Miss Drop '44
The Miss Drop '44 Official Newsheet!
Firstly of all, please excuse the fact this 'website' is bolted on to the website I run. I wanted a place to be able to share information about getting into re-enacting, something that I too have recently gotten back into after many years away. I offered to help my new group in a few ways, recruiting, a newsletter, creating items for displays and a method to share information about kit requirement, up coming events, roles and jobs vacancies in the unit.
Our units. Our group focuses around the 2nd Battalion; 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (P.I.R.) in Normandy and all members should acquire a full impression to suit this. We are also considering doing some other later or mixed events covering the other campaigns that the 502 saw action at. This being dependant on interest and the sorts of shows/fairs that a multi-period events would suit.
However before I loose you in the details of the group, what to wear, how to wear it, ranks, weapons, food, drill, saluting.... lets start from the beginning and ask some important questions for those new to the hobby of re-enacting and might be looking at how you even start in this minefield of a hobby.
Why do people re-enact? I'm sure there many reasons why someone would want to take up the hobby and become a reenactor. Its the closest way to live the periods of history that were well before our time, you may have a passion for one particular unit and want to literally live the life as much as you could. Its not a cheap hobby, its not a very simple hobby... but, you make great friends, experience all sorts of different things and can find yourself in situations you'd have never expected! Imagine being brand spanking new to the hobby and the group and then buying a blank firing bazooka to then have to display it and fire it and on day 1! You'll learn all sorts of odd things that will honestly never help you in regular boring life... things like marching, rifle drill, how to pitch and strike pup tents and how to light a fire. Not everyone in life can start a fire!
Can anyone re-enact? This is such a controversial question in re-enacting. You'll get groups that will accept literally anyone. From stick thin to obese, male and female, old and young. Now the problems start from there onwards, some units firmly stick to what was correct then, will only be acceptable now. If re-enacting was a scale of 1 - 10, they would be the 10 if its not perfect, its not acceptable. The re-enacting hardcore if you like. So in the 502 PIR for example it was a an all male fighting fit unit. So no females (stop your booing lads), nobody over weight and certainly nobody that could be considered old (I sniggered while I wrote that). Then you get the other end of the scale, the 1's. The 1's can be a mixed bunch, usually excepting of anyone, expect a mixture of kit and ranks and usually a lot of things that make no or little sense. As Daz likes to say "a dressing up unit that sleeps under green canvas", which in fairness is fairly apt. However, don't let their lack of attention to re-enacting fool you, they still might have rules to stop certain people joining. I think if I were to score our group on that scale we'll probably be around 8. We like to do everything as close as we can to exactly how it was, but.... at the same time, if you can't see it, its not a problem. Like what is inside your pouches. You don't need to carry a full compliment of heavy ammunition around with you. Your underwear doesn't have to be WW2 issue, unless your going to show it off to the world, but even then, plain (OD) green will do. We have discouraged older members and want to stay with a unit that looks like it should. All the enlisted troopers are around the correct age. Fitness doesn't really come into it, sure it helps if you can run for miles and miles and lift heavy weights, but trust me, I'm as unfit as they come, I just look healthy!
What do I need? This will sounds pathetic, but the best thing you can have in this hobby is a willingness to learn and progress your kit. appearance and impression. More on the latter two later. Anyone who can come into this hobby with the willingness to learn will always do well. Note, you will also never stop learning! Just like buying re-enacting kit, there is always something else...
Guy Whidden - 502nd P.I.R interview
Although Ed Shames was in the 506th P.I.R. What he says is relevant to all regiments. A fascinating soldier, who played some vital roles in the Normandy invasion.
More questions???? Yeah I'll bet you'll have plenty...
Like almost all re-enactment units, all the members come from all walks of life, all ages and believe it or not, even both sexes. If your new to re-enacting, then we all understand that this may seem like a daunting task and many questions will be going through your mind, what kit do I need? do I need to attend every event? how much is everything going to cost? what if I can't find XYZ to buy? Trust me, we've all been there, this is why I have started putting all these together. We also understand that buying everything in one hit can be crazy expensive as well as daunting! The KIT pages called will go into more detail into what you really need as a minimum, rather than required. What to buy and what not to buy! Also there are thousands of items which you may want to buy and add to your new airborne persona.
We attend shows all around the UK. If I had my way we would be out every weekend and all the shows would be local to me. Of course it doesn't work like that and travel does have to be factored into it. We may have a member that lives close to you, if so, it maybe possible to share transport, after all, chipping in for some petrol is never to be sniffed at. Literally! Some shows will clash with other things in your life, it happens to us all. Just let us know you can't come and its as easy as that. If you can't come to any for an entire season, so be it. It'll be a terrible year for you, but that happens.
What to expect at a show
All events start the same way, a lot of hard work in putting up all the tents, not just your own, but we all pitch up and get everything assembled. As usual with most events, we would set up the day before the public arrived, so after the work is done you're left with a nice peaceful rest of the day either seeing what the site has to offer or relaxing with the gang eating and drinking.
Next morning expect to be woken early, usually by the Sgt shouting! However, don't let this put you off as almost every event this is a call to start making breakfast! After breakfast is done with, it's time to kit up and get on the parade ground. Some members will be greeting the public, public are free to wonder round our encampment, other members will be tasked by standing next to other displays of items, like weapons, or sat in the HQ filing paperwork. Don't worry about any lack of knowledge in any of these areas, if we can teach the public, we can certainly teach you! Sharing knowledge is one of greatest things in re-enacting, you'll learn so much. In the evening we all cook and sit down and have a meal.
Some times we drill, marching is always comical, which proves who knows their left from their right! Trust me, it's easy when you not standing in the open being watched by the public, however as soon as you hear "Right turn...." someone will always turn the wrong way. I'm sure some of us do it on purpose... at least that's their excuses! We have also done unarmed combat lessons, which was by far the most entertaining things I have ever done for the amusement of the public.
These sorts of task get repeated over a weekend until its time to pack down. Everyone packs their personal kit away, strike their tents and rolls them into kit bags. Once everything is packed away in cars, we all say our goodbyes until the next event or we meet up in between.
Hopefully that gives you an idea of what may happen at an event.
Please note, lots of the information around which uniforms to buy is all geared specifically at 502nd Paratroopers. If you want to be something else, please let me know if you need help advice in what you need.