Reenactment improvements

grognard

Private
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
If you think changing reenactors is a slow process, you should try changing church folks!
Well, just as with some church folks - the problem is people asking "how little can I get away with" rather than "how much can I contribute?"

Of course it's unreasonable to ask people to do the impossible. But should that stop anyone from trying to do better?

To start with, every one of those "Prussians" needs to find out where the "natural waist" is, and hitch up those belts! The fat one actually has it about right...
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
To start with, every one of those "Prussians" needs to find out where the "natural waist" is, and hitch up those belts! The fat one actually has it about right...
I fully agree that the belts should be fitted correctly.
At one point I always took my "hole making tool" with me to events and it did help in the two groups Iam a member of.

In this case there are two issues
The 4 young people are/was serving soldiers in the Danish army and not reenactors. So all their gear was borrowed and clearly not fitted to them.

And the system with two cartridge boxes on the front, is less then optimal when not used with the correct backpack where the straps are hooked to the belt.

I got the same, but worse issue on this photo.


This is after a 10km walk. Here I got my sidearm and bayonet dragging the belt down on one side.

Before walking the 10km back home, I did make the belt a bit smaller... but it is still a issue.

It is on my to do list to modify the straps on my backpack with the hooks, but for that I need access to a workshop... and the one I can use have been closed because of COVID... until last week. So now I just need to find the time.

2021 - april01.jpg
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
But to get back to the original question.

Drill and the ban on using ramrods at many events.

If I want to join a Viking age combat group, who do "fighting" as a sport I would need to train 1-2 times a week for 10 month, before being allowed to take part in the main event in summer.
This is obviously needed to be able to hit other people with blunt steel "swords" in a safe manner...

But why can't we expect just some of this at 19th century events? Drill and weapon handling would be a lot better if everyone just did drill one afternoon each month.
 

Yankee Brooke

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jun 8, 2018
Location
PA
I can accept corporals who do not want to take command. Their main job is making sure things in camp works and to be the experienced and steady men in the rank when in the field.
But sergeants and up should have tried commanding at drills and be willing to do so if needed.
We're a small group, first sergeant, a corporal, and a few privates. When we do drill on our own, as just a small squadron, EVERYONE gets a shot at leading, so that all of us know how in case we need to.
 

Yankee Brooke

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jun 8, 2018
Location
PA
I also don't understand the ramrod thing. Blowbacks are not likely to happen if you're loading properly. If everyone is trained it shouldn't be a problem.

Drill and weapons instructions is probably the biggest thing on a system level. Part of that is having good officers. I'm new but have already been under officers who don't know what they're doing. One couldn't explain drill, and neither could the first sergeant. Another could explain things fine but wouldn't actually enforce most rules anyway...

On a personal level, I really need to fix my headgear situation. I probably should cut my hair too, but am hesitant. I at least keep it up in my hat and somewhat hidden. Which is another thing that grinds my gears. Why am I expected to hide my hair or have it cut short, while I encounter so many men with flowing locks that would make Fabio jealous, or with ponytails freely hanging out? Shouldn't we all be held to the same standard? Why are they not doing the same as me to hide the long hair?
 

grognard

Private
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
Which is another thing that grinds my gears. Why am I expected to hide my hair or have it cut short, while I encounter so many men with flowing locks that would make Fabio jealous, or with ponytails freely hanging out? Shouldn't we all be held to the same standard? Why are they not doing the same as me to hide the long hair?
Well, as Bill Christen used to say, "BIRD" -- "Because It's Right, Darn It!"

You can choose to "farb out" and follow bad examples, because it's convenient, or because everyone else does it. And you become another bad example and drag everyone else down with you.

Or you can choose to be the best you can be. After awhile you may find people looking up to you and doing the same.

The choice is yours.
 

grognard

Private
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
Drill and the ban on using ramrods at many events...

Drill and weapon handling would be a lot better if everyone just did drill one afternoon each month.

This is where modern life intrudes. Most reenactors can make the time to drill once a month - but getting everyone together to drill as a squad or company is more difficult. My company has members from all over our State. We are lucky to get most members (we never see everyone) to attend fall and winter business meetings; and the only other times we gather are for events.

