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"The 'Disneyfication' of WWII" Topic


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Action Log

17 Oct 2018 8:24 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board


2,000 hits since 24 Mar 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian24 Mar 2018 5:30 p.m. PST

Paul Fussell once wrote:

American readers needed someone to tell them what war was really like, because by the 1970s the romanticising of the second world war had already begun.

What should be done in the hobby to not lose sight of the reality of WWII?

N0tt0N24 Mar 2018 6:25 p.m. PST

Paint all miniatures in black and white!

Grelber24 Mar 2018 6:43 p.m. PST

I believe it was H. G. Wells who commented that our lead soldiers have no lead wives or children to mourn their passing.
You could write up a back ground story for each soldier in your platoon. If one is wounded, describe the wound in detail--Google it, you can probably find out treatment, how long before the wound was fatal, etc. When/if he gets killed, write up the details, including how it affects his family and friends.
Of course, that approach might end up being so depressing you sell off the lot of 'em.
Or, you might try to avoid "heroic" style rules.

Grelber

cavcrazy24 Mar 2018 6:49 p.m. PST

We game it. Wargamers are not the ones who forget such things.

Dynaman878924 Mar 2018 7:20 p.m. PST

It started a HECK of a lot sooner than the seventies. The instant the war ended is more appropriate. What was changing in the seventies was a little war called Vietnam and WWII vets were starting to die – older commanders and such.

Battle Phlox24 Mar 2018 7:20 p.m. PST

My younger brother plays X Box. If I'm going by that than the only way a G.I. could die was if he couldn't get to a canteen or first aid kit before his health bar went to zero. This is of course after he killed like thirty two Germans.

The Beast Rampant24 Mar 2018 7:23 p.m. PST

Modern movies such as "Saving Private Ryan" and "Fury" hardly romanticize WWII.

Are WWII books doing things differently?

Gone Fishing24 Mar 2018 7:28 p.m. PST

I must agree with Cavcrazy. When one looks at the larger picture, when many (most?) Americans have almost no clue as to who fought and why, I'd say the problem isn't with wargamers.

As to what to do with the larger society, I don't know. People forget very quickly. In a way this might be a healthy thing; but there are grave consequences that go along with it. Thucydides worried about this twenty-five centuries ago.

Wolfhag25 Mar 2018 2:27 a.m. PST

It seems to be human nature that the sacrifices made 3 generations ago are completely forgotten and the same mistakes and sacrifices must be made again with the newer generation.

Just look at Western Society. An economic and ruling system that was the enemy 100 years ago and accounts for the deaths of about 100+ million people in that time is being embraced as a solution to the perceived social and economic woes of a spoiled and sheltered Psy Oped younger generation, especially the most "educated" ones.

It's true what Santayana said.

Wolfhag

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2018 3:04 a.m. PST

It's funny how little some people know about the world when they go off on strange reality missing tangents on a forum, When someone asked about the Disneyfisation of ww2

andysyk25 Mar 2018 3:44 a.m. PST

I think plenty of wargamers don't want to know the Bleeped text of war or have no idea.
There are plenty of myths permuted in wargaming in all periods. Many of which are pretty much nonsense.
All of the past is romanticised, (and a good deal of the present by modern media)but those WWII propaganda movies were about as romanticised as you could get.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2018 4:29 a.m. PST

I used to think I had a vague idea of what WWII might have been like for certain soldiers.

I've read accounts and diaries, studied the military reports, read what historians distilled from their own research and I came to the conclusion that most of the information I had accumulated in the first half of my life had to be dumped in favour of the real facts.

Now I think I have less than a clue of what WWII might have been for any soldier. Maybe the odd glimpse, a generality or two, but as the generation with first hand knowledge fades away we'll always struggle to try and represent it as it truly was.

It is in my mind almost impossible that WWII will NOT be misrepresented and "Disneyfied". It is the inevitability of how our society handles our common knowledge for better or for worse …

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Mar 2018 5:06 a.m. PST

I second Patrick R.

to not lose sight of the reality of WWII?

Stop believing that there is a thing such as "the reality of WWII".

My mother lived under Nazi occupation for two years then had to flee genocide during Communist reoccupation (the Nazis hadn't gotten around to exterminating her group yet). Is that the reality of WWII?

My Uncle Ben and Uncle Junior (on my dad's side) enlisted in the Navy and Marines, respectively, and fought in the Pacific. Under very different contexts. Which of those is the reality of WWII?

My father was too young to enlist (actually, probably so was Junior, but he was a big, corn-fed Midwestern farm boy, so he might have slipped through … is that the reality of WWII?) and picked beans in the fields in Delphos, OH since he was the only son left. (He wouldn't eat beans while I was growing up…) Is that the reality of WWII?

I could go on. I have other relatives, friends of relatives, friends of mine who experienced WWII. Differently.

