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Keep your eyes open, Landser...
By Jonathan Bocek


Most (but not all) reenactors go that extra step & make sure they have period mail, paybooks, unit patches/markings, etc. on them at events. To better integrate these items into the scenario, we can do what the Landsers did...

The following poem and accompanying cartoon were taken from a March 21st, 1945 edition of Front-Kurier.  This newspaper was printed for the consumption of the German Army and consisted of a single folded sheet.  Contained in almost every issue was one of these following "how to be a better soldat" tip.

A loose translation of the above would be:
 

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN, LANDSER...

The dead cannot talk,
therefore observe everything carefully.
Rip off shoulder patches,
take papers and things like that
and always look through their packs
for any envelopes.
If you come upon a vehicle, 
look for a divisional emblem,
and quickly sketch it out on paper,
the command will thank you for it, Landser

When out in the field at an event, go through prisoners' pockets.  Even if they say they don't have any paperwork, search them!  You never know what you will find.  At an event, I was taken prisoner & had a map with mine locations marked on it.  It was in my tunic pocket and the enemy never searched me to find it.  Don't just look for maps, but like it says above, look for letters, paybooks, diaries, pictures, etc...  These things sometimes hold information that would be of interest to the OKW.  Yes, for the event it would not be of importance, but during the war they would think it was. 

If you know the person who has surrendered, take their tobacco or food.  This is documented & adds to the scenario (be sure that they wouldn't mind before you do this).  Also, if time permitting, sketch enemy vehicle markings like stated above.  People will see what your doing and think it is a nice touch to the impression.  This way if you get captured, you will have their vehicle markings in your pocket and they will know the enemy is gathering information.

I know some will think this article to be kind of pointless for reenacting, but it is the little details that add a certain aspect to the scenario.  It is easy to do & will set you apart from the others.
 
 


Sources:
- Der Meldeweg Nr.1, Summer 1991

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