We don't expect anyone to join the group knowing how to do everything, in fact its much more fun learning how to do everything as a unit. So I am coming up with more aspects of training (and encourage others to come up with aspects from their own roles that they can gives lessons on) that we can include into our displays, not only to entertain the public, but to further our own knowledge and enjoyment. On top of that it helps bond us together as a unit.
Drill / Marching / Cadence
So what sort of training are we planning, the basics that most groups do of course is marching/drill, and we have touched upon these briefly in the in the past. However, it was so infrequent that as soon as we did it, it was forgotten again and not 'drilled' into us. So asides from the art of moving and walking. I will be adding the addition of cadence to moving around. This not only us entertaining but also helps to stay in step. So bring your lovely singing voices!
without Arms Drill
Now really these should be the other way around, but this is far more complicated with so many more rules that rifle drill. A good few watches of this should help, as the Sgt giving the lesson gives clear instructions and orders over and over, its even good to practice to. Broken down into the basics commands:-
Stand at Ease
Fall In - Close Interval
You don't need to know any of this before hand, we'll try and teach you! It'll just look a little smarter if you do watch it and practice, but that's all down to you.
There will be other training lessons of all sorts, however, you'll not be given advanced warning of what these'll be! We don't want anyone to swot up on everything before the events.
There are plenty of examples of WW2 Cadence, I have a few favourites that I have added into my pocket book. Don't worry, you don't even need to memorise them, you just repeat the cadence being called. Easy right! Oh and not laugh...
with Arms Drill (rifle drill)
Drill is one of the most entertaining things to watch re-enactors do, nobody every does it as it should be done, not through any fault of their own. Re-enactors have just never had this 'drilled' into them hours after hour, day after day. So expect mistakes and lots of them, but that's great, remember we are here to entertain the public and making them at us not knowing right from left is part of the show! Drill may sound daunting, however remember that everyone is in the same boat. Even if you've done it 100 times before you never remember any of it and even if you can, convincing you hands and arms that you know it is a different matter.
Rifle drill is only ever done with a rifle, BAR gunners and those with Thompson, Grease Guns and carbines, simply shoulder the weapon... however, don't let that think you'll escape... sometimes there are spare rifles kicking around just for you! If you think actually doing the drill is hard, try being the officer giving the commands and trying to get you to do it correctly... that really is a challenge.
If you want a heads up on rifle drill, below is a wartime training video. As you'll see there is only really a few steps (rules) that need to be remembered. Easy huh?
This is broken down into:-
Inspection Arms - Lock Pieces
Right Shoulder Arms
Left Shoulder Arms
The second video goes into further and more detailed steps.
Fix Bayonets - Unfix Bayonets (no cadence)
Sling Arms (no cadence)
Unsling Arms - Adjust Slings (no cadence)
Stack Arms - *Stackmen*
Although this sounds like it will involve completing Sudokus or playing Dr Kawashimas brain training game. It's far from it, as I have chosen to run the S-2 platoon (although at the moment I represent the whole platoon) the task of passing information up or down the chain is essential. These will usually involve information about the enemy, how they behave, how to identify them, scouting/reconnaissance, gathering information and the distribution of Intelligence Bulletins.
The training lesson on 'How to identify German Army Soldiers' although fairly basic is ready to go. Including training props for all.
A display of mines/booby traps/explosives typically encountered in Normandy has been assembled with signage.
A couple of the items are still being made. Thank you Pvt Dobson for the promise of some explosive demo sticks and DuPont friction fuses.
Intelligence Bulletins are in the process of being professionally printed. I have covered the important months that I have original access to original examples of. May 1944, June 1944 as well as a few others that contain interesting subjects. Most of these have fantastic looking covers. I have printed about 25 of each, so these will be available to purchase and will be added to the Field Manual page of the website when they arrive here.
On top of making sure all members are using their own blank firing weapons safely, there can also be training in the use of all types of weapons carried by members of both the US and German forces. The correct ways to use and handling of them. This can be done in a more visible way in front of the public and has nothing to do with the safe handling practices about blank firing weapons.
Between the members that we have currently, I think we have an example of most commonly seen American weapons (or in the process of getting one) as well an impressive selection of German weapons. Including K98, MP40, Stg44, MG34 and MG42s. Not bad for a none German unit.