BASIC INFOMATION AND FAQ
Entering the hobby can be a daunting prospect. This page is dedicated to providing basic information to get you started on the road to a sucessfull experience in the hobby. If you have a question that isn't answered please feel free to contact us and our veteran members will be happy to assist you.
1. How do I join the unit?
If you are interested in joining us send us an email through our 'Recruitment/Contact' page. To join the unit you must be at least 16 years of age, you must be at least 18 to use a firearm at an event, members younger than will often be posted as a Medic or Runner. Finally you cannot be a convicted criminal.
Reenacting is an athletic hobby so we recommend you be in at least moderately good health. Activities at a typical reenactment weekend might include; climbing walls, running up to 100 yards (or more) in full pack, hiking 5-10 miles per day, climbing hills and crawling through the underbrush.
Once you contact us typically you will come out to the next event as a Provisional Member of the unit, if you decide you want to continue in the hobby and the current membership agrees that you would be an positive addition to the unit you will be invited to formally join the unit.
Officially you will be a "New Recruit" at your first event, you will not have to pay the Unit Dues but you will have to pay the Battle Fee (usually between $25 - $40) and Guest Membership in the California Historical Group (C.H.G.) (usually $10.00). If you decide to join the unit you will be expected to pay the annual Unit Dues ($25.00) and the California Historical Group's Annual Dues before or at your second event. Once you have paid the annual Unit Dues you will become a "New Member" or "Replacement" you will keep this designation typically till after your second or third battle afterwhich you will be a full member of the unit.
2. How much can I expect to spend?
A basic Infantry uniform and kit will run the average U.S. GI re-enactor roughtly $600.00. Occasionally there are package deal sales on "Basic Infantry Package" that may lower the cost of your initial gear. A list of "Basic Gear" is listed later in the FAQ. Most re-enactors will eventually want to get additional gear to add to their collections and it is not uncommon to end up spending over $2,000 in various uniforms alone.
These are reputable companies that offer high quality reproduction uniforms and equipment that will not fall apart at your first reenactment.
3. What firearm should I get and how much can I expect to pay for it?
The basic infantry firearm of the US Army in World War II was the .30 M1 Rifle, commanly known as the "M1 Garand," "Garand Rifle" or just "Garand." The least expensive way to aquire one of these firearms is through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). There is often a 4 - 6 month wait for a rifle through this program. If you have the cash Fulton Armory sells newly made M1 Rifles, but those often cost $1,500.00 or more, also Ravenna Armory is another source for .30 M1 Rifles. Finally M1 Rifles often show up for sale at gunshows. This is the perfered firearm of the 2nd Infantry Division (Re-enacted).
The second most common firearm was the .30 M1 Carbine. Although these firearms were historically issued to Officers or personnel who's primary job was not an infantryman (Radiomen, Bazookamen, vehicle crewmen, etc.) it is a less expensive option, usually between $300 - $500 less than a .30 M1 Rifle and allowed for use in the 2nd Infantry Division (Re-enacted). Inland Manufaturing has recently started making reproductions of the .30 M1 Carbine, they can also be purchased from Fulton Armory The now defunct Universal Arms made .30 M1 Carbines from the 1960's - 1980's and although these firearms are generally considered second-rate firearms they are inexpensve and can commonly be found for between $400 - $600 and are perfectly suited for the "re-enactor on a budget." Along with the .30 M1 Rifle the .30 M1 Carbine can sometimes be found at gunshows.
The period correct magazine for the .30 M1 Carbine is the 15 round box magazine, this is illegal under California Law so the 10 round magazine although technically incorrect is allowed by the 2nd Infantry Division (Re-enacted).
A note on designation and ammunition, although both are designated as .30 Caliber the M1 Rifle and M1 Carbine do not use the same ammunition. The M1 Rifle uses the full size .30-06 cartridge and the .30 Carbine uses the intermediate sized, between pistol ammunition and rifle ammuniton, .30 Carbine cartridge.
The third most common firearm is the M1903A3 Springfield Rifle. These were typically not issued to the comman Infantryman, which you will to portray. The best way to aquire one of these rifles is at a gunstore or gunshow, they typically cost around $650 for a good quality gun. Although allowed, please do not bring this firearm to an event unless you have recieved prior permission from the Unit Commander.
4. What is used to simulate gunfire?
At all events we use blank ammunition. The unit's Safety Officer or designated NCO will inspect all the ammunition prior to the event to ensure that only blank ammunition is being carried and "live rounds" were not accidently mixed in. Safety is of the utmost importance to the C.H.G. and the 2nd Infantry Division (Re-enacted).
All semi-automatic rifles need Blank Adapters to fire and automatically reload the next cartridge. Bolt Action Rifles do not need Blank Adapters because the next round is manually loaded by the shooter. Atlantic Wall Blanks offers good quality Blank Adapters for both the .30 M1 Rifle (above left) and the .30 M1 Carbine (above center). The "Clam Shell" Blank Adapter for the .30 M1 Carbine will only work on USGI Carbines. It will not work on most types of Universal Arms Carbines. For Universal Arms Carbines you will need to have the barrel tapped and purchase a screw-in aperture set (above right). We highly recommend you have a trained Gunsmith tap the barrel of your Carbine, doing it incorrectly can destroy the barrel and might cause serious injury to you or a fellow reenactor.
