The 26th Replacement Group (26th Ersatz Gruppe)

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Admin Officers AAR – OTT 2016

Admin Officers PAR

“Crimea” 2016

 

  1. Introduction

 

This Post Action Report (PAR) covers the Admin Officers activities for “Crimea’ 2016 at Old Tailem Town. This PAR will incorporate the Catering Officers PAR and Prop Masters PAR, as these two portfolios fell under the Admin Officers auspices for this event. This PAR should be read in conjunction with the PARS of the ARMS Waffenmeister/Armouer/Safety Officer, and the Event OIC.  This version, 2.1, replaces all previous versions.

 

  1. Expenses

 

The following is a list of expenses incurred by the Admin Officer for this event.

 

Postage/Letters

 

Letter x5 dignitaries: $7.50

Landowner x2: $3.00

Postage of Uncollected awards: $6.10

 

Subtotal: $16.60

 

Map Making

 

A3 Photocopies/paper: $4.00

Pen: $4.95

Tracing Paper: $16.99

 

Subtotal: $25.94

 

Foodstuffs

 

4 kg bacon: $31.90

4.6 kg Gerkins: $17.70

850g Dijon Mustard: $4.90

850g Seeded Dijon Mustard: $4.90

Tomy Mustard: $16.00

9.7 kg Saurkraut: $25.00

10 kg Red Cabbage: $25.00

4L Tomato sauce: $6.00

Pfeffernusse 600g x4: $20.06

Pfeffernusse 200g x10: $5.00

Flour 4kg: $3.00

Oil: $2.25

1 kg Bacon bits: $12.00

Margarine: $2.50

Spray cream: $4.00

Beef Mince: $28.00

Milk, 1 Litre: $1.25

Beetroot: $47.20

Red Onions, 2kg: $4.00

Tomatoes, 1 kg: $3.30

Chillies: $2.27

Chives/Coriander: $12.00

Parsley: $3.00

Sour Cream: $11.70

Margarine: $1.60

BBQ Sauce: $1.50

Ice: $21.54

Brown Onions: $1.60

12kg Kransys: $150.00

Eggs, 10 dozen: $50.00

Cake: $29.60

Ice, 3 bags: $10.50

Milk, 4L: $6.00

 

Subtotal:  $552.11

 

Soft Drinks

 

Solo x24: $16.40

Coke x 48: $35.50

Fanta x24: $19.00

Coke Zero x20: $12.00

 

Subtotal: $82.90

 

Awards & Documents

 

Ribbon mount x15: $89.95

Defense of Sevastopol Ribbon x3:  $15.85

Defense of Sevastopol Ribbon x5: $23.05

Ost-front Ribbon 1m: $13.23

Ost-front Ribbon 2m: $20.35

Ost-front Ribbon 2m: $22.59

Ost-front Ribbon x 20 ribbons: $72.20

German Documents: $28.80

Soviet Documents: $60

Photocopying: $57.00

Other Awards: $82.34

Soldbuchs & Red Army + Documents: $185.70

Order of Glory x2: $25.37

Veteran of Labor: $3.00

Close Combat clasp x2: $70.68

 

Subtotal: $772.04

 

Miscellaneous

 

Blu Tack: $5.00

Folder x2: $7.00

Plastic Sleeves: $4.00

Pens: $3.50

Plastic Cutlery: $7.00

Paper Plates, large: 10.00

Paper plates, small: $4.00

Matches: $3.00

Tea Towels: $4.20

Washing liquid: $1.80

Scourer pack: $1.99

Band gratuity: $50.00

 

Subtotal: $101.49

 

Props

 

Wood for signs – Feldgendarmerie: $24.00

Wood for sign – Feldpost: $12.00

Wood for signs – Crimea & WM + QM: $24.00

Wood for signs – State School & Admin: $24.00

Paint: $5.00

Crimea SSR Flag: $69.02

Crimea SSR Flag: $45.74

 

Subtotal: $203.76

 

Final Total: $1931.34

 

  1. Income

 

The following was the income breakdown as best as can be reconstructed. Incomes became muddied after I was compelled to use some funds to purchase ice and milk at the event from income sources, and there was a constant request for change from people buying soft drinks or soldbuchs.  Though I have listed 19 re-enactors as having paid full fees on march-in, I have strong suspicions that one re-enactor did not pay camp fees.

