Miss Drop '44

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The Miss Drop '44 Official Newsheet!

We represent a specific unit in the 101 Inf Div / 502 Parachute Infantry Regiment / D Company / 1 Platoon. Our platoon HQ is full and we are now working on our first rifle squad. So lots of positions still to fill, including the 60mm mortar squad if anyone wants to start putting that together.

Sadly we hear lots of groups say "we're doing a 101st impression properly", "we do it right to honour the veterans", "we only do things right", "we're not FARBs"... don't fool for such rubbish. Look at what these other groups actually do, what they wear, how they act... big warning signs in highlighting those groups that say 1 thing...do another...

1, Do they all wear wool shirts?
2, Are all there M42's all CC2'ed? (darker than normal and almost waxy looking)
3, Is there a mixture of weapons? Realistically only M1 Garand and M1A1 Carbines. No, pistols, no Thompsons, unless the TO&E states otherwise. with exception of support weapons (LMG 60mm Mortar, a Springfield and possibly an odd M3 grease gun)
4, Look at the ranks, do they fit a TO&E, or is it just a total jumble of nonsensical tosh?

5, Flat pockets and empty webbing... a big no! 
6, Does anything identify the actual unit they say they are from. Id tapes, helmet markings etc. A fairly important thing for Normandy.
7, Does it look like everything they are wearing is just purchased straight off the shelf. For example, scrim was essential for 2/502, but the stuff SoF sells is a terrible bright bottle-green colour and
natural hessian, both pretty crap! They are easy to re-dye, but some just wear it as it is and it looks terrible, they should be dull light and dark greens & also shades of brown. All rigger pouches on the marker are crap, with exception to HTC's, they custom make them to order and are by far the best.

8, Are they ALL wearing big thick shoulder pads under the suspender straps?

9, As them about TO/E and how there members fit to it.


I'm sure lots of people just think we pick holes, or are too finicky. We disagree... unlike all other groups, we will do it properly and don't pretend to others or ourselves that we do. Since we decided to to it as best as it can be done, our group halved in size, those not wanting/willing to dedicate the time and effort into doing it properly have gone else where. Everyone is free to re-enact anyway they like, properly; or improperly... just the later can do it else where. If you're doing it with us and listen to our help and advice, then you will be one of the best in the UK and can take pride in knowing that.

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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 get involved in living historyI'm sure there many reasons why someone would want to take up the hobby and become a living historian. It's the only way to really immerse yourself into the periods of history that happened 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. It's 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! 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 do thisThis is such a controversial question in living history, let alone the next living history. You'll get living history 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 living history 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. The attention to detail just is lacking in almost all re-enactment groups and little make much sense when you look closely at anything they are wearing/doing.

Our group is NOT a re-enactment group. Lets leave the just dressing up and playing make believe to the re-enactment groups. Living History is a huge step past re-enactment, Expect to be really putting in some time and dedication into your appearance. Forget making comments like "that'll do" or "that's close enough".... if it can be improved upon, then no.... "it won't do". A group will always be judged by its worst member, so there is no half measures, it's be near perfect... or not at all. 

We expect people to fill their riggers with ammunition, your canteen bottle will be full, your musette will have a wash kit, food and all the essentials you'll need. Even your underwear should resemble that of a WW2 GI. All the enlisted troopers should be around the correct age. Fitness doesn't really come into it, but it sure 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 put in time and attention into everything, most of all you appearance and impression. Anyone who can come into this hobby with the willingness to learn will always do well. You'll never stop learning or buying 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.

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More questions???? Yeah I'll bet you'll have plenty...
Like almost all living history units, all the members come from all walks of life, all ages and believe it or not, even both sexes. If your new to living history, 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.

The shows
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! Either in putting up all the tents, not just your own, but we all pitch up and get everything assembled. Sorting out positions and the display. 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 everyone just eating and drinking. 

Next morning expect to be woken early, usually by the S/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 be on show for the public, expect them to ask lots of random questions. Sometimes rather daft and sometimes intelligence questions... you just never know. If you don't know the answer, say so. Don't agree with the nonsense they might tell you. They will have heard loads of BS from other groups. Lets try and give them actual facts and information, not the usual dribble, myths and nonsense that we have all heard a thousands times over.

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 2/502 PIR.