Post by 15thengineer on Jun 12, 2008 8:53:26 GMT -5
I am new to the forum (just joined today) though I have browsed the site for a week or too now as a lurker...
I am part of a WWII reenactment group out of the midwest (NW Indiana, near Chicago), that portrays the 9th Inf. Division. This is my primary impression, however I have had now for several years an early war garrison impression as well.
Here is some of my kit at a local parade
Anyway, I am very glad to have found this site as it is a wealth of info on the impression!! Alot of which I did not know before.
I am currently planning to do my philippine garrison portrayal at an event this weekend in ILL.
If anyone here has any more info on the 31st Inf. Regt. and their service, basic kit, ect that would be most helpful (as this is what I am trying to portray).
I am also wondering about the use of plain white canvas as rain fly's in the pre war pacific , was this done? Or were the normal dark OD fly's used instead? I saw one picture of a reenactment unit with a white canvas fly so thats why I am asking....
Anyway, glad to be here and thanks for all the knowledge you guys have imparted thus far.
Welcome to the forum Tom. I'm not knowledgeable about the white tent fly-by but as far as uniform and gear are concerned, the Scouts and the 31st Infantry pretty much were issued the same items. Your impression looks great! You're there. For reference though... officially the 31st infantry were issued M1 garands. However there's a mention in the book Death march by Donald Knox that some of the Polar Bears exchanged their M1's for 1903's because of jamming.
Post by rickthelibrarian on Jun 12, 2008 13:20:34 GMT -5
The 31st was called "America's Foreign Legion" because it served overseas for so long. It served overseas from it's inception about 1916 until the end of the Vietnam War. It served during the Siberian expedition of 1918 to 1920, then in the Philippines until the surrender of Bataan, and then in Japan and Korea for most of the time from 1946-71.
As VeeVee said, the 31st, as part of the Philippine Division, carried M1 Garands during it's 1941-42 service on Bataan. The M1903 you are carrying in the parade was a later M1903A3, which didn't see service until mid-war. Below is a picture of a correct M1903. It can be discerned from the M1903A3 by the "folding leaf" rear sight and the grasping groove stock.
Post by legionnaire on Jun 12, 2008 15:38:05 GMT -5
Welcome to our early war forum. Really nice impression you are showing! What is unique about this period is that it is less known and plenty of opportunities to show something that needs to be remembered.
Yes there are dozens of references here on the 31st specially the peacetime 1930's P.I. that you can recreate!
Why are everyone wearing black armbands on the parade?
It is kind of funny that every reenactor, on the planet, wants to be the 31st. The 31st was bled dry of most of its veterans. They were sent to the Philippine units as advisors. This is per Colonel Irwin Alexander. He was serving as a QM officer and was sent out as an Infantry officer with a Philippine Division. He originally had a Infantry officer when he left West Point. I am portraying a Captain in the Coastal Artillery. Other people are doing Naval and Air Corps impressions. The story of the soldiers fighting goes beyond the Infantry. I suggest reading Death March by Knox. It gives a reference of the multitude of units that were involved in ground fighting. You can move on from there. There are alot of good books on this subject.
Post by 15thengineer on Jun 13, 2008 8:59:11 GMT -5
Thanks all for the welcome and info on the 31st.....
Let me say a few things about why I decided to pick the 31st....
First of all, as was said above, there is not alot of knowledge that is readily available about this period of the war. As you can see from my picture, I am a 6ft 4in Polish Kid from the steel mills of NW Indiana......
According to the info I could find, the only US units stationed in the philippines were the 31st Inf, 192nd TB, and 200th CA. I can not reenact one of the numerous PS or PI units as I am not of the correct ethnic desent or even close to it.
So I have to do one of the US units, I do not have any correct period tanker gear....and was unsure of the roll of the 200th in the defense of the islands....Since I have alot of infantry gear (due to my doing the 9th Inf. Div. as my primary impression) I just went with the only US inf. unit on the islands.....the 31st....
If there were other units containing non philippinos please let me know!!! I would love to do an Engineering unit....as this is my primary focus! and I have alot of engineering gear!
Otherwise, I will stick with the 31st....
I also realize I have an 03A3....but its all I got.... so for now I just explain that it is a late war variant of the rifle I should have...I also have a M1-garand, which I did not know was used in the 41-42 seige until I saw this forum! So I will carry that now as well.
Finally, the black arm bands were for one of our groups members who was a WWII vet (he was a vet and he joined our reenactment group...) who passed away that week before the parade...
I guess do the impression of whatever unit will make you happy and feel fulfilled in representing. In the overall scheme of things I feel the 31st Infantry is still under represented. I think anything Bataan/Corregidor is. You can start out with the 31st if you already have the infantry gear. You can always branch out to other early war impressions as you learn more about them.
Post by 15thengineer on Jun 13, 2008 10:37:19 GMT -5
I intend to!! (Do what makes me happy...that is...)
I have been reenacting since 1990, Civil War, French and Indian War, WWII ....with multipule impressions in each....
