Following is a list of items that make or break your impression. It is highly reccomended that special attention be paid to them.
Your appearance makes the impression come together. Spend as much time on it, as you do your gear!
The following are standards enforced by 2. Panzer Division (Reenacted) regarding your personal appearance. It isn’t enough to have a beautiful reproduction uniform and kit, but the person wearing it must also look like the German soldier did during WWII. Our unit strives to have the most authentic impression in camp and in the field, and the way you look plays one of the most important parts. You may think, “Why should I have to cut my hair or shave my beard/moustache just for a weekend of reenacting?” The answer is simple; because it is authentic!
The members of this unit have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours on their vehicles and uniforms so that we all look perfect. Tucking your hair up into your helmet, or letting you take the field looking like Santa Claus is not only doing a disservice to the veterans, but also to our own members who have taken the time and money to be true to the appearance of the WWII German soldier. Remember, we are only as good as our worst member, so it is everyone’s duty to ensure that they look their best.
Remember – We strive to represent the nine out of ten, not the exception. An exceptional photograph can always be found.
Facial Hair: Moustaches are discouraged, but we allow them within these parameters. No exceptions! Beards are not acceptable.
Hair: The truly authentic WWII German Army haircut is shaved from the neck and tapered up to the top of the ears all the way around and slicked straight back (actually worn quite long on top). We realized that this haircut is a bit extreme for modern times, and while we love it when you get a haircut like this, we do not require it.
What we do require is this: hair must be off the collars and the ears, tapering up from the neck. Sideburns must be trimmed to the top of the ear, and your hair must have a “clean-cut” appearance overall. On the spot haircuts at events is not a fantasy, and have actually happened in the past. So do not come to an event with long hair thinking, “I’m already here, what can they do?” If you do not submit to an “on the spot” haircut, you will be sent home. No questions asked. This rule also applies for facial hair. Getting a dry haircut from a trucker or salesmen with a dull pair of scissors in the middle of a field is not a good way to look your best. Follow the rules and everyone will be happy.
Glasses and Miscellaneous: The number one way to look “farby” is to have modern glasses on at a reenactment. Big square frames or tinted lenses look horrible and kill your impression. If you cannot wear contact lenses, you must to purchase a pair of glasses with small, round, silver frames and silver ear loops. These are not expensive or difficult to find, and having a spare pair of glasses around the house is a good idea anyway. Glasses will make or break your impression and we will police this item closely.
Other things that affect your appearance:
Tattoos: Having tattoos is ok as long as the ones that are visible are drawn in a style that could have been worn in the 1940s. Having the “Road Runner” or a Chicago Bulls emblem on your forearm will not work, so if you have a tattoo such as this, you will just have to keep your sleeves rolled down.
Earrings: If you wear earrings, a nose ring, tongue ring, or anything else along these lines, it must be removed before coming to an event. German men did not wear these things during the 1940s and they will not be acceptable during events.
These were items that the German soldier carried on his person on in his kit to keep himself clean, his uniform mended, items to pass the time, or simply personal items that the soldier was attached to. As a reenactor, what you carry in your pockets and bread bag matters as much to your impression as does your uniform and field gear. If you look into your pockets and see a pack of modern filtered cigarettes and bic lighter, you are farby. If you open your bread bag and find Pop-Tarts and packets of ketchup, you are farby.
The 2. Panzer Division (Reenacted) will not allow its members to be farby about things so simple to be authentic about, like personal effects.
The following is an official 1941-dated list of what should be carried on the German Soldier:
In the tunic breast pockets: Soldbuch, wallet, anti-gas items, Waffenentgiftungsmittel (a small bakelite box of weapons and equipment decontamination fluid), four Hautentgiftungsmitel (a small bakelite box of skin decontamination paste), letters and photos, notebook or diary, pen and pencil.
In the tunic hip pockets: Clean socks and underwear, razor, toothbrush, soap, gloves, 2 meters of toilet paper, eating utensils, cigarettes or tobacco, and matches or a lighter.
In the bandage pocket: Two field dressings (Verbandspäckchen), one large and one small.
Here are some personal effects that will greatly add to your impression and make you more comfortable when reenacting, because modern equivalents will NOT be allowed!
Toothbrush (Zahnburste): Wood, Bakelite, bone, or celluloid handle. These can be purchased from Civil Wear and Revolutionary War supply companies. The Germans did not use Toothpase in the 40s so they used toothpowder, which came in a tin with a sprinkle top. If you cannot find something like this, then brush your teeth with water or at your vehicle… but DO NOT put a tube of Colgate in your bread bag.
Smoking Items and Paraphernalia: Filter less cigarettes ONLY! Cigars were common as were hand-rolled cigarettes and pipes. Smoking was very popular in all armies during WWII, and the German soldier received a tobacco ration that was either made up of cigarettes, cigars, or plain tobacco. European filter less cigarettes in1940s era packaging are still readily accessible (Players, English Ovals, ect.), and you can also buy American Lucky Strikes cigarettes in WWII packaging that is acceptable. If the cost of European smokes is too much, buy them once and refill the package with modern filter less cigarettes. For those of you who can roll your own cigarettes, cigarette rollers can be purchased for a nominal price and enhance your impression greatly.
For those of you who say, “Filter less cigarettes are bad for you,” we say, “Then don’t smoke at all dummbkopf!
Lighter (Feuerzeug): Another biggie. Period lighters came in many different styles, but the most common one looked like a metal Chap Stick tube with a screw off lid. Zippo lighters were treasured by the German soldiers that were lucky enough to find them on Allied soldiers, so they are acceptable. Reproduction matchboxes are readily available and can also be used. Non-period lighters are NOT acceptable.
Pocket Knife (Taschenmesser): Most German soldiers carried these. They come in very handy for cutting up food items or anything else you do not want to use your rusty, filthy, bayonet for.
Pipe: Much more popular among young men back then than they are now.
Sewing Kit: Must be period looking.
Money: WWII German Reichsmarks are a nice touch, as are other currencies from places that the 2nd Panzer Division traveled.
Photographs: 30s or 40s vintage European photographs of people and places.Letters: It would have been unusual that a soldier did not have at least one letter on him.
Playing Cards: Skat, Doppelkoph … are available in ethnic German shops.
Razor: 1940s era safety razors are perfect, metal or Bakelite. No modern ones AT ALL!
Watch: Pocket watches were very common, but period looking wristwatches with a leather band are fine.
Jewelry: Modern jewelry cannot be worn. Signet rings, wedding bands, and necklaces with religious medals were common and are acceptable.
Soap: There were two types of soap that the Germans used; bath and shaving. German wartime bath soap was hard, waxy, and astringent smelling. French soaps were very popular because they were scented and produced more lather. Shaving soap produced a richer lather than regular soap. Canned shaving soap was not invented yet.
Combs: Metal, Bakelite, or other artificial plastic like “tortoise shell.”
Hair Tonic: The “dry” look was not popular in the 1940s and various types of bottled tonic, or creams were used. Period looking hair tonic is still available.
Lard Container: Bakelite construction, used to carry your fat or butter ration in.
Esbit Stove: The little metal folding stove carried by most German soldiers. It used dry fuel tabs, which are the same as the modern U.S. Army ones once the wrapping is removed. Very handy item!