It would be wrong of me to write about ww2 military reenacting without covering the politics usually involved in the hobby.

I've found that most individual reenactors can be broken down roughly to one of three groups and to try to pull them away from these groupings is a dangerous undertaking (trust me, I tried) but people do blur between them.

Breaking it down...

The reenactor: this group is the most common and comprises of people that like to dress up (usually sometimes in the right kit) and have their photo taken. They are usually the first into the battle, the ones running into the open and the last to die.
When approached by the public they can tell the tales seen in band of brothers or Saving Private Ryan but struggle with detail.
They enjoy the history and their passion for the hobby is their strongest point.

The drinking club: This group is a dying breed. Many years ago it was rare to find a reenactor that hadn't had several drinks before midday and were a danger on the battlefield.
These can still be found hiding at the back of displays or propping up bars at shows.
Usually they have the basics of a display but don't speak to the public sober.

The living Historian: Here is what every reenactor should be. They live to be part of the display and speak to the public. Their kit is good and they dread being called a FARB. 
They know the drill and respect a rank system in their group and have known to spend the night in a foxhole on their display.
They have a knack for knowing a lot about about their subject and aren't affraid to gabble on about it.

Who's the Napoleon?

The people that run groups are usually the ones that like wearing the officers uniform and holding the highest rank, so not nessessarily the best person for the job. (easiest way to wind them up is to carry some Major oak leaves with you, pop them on and watch them hunt for colonel wings)
They are sometimes the ones that are happy to take on the paperwork, purchases and initial costs for the group. (so basicly taken advantage of) 
I've found the best groups out there are run by people that have a lower rank, home of the brave are one of these and they work very well with higher ranks being part of the group rather than running it and from what i've seen they all chip in.

Final thoughts

A reenacting group is like a relationship without the mortgage or kids to worry about (despite so many reenactors being single or divorced) comprised of big kids playing soldiers. When the relationship turns sour the members are often too happy to jump ship rather than make it work.

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