Legion 425 Mar 2018 7:09 a.m. PST

We game it. Wargamers are not the ones who forget such things.
Agree …

As I've said before, the general public has little to No knowledge or care about most military history and the "realism" of war movies, etc. We have seen since movies like SPR, Hacksaw Ridge, series BoB, The Pacific, etc., etc., has moved away from the medias' "sanitized" version of war that we saw in earlier movies in the '50s-'70s.

You can add the AWI, ACW, American West, etc., etc. … a little more "reality" in not only the actual history but a more accurate views of what modern weapons, or there wise, can do to humans, etc., … Like "pink mist" when someone is hit with a SA round(s). Along with dismemberment, etc. with full auto fire, HE, etc., etc. That is the reality … we must all know this … I hope …

IMO … Everyone has to be frequently/constantly reminded that warfare has and always be a very violent, messy, etc., "affair". Albeit again, the general masses don't know, understand or really care. Unless it "hits home" … of course …

By saying that we must consider "war" as a last resort. But we also have to be aware, after some circumspection, we may have no option but to send our forces into harms way. And people may and will probably be killed, maimed, etc., …

And of course never ever consider :

1) A draft unless it is absolutely beyond a doubt needed. But as I have said before this is not your Father's or Grand Father's generation, etc.

2) The use of WMDs, i.e. nucs … save for something as unlikely as an Alien Invasion(?), etc. IMO everything that needs to be done in human vs. human warfare can be done with conventional weapons. Keeping overall losses to life and infrastructure to a minimum.

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member25 Mar 2018 8:07 a.m. PST

Just to throw this in from a completely different angle:

Walt Disney and his studios actually did quite a lot to aid in the prosecution of the war.

Legion 425 Mar 2018 8:13 a.m. PST

They did some training and "propaganda" films, IIRC …

donlowry25 Mar 2018 9:19 a.m. PST

We could dab a little (or a lot) of red paint on any minis that get wounded (so have to be retouched before they can be used again), and smash and throw away any that get killed. And drill holes in any tanks that get penetrated, maybe even splash some lighter fluid on 'em and burn 'em up.

donlowry25 Mar 2018 9:21 a.m. PST

It started a HECK of a lot sooner than the seventies. The instant the war ended is more appropriate.

Started during the war; can't let the folks at home know what their boys are actually going thru.

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member25 Mar 2018 9:26 a.m. PST

"Just look at Western Society. An economic and ruling system that was the enemy 100 years ago and accounts for the deaths of about 100+ million people in that time is being embraced as a solution to the perceived social and economic woes of a spoiled and sheltered Psy Oped younger generation, especially the most "educated" ones."

what the…?!?!?
you mean the way Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands run their countries?

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member25 Mar 2018 9:29 a.m. PST

etotheipi ,

i think the reality that WW2 sucked for everyone is the reality that is being talked about and agreed upon. I have to imagine you knew that and just chose to be pedantic.

cavcrazy25 Mar 2018 9:55 a.m. PST

As gamers, unless we actually lived through such a terrible time, we can only imagine the turmoil, horror, and grief that the entire world suffered through. That being said, my original statement still bears true. I just started to get involved in WW2. I actually have a problem with gaming a conflict that happened while the people it happened to are still with us. I would never want them to think I am trivializing what they went through.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2018 11:33 a.m. PST

Bill, there are as many 'realities of WWII' as there
are people alive today who lived through it, either
as civilians, combat survivors or folks who served in
a non-combat role.

And even those 'broad brush' categories will not do -
heck, a British civilian who lived through the Blitz
and survives to today has a different WWII reality to
a British civilian in Norfolk who lived through the
potential of a German invasion and then experienced the
relief of it not happening.

And on and on and on.

Short answer to your question – ain't no way.

Legbiter25 Mar 2018 11:33 a.m. PST

ITV did rather a good series called the World at War, which covers all the arenas of action, expresses all points of view [by including the spoken testimony of participants], and pulls no punches on the atrocities, including those committed by our [the winning] side. I'll also mention the Battle of Britain, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Come and See, Das Boot, the Cruel Sea [?] and Downfall as top-notch movies which convey the reality, as I understand it, of the war.

Personal logo Unlucky General Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2018 1:57 p.m. PST

Like most of us I have spent a lifetime reading, researching and generally dwelling for much of my time in the military past. The question is. "What should be done in the hobby to not lose sight of the reality of WWII?"

Okay, well we make a game of war and have fun doing it. I admit to buying in to romanticizing warfare or at the very least focusing on glamorous aspects of it. It might be borderline but I don't think it completely unethical if I know that's what I'm doing. There are certainly ways in which we pay homage in our own way to the exploits of soldiers of the past.

My hobby focuses what I read, what I watch and even what I listen to quite a bit. It drives many of my holidays – I'm an historical tourist. The supporting or collateral activities surrounding my wargaming in WWII (or any conflict for that matter)keeps the deeds of our forbears fresher in my mind than most people I know.

I try to be accurate … that's about the limit of my concession to reality.

Mark 125 Mar 2018 3:08 p.m. PST

We could dab a little (or a lot) of red paint on any minis that get wounded …. And drill holes in any tanks that get penetrated, maybe even splash some lighter fluid on 'em and burn 'em up.

