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HISTORY THROUGH  OUR HOBBY

The world of reenactment is as broad as imagination allows. The phenomenon of "historical reenactment" consists in the faithful representation of events that took place at any place and time in history.

Without further ado, we would like to introduce a group from Taiwan who excel at the above: the Taiwan Military Living History Group. These guys are able to recreate anything, be it a soldier in the Vietnam War, one from the Second Chinese-Japanese War or one of the Russian soldiers who participated in the Battle of Stalingrad. Check it out!

Often, in Europe, veteran reenactors "look down on" rookie reenactors, we all know how difficult it is to start something. Does it also happen in Taiwan? How can we help a rookie properly understand the concept of historical reenactment?

Heroes can be found anywhere in the world, that's what we tell people who enjoy reenactments. Everyone has a different attitude towards our hobby, so it is difficult to create guidelines to help them all. Our only advice for newcomers is: fit into the same trend as the group and participate more in their activities, first look and listen. Act like a recruit that has just enlisted!

Veterans will always correct and teach rookies, but don't forget: A reenactor cannot think "if the equipment is more or less 30% accurate then it's enough". Attitude is the most important aspect when it comes to reenactment. Historical reenactment has a theoretical basis in terms of soldier's equipment, so we don't want rookies to arrive with the wrong ideas and badly geared up. In fact people don't correct rookies in a derogatory way, but rather so that they stick to the correct, real and historical equipment.

Between us, and probably our readers, we do have special interest on the following question: Many of you are airsoft players, how does airsoft deal with reenactment between these two scenarios?

The so-called reenactment is more than just military uniforms, is all about being immersed in a specific and real scenario. Modern airsoft seemed incompatible with reenactment, but this trend has changed little by little. In the past, many airsofters treated reenactment as Barbie doll collectors, but now they are beginning to accept that historical reenactment is the next level.

When recreating a unit you carry their weapons and equipment. Regarding replicas, it is very easy to have an airsoft replica in Taiwan. But is there any particular model that is not manufactured for airsoft? What do you do when this happens?

This is quite an issue in Taiwan, reenactors use airsoft replicas most of times. But when none of the manufacturers have the models we need to recreate a certain unit or period of time, many turn to the well-known option of DIY (Do It Yourself) and make their own replicas, as is the case of our PIAT bazooka of the British army.

While it is rather difficult to find current real equipment, we can barely try to imagine how difficult it must be finding gear from those times. Although we were surprised to see a lot of props like cups of tea, teapots, pans, etc. What is the reason for collecting these types of items?

To be honest, it's a pastime. At first the Taiwanese reenactors gathered together, talked, shared laughter, knowledge and anecdotes. But after three years, it became rather boring. In addition, it was easier than getting real guns, combat and heavy vehicles because of the laws of Taiwan.

In fact, this is something that has been done for years in foreign countries, on a larger scale and recreating in more detail. They even recreate a German unit for a whole day; cooking like they did in their field kitchen and eating as they used to do.

From another perspective, living history brings you closer to the role you are reenacting. From a realistic point of view, the whistling sound of bullets cannot be recreated, charging against and breaking enemy lines is a dream. But what reenactors can actually do is set up a tent, take the cutlery used at the time, the dishes based on the ones they used, sit on the floor and eat together. Everything is based on recreating the moment; it is a journey through living history.

In 0'20 Magazine we focus mainly in Europe, so we would like to know if Asian reenactment would like to recreate any European wartime event, how would you do it? Would you just gear up with European equipment or would you choose the Ost Battalion'43, the Gurkhas or any other unit with Asian members?

Indeed, the true meaning of reenactment is to be faithful to the memory of the soldiers with their uniforms, equipment and real history. Experiencing a soldier's life on the battlefield, while colour and physical appearance is not the main thing for us.


Ost Battalion ´43

After Japan entered the war against the United States the conflict became truly global. Many Japanese people and many other people in Asia who accepted the Japanese occupation of their country believed that fighting the United States and Britain was the wrong policy, the real enemy to be crushed was communism and the USSR.

The 43rd Wehrmacht Battalion consisted exclusively of Eastern Asians, most of whom came from China, Japan, Korea and Mongolia, although there was also a smaller group that was made up of troops from Thailand and Indonesia. The adventure of the 43rd Battalion began when it was sent to the eastern front in Russia, where they suffered the same harsh calamities the Germans did, such as the cold, the hunger, the enemy and the Red Army.

Asian battlefields are your strong point, there is no doubt about that. You know a great deal and have a lot of information about it. Could you share with us some information about this particular front?

Of course, as Asians, we have the same appearance as the Japanese and Chinese armies which we focus on. Although it's not as easy as finding equipment from the American and German armies. Luckily, many high quality replicas are coming out on the market in recent years. And the thing is that more and more people like to recreate Asian armies. Even we like to recreate Japanese units!!
 

Speaking of World War II operations scenes, how has the film "Fury" or shows such as "Band of Brothers" influenced the Asian reenactment community? And for you, particularly, what films or shows have influenced you and hooked you to recreate?

War films are the first approach to this world for many reenactors. Many people contacted us asking about American equipment after they saw "Saving Private Ryan", which helped many enter the world of reenactment... and who are still trapped in it (laughs).

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After all this, I am sure that many more people will join the "dark side" of airsoft and will end up becoming reenactors who, as you say, "are still trapped". That will be on your consciences, for which they will be forever grateful.