If you can't meet more often, make the most of each meeting that you have. When I was a company commander, I did a "small drill" every time the men fell in, unless we were about to begin a march or battle. I would face them to the left and right, so they could practice doubling and undoubling. I would take a couple of paces to the front (or rear), and make them practice dressing the line quickly. I would do a quick run through of the manual of arms, then have the sergeants work with the new guys who had problems. On a hot day, I would do this in the shade whenever possible.

This took about 15 minutes, and was much more productive than standing around smoking like all the other companies.

I believe men should be taught "load in nine times" and use the ramrod for "inspection arms". Ramrods can be used for loading and firing demonstrations when there is nothing downrange. I can't agree with using ramrods in opposed combat scenarios. I was present at a movie shoot when the director/cameraman was out in front of the line during "fire at will" getting some really good stuff at close range - until a ramrod went past his ear. These weren't "local farbs" - they were a selected bunch of guys, many of whom fancied themselves "hardcore". Someone got excited and made a mistake. It happens - and it will happen at a reenactment if ramrods are permitted. It's a risk we don't have to take.
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
The solution is a combat range of about 100yards (instead of the usual 20-25), and aiming low.
Then the ramrod will hit the ground way before the enemy line.
But obviously proper training before allowing anyone on the field is still critical... since that is what make sure people don't get exited.

In plenty of none acw communities here in Europe they use ramrods and fix bayonets.
English civil war use them, a lot of Napoleonic groups use them and so do the Austrians at 1866 events.
(and the prussians have fixed bayonets)

When people play football (be that the American or international version) people also get seriously hurt... but that is just accepted part of playing.
 

grognard

Private
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
The solution is a combat range of about 100yards (instead of the usual 20-25), and aiming low.
Then the ramrod will hit the ground way before the enemy line.
But obviously proper training before allowing anyone on the field is still critical... since that is what make sure people don't get exited.

When people play football (be that the American or international version) people also get seriously hurt... but that is just accepted part of playing.
100 yards isn't practical on many smaller fields. Closer range may be unrealistic, but it's often all we have to work with.

There are also scenarios where troops make contact and simulate fighting hand to hand.

There is no centralized reenactor "command structure" in the US. There are several large associations, but not all units belong to them. So there is no one to decide what "proper training" consists of, and no real way to enforce standards. "Hardcore" groups and events are no better than anyone else at this, since many of them allow people to "fall in for a day" or weekend before joining.

Yes people get hurt playing professional sports. They are also well paid for it, and have insurance and medical coverage. But no sport requires people to risk being fatally shot.

There are "authentic looking" things that could be done, such as "pumping the ramrod" without removing it from the channel. IIRC that's what we did for the remainder of that movie shoot.
 

Polloco

Captain
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Location
South Texas
Give the appearance that you "missed a few meals", I seriously doubt there too many guys there who overweight by even a few pounds. And guys, those armys were made up of boys and YOUNG men. Privates were young and lean.
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
Yes people get hurt playing professional sports. They are also well paid for it, and have insurance and medical coverage. But no sport requires people to risk being fatally shot.
Who said anything about professional sports? Iam taking when ordinary people do sports as a hobby. Plenty of people get seriously hurt each year... people drown at the beach each year... the list of ways people get hurt when trying to have fun is very long...

The fact is that it is being done here in Europe with some reenactment communities.
 
Joined
May 12, 2018
Putting accuracy arguments aside for a moment, I do think there are definite improvements that can be made in terms of the visitors experience. Finding safe and fun activities that visitors can participate in (like, say, the marching drill we need to practice) are a good way to make the whole event more interesting and enjoyable for the public. I will never understand the types that never want to try and talk with and educate the public. But then again I’m a living historian so I’m a bit biased.
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
On the ramrod question, I've never understood the ban on them. Heck Texas Revolution reenactors use ramrods, and they're mostly all CW reenactors as well! Even the officers that run events!

As for the question on women, I'm all for them being involved as long as it ain't obvious. In my unit, there was a girl in the ranks it was like two years before I realized she was a woman! The story of how I realized it is pretty embarrassing....
 

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
On the ramrod question, I've never understood the ban on them. Heck Texas Revolution reenactors use ramrods, and they're mostly all CW reenactors as well! Even the officers that run events!

