The 26th Replacement Group (26th Ersatz Gruppe)

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Adjutant’s PAR – OTT 2018

1. Introduction

The Kaiserschlacht Offensive 2018 event was proposed by Paul Kenwery while at the Avalon Air show event in 2017. I followed up on this by drafting an event proposal on 2nd July 2017 pitching a joint WW1 event at Old Tailem Town SA to be co-hosted by the 26th Ersatz Gruppe, The Australian Great War Association (AGWA) and Reenact SA (RSA).

During this discussion period four status updates were produced. Ultimately the 26th and AGWA decided to move forward with the project, whereas RSA decided against co-hosting but indicated that it’s individual members were welcome to attend. The Landowner of Old Tailem Town, Mr Peter Squire, was contacted, and he graciously agreed to make the venue available to us for the re-enactment.

On 14th October 2017 a private Facebook event page was created, and event recruiting and preparations began in earnest.

2. Recruitment

Recruitment for the event began in October 2017. A private Facebook event was created and maintained with regular updates up until the event. This was intended to generate interest, and to keep the event on people’s radar. In addition a Warning Order was distributed via the ALHF mailing list, and numerous club contacts were e-mailed advising them of the event.

A second open Facebook event was created by Nick Doensen to try and expand on recruitment efforts. However after being set up, this second Facebook event was not really maintained, possibly because I thought Nick was going to do it, and Nick thought that I was going to do it. I did check the site a few times, and invited people across to the main private event.

On the day the event had six Central Powers re-enactors, vs seventeen AIF re-enactors plus two nurses and one medical sergeant, resulting in an overall total of 26 re-enactors. In essence the Entente fielded two squad’s vs the Central Powers one.

In general turnout for the Entente was good, whereas turnout for the Central Powers was disappointing. Expected attendance by WW2 German re-enactors who were expected to convert to WW1 Germans did not materialise. Further, several SA re-enactors report that they were erroneously advised that there were plenty of Germans attending this event already. Additionally there were two re-enactors who committed to the event as Germans who simply didn’t turn up. In an effort to induce further Central Powers attendance the Adjutant purchased 20 Sturmtruppen patches, of which one was to be given to each Central Powers reenactor on enlistment, as an incentive.

However recruitment, as adequate for the needs of the tactical skirmishes, was generally successful, and allowed for a series of satisfying tactical scenarios to be run over the course of the day.

3. Paperwork/Admin

Preparation for this event involved the preparation of several documents, plus the reworking of several documents prepared for previous OTT events. These were:

– Attendee Attendance List
– Catering Instructions
– Awards worksheets for both teams
– Enlistment paperwork for both teams
– Movement Orders for both teams
– Event Joining Instructions
– Media Release
– Public Information Sheet
– Running Sheet
– Event scenarios
– Event Warning Order

General Admin expenses were as follows:

Folder x2: $4.20
Plastic Tub: $20.00
Photocopy Movement Orders: $4.00
Blu Tac & Pens: $8.00
Postage: $5.50
Mail AGWA rubber stamp back to AGWA: $7.95

Subtotal: $49.65

As there was no budget for this, this was funded from the Adjutants own pocket.

4. Props

Props were created or purchased for this event. Multiple signs were painted up, or reused from previous events. In total five signs were painted up for this event, which took many hours, plus a further five prepared for previous events were reused.

Several rubber stamps were reused from previous events for the enlistment process, plus two new ones, for transfer to Sturmtruppen, and to stamp movement orders, were designed and ordered specifically for this event.

I brought many German and Entente flags from my personal collection to dress the town and the Mess Hall. However, I purchased an additional 4 French flags for putting up at the school, Police Station, etc., as well as some French flag bunting.

In order that the two main Heads of State be represented, I brought along a portrait of King George that I already had, and purchased a poster of Kaiser Wilhelm and had it mounted. These two portraits were prominently displayed near the mess hall entrance.

For dressing the town I researched six French WW1 propaganda posters and had twelve colour copies of each made up, resulting in 72 French propaganda posters. These were then put up randomly around Old Tailem Town.

Items purchased for this event were:

Sturmtruppen Stamp: $43.70
OKL Stamp: $43.95
Sturmtruppen patch x20: $210.00
Kaiser Wilhelm print: $63.54
French Flags x4: $20.80
French bunting: $14.10
Paint: $10.00
French Posters x72: $107.00

Subtotal: $513.09

As there was no budget for this, props were funded from the Adjutant’s own pocket.

