In two events this past 30 days, and I am seeing disturbing things that have been showing up over the past few years. Now farb is farb, but some seem almost to amazing to get by.
Let us see: For one, 1956 pattern webbing on GIs. Mostly equipment suspenders, but a buttpack has come on the field. Also the ever favorite jungle boot. These guys have shown up like this over the past three years, intermittently.
At a big event in Alabama, an SS unit is trotting about with unaltered Czech packs...right down to the Czech style hooks for attaching to the Czech Y-straps. As I got in with them to mingle there are non-standard rifles, which can be explained away as loaners (...but, like watching the "homeless" guy begging on the corner drive away to his house, if you went to many events, will the rifles continue in use?), but the best thing was the guy with the English enameled water bottle, wrapped in grey wool with a leather strap! Turns out these guys were also civil war reenactors. Perhaps CW is their main occupation after all?
Swedish canteens are showing up more, and not in proper a German wool cover/leather strap/metal cup (it seems that a plastic cup will not fit) combination. Many are bouncing around on breadbags, unaltered, looking like a German soldier extra on COMBAT...."well, they are WWI reissues..."
At a Railroad museum event I watch a fellow saunter across the camp area...a German paratrooper looking type. What stood him out first where his banana yellow Luft tropical cap and 98k bandoleer. What is it with horribly colored repro gear. Have some people never seen real items, really salty real WL clothes and gear? I have seen a GI medic with the medic harness/pouch set of the same color. Someone please tell them they should send it back for a refund. However, our little Abn look alike had his civil war mucket hanging at his belt! To be clear, this was a cup of varied sizes that generally has a hinged lid and a wire bail for hanging over a fire.
Definitely not a German issue item. Obviously another CW player that has "galvanized". I ask him about if it was a "Southern" German issue item. He gave me a dull glance, and I had to elaborate. Bad move...like they say about the homeless, "never look them in the eye, or talk directly, to avoid problems". Herr Shtupp then really gets defensive..." in combat guys pick up all kinds of stuff if they need it. We would pick up AKs and use 'em (...well, maybe if he was in an SF unit, or Force Recon, but use of such enemy weapons is ended soon as the different sound of an enemy rifle can become unnerving coming from your own lines...higher ups get touchy about friendly-fire incidents) ! I ask if he 'was in?" and he goes on about being an MP, and deployment, and on and on. "Hey, this a hobby!" Yes, one with a historic basis and not the SCA where "if they had it they woulda used it" was the running joke in reenacting years back. "Well, it was invented before WWII, so they would have known about them" HUH? "I don't care, and it don't matter." Sigh And from there on I got the dull eye from him, as I had besmirched his mother or sister.
Maybe I should start going to civil war events with WWII field gear over a Federal uniform.
Is it whining? I think not. I think it is part of the feeling that we need people to come and play more than we need to look correct. Don't get me wrong, I have done some dumb things at events in the past (showing up with corporal stripes...well, since I had been an E-5 at that point...of course I knew no drill whatsoever...), but knew the obvious things to avoid. I have made jokes with others about the odd Rev War or CW units that use orange Army aluminum tent pegs, instead of asking them why. Having collected for 40 years and reenacted since 1979 when most all gear used was real. I understand what some people spend to be in the hobby, and know that many are irked by the characters that show up at events with substandard uniforms and gear. Do not unit commanders have the responsibility for making sure that their members are squared away.
We are in this hobby at a time when almost everything that any soldier in WWII is available ... and cheaply, too. Footgear is always a problem, as foreign made shoes seem to fall apart quicker than a CW Federal contract ankle boot in 1864. Wearing semi-modern combat boots under gaiters is no problem for most units, especially at tacticals, where the mettle of a cheap boot becomes apparent in quick order.
But, CW gear, Vietnam gear, Star Trek phasers, whatever is obviously out of place, should be noted. If a unit cmdr is lax, is letting men bring/use non-period items, then the unit should be barred from events.
Another thing the civil war fallschrimjaeger said was "who cares..no one knows what it is." So, we do what we want because John Q Public is ignorant of what is happening, because if he does, than those "Special Issue SS Mtn Troop Y-straps" really are not Austrian post war? Or is it just a problem with reenactors in the Southeastern US? We had a fledgling WH unit down here in the mid-late 90s, the GD, and I would hear about them from friends up North..."oh, hey we heard about those GD guys down there with the 3/4 length Swedish tunics!" Well, they were kinda fard. Come to think of it, they were CW guys looking for something to do.....cheaply.... Is that not what people said and saw in Confederate impressions in the 80s? Blue jeans, plaid shirt and a 'coon tail on a felt hat. Saw it, alot....YEE HAW.
If I am ranting, I do not wish to be. Even my wife, who has just started a DRK impression after doing other reenactments with me over the past three years, while not an old salt, can spot what is wrong.
So can the public, sometimes.
I my unit we take pains to make sure that the clothing, weapons and fieldgear comports with photographic evidence. Better to know you are doing it right. Is that not what got most of us into this hobby, to know that we were representing the soldier of WWII? Tell me, are such farbisms creeping around your AO?
...oh, pardon the crack on the SCA. I have some friends who do all that who are not creepy. Of course I would love to be a fly on the wall at a camp fire at the Pennsic Wars to hear what they say about reenactors! Ah, and the MVPA guys who think we are nuts, and do not want their paint scratched. Those are the ones I like to bother by using my orange plastic canteen in my US impression. Eh, it was 10 bucks, and someday a copy will come out.....
Ive noticed this tbf on various forums on fb,
When you comment on these incorrect items
they round up on you so I have left these half
assed forums and let them get on with it, and
in agreement the ones who are trotting around
with post war and unaltered Swedish tunics etc
are from other reenactment hobbies such as
Civil War and English Civil War reenactors, I have
noticed many starting to creep into the WW2
scene but tbf their kit leaves a lot to be desired
and are giving us "proper" authentic reenactors
who have spent a small fortune on kit and equipment
a bad name imho, maybe they get away with it in their
own hobbies who knows but somebody should be
doing something, trouble is they turn up at events in
small groups and no one is controlling them
When I started reenacting 7 yrs ago my first pictures were
ripped to shreds because of either wearing the post
war gaiters or repro helmets but over time I have updated
My portrayal with often original equipment until I was happy
with my main portrayal to stop the critics, trouble is most
newcomers won't spend making do with the cheaper incorrect
option, every body has expenses and I for one am in a
moderately paid job but you buy a bit at a time, as the most
excuse you hear is "I can't afford it", if this is the case you
are in the wrong hobby tbh