|Axis Command||Axis regulations||Cafe Trois|
Before commenting on 2014 and the future, it’s important to recognize the past that brought us here. First and foremost are the victims and veterans of World War 2. Reenactors attempt to re-create history in an interactive way so that we can learn more about their story in the hope that the generations who inherited the peace won in 1945 don’t forget the sacrifice that made it possible.
The Battle of the Bulge event is for many the event that started us on that path. It endures as the one we return to every year, a ritual where we renew our commitment to both our history and our comrades of today. It remains the only event of this scale where we can slip into character for several days, honoring WW2 veterans who have passed and the few who remain. Here we spend more time with fellow reenactors, exchange ideas, best practices, recent discoveries, etc.
My predecessor in the Axis Command role, Larry Mihlon, spent the last several years leading us well through turbulent times that challenged reenacting. An enduring recession has made this hobby less affordable for all. War and terrorism have called on many in our ranks currently serving in arms or in first responder positions. Through this, he has inspired us to work closer together, put aside differences in the interest of the greater good, and hold ourselves to higher standards of authenticity and performance.
As your new commander, I share with you that inheritance. But with it come new challenges that if met, will provide a better future for the reenactors of the next generation. The year 2014-2015 will be the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. The Federation recognizes this is a tremendous opportunity to honor veterans and re-engage the public. Therefore, 2014 begins a crucial year of preparation, and the upcoming Bulge is where we test ideas for the culmination of that anniversary in January 2015. We are doing so by listening to the men taking the field.
This year’s Saturday tactical has been completely overhauled and our Allied friends have been excellent partners, recognizing that we need fresh challenges if we are to maintain our edge. We are starting with fresh approaches to battalion formations, rotating commanders into new roles and bringing in new commanders—all of which continues to advance the generational transformation of leadership that Larry already set in motion. While we will still manage the battle to ensure that everyone gets trigger time, it won’t get in the way of the action on the field. The tactical will be judged, it will better manage the recycling of “hit” troops back into the battle, and the outcome of engagements will be determined by you the reenactor. Objectives that are not taken will remain in the hands of defenders unless they are defeated. Supporting that will be a refined ammunition check and distribution process based on past experience and input from dozens of reenactors, including myself.
And unique for this year will be a training curriculum on Friday that was designed by you the reenactor. We’ve put together a mix of classroom and field training designed to help reenactors of all experience levels become better at what they do, to provide a common baseline of skills and expectations upon which the Axis can depend. The spirit of that legendary manual of arms, the Truppenfuhrung, indeed runs through this first year.
A final word on leadership, and it’s the standard to which I hold myself and others: When you take on a leadership role in reenacting, you stop reenacting for yourself and you start reenacting for your men. See you in January. In the meantime, look for updates and information specific to the Axis at http://www.OKWUpdates.com
Axis Reenactor Commander