5. Enlistments/Registration

Enlistments were handled by John Pearks and Jess Cathryn-Brown. Many people had pre-paid and pre-registered per a system proposed by Nick Doensen. No issues were reported, and enlistments went smoothly.
During the course of registration all weapons and blank were inspected, and any necessary repairs attended to by Nick. I must say that having Nick on site, able to deal with weapon issues, was a great asset to the event. However, I will otherwise leave this to other people’s reports to follow up on.
6. Catering

There was a catering budget of $600 that was funded via the event fee. This was used to fund the Saturday night dinner, Sunday morning breakfast, and Sunday dinner. These meals were:

Saturday night: Coqauvim (Chicken cooked in wine). Braised Potatoes. Bread.
Sunday Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with parsley. Bacon. Baked Beans. Bread.
Sunday Dinner: Double smoked kransky Sausages x2. Spetzle with bacon & onion. Champ (Irish mashed potatoes). Special Stew. Bread.

Catering Expenses were as follows:

Food Stuffs

Pickles: $5.99
Baked Beans x24 555g: $36.00
Bread x24 Loaves: $84.00
Box Water: $3.50
500ml BBQ Sauce: $1.50
500ml Tomato Sauces x3: $4.50
550g Mustard: $3.65
225g Mustard: $2.00
545g Garlic: $5.44
1.8kg Shallots: $10.93
1kg Red Onion: $1.50
870g Red Capsicum: $3.47
Carrots x2 bags: $1.98
Brandy 150ml: $13.00
White Wine 4L: $19.00
Bacon 1kg: $7.50
X4 Whole Chickens: $26.96
Celery: $1.50
499g Mushrooms: $5.49
15g Thyme: $3.00
Chicken Breast 3.143kg : $44.00
Baby Potatoes 1kg: $7.00
Jar Gerkins: $2.58
Jar Olives: $2.89
X2 water crackers: $2.98
Plain Flour 2kg: $1.86
Veg oil: $2.99
Margarine: $2.48
Bacon 6kg: $47.94
Bacon pieces: $4.55
Cheese: $2.00
Kabana x3: $6.91
Cheese: $6.98
Quince: $2.38
Eggs, large, 1 Dz x15: $29.85
Double Smoked Kranskys x80: $158.00
Milk 3L: $3.00
Plain Flour 1kg: $0.75
Table spread 1kg: $1.60
Spring Onions: $4.00
Sweet Potatoes 1kg: $3.00
Potatoes 4kg: $8.00
Onions 1kg: $3.00
Parsley 1 bunch: $3.00
Tomato sauce 500mls: $1.50
Wholegrain mustard 190g: $2.00

Subtotal: $596.15


Dish Washing Liquid: $1.97
Scourer 3 Pack: $2.00
Clean wipes 10 pack: $1.00
Matches: $2.75
Plastic plates x30: $8.67
Plastic knives x48: $2.69
Plastic forks: $2.69

Subtotal: $29.49

Total: $625.64

The Adjutant recruited Chef Andrews into the catering role. Chef Andrews is a trained Chef, who kindly gave up his time to the event for free. Further, as money ran short, he spent his own money in support of this event, much of it not listed above. The food produced by the kitchen was amazing, and having Chef appear at the end of a scenario, unexpectedly, with a big bowl of French toast was a special treat!

I am sure that I am not alone in expressing the sincere thanks of everyone at the event for the hard work and high standard of the rations produced by Chef Andrews. While the Adjutant still was significantly involved in ration purchase and preparation, having Chef Andrews take the lead on catering freed the Adjutant up to attend to other duties.

Chef Andrews and the Adjutant did all ration shopping and preparation. We also made a special trip down to Old Tailem Town the day before arrivals in order to transport all rations, some props, and all Admin gear, doing so in Chef’s ute. Having these stores already on site prior to the commencement of arrivals was a big time saver, and contributed significantly to the smooth running of the set up process.

Feedback on the rations was overwhelmingly positive. Both re-enactors and the Adelaide German Band commented positively on the volume and quality of their rations. Additionally we fed the landowner at the Grand Dinner, so that he could enjoy the company of the troops.

Chef was asked prepare one special needs meal for an AGB member who was vegetarian. This was accomplished with appropriate mocking for a German refusing to eat a German sausage!

