Interested in Joining 2.Kompanie, SS-Panzer-Pionier Bataillon “LSSAH?”
Thank you for your interest in the 2.Kompanie, SS-Panzer-Pionier-Bataillon “LSSAH,” also known simply as the 1st SS Florida. We are always on the lookout for new recruits who will contribute in positive ways to our unit, and reenacting/living history is a great hands-on, existential history lesson that you will not gain from any book, television show, movie, documentary, or museum. Plus, it’s a great deal of fun! If you are interested in getting started in reenacting with us, please read the following information which covers some basic information about us, the recruitment process, costs, policies, etc.
Contact Der Kommandant to Enlist!
About the 1st SS Florida and WWII Reenacting
People are drawn to reenacting for various reasons. Our Unit is made up of a very diverse group which includes students, professionals, current and former military personnel, law enforcement and all other walks of life. Some of our members have been reenacting for over 20 years, others for less than 6 months. Some enjoy the war-game aspect, some are firearm or vehicle enthusiasts, militaria collectors, or any combination of these. What we all share in our Unit is our passion for the history of World War II (WWII) and the desire to work together as a group of friends to make great experiences at the events we attend.
There is a place for everyone in WWII Reenacting, but not necessarily a place for everyone in 1st SS Florida. We work closely together with other units and have an excellent reputation hobby-wide. Different units have various nuanced approaches to reenacting. We encourage you to explore these differences and choose a unit that most closely echoes what you would like to experience in your participation in the hobby. Choosing the right unit for yourself is one of the most important decisions you will make as a new reenactor. You need to find a group whose ethos is in line with your own, a place you feel comfortable and at home with the people who make up the unit. This can mean the difference between making costly and unnecessary purchases, to a complete dissatisfaction in one’s decision which ultimately results in leaving the hobby. We want members who see themselves thriving as part of our organization for many years to come. We are looking for those individuals willing to dedicate themselves to a realistic portrayal, who are team players both ready to learn and contribute effort when needed to make our impression successful.
Rest assured, our authenticity standards are amongst the best in the hobby, researched by some of the most knowledgeable collectors in the hobby. Our main focus is on camaraderie and reasonable historical accuracy to provide our members with a maximum amount of realism, and a glimpse into time travel. We take our Unit impression seriously and put great pride in wearing the emblem of our unit. We attempt at all times to present a professional image out of respect to those who served in this division during a horrible time in mankind’s history. We have conducted exhaustive research into the historical aspects of the 1.SS Panzer Division “LSSAH” and seek to build our impression around its historical record.
Area / Location
Reenacting is primarily a regional hobby. Our Unit is based in Florida with the majority of our membership living in the Central Florida area. Our events primarily take place in the State of Florida, however we do travel outside the state for many tactical and large living history events. We want members who can realistically attend our events and unit training weekends on a reasonable basis and so should you. Our Unit fluctuates typically between 10-20 members with attendance approximately 50%, as not everyone can attend every event we do.
The usual way the recruitment process works is in the following steps:
Step 1: Outreach
Please look through all the information on our site. We generally expect that any prospective member fits within our age, location, and authenticity requirements. Once contact is made, one of the Unit NCOs will reach out to you to answer any specific questions you may have and invite you to a Unit event.
Step 2: Attending A Unit Event Or Training Weekend
During these events we dress you in a German impression, introduce you to the other members and guide you throughout the weekend. If you are interested in attending one of these events, we will provide you with further information so please contact us. These events are excellent opportunities for potential new members to meet existing members and to check out some of our Unit equipment. If you have read through the information on our web site regarding our philosophy, then your continued desire to meet with us speaks volumes about the types of experiences you want out of the hobby.
Step 3: Explore Your Options
You will never get a hard sell from the 1st SS Florida. You will never hear a lot of bravado or posturing about how great we are, or attempts to marginalize other clubs/units. Each has their unique approaches and we regard all as friends. We believe our merits speak for themselves and our long standing Unit history and membership reflects that. You should also check into the other area units and get a feel for their philosophy either by checking out their web sites, Facebook pages, or meeting directly with their leadership/members to see which unit seems like the best match for your needs. You owe it to yourself to ask questions about what you can expect and ultimately make a determination about which group will best provide you with the experience you seek.
