Taking it Like a ManWe've all heard the complaints:
by Paul Calloway
1) "...we fired [insert number ranging from 5-10] volleys into the [Federal/Rebel] line(s) and not one [blue belly/johnnie] went down!"
2) "The [Yanks/Secesh] must be wearing their [blue/grey] Kevlar suits today... they are invincible"
and on and on it goes.
Perhaps an examination of reenactment hits and hit-takers will serve to educate us all on the state of hit-taking in the hobby.
After close examination I have concluded that there are no less than four separate categories of Civil War Reenactors as it relates to taking a hit during battle reenactments. Those categories are:
- The Hit-Takers
- The Lemmings
- The Occasional Hero's
- The Powder-Burners
Let's examine each of these categories closely.
These men are a small but growing sect within the reenacting community. They are usually easy to spot during a battle reenactment because they are always the first to suck dirt. Many times Hit-Takers are specialists of one sort or another. One Hit-Taker may specialize in taking extraordinarily dramatic hits such as falling in creeks or bowling other men over as they careen toward the earth.. Hit-Takers may go down in the first or second volley. Some Hit-Takers have been known to specialize in screaming in agony for 20 to 30 minutes.
Usually Hit-Takers in general will shun the hospital stewards who are as pesky as hound dogs trying to tree a coon. The steward will often take personal issue with the Hit-Taker's refusal to acknowledge his badgering and will launch a full-scale assault on the Hit-Taker's sincere attempts to appear dead. Hit-Takers can often be recognized by the bewildered looks they give to the legions of ice maidens who are often as pesky as the stewards but usually better looking.
Max Rounds Normally Spent: 20
% of Total Reenactors in this Category: 5%
The Lemmings are those reenactors who consider themselves Hit-Takers but really aren't. Lemmings wait until the end of the battle before finally going down in mass. Due to the large numbers of Lemmings, the mortality rate in the last 10 minutes of a Civil War Reenactment is often roughly equivalent to that of the first wave assaults at Normandy. Special Note: Lemmings are usually the loudest complainers when it comes to other reenactors not taking hits.
A highly specialized strain of Lemmings can be identified by a deeply ingrained resurrection complex. The reenactors in this specialized sub-category will often take early hits in droves (again the Lemming thing) but then shirk their way to the rear rather than staying dead. This is an important distinction and is what separates them from true Hit-Takers. Once at the rear (where-ever that really is) they will liberally resurrect and rejoin the fray with renewed vigor. It should be further noted that these Lemmings are still just Lemmings and can be found again dying in droves at the end of the battle.
Max Rounds Normally Spent: 40 (30 for Lemmings with a resurrection complex.)
% of Total Reenactors in this Category: 30%
The Occasional Heros:
Occasional Heros are Powder-Burners with a new lease on life. These guys have probably shot more loads than most championship race horses. Occasional Heros can usually be spotted propped up on one elbow chatting with other Occasional Heros as the battle winds to a close. Occasional Heros will sometimes take a dramatic hit - usually the result of tripping over their canteen or haversack.
Max Rounds Normally Spent: 60
% of Total Reenactors in this Category: 30%
These men have refined the loading process to the point of expertise and can easily load and fire four to five times per minute.Often times they've removed their cartridge box tins in order that they might pile in more rounds. Their haversacks are usually full of extra rounds and at least one full tin of caps. These men will carry enough picks, wrenches and other gadgets to open a 19th century gunsmith shop. They'll pride themselves as occassional Heros or Lemmings but in reality the only hits they are taking at reenactments are courtesy of Mr. Beam and Mr. Daniels.
Max Rounds Normally Spent: 650
% of Total Reenactors in this Category: 35%
Some additional items of note:
- The categories above tend to run in groups.
- The Powder-Burners especially will almost always be found grouped with other Powder-Burners and can be found furthermore to exist at company, battalion and even brigade levels.
- Lemmings and Occasional heros will make the transistion to Hit-Takers from time to time. This can be a permanent transistion and is often due to a natural propensity toward laziness or slobiness (two strangely redeeming qualities for a Civil War reenactor to possess.)
Hit Propensity Modifiers:
+5% Low on Caps
+5% Low on Rounds
+10% Gun Fouled
+10% Gun too Hot to Touch
+15% Completely Enveloped by the enemy**
+20% Pretty Ice Maidens Roaming in Vicinity
+20% Detached from Pards
+50% Video Personnel in Vicinity (Internal Modifier +10% chance of one man charge on enemy lines.)
**NOTE: The complete envelopement modifier does not apply to Powder-Burners. Proceed directly to Little Big Horn Scenario.
Given all of this scholarly research I leave it to each of you to decide in what category he (or even she) resides in. The figures and percentages noted above are of course indisputable having been thoroughly researched and documented. Footnotes to these figures may be provided at the author's discretion. [Some really other important and legal-sounding mumbo-jumbo should be inserted here.] See you at the next shin-dig!