WW2 Reenactment

World War 2 reenactors bring period events to life. This section describes what we do and how to begin this facinating living history hobby.

How do I take up reenactment?

Display at tha War & Peace Show 09

One of the most often asked questions that I hear at events and read on forums is; "How do I take up WW2 reenactment".Here`s a few tips.

The first thing that I`d suggest is DON`T JUMP INTO IT.

Reenactment is about respecting the people who did it for real, and helping to keep their memory alive. It is about recreating the history of the period; and preserving that for future generations.

Because of this, and to ensure you get the most from the hobby, it`s worth taking time to do some research. This doesn`t just mean researching what theme you want to portray, but also to determine if you want to join a group.

Not only will this help to give you an idea of what each group is like, you`ll also get some tips about where to shop and what kit to buy. Different groups have different standards - and there are a lot of 'wannabe' groups out there.

It`s worth joing the 'All Fronts Reenactment Association', as not only does this help give you, as a reenactor a voice, but it also provides you with insurance. The cost is just £15 a year.

Joining a Group

There are benefits to joining a reenactment group as not only will you be insured (if it`s a good group), but they will get invited to the quality events. Quality groups know their subjects, have links with Veterans and can often loan you kit - which will make it eaiser to start the hobby.

In a nutshell:

In brief, before you decide to start WW2 reenactment:

  • Think about WHY you want to reenact;
  • Decide what theme (s) you want to portray;
  • Decide on your budget;
  • Visit events and talk with other reenactors - particularly if they reenact the theme you want to do;
  • Take the plunge and buy your kit;
  • Get insured;
  • Attend events;
  • Always listen and learn - you can never know it all.

'Band of Brothers', 101AB veteran meets USAB reenactors at War & Peace Show, 2008

A reenactment group being inspected by a 101st AB 'Band of Brothers' Veteran.

World War 2 reenactors bring period events to life.

Renactors spend much time and money in accurately recreating the look and traditions of the period in order to keep the memories alive.

Some WW2 reenactment groups can be hired for film or TV work: the benefit to the producers being that they already have their kit and don`t need to be instructed in looking the part.

Airborne reenactors in a C47 Dakota. Photo courtesy of enfernormand on Flickr.

There are many reenactment groups, with each specialising in their own theme, be this battle recreation, period drill or one of the many aspects of the military of the era.

Enthusiasts are always keen to hear from veterans, in a quest to further improve the accuracy of their display.

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Civilian Reenactment

Period civilian re-enactment is becoming increasingly more popular, seeing a steady growth at events.

Often steam railways or places of historic interest host nostalgic events featuring WW2 re-enactors.

Civilian reenactors at the War & Peace Show 09

Black-market 'Spivs' are a popular and fun theme, and help to recreate the feeling of the era.

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Where to buy kit

There are two types of kit used by reenactors; these are genuine, and reproduction.

Genuine items are widly used, although these can be expensive or difficult to obtain, so often cheaper reproduction kit is used; but the quality of reproduction items varies greatly depending on the supplier.

Militaria shows and specialist dealers are good sources of genuine kit.

As WW2 reenactment grows in popularity there are many specialist dealers in reproduction items and uniforms.

Ebay and WW2 forums can be a good source of both genuine and reproduction items. Companies such as Soldier of Fortune, Pegasus Miliaria, and Epic Militaria are good sources of reproduction kit in the UK. In the USA try the companies What Price Glory and At The Front.