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archieclement

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As I see it the physical appearance of the reenactor can be an issue or we can just decide that it is not.

One of the best groups here in Denmark called "Regimentet" do German wwii.
Since most members are not in their early 20ties they reenact a garrison unit that was posted here in Denmark on occupation duty and that was made up of older men.(in their 30ties and early 40ties)

They require their members to be fit, clean shaven, hair cut short.(or they get a period shave and hair cut as the first thing at the event) And look like they are not older than about 45. when comparing to men back then.
And similarly their female members do the jobs that German women did do in the army.
That is clearly the more authentic way of doing it.

The other option is saying, we don't expect our members to follow period requirements. Age or weight don't matter.
But then there is no excuse to ban women. Accepting too old and heavy men but not a young fit woman is just sexism.

Just to show an example.
Photo taken in 2018.
View attachment 325307
Of the 6 prussians in the front, one is to old, one is too old and to big.
4 are of the correct age but one of them is a woman.

We can have 6 Prussians by accepting anyone who is interested and physically able.
If weight is a issue we lose one.
If age is an issue we loose two and we are down to 4 prussians.
If we rule out woman we are down to 3 prussians.
So 50%.
And I don't know any danish reenactment group where 50% of their members are aged 21-22... so in most groups it will be like 75+% that will be gone, if the historical age and weight is required. (And I would expect the same is the case in almost all american reenactment groups)

So in this specific case I rather face 6 Prussians, than 3.
Also we can add the fact that the 4 are using borrowed gear and weapons, since they are not reenactors, but serving sergeants in the danish army.(that is why their gear and uniforms don't fit them properly)
So without the older guys, there would have been no one to instruct them in the correct drill and yell the correct orders in German.
And there would way, way fewer participant at the event. And sometimes quantity is a quality.

In our (danish 1864) group we expect people to do their best to look authentic and they need to be physically able to keep up and function in the ranks.
And when do we anything with spectators we are just honest about the fact that we are generally too old, too tall, most are a bit to big and a couple a lot.. and yes we got woman in the ranks. And tell people to look at periods photos to get an impression of how the actual men looked back then.

Personally Iam 38 and since men up to 37 was called up by the danish military And that I look younger compared to them, I can just pass. And Iam 180cm tall and about 85kg so I would just be able to get into the largest size of uniform issued in 1864... but would have been considered a big man back then.
But since Iam portraying a Commandersergent and they where usually rather old, I might actually be a big young for the role...
Yes in Europe one could simply reenact the Wehrmacht static divisions that were primarily made up of young boys and older men, along with those with medical conditions.
 
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