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By Brian Mead

So, you've decided to get into WW2 reenacting. Now you've got quite a choice...what unit to join. You probably already have an idea of which nationality you'd like to portray, or even know some buddies who are in a unit, but other than that, you've got no idea about the next step. Choosing a impression & unit will be one of the most important choices you make in the hobby. It will determine the types of events you do & how you spend your weekends. Following are a few things to think about.

What nationality? This is a pretty easy one. One thing to think about when you're portraying the generic soldier for any of the impressions. The cheapest to do is Russian. The uniform is basic & the gun is cheap. Guys who do Russian say you can pick up your entire empression for less than $300, including the Mosin-Nagant Rifle! You could choose to do US GI. The uniforms are easily obtained. Any size can be bought as a reproduction, but if you fit original you can pick the stuff up cheap. I personally go with reproductions & keep the originals at home...or as my dress uniform where I know I will not damage them. The basic rifle will cost you since a M1 Garand can cost over $500-$600 for a decent one. The hobby always needs more quality Germans. The uniforms cost a bit more than US uniforms, but your rifle will probably cost you less than $200. But as we all know, you're not in this for the cost of it. Pick a nationality you feel comfortable doing and you'll enjoy researching.

Which Branch of Service? This is getting a little more specific as to what you'll do on the battlefield. The basic options are Infantry, Airborne Infantry, Armored, and Support Services like Signal Corp, Medical, or Transportation. The most common unit on the WW2 battlefield was the Infantry and as such they are always needed. They were the backbone of the army, taking & holding the ground that was fought for. Elite units like the US, UK, or German Paratroopers, US 1st Special Services Force, German mountian troops and German Waffen SS all get cool unique equipment & dashing uniforms. Don't get me wrong here, I've got a Paratrooper impression, but there are generally too many elite units at reenactments. Lets also don't forget the Support troops. I've read that there were about 20 men to support every man on the front. These soldiers can be portrayed at living histories, tacticals, and reenactments as Signal Corp wire layers, Medics, Surgical Hospital staff, truck drivers, Military Police, and much more.

Personality of Unit? Now that you've decided what you want to do, you've got the really tough choice...who to join up with. Remember, these are the guys you'll fight with, sleep with, eat with, and drive 5-13 hrs with. You've got to be totally comfortable with this choice. Some things to think about when meeting the units you're interested in:

These are a few of the things you'll want to consider when joining a unit. These are just my observations after being in the hobby for a while. You'll want to think about these, and come up with your own prerequisites for your future friends! Just do some research, talk with LOTS of people, and make your choice wisely.

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