Step 4: Try Us On For Size
The initial cost of reenacting is expensive. We would not want someone to spend a lot of money on equipment to realize that the hobby is not for them. In order to give prospective members a taste of the hobby, we offer loaner gear so that you can experience an event. We want to make the recruitment process as easy as possible for people without the financial risk. Our annual calendar is located on our web site and is continuously updated, but not every event is open for potential new recruits so inquire about which options are available.
During a training weekend or other event that you are joining us, it is hoped the new recruit gets a feel for both the hobby and 1st SS Florida. We are looking for people who will mesh well with our Unit’s personality, professionalism, responsibility, self-reliance, and striving for high authenticity standards. After this trial event, our NCOs and the Unit Commander will discuss if they feel you will be a good match for the Unit, and vice versa, or if you would be better suited for a referral to another area unit.
Step 5: Enlist
You have done your homework, met the guys, attended an event, and read through and understand our policy regarding Unit rules, uniform purchases and standards. You want in, the feeling is mutual and we would love to have you on board. To formalize your decision, you will meet with a NCO or the Unit Commander to get set up as a member by agreeing to abide by the Unit rules of conduct, complete necessary paperwork for admission, commit to buying your uniform and gear within the allotted time frame, and pay the annual Unit membership/insurance dues. Annual dues may vary but are currently set at $50/year to offset the Unit’s liability insurance which is required by the Unit.
Step 6: Grow With The Hobby
The new recruit is now expected to start assembling their kit in a logical fashion. Again, we want to make it easy for people to get into the hobby. Once you have reached this stage of the recruitment process, our authenticity NCO will help guide you along with getting your kit together and the expected time-lines are for acquiring specific items. New members are typically given one year to assemble their basic kit.
Reenacting, like any hobby, sport, or activity, costs money to get off the ground. It can be expensive to get started, and this can often be the single biggest issue that prevents many interested people from starting the hobby. The total cost of getting the entire kit needed for your impression is roughly between $1000-$1500. The good news is that once established, on-going costs such as event registration fees, meals, and blanks are generally minimal. Carpooling with our fellow members to distant events also helps defray costs.
Reenacting is a participant driven hobby. To be, and remain, a active member of 1st SS Florida requires participation in at least 3 events annually. After the yearly requirement, the level of overall participation becomes a personal decision that we will always respect. You have the free will to attend whatever number of events you wish provided you meet the Unit requirement. It is our policy not to coerce member attendance. We do want to craft event experiences that will actively engage you, and allow your experience to flourish. We understand that not everyone can attend every event we do. Many of our members are parents, husbands, and professionals, and are no strangers to the realities and responsibilities of real-life and its effect on participation in the hobby.
Basic Minimum Standards For Members
The following is a list of standards which apply to all members of the 1st SS Florida:
Members must comply with uniform standards. Default uniform is Wool/Continental unless wear of HBT/Tropical is specifically authorized. Uniforms must be complete with all insignia appropriate for impression. Use of garments not specifically authorized is forbidden.
Members must comply with hygiene standards. Clean shaven with a correct period haircut unless otherwise specifically authorized.
Members must keep their gear neatly stowed at events, police their areas and camp for trash, present a neat physical appearance, show proper military courtesy, and comply with expectations regarding personal space in the tent, barracks, etc.
Members must be willing to submit to period type inspections of gear, uniform, and personal areas to ensure compliance with standards.
Members must be prepared to follow orders within command structure and must be willing to get outside comfort zone as ordered/requested. Members must be willing to perform basic inter-unit, communal, and individual tasks as needed including guard duty, meal preparation, camp set-up, rifle drill, marching, formations, etc.
Members must learn/understand commands of rifle drills, marching and formations, and participate in training events (either designated training weekends or training sessions within the context of other events). These commands will be learned in German. Although the Unit does not require fluency in the German language, members will be required to familiarize themselves with these commands and other simple phrases to further enhance their impressions. Proper learning materials will be provided by Unit Leadership.
Unit Leadership will make every effort to provide members with expectations in advance of or on an event-by-event basis. If an event is likely to include sleep deprivation, exposure to weather, or other potential hardships, this information will be made available and members can decide for themselves whether or not to participate. By attending an event, you are buying in to the play and agree to participate in Unit activities as outlined above, as well as prepare accordingly.
One final note… It is Unit policy to not permit membership in other Axis organizations. Although our Unit seeks to foster positive working relationships with the groups/units in and outside our area, it is our firm belief that people should feel a sense of belonging and purpose within their chosen unit. We hope that 1st SS Florida will provide that home for you!