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Great War, French Reenacting Units

Ahhh, Vive la France! The humble Poilu, these were the men who gave their blood so that France could be free. This is probably one of the hardest impressions to do, but in saying that, it is also one of the neatest! If you are interested in this great impression, please check out some of the units out there.

The Poilu and His War

The French soldiers were a vital part of the "face" of the Great War and while often portrayed by many in the United States as poor fighters, which they were not! The Poilu was a brave soldier and these generalizations are simply not true -- the Poilu has always suffered under poor leadership, both in his military and from (and particularly so) his civilian government. With good leaders, the French soldier was more than capable! These Iron Men fought, and won, on such hellish battlefields as Verdun, a place where conditions were SO horrible that they simply could not be imagined -- even today! The battlefield of the Great War was truly hellish -- like nothing ever seen before, or since. Among the horrors, were poison gas and the near-constant, and massive artillery barrages which often lasted for days. During these barrages, hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of shells were fired in huge massive barrages and tens of thousands of men were killed, their shredded bodies then being buried by the next shell, which also uncovered other bodies from earlier shellings. The result was a grisly mix of bodies, body parts and gore all over the battlefield with rats, disease and horror being the enemy for both sides. The Great War was different from other wars and they say that the stench of the battlefield was truly horrible... It was in this environment that Death stalked the trenches, reaping a constant harvest of the souls he found there.

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(UK)
The 8?me RI Living History Group, is a unit of the UK-based Great War Society, dedicated to preserving the memory of the French soldier, or Poilu, of the First World War (1914 - 1918).

Our members dress in period uniforms and equipment, learn the drill, and undertake the training and everyday activities of the time.

During the First World War, the 8?me R?giment d'Infanterie de Ligne took part in all of the major actions, including the Marne, Verdun, the Somme and Ypres ? and had the honour of guarding the British 'Unknown Warrior' during his last night on French soil before returning home.
The 151?me R?giment d'Infanterie de Ligne (or 151st Line Infantry Regiment) is an American living-history organization dedicated to the remembrance of the Great War (1914-1918). Our impression is that of the ordinary French foot-soldier, or 'Poilu' (which means "scruffy" or "hairy"). The regiment that we portray was an actual front-line unit that served throughout the entire war with distinction. Please check out our website and what the unit is all about.
Patrick Hernandez's "unofficial" 151e R.I.L. website (USA -- MidLant, New Mexico -- GWA)
We are a reenacting organization dedicated to portraying the French soldier, or "Poilu," of La Grande Guerre (the Great War of 1914-1918). Our impression is of the Poilu who held the line and they were all that stood between the Kaiser's Army and its entry into Paris. The 151 RI along with our sister units the 8BCP and RMLE, comprise the largest French reenacting community and are all members of the Great War Association (the GWA), an organization dedicated to honoring, preserving and keeping alive the sacrifices of the soldiers of the Great War through Living History.
151 ?me R?giment d'Infanterie de Ligne (USA -- Southern California -- GWHS)
Now recruiting! The GWHS has a new battlefield and a new spirit... join now!
The 18? REGIMENT D?INFANTRIE (USA -- MidLant -- GWA)
We are now accepting recruits. For all those interested in recreating the life and experiences of the average French Soldier, or ?Poilu?, this is it! Our membership consists of experienced living historians who have reenacted many different time periods. We strive to maintain only the highest standards of authenticity. So if you are interested in WW I reenacting or are a seasoned WW I reenactor looking for a new unit, or just want to see what it's like to be a down in the trenches soldier in the Great War, we have a home for you. The ability to speak French is not required, only desire to learn a few basic commands! If interested please contact us.The core of our membership currently is based in the mid-Atlantic region, but we have interest from folks in the Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest. Most of us are seasoned reenactors and are active in authentic "campaign" style Civil War, participate in US Park Service living history events, Rev War events, World War II events, and WWI events. Like the rest of the French line in the Great War Association, we all strive for the highest levels of authenticity and enjoy research and learning about the soldiers, equipment, weapons, and conditions they fought under.
This group was born in 1991. Motivated by a interest in the history of the 20th century, it is based in Epernay, in the Marne. The goal of our association is to maintain the memory the men and women who fought in the great world wars, while taking part in reenactments, parades (in uniform), Living Histories and other demonstrations... Our principal common motivation, is the safeguard of the historical inheritance: uniforms, material, documents etc...
8th Battalion Chasseurs a Pied (USA -- MidLant -- GWA)
The 8th Battalion Chasseurs a Pied is a World War 1 French Reenacting Unit within the Great War Association. We portray French Light Infantry of the 1917 - 1918 period. Our members come from all over the United States and France and meet twice yearly to do battle against the forces of the Kaiser at our site in south central Pennsylvania near the small town of Shippensburg.

Along with our divisional line units the French 151st Infantry Regiment, the French 18th Infantry Regiment and our faithful allies, The Russian Legion, we defend the honor of France and perpetuate the memory of so many men of that lost generation.

We are an historical reenactment group dedicated to the idea of keeping alive the memory of the common soldiers of France during the Great War of 1914 - 1918. We come from different parts of the world and from different backgrounds, the common thread being our shared love and respect for the history of France and her people. We portray the living history of the average man caught up in the maelstrom and horror of the trenches on the Western Front . . .
The 8?me RI Living History Group, is a unit of the UK-based Great War Society, dedicated to preserving the memory of the French soldier, or Poilu, of the First World War (1914 - 1918).

Our members dress in period uniforms and equipment, learn the drill, and undertake the training and everyday activities of the time.

During the First World War, the 8?me R?giment d'Infanterie de Ligne took part in all of the major actions, including the Marne, Verdun, the Somme and Ypres ? and had the honour of guarding the British 'Unknown Warrior' during his last night on French soil before returning home.

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