I am no stranger to ...do what makes you happy...cause in the end that is what counts!
Like I said, I picked the 31st cause it was a US unit (so it would have non Philippinos in it...) and it was Inf. which I have the gear for already.....
I still want to try to be as correct as I can....so if there were not any US Engineering units in the Philippines in 41-42...then I can't portray one can I....so the 31st is the best choice right now.
I am slowly working on a 1942 Hawaiian(sp) garrison impression too of a costal artillery/AA Sgt. from the 326th Searchlight Battalion, which is the unit and rank my Grandfather was.....I have a ton! of pictures he took while in Hawaii in 42-45....
But for now....31st is what i am set up to portray.
This weekend is an event actually, not a parade as you mentioned VeeVee. The event is trying to do a WWII timeline, of all impressions and theaters of the war...so me and 3-4 others are going as philippine garrison in 41-42. There will be others doing French 1940s, belguim, Polish 1939, Japanese, Italian, ect...
We are even planning to have a Bataan Battle senerio with the Japanese reenactors on Saturday. I will be sure to take my camera...
I always suggest reading books over the internet. The internet can only take you so far. Most are missing out on the true history of this event.
No Engineers? Try the 803rd Engineers. They also recruited and commisioned civilian engineers. That is an interesting story in itself.
As far as US units, there were 400 Naval troops on Corregidor alone, serving as Infantry. There were other Air Corps personnel, also heavily engaged as Infantry, during the fighting on Bataan.
I guess, I hate to see all the brave men that fought, died or were surrendered being overlooked, because they didn't have an Infantry desigination. They were just as good as the 31st in combat, in my opinion, and deserve that recognition.
Last Edit: Jun 13, 2008 14:30:49 GMT -5 by victoree
Post by 15thengineer on Jun 13, 2008 14:14:02 GMT -5
I agree with you 100%!!! I am all about honoring the non standard fighting man (the Combat Engineer, the Quartermaster Dept., the Air Corpman) who had to fight .....
I love doing Combat Engineer!!! IT is one of my primary impressions!!! Why, cause no one knows what the Hell an Engineer is or does.......they have no concept that there are 5-10 men behind the front line infantry man who support him, and have to fight the enemy as well at time!!
My problem is.....I just could not find alot of information on the subject....so if you have suggested reading please point me in the right direction.....I would love to learn more. One of the reasons I decided to post here and read what others had posted...to get more info on the subject.
So if you are not to busy hating me cause I picked the 31st to portray this weekend .....please post a list of reading and authors that will allow me to learn more about the roll of the other units during this action.
Post by legionnaire on Jun 13, 2008 17:38:49 GMT -5
All the PS Regiments the 57th IR, 45th IR 26th Cav. all had American officers. So you still have plenty of that option to also represent. As the PS were an American Army fighting Division. That is what is great about reenacting the PS, as American and Filipinos trained and fought side by side.
BTW the Scouts have the 14th Engineering Regiment (Combat) Perfect unit to represent as an Officer. Cheers!
During the lull from January to March 24th the men were given permission to fire the .22 cal. rifle at targets set up in the vicinity of the third platoon. Thousands of rounds of .72 cal. ammunition were on hand for training purposes. The men enjoyed the sport and competition was keen. It was fortunate that we had this training for the greater percent of the men had not fired their cal. .30 rifles except for the ten rounds required prior to going on guard duty.
10 rounds, would make me believe that, they had some type of bolt action rifle. What kind is still up for grabs.
Post by 15thengineer on Jun 16, 2008 8:26:20 GMT -5
Thank you all for the book suggestion I will sure try to find them to read!
Got back from my event this weekend....it went great! Beautiful weather, decent crowd, lots of cool unique impressions...
We did manage to do a battle involving all us early war pacific reenactors....
I will post some pics here once I get them from our units photographer, but basically we had a nice battle field bordered on 3 sides by trees with tall grass in the middle and the public on the fourth side. At the far left hand side of the field (viewing it as if you were the public) there was a nice old timey steel truss bridge over a creek with sand bag emplacements around it.
For the battle we had 7 men, 5 of us regualr infantry impressions, me and a friend doing 31st, and two others doing supply clerks forced into front line action, we also had 1 medic and a guy doing 26th Cav. with a real horse!!
The battle was basically defend the bridge...with the 7 of us vs. about 20 Japanese!!! They just kept coming out of the wood work!! It was eye opening to see all my comrades "killed" or captured and myself staring down about 12 Japs coming at me over the sand bags....
Once we were all captured or killed we were marched or dragged off the field and the Japs took over our positions. The announcer then said that 3 years had passed and it was now 1944 and the Island Hopping had begun. At which point all the late war Pacific impressions came on the field and started the second part of the battle....there were some australians, marines, and army which then defeated the Japanese and rescued those of us who had been captured and led off the field.
It worked out very nicely! Next year we are talking of having an all early war battle perhaps....my buddy and I are also talking to a friend from my 1944 inf unit to see if we can convert his 1919 to look like a water cooled .30 cal....for next year!