UNCLAS//5750//HIST/Re: [MV] German re-enactors at The War and

Wed, 29 Sep 1999 09:55:20 -0400

---------------------- Forwarded by R RAYFIELD/USASAC on 09/29/99 09:55 AM

09/29/99 09:45 AM

To: "NIGEL HAY" <Nigelhay@tanksrus.freeserve.co.uk>

Subject: UNCLAS//5750//HIST/Re: [MV] German re-enactors at The War and
Peace Show in 2000 and beyond (Document link not converted)

Mr. Nigel Hay,
I read with interest, your last regarding the few neo-nazi/SS-wannabees; it
is unfortunate that some of these will spoil it for the rest of the
majority of serious reenactors. What the SS and nazis did in WW II was
despicable, and although I am not a nazi supporter in any way shape or
form, their inclusion in the reenacting is beneficial in helping the
younger generations understand the aura, complexities and relationships
between the different maneuvering elements on the battlefields of Europe,
in so far as it complies with the existing regulations.

The regulations you cited might in themselves, however, cause friction. I
do not believe that if other nations' re-enactors can go about the area in
their uniforms, the German reenactors might feel that they have been
singled out and slighted. Don't they belong to some kind of club or
association like the MV owners belong to (MVPA, for one) or some of our
reenactors belong to in the states? I would think that some sort of
membership list, ID and signed oaths to abide by existing uniform
regulations of the era of the country whose uniforms and maneuver units are
being represented would allow those that are actually allowed in to show
their uniforms and equipment off since they would have already certified
that they would not be "out of uniform" and representing the doctrine of
nazism, Hitler or the SS, to include such things as the tatoos you
mentioned for one.

Also, in the military, we would have a limited number of press, not
necessrily free-roaming. You might consider, starting things off with a
briefing to the members of the press you allow in (you do not have to let
all of them in - you can issue a finite amount of press passes); you can
issue official event fact sheets that spells out the official position of
the event, the actual rules and regulations of the event, the mission of
the event, so if there are any outbursts or individuals that do make it
thru security, you can refer the press to what was issued prior to the

I am a militaria collector (and retited U.S. Marine). My underlying
thoughts behind the above stem from two thoughts:

1st: In order to appreciate one's own military, you have to appreciate the
reason for its being - to defend your country and allies against common
enemies. If you have no enemies, you do not need a military. Since
everyone pretty much has enemies, or those that would force their will on
lesser countries, everyone needs a military. I never believed in hanging
up a bunch of my USMC stuff, without hanging up a Jap, German, Soviet, NVA,
NK, Red Chinese, Iraqi, (etc,) helmet, rifle, belt, order-of-battle with
picture of enemy nation's leader (Hitler, Tojo, Ho Chi Minh, Saddam
Hussein, (etc). Without all of the enemy stuff, the reason for having all
of the U.S. stuff up is irrevelevant if one wants to speak to why.

2nd: I went to naval intelligence school some years ago, and when I walked
in on their quarterdeck, they had all of the 50 State flags of the U.S. and
I asked, "why?" in an intelligence school wherein we are learning about our
enemies past and potential enemies of the future, indications and warning
of attack and how to assess such things, would be have an irrelevant
display of U.S. State flags. I thought we should have flags of our
enemies, (listed previously) to focus the students of intelligence on WHY
they were there and WHAT they were going to be doing. They did not get it.

Please do not take any of this as me telling you how to run things, because
I have not been to an event like the one you described, although I would
like to go sometime in the future. I also do not know of the magnitude of
the problem you describe with the neo-nazis and SS-wannabees. However, I
do hope that this will give a different perspective so all of the younger,
naive people of today can see, at least a little, the huge formations, as
they really were; and if it is done big and with alot of sound, timed
charges, etc., that maybe they can feel and appreciate, if but just a
little the horrors of war, and the chill that goes up and down the spines
of those who lived it when they saw a coal-scoop helmet, a swastika or even
an SS emblem.

I do hope that you do have law enforcement personnel there to arrest those
that are not registered for the event, that violate the rules, and that
take their tunics off displaying non-event tatooed designs that are clearly
outside the realm of the intended purpose of the event.

One last thing, if you live near a military base, the PAO there might be
able to give you some advice on how to control the undesireables; they may
can lend you some actual help. You also might see if there is a Military
Police reenactor unit that could also fill in for crowd control, have them
deputized in the local country, etc.

Hope some of this helps - my aim is to allow all of those who would like to
appreciate this to do so without having those few, as you mentioned spoil
it. I wish you all well in putting this thing on and wish you all the
success and favorable press. I hope you film it, and might even consider
getting one of those narrators or crews from the History Channel to come

Sincerely -

R. S. Rayfield, Jr.
Maj USMC (Ret)
Field Artillery Officer
Intelligence Officer

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