 

Registration Fees

 

X6 Prepaid: $300

X2 Waived: -$100

X1 Half Fee: $25

X1 Pending: $0

X19 Paid on March-in: $950

X1 No show: -$50 (Food was bought for this individual & fees paid to OTT)

 

Projected fee income, 30 re-enactors @ $50: $1500

Actual Total Fee Income: $1275.00

 

Miscellaneous Income

 

Soldbuch sales: $58.00

Paperwork: $10.00

Voluntary contribution marshals: $40.00

Softdrinks: $15.00

 

Total: $123.00

 

Total Income: $1348.00

 

Landowner Fees

 

30 re-enactors @ $22: $660

Gas & Electricity surcharge: $42

 

Total Landowner Fees: $702.00

 

Total Income less fees: $696.00

 

  1. Financial Outcome

 

The ARMS Admin Officer suffered a personal loss of $1255.34 for this event. This should be compared against a personal loss of $1909.50 in 2015. This demonstrates improvements in running the event in 2016 over 2015. However it does mean that the Admin Officer has experienced personal financial losses of $3164.84 over the two years that the event at Old Tailem Town has been run.

 

  1. Recruiting

 

Extensive recruiting for this event occurred via constant updating of the Facebook event page, and frequent e-mails. The administrative burden of this was heavy. In order to try to attract more Soviets, $100 in fees was waived, and the Admin donated blank (see Armourers PAR).

 

Transport from Adelaide was provided by the Admin Officer for an interstate fly-in.

 

Recruiting more Soviets for the event was a major objective for the Admin Officer, and much time was spent attempting to locate and recruit suitable re-enactors. Attracting sufficient Soviet re-enactors was an issue that was never effectively resolved. In the end we fielded a force of 11 Soviets. Of this force two were female combat medics. Viktor K was not a participant in the skirmishes. Grant R had to be used in some scenarios to support the Axis with his truck. This left us with a fighting force  of 7-8, depending on the scenario.  As such Soviets fielded two small squads.

 

Germans were plentiful. There were 18 German combatants, plus one non-combatant helfarin. As such the Germans fielded three squads, and outnumbered the Soviets 2:1.  Splitting the Germans into three squads and giving the Soviets better respawn capability did not fully make up for this force imbalance.

 

Though I prefer doing the Eastern Front events, if we are unable to generate sufficient Soviet re-enactors, we may need to look at doing a Western Front event next in the hope of attracting increased numbers of Allied re-enactors. Alternatively we could consider coming to arrangements with participating clubs that they commit a certain number of Soviets before we agree to run the event. The view was expressed several times that some people seemed to regard our event as one where clubs could rock up with as many Germans as they felt like, as we would be there to provide them with Russians to shoot at. There is a certain element of truth in this, and we need to change such mentalities at future events.

 

That being the case, OTT 2015 attracted 22 re-enactors. OTT 2016 attracted 29, with expressions of interest from many more. It is the biggest event that ARMS has run to date.

 

  1. Public Liaison

 

A Media Release was prepared by the Admin Officer and sent to a Russian Language newspaper, Unification, The Murray Bridge Standard, The River News and ABC Riverland. A reporter attended Friday night from the Murray Bridge Standard who published an article sympathetic to re-enacting.

 

A public handout was prepared by the Admin Officer based on last year’s version. One side contained Safety information, and the other side explained the history that we were portraying. The Admin Officer caused a number of these to be made up and they were left with OTT staff to hand out to any members of the public who came into OTT during the course of the event.

 

The Admin Officer sent invitations to:

 

–          Mayor Neville Jaensch – apology.

–          Amanda Rishworth MP, Federal (Patron) – apology.

–          Anthony Passin MP, Federal – apology.

–          Adrian Pederick MLA, State – attended.

–          Mrs. Larisa Vakulina, Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation – nil reply.

 

Adrian Pederick laid a wreath to the fallen, and was quite interested in the re-enactment. He seemed quite sympathetic to our cause. A thank you letter to Mr. Pederick is to be prepared by the Admin Officer and is pending.

 

The Admin Officer was able to recruit one safety marshal for the Safety Officer.

 

  1. Props

 

Props prepared for last year’s event we reused or repurposed. Thanks must go to Viktor K for preparing a number of Soviet propaganda posters, as well as some signage, prior to the event. In addition to repurposing signage from last year, seven new signs were prepared by the Admin Officer, and two new flags purchased.

