The standards for this event are
probably much different from what is commonly encountered on unit authenticity guidelines and what is typically acceptable
for reenactments. These are the result of hours of research and will allow participants
to better accurately portray how an actual company appeared during the fall of 1918.
Not only do these guidelines focus
on material culture, but more important we ask that individuals attending this event bring the right attitude with them. The purpose of this event is to better learn about the daily lives of the American solider during the fall of 1918 through applied archeology and first person historic
interpretation. Please do not spend your time at this event talking about the
fine points of reproduction gear, or re-enactor politics. This event is
so much more than that, it’s an actual chance to immerse yourself in the period!
We ask for 100% compliance
with these guidelines, this event is being held on private property and those unwilling or unable to adhere to the authenticity
guidelines will be asked to leave, regardless of how far away they drove in order to attend the event.
Both the British and American pattern helmet
is acceptable for use. Initially, the veterans of the regiment were equipped
with the British pattern, however as the war progressed and casualties increased the American pattern was issued in large
number as battle field loss replacement and to conscripts joining the ranks.
Standard issue blouse of the 1912, 1917,
or 1918 pattern are all acceptable for use. Additionally cut down raincoats being
worn as blouses are seen in large numbers as well.
Standard issue breeches of the 1912 or
1917 pattern are acceptable. On October 25th, there were a number of new breeches drawn from the supply company.
During the fall of 1918 there is a fair
amount of documentation suggesting that there was a mix of different styles of shirts worn within the regiment. The most common would be remnants of the standard issue army shirt; however a large amount of German issue
shirts were acquired from captured storehouses. Additionally, going without a
shirt is also acceptable.
Summer weight undergarments were what the
regiment was wearing when it entered the Argonne. German undergarments are also acceptable.
On October 25th there was a number of new drawers issued from the supply company, it's unknown which pattern these are but
I speculate these would have been winter weight.
American or German pattern are acceptable.
On October 25th, there were a number of new pairs of socks drawn from the supply company.
Wool puttees were worn by members of the
regiment; however recent replacements were arriving with the cotton leggings and were being ridiculed for it. There
was a number of new puttees drawn from the supply company on October 25th.
American, French, or Brown British pattern
with German low quarter boots being acceptable as storehouses were being raided for supplies.
British, OD French Version, or American
Primary material suggests that overcoats
were rather rare in the regiment and that men were picking up extra blankets for warmth from German storehouses and U.S. blankets off of the battlefield. New material shows
a number of new overcoats were drawn by Company L from the supply company on October 25th, but there is no actual amount recorded.
Throughout the regiments history, the supply company commonly issued out partial amounts of supplies and this date may have
been no different.
At least one U.S. blanket and up to two others being German or American patterns.
Research shows that there were some shortages
of these in the company, going without is acceptable.
Company records suggest that there was
a great deficiency of shelter halves.
The wartime variant of the 1910 haversack
is the most common pack that shows up in images and artwork associated with the regiment.
At this point no evidence has been found to show the early elliptical meat can pouch and pack in use within the regiment.
The most common ammunition belt being worn
within the 168th Infantry was the LTD wartime production pattern. Eagle
snap belts are also acceptable, but in limited numbers.
Canteen, Cup, and Cover
WW1 pattern with LTD covers being the most
common when surveying original photographs. In addition French pattern canteens
with brown covers may be utilized as a second canteen.
First Aid Pouch
Standard US Army pattern first aid pouch
The original members of the regiment were
issued British pattern gas masks and bags, but as the war dragged on both this style of bag and the American version were
being used by the 168th and even show variation at a squad level. No
French M2 masks as they were no longer being carried by the regiment at this point in the war.
Research is indicating that by this point
in the war, many infantrymen in the 168th were parting with the T-handle shovel and digging funk holes with mess kits, bayonets,
captured German shovels, and acquired large shovels. Pick Mattocks and Bolo knives
are allowed but in limited numbers.
There is no firm documentation of what
particular pattern of trench knife was being used by the 168th, but participants are encouraged to carry private
purchase, French, or 1917 pattern trench knives. Please no rubber “sham
battle” play toys.