As for the question on women, I'm all for them being involved as long as it ain't obvious. In my unit, there was a girl in the ranks it was like two years before I realized she was a woman! The story of how I realized it is pretty embarrassing....
Latrines have locks?? Now you have to tell the story..
 

7thWisconsin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Putting accuracy arguments aside for a moment, I do think there are definite improvements that can be made in terms of the visitors experience. Finding safe and fun activities that visitors can participate in (like, say, the marching drill we need to practice) are a good way to make the whole event more interesting and enjoyable for the public. I will never understand the types that never want to try and talk with and educate the public. But then again I’m a living historian so I’m a bit biased.
I´m actually one of those types who never again wants to talk to the public, but I like what you´re saying here. I´ve just had a lifetime of Q&As with spectators and can´t handle either the same 3 questions over and over again, or the crazies who can´t be shaken loose from a bad theory or conspiracy theory. I don´t dislike talking to the public; I loathe and dread it. Nevertheless, I think the visitor experience is improved when there are intentional activities that a spectator can participate in rather than just wandering the camps and asking random questions of whosoever they find. I used to know a guy who did a first rate camp display. He couldn´t drill, and never stayed in his tent, but put him right where spectators could talk to him all day and they would get a great spontaneous interaction. I think firper should be avoided around spectators, too: I think it´s confusing and makes the public feel like they´re on the outside of an inside joke.
 

grognard

Private
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
Who said anything about professional sports? Iam taking when ordinary people do sports as a hobby. Plenty of people get seriously hurt each year... people drown at the beach each year... the list of ways people get hurt when trying to have fun is very long...
So what happens in Denmark when someone drowns at the beach? Do you just hold a nice funeral and move on?

Here in America, land of the free and home of the ambulance-chasing lawyer, that's when the real national sport begins: SUE-ing!

A friend of mine lost his six-year old step grandson in a swimming pool accident a few years ago. By the time the kid's family's lawyers were done, they had secured a multi-million dollar settlement from the city - which will no doubt be passed along to the taxpayers since cities don't keep large sums on hand to pay damages. Sure it's a tragedy, but this seems out of all reason to me.

Now let's say Pvt Smith shoots Pvt Jones' eye out with his ramrod. The "hold harmless" waivers we all have to sign to get into reenactments are so much wastepaper - they only protect the event host, if anyone. Same is true for event insurance, or policies held by "umbrella" organizations. Pvt Smith's company commander is liable, along with the NCOs who were responsible for his training, and even any "high private" who gave him advice. Pvt Smith's battalion commander is liable, because he "suffered or permitted" the use of ramrods on the event field.

And the Doctrine of "Deep Pockets" says that he who has money, pays. Suppose Smith is a college student whose most valuable possession is a $300 car. He can't pay Jones - but his company and battalion commander can! And the Battalion Sergeant Major, who owns a vacation home and private airplane, can pay even more - even though he wasn't even at the event. He's the senior NCO of the battalion, right? It might seem plausible to twelve idiots on the jury!

I don't know if this gets your attention, Thomas; but it does mine. Seeing the ramrod idiocy coming is one reason I decided to stop portraying an officer. I like my house and I don't want to risk it for the dubious privilege of commanding at reenactments.
 

Yankee Brooke

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jun 8, 2018
Location
PA
Well, as Bill Christen used to say, "BIRD" -- "Because It's Right, Darn It!"

You can choose to "farb out" and follow bad examples, because it's convenient, or because everyone else does it. And you become another bad example and drag everyone else down with you.

Or you can choose to be the best you can be. After awhile you may find people looking up to you and doing the same.

The choice is yours.
I'll continue doing what I'm doing. I just wanted to call out the double standard.
 

neyankee61

Private
Joined
Oct 30, 2018
If you want to drink, drink.Just don't walk around with a beer can in your hand. Pour it in your tin cup and ditch the can. Our QM made a correct wooden box, stencilled it correctly. Put a cooler inside it stocked with water bottles, Gatorade, and beer. Rule was take what you want, pour it in your cup and drop the empties back in the cooler. There are plenty of ways to look correct. One of my buddies put it all in perspective. Heck I have to go to work on Monday!
 
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