 

A number of flags from the Admin Officers personal collection were taken to OTT and used to decorate the mess.

 

The bulk of the venue props were set up by the participants on Friday. Richard T set up all the wooden signs Friday. John P did some event signage. The Mess hall decorations were set up by the Admin Officer.

 

The Admin Officer spent $203.76 this year on new props. The ability to reuse props from last year, plus the posters and signs prepared by Viktor, was why these expenses were able to be kept low.

 

  1. Transport & Logistics

 

On Thursday Richard T collected the various wooden signs, and the prop box and took them up to the venue. Richard set up his encampment Thursday, so that we could commence enlistment tasks on arrival, and not be distracted by the need to set up a campsite.

 

The some of my stores were transported in my car – primarily admin and loaner kit. The remainder was transported down in Grant Robinson’s truck. This was largely foodstuffs and some flag props.

 

Transport of stores was, from the Admin point of view, successful, as all stores necessary to commence enlistments were on site at the designated time to commence enlistments, as were the key personnel.

 

Special thanks to John P and Grant R for transporting stores back to my house after the event on Sunday. This was much appreciated.

 

  1. Scenarios

 

The Admin Officer prepared nine scenarios, outling the broad scope of the Crimea Campaign and Crimea Offensive. These were reviewed and amended by Eugene W. The scenario orders were then broken up into Axis, Soviet and Referee versions and copied.

 

Due to complaints about map quality at the previous event, the Admin Officer made a new map which was attached to all copies of the Orders.

 

At the end of each scenario the OIC would run through a brief historical piece that would link the completed scenario to the historical event.  This worked well and added to the enjoyment overall.

 

  1. Adelaide German Band

 

The Adelaide German Band committed early for this event. The arrangement with the band was that they would get dinner, there would be two cartons of beer, and some soft drinks for them. It was also possible that the hat might be passed around for them.

 

Initially 13 band members were expected, as per last year. In the end, some 20 band members attended. The band had added the full song of Erika to their play list, which was appreciated on Saturday night.

 

Darryl T organized a collection amongst ARMS members and sourced the two cartons of beer and soft drinks.

 

The AGB had expected the hat to be passed around for them. In the absence of the Admin Officer, this did not occur. The AGB approached the Admin Officer following the event, to request that a collection be held, as some AGB members wanted petrol money. This was referred to the OIC, who referred it back to the Admin Officer. The Admin Officer has subsequently paid $50.00 from his own pocket after discussing things with Oyvind from the AGB.

 

A thankyou letter from ARMS will be prepared by the Admin Officer, and is pending.

 

  1. Enlistment/Registration

 

Enlistments were commenced around noon, with some minor delays. The Admin Officer had created separate enlistment paperwork for both armies. All participants reported to the Admin Officer, paid their fees, & were signed off. They were then sent to the Waffenmeister and Quartermaster (located near Admin) to have kit checked and issued as necessary, and to have all weapons & blank inspected. Once this was completed they returned to the Admin Officer to be signed off and given army specific movement orders specifying their squad. Thanks to Viktor K for assisting in producing Russian orders that actually made sense in Russian. Suitable German paperwork was purchased by the Admin Officer.

 

By and large the system worked well, however there were issues and disruption to the enlistment process.

 

Issue One: The Admin Officer was relying on the OIC to be there to assist. The OIC did not attend OTT until after 2100. This meant that the Admin Officer frequently had to leave the Admin area unattended as they had to attend to other tasks.

Issue Two: There was a communication breakdown between the Admin Officer and the Waffenmeister. A large amount of bread for the event had accidentally been left in Adelaide. The Waffenmeister drove back to Adelaide to retrieve it. Consequently enlistments stopped dead. It also effectively left the Admin Officer in charge of everything in the absence of the OIC and Waffenmeister.

Issue Three: While the Admin Officer was away from the desk, an interstate re-enactor took his stamp, stamped all sections, and slipped his enlistment paperwork into the completed pile. When challenged about his name not being ticked off for having paid, he stated that he did pay as his form was in the pile. Later when preparing awards documents, the fraud was discovered. He again claimed to have paid, but it was obvious that his weapon and blank and firearms license had not been inspected, nor kit inspected. He was sent to the Quartermaster and Waffenmeister for these checks. It is strongly suspected that this individual did not pay camp fees.

 

The Admin Officer drew up tables of organization for both teams, and set up two cork boards displaying maps, the running sheet and catering and other instructions.