There is overwhelming evidence of both
the 1917 and 1903 Pattern rifles being used at this time in the 168th with little thought to standardization by
company or squad. Rifles are expected to have a fitting bayonet that can be attached
for maneuvers. 1917 pattern bayonets are to have an American pattern scabbard
and 1903 rifles may have either a 1910 scabbard or a 1917 scabbard. Slings should
be of leather with darkened or polished period appropriate hardware.
Winchester M97 shotguns were issued in
limited numbers to the 42nd Division during June of 1918. Research
indicates that because of the small scale issue of the M97 shotguns they were frequently utilized by special organizations
such as Battalion Scouts. Event organizers plan to limit the amount of trench
shotguns used by participants, in order to keep them from being over represented. Please
inquire prior to bringing a trench shotgun to this event.
Handguns can only be carried by squad leaders,
officers, runners, and other parties that would have been issued such a weapon. The
.45 auto of the early 1911 pattern seems to be the most common with smaller numbers of 1917 revolvers being seen in images
as early as May of 1918. If numbers permit, some souvenir handguns will be allowed
in limited quantities.
The pockets of the belt are to be full
of ammunition, preferably dummy rounds loaded on stripper clips. In addition
up to three bandoliers of ammunition may be carried on the person. Weapons are
to be unloaded of live ammunition at all times and are subject to inspection by officers.
Items that are knit from period appropriate
patterns with historically correct materials will be allowed. These can be either
American or German patterns.
Each participant is expected to have a
period appropriate toiletry kit. Please no facial hair longer than a three days
growth with the exception of mustaches which should be trimmed to a period military appearance.
French bread bags, British P08 bags, or
Chauchat bags are acceptable.
French pattern grenades are encouraged;
however British pattern Mills bombs and German stick grenades are acceptable. Please
carry no more than two grenades per enlisted man within pockets, musette bag, or spare 1910 canteen cover.
All rations will be issued on site;
please do not bring your own. A reserve ration of tinned corned beef, boxed hardtack,
coffee, sugar, and salt will be issued along with a bread issue from quarter master department marked burlap bags.
Please do not bring tinned emergency rations.
Smoking of pipes and filter less cigarettes
seem to be the most typical means of nicotine delivery for the soldiers of the 168th Infantry. Please use accurate pipes and cigarettes with historically correct packs or cases.
There is a fair amount of documentation
for the acquisition of souvenirs being picked up by members of the regiment. German
belts, binoculars, buttons, iron crosses, and etc. are all acceptable.
Officers will be pre-selected prior to
the event and are to be armed and equipped like the men they lead. During this
period of the war, line officers in the 168th were going on campaign armed and equipped like their men due to heavy
losses by snipers in early engagements. Uniforms may be a tailored commercial
pattern or they can be of the standard issue pattern. Those serving as officers
will be expected to be able to competently lead their command in field maneuvers and look out for the well being of their
men. A heavy amount of privately purchased material culture is encouraged.
Auto Rifle Teams
At this point research is showing that
two types of automatic rifles were being issued to the regiment. The Chauchat
was used by the first two battalions and the third battalion was equipped with a .303 pattern auto rifle of unknown pattern. Additionally, only half of the teams carried their AR with them while the other half
were armed and equipped as regular infantry with their automatic held in reserve.
By looking at company records, we have
come to the conclusion that the regiment rifle grenadiers were still carrying French rifles, grenade cups, bayonets, and frogs;
as the 1903 Springfield stocks would shatter at the wrist when discharging the French pattern
Grenadiers may use mussette bags, sand
bags, or medic belts as a way to carry their munitions. We ask that grenades
be of the French or British pattern. Pistols of the 1917 and 1911 pattern are
permitted to be worn by hand bombers.
We encourage all participants to have a
physical prior to attending this event and to share any medical conditions that event organizers may need to be aware of. All information received will be kept confidential by a trained medic that will
be joining us in the field as an infantryman. Please be aware that this will
be physically demanding event that will take participants into a very rural undeveloped area, miles from modern civilization.