For the .30 M1 Rifle Blank Adapture
For the .30 M1 Carbine Blank Adapture
5. What type of soldier am I reenacting?
In the 2nd Infantry Division (Re-enacted) you will be re-enacting a "Straight Leg" line Infantry soldier from Dec. 7 1941 to May 8th, 1945 primarily in the European Theatre of Operation (ETO).
6. What uniform and gear do I need to get? What is 'Early War' vs. 'Late War' gear?
You will be expected to get your basic gear within your first year as a re-enactor. In the 2nd Infantry Divison
(Re-enacted) our basic rule of thumb and advice to new reenactors is to get "early war" gear first. With only two exceptions (the M1917 Brodie (Tommy) Helmet and M1905 Bayonet more on these items at the end) all of the gear that was avalilable and issued in on December 7, 1941 was still in use in Europe by the GI's at the end of the war. The Infantry were at the very end of the supply lines and new equipment and uniforms got to them last, additionally the U.S. Army at the time tended to equip newer formations going overseas with the latest uniforms while Divisions on the line kept their old gear till they were pulled off the line to regroup and reequip.
At the Front offers a "Basic Infantry Package". This package will get you the basics you need to get started in the hobby. Make sure you are looking at the WW2 Army Infantryman Package At the Front also offers Paratrooper and USMC package; although share some gear are incorrect for you impression of a 2nd Infantry Division soldier.
BASIC GEAR LIST
M-1 Helmet and Liner
U.S Wool Trousers
M37 Wool Shirt
Type II Service Shoes or Roughout Boots
T-Handle Shovel Carrier
Cartridge Belt (M1 Rifle & M1903 Springfield) or Pistol Belt (M1 Carbine)
M-1 Carbine Ammunition Pouch (Only if using a M-1 Carbine)
M1924 First Aid Pouch
Shelter Half (or full shelter)
O.D. Wool Blanket(s)
When you hear a re-enactor talking about 'Early War' or 'Late War' uniforms and/or equipment he is usually talking about gear that started to become avalilable in mid-1943 but was not commonally seen in the line units of the 2nd Infantry Division till around September of 1944. Because we often attend re-enactments that take place before the 2nd Infantry Division was sent to contential Europe, such as events depicting the North African or Italian Campaigns, we encourage new reenactors to stick with 'Early War' gear as their starting gear.
EXAMPLES OF 'LATE WAR' GEAR
M43 JACKET and PANTS
First issued in March of 1944 in Italy these did not appear in North-West Europe until around August or September of 1944 and supply problem resulted in these always being in short supply.
M1943 ENTRENCHING TOOL and M1943 ENTRENCHING TOOL CARRIER
COMBAT SERVICE BOOTS (aka Double Buckle Boots)
First introduced in late 1943 to replace both the Paratrooper Boots and Serivce Shoes. These did not see widespread use in North-West Europe unitl late 1944.
The only two pieces of personal equipment that were in use by the U.S. Army at the start of the war that were not in general use by V-E Day were the M1917 Brodie (Tommy) Helmet and the M1905 Bayonet. The M1917 Helmet was used at the beginning of World War 2 but by the time of Operation Torch, Invasion of North Africa, it had been replaced by the M1 Helmet. The M1905 Bayonet was also issued at the beginning of the war for use with the .30 M1 Rifle and M1903 Springfield but by the time of Operation Husky, Invasion of Sicily, it had been replaced by the M-1 Bayonet.
7. Where are the Battles and how often do they happen?
The Batttle Re-enactment events generally happen 5 to 6 times a year with the C.H.G. Typically there will be one or two battles in the Spring, Summer in Winter of every given year. Typical battle scenerios involve Pacific War Battles, European Theatre of Operation Battles, Italian or Africa Campaign and Eastern Front Battles. Battle locations very from Forest area in Big Bear and surrounding areas, to abandon Military Bases and desert enviornments; the locations of all the battles are always published along with the scenerio information and dates. The best way to keep abreast of all the dates and scenerios is to check our website's 'Upcoming Events' page or the C.H.G. website.
8. What should I bring to a re-enactment?
In general do not bring more than you absolutely have to. You will need your uniform, gear, firearm, blank ammunition, ear plugs, if it is a camping event a tent and sleeping bag (Non-period tents are usually set-up in an area away from "Period Camps" ("Period Correct" means gear or equipment that is original to the period being portrayed or reproduction equipment)), personal hygene items (tooth brush, tooth paste, etc.) and finally food and water.
Food can be either store bought food but hidden away till it is eaten or specialtly foodstuff purchased to look like "Period Correct" C & K Rations. Repo-Ration is a good source for "Period Correct" food. For water a good rule of thumb is bring at least one gallon of water per day of event, you may find that you need more or less water once you get more experienced but that is a good guideline to start with.
On the final day of the Battle Weekend everyone in the unit will pitch-in to clean-up the campsite, our goal is the leave the event location in better shape than we found it in.