 

The Officers Group meeting falls under the enlistment part of this PAR. On the whole this was effective and well received. The main issue was that it was very late at night, commencing at around 2145, and being delayed due to the absence of the OIC who was to conduct this. Due to the late start of this, the Officers and NCOs were up extra late running through the orders and scenarios. This again emphases the need for the OIC to be on site earlier in the day in order to support and co-ordinate the enlistment, briefing and other set up tasks.

 

  1. Catering

 

Three meals were served during the event. Friday night Beef Borscht with bread, Saturday morning Bacon with scrambled eggs with bread, & Saturday night Kranskys with spetzle (with bacon & onion), sauerkraut, red cabbage, pickles and bread. There were also German biscuits for after’s. The borscht for Friday was prepared in my own kitchen on Wednesday, and refrigerated before transport on Friday to OTT. Ration purchases, both fresh and preserved, took a significant amount of time, including much travel time. Borscht preparation took a large portion of Wednesday.

 

Total catering expenses for 2016 were $552.11. Total catering expenses in 2015 were $721. This demonstrates improved efficiencies in catering.

 

Volunteer kitchen staff, Danielle Schneider, Patricia Pytel & Mrs. Pytel allowed for rapid food preparation on Saturday night, where some 58 people, plus 4 children were catered for.

 

Feedback on rations was positive. However many new re-enactors had never eaten borscht before, and found the new dish a challenge. Rations were chosen for their ease of preparation, as large quantities would be required. All in all, ration preparation went smoothly this year, and there were not undue delays.

 

  1. Awards & Documents

 

Each Axis participant received a Krim Shield Certificate, Ost-front medal certificate, and six inches of Ost-front ribbon. Each Soviet participant received a trained rifleman certificate, Defense of Sevastopol Certificate and Defense of Sevastopol ribbon bar. In addition to this a number of special awards were made.

 

–          Eugene Wasilenia: Medal for Battle Merit.

–          Richard Tamits: War Merit Cross.

–          Viktor Kovalevski: Excellent Radioman Shield, Veteran of Labor.

–          Paul Kenwary: Close Combat Clasp in Silver.

–          Brendon Hampton: Close Combat Clasp in Gold.

–          John Pearks: Lenin Anniversary Labor Medal.

–          Grant Robinson: Excellent Scout Shield.

–          Natasha Grey & Allison Barry: Order of Glory, Third Class

–          Ziggy Onisk: Flak Badge

 

Awards and documentation was the single biggest budget item for this year, accounting for $772.04. Several of the awards listed above are not accounted for in the Admin Officers costings, having been procured by the OIC.

 

The Admin Officer was responsible for sourcing all period documents and organizing copies. The Admin Officer was also responsible for filling in all award documents Friday night, as the OIC was absent and thus unable to assist.

 

All members of the event Directing Staff received awards, with the exception of the Adjutant.

 

  1. Fundraisers

 

There were three fundraising activities.

–          Sale of spare Ost-front ribbon. None sold.

–          Sale of Soldbuchs and Red Army ID booklets. Lost money.

–          Sale of soft drink cans. Lost money.

The ideas for the fund raisers were fine, however execution failed. This is largely due to the Admin Officer being over burdened with other duties, and thus unable to execute fundraising effectively.

 

Ost-front Ribbon:  There were troubles in obtaining a supply of Ost-front ribbon, with several orders being delayed in the post, and some not arriving until after the event was complete. Several orders were placed for ribbon by the meter, but these did not arrive, meaning that an order for 20 individual ribbons, which was more expensive, needed to be made. Plans to sell extra ribbon, though advertised on the notice board, never came to fruition. In any case each German re-enactor got a 6 inch ribbon.

 

Soldbuchs & Other Paperwork:  Six soldbuchs were sold. One was underpaid by $2, which was the profit. One has not been paid for at time of writing. No Red Army IDs were sold. Donated paperwork generated an additional $10. Total funds generated were $68. It should be borne in mind that these were purchased in conjunction with other documents used for the event. The availability of the soldbuchs was appreciated by re-enactors, and though it failed as a fund raiser, it did add to the reputation of the event as being well resourced with good quality documentation.