7. Finances

Finances were handled by Nick Doensen, and so I will leave that to his report. I would like to thank Nick for taking on event finances, as at previous events I’ve had to deal with those as well, and having Nick take this over was a definite boon.

I will note here that we were committed to the landowner to pay $25 per participant, plus a $60 surcharge for gas/electricity use. This was for the full three days, and is generous as it’s usually a $25 entry fee per day.

I will also note that we were committed to pay the Adelaide German Band $200 in order to help with petrol expenses.

8. Scenarios

A total of seven scenarios were prepared, with orders for each team drafted, plus a referee version.

On the day, the scenarios tended to run a little fast, possibly due to the lower than expected numbers on the Central Powers side. I did note that this year that teams were very objective focussed, and this may have resulted in several shorter scenarios. Due to the quick run time of some of the scenarios, it did give the person filming the event an opportunity to get some more footage, and the team leaders were able to set up a couple more scenarios. However by that point I was assisting chef with getting dinner sorted, and so did not participate in these last two scenarios.

All in all the scenarios seem to have worked well, I just should have written about ten rather than seven.

9. Media Release

A Media release was prepared and sent to the Murray Pioneer/Riverland News newsroom, ABC Riverland, and The Advertiser. On the day a photographer from the local Tailem Bend paper came and took some photos. I have given the gentleman my e-mail address, and he has said that he will send me some of the better photos.

The media release was good PR, and honoured a commitment to the landowner to publicise the event and Old Tailem Town.

10. Awards

A number of decorations were purchased and awarded in an awards ceremony at the Grand Dinner. There were more Central Powers awards than Entente, in an effort to generate more Central Powers impressions.

The decorations purchased were:

Iron Cross 2nd Class x2
Hanseatic Cross x1
Wound Badge in black x3
Pour Le Merite x1
Meritorious Merit Medal x2

Croix De Guerre x1

Military Medal x1

I would like to thank AGWA and Paul K for my gift and acknowledgement on the day. It was most generous.

Decoration expenses were:

Iron Cross Ribbon: $6.00
Iron Cross Second Class x2: $30.00
Pour Le Merite: $19.32
X2 Meritorious Merit Medal, x1 Military Medal: $66.41
Hanseatic Cross: $30.00
Wound Badges x3: $38.19
Croix De Guerre: $19.08

Subtotal: $209.00

As there was no budget for this, decorations were funded from the Adjutant’s and the event OICs own pockets.

11. Adelaide German Band

The Adelaide German Band committed early to perform for the troops, and did so at the last two Old Tailem Town events.

The agreement with the band was that they would be fed at our expense, receive drinks, specifically beer and soft drinks, and receive a gratuity of $200 towards petrol expenses.

The band was greatly appreciated, and gave an amazing performance.

The gratuity was funded from the event fee, and the band catering came out of the catering budget. Band drink expenses were:

Beer x2 cartons: $66.00
Coke Ten Pack: $7.65
Diet Coke Ten Pack: $7.65
Fanta Ten Pack: $7.65
Sprite Ten Pack: $7.65

Subtotal: $96.60

As there was no budget for this, band drinks were funded from the Adjutant’s own pocket. As there was a surplus of band drinks, as well as other drinks brought to the event at the Adjutants own expense, many drinks were issued to the troops.

12. Safety/Injuries

Andrew Henshaw and Nick Doensen were the event Safety Officers. There were no safety incidents reported, which is a testament to their sterling work. First Aid Officer John Pearks reports no injuries, which is an amazing outcome, though I am lead to believe that there were some bumps and sore knees that were not reported to John.

13. Conclusion

This event has been successful with sufficient force generation to make for fun skirmishing. The catering was outstanding, and the German Band performance enjoyed by all. The landowner is happy with our clean-up efforts, and general respect for the venue.

Unfortunately the Adjutant experienced a personal financial loss of $765.34, though some things, like the Kaiser’ portrait, will look nice around my house. However considering that this is the third time that I have suffered a large financial loss running this event, I am not keen to run this event again without a commitment from others for financial aid in covering event expenses.

All up event preparations took up about twelve months from go to whoa. This is about standard for this sort of thing, as a fair bit of lead time is desirable to give people an opportunity to book leave and so forth. The support from those listed in this report took away a lot of the burden of setting up and running this event from me, and was greatly appreciated.

I would like to thank each and every person who attended, or contributed, to this event. This event would have been nothing without them.

David Schneider, Adjutant, 12th June 2018


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