 

Soft drinks: Soft drinks were advertised on the Facebook event page. The original intention was that participants would be able to purchase the drinks via the directing staff. Demand for soft drinks was very low Friday night. Saturday there was a need for room in the kitchen, and the eski of drinks was moved into the dining room. There seems to have been a perception from that point that they were free, and both the band and participants are reported to have helped themselves. Some drinks were paid for, some were not, but there was a substantial quantity left over. In 2015 everyone loved the little nostalgic bottles of coke. The same interest was not generated by cans of soft drink.

 

  1. Landowner & Venue

 

The relationship with the landowner has been problematic. He never puts anything in writing, thus requiring the Admin Officer to send him letters outling our verbal agreements. If anything, the landowner was vaguer this year. There was also a major issue with the landowner verbally assaulting ARMS staff, and kicking everyone out of the hall and shutting off the power at 2200. This directly contravened our agreements. I have contacted the landowner, who spun me a tale of everyone being terribly drunk and carrying on unreasonably. This is directly contradicted by all other witness statements that I have heard of the incident. The landowner remains keen for us to come back, but this may well be problematic.

 

As noted, the landowner remains keen for us to return. I have made it clear that we will not be running another event at Old Tailem Town in 2017, and given him the firm impression that this is a direct consequence of his actions. I have told him, in writing, that we require an apology, however based on his poor communication skills thus far, I am doubtful that we shall receive any correspondence – though I may yet get a phone call from him. I have advised that we may decide to run an event in 2018, but declined to say if we planned to approach OTT again.

 

I am concerned about people getting sick of the venue.  We have run two events there, which have allowed us an almost unique semi-urban combat environment. The on-site kitchen and mess hall are also bonuses. However I am unsure how many people would want to do a straight up OTT again, assuming that we are willing to deal with the landowner. There must be some other suitable location, possibly one offering both some structures and more open terrain. It seems to me that investigation and scout of new locations should be a focus for ARMS in 2017.

 

The built up nature of OTT also seems to be a challenge for newer re-enactors when it comes to safety and minimum safe distances. A slightly more dispersed setting, if we can find one, may be more suitable for breaking in re-enactors new to the hobby.

 

  1. Social Concerns

 

Advice from Paul K was that the two young ladies from AGWA experienced some difficulties at our event. One was subjected to unwanted advances and homophobic comments. The other was subjected to unwanted advances. It is reported that both women were sufficiently uncomfortable after this, that they felt unsafe in the barracks. Both armed themselves with small knives, and Paul K slept with them for part of the night.

 

I had hoped that everyone would be adult enough for the co-ed nature of the barracks not to be an issue. Regrettably this was not the case.

 

  1. Injuries

 

As noted in the Safety Officers PAR and elsewhere, there were some safety issues. The Admin Officer suffered a minor burn to the left neck following a weapon being discharged too close to him. Natasha G from AGWA was left shaken and unable to play an active part in the final scenario following a weapon discharge in close proximity to her. I have reason to believe that other similar incidents may have occurred.

 

Allison from GMRG received minor injuries after falling in the street during one of the late scenarios. Female skirts offered little leg protection in this instance. Allison was treated by John P and returned to the action. Natasha also reported falling over in the first scenario, but denied injury.

 

There was a post event report from Fritz U of AusR of a fractured rib. Fritz reports falling over in the street and landing on his gas mask canister, to which he attributes a fractured rib. This incident was not reported during the event, and not until weeks afterwards was it brought up on social media.

 

  1. Conclusion & Recommendations

 

The workload attached to two years of running OTT events has been very heavy. Saturday night I succumbed to physical and emotional exhaustion and went home before the band had even finished. I just had nothing more to give. I thank John P and Grant R for attending to most of the clean-up duties that would otherwise have fallen to me.

 

Recommendation 1: Some form of grant be sought to reduce event expenses that are burdensome for the principal organizers.

Recommendation 2: That the OIC be present onsite at the same time as the rest of the directing staff in order to assist with Admin and set up tasks, especially enlistment.

Recommendation 3: That the format of future events be revisited based on the ongoing financial losses being experienced.

Recommendation 4: That we begin scouting new locations and reinventing our next event.

Recommendation 5: That unless we can gain a source of funds, that awards be dispensed with.

Recommendation 6: That fundraising activities be separated from the Admin Officer and made a separate portfolio.

Recommendation 7: That Grant Robinson is invited to join ARMS.

Recommendation 8: That co-ed barracks be dispensed with at any future event.

 

 

David Schneider

ARMS Club Admin

21/5/2016

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