My gaming buds and I actually considered something like this oh so many years ago.

When I was but a wee lad in middle school (we called it junior high school back then) and high school, we had a few conversations about one of the problems with our wargaming … the fact that losses cost us nothing, that our forces kept fighting through 30, 60 and 90% casualty levels, and that there was no real incentive to keep the losses down in our games.

Didn't seem to match our readings (my small circle of gaming buds were avid history readers, even at that tender age). We could hardly imagine, from our gaming experiences, combat that involved 5 – 15% casualty rates.

So we talked about an approach kind of like what donlowry suggests. Make the losses count. Make them hurt.

Except we didn't have infantry at that point. It was all tanks (micro armor). Dozens and dozens of tanks.

So the idea we came up with, was that after a tank was scored as a "kill" in the game, we would dice to see if it "brewed up". If it did, we would put a dab of modelling glue on the turret and engine deck, and light that sucker up. Glue would stick, and keep burning, until the lead started to melt. So there was no path by which a glue-burned tank could ever be recovered for use as anything more than a battlefield wreck (or for melting down if you were into casting). At the end of the game, whoever won the game got to keep all the not-brewed-up losses on the battlefield.

Our thinking was that this would make it very expensive to keep going if you felt your force was losing. You'd be more cautious to start but also inclined to cut your losses and run if things turned against you.

Never actually tried this approach. Only discussed it a bit, and thought about it a lot. In the end, given that one of the kids in our gaming circle, who always played Germans against my Russians or Brits, had a semi-regular role in an active TV series at that time (Jim-Bob from the Waltons), I figured it would be 'bout the dumbest move I could make to put my set of tanks against his, as the dollar losses might mean something ENTIRELY different to me than it would to him.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Mark 125 Mar 2018 3:29 p.m. PST

Just to throw this in from a completely different angle:

Walt Disney and his studios actually did quite a lot to aid in the prosecution of the war.

After D-Day Eisenhower set up SHAEF HQ at the Chateaux d'Isigny, the ancestral home of the Compte d'Isigny, in the village of Isigny-sur-Mer.

It's about 10km due east of Carentan, for those who want to figure it out on a D-Day map.

Abandoned and destroyed armor and vehicles and other equipment was gathered from all over northern France and moved to a great depot at Isigny.

Firing tests against German Panther tanks were conducted in the fields of Isigny, and are sometimes referred to as the Isigny tests.

It is an ancient name … there are records of the name in the forces of William the Conqueror. More recently the name transferred back from the French speaking world of Normandie to the English-speaking world of the UK, and even the US.

Of course, when it is anglicized it is no longer written at d'Isigny. Rather, it is written as Disney. There is a village of Norton Disney in Lincolnshire, England. Walt Disney's oldest identifiable ancestor seems to be to Jean-Christophe d'Isigny.

OK, boyz, does that count as "Disneyfication of WW2"?

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2018 3:39 p.m. PST

This is basically why I can no longer game anything past 1900, unless it is a pulp game.

khanscom25 Mar 2018 5:15 p.m. PST

Just watch the evening news-- WWII was the same or worse

saltflats192925 Mar 2018 6:47 p.m. PST

Mark 1 wins

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2018 10:00 p.m. PST

Gone Fishing: "When one looks at the larger picture, when many (most?) Americans have almost no clue as to who fought and why, I'd say the problem isn't with wargamers."

Yeah, what's up with that? We covered all the major wars when I went to school, starting very early in childhood. Starting the basic ones for the US … Revolutionary War, 1812, Texas Independence, Mexican American War, Indian Wars, ACW, Spanish American War, WW1, WW2, Korea, etc, etc. I still remember many graphic photos (slide projector) of ACW survivors, both civilians and military, who lived with very gruesome injuries. Vietnam was still going on when I was still a kid, so perhaps my teacher still felt the jury was still out back then on what was really fact and what was just "news media" sensationalism.

Are US schools today just not teaching kids US and World history anymore for some reason? If so, why not? Are they afraid of having to answer the questions it will naturally lead to? If so, why would they be afraid? Their predecessors didn't have that problem answering our tough questions, or with putting us in context with the times, instead of 20/20 hindsight criticism (and to avoid judging people of the past by the norms of our time).

What am I paying school taxes for? Specially when my wife and I never had any human kids.* Inquiring minds want to know!!!

Dan
* After 30 years paying property school taxes, by now I should be able to send my dogs to doggie school for free! :)

Lion in the Stars25 Mar 2018 11:41 p.m. PST

Mark 1 for the win!

Personally, since I'm stuck at the VA hospital for a day every month anyway, I make a point to talk to the old-timers. Though most of the ones around now are Vietnam vintage, not WW2 or Korea.

Skarper26 Mar 2018 2:21 a.m. PST

I used to endeavor to avoid players who did not take the game seriously as a model of actual events that were life and death for the participants. The same goes for hypothetical or even fantasy scenarios. Dead is dead, maimed is likely worse. Wounds hurt – a lot from what I have read/heard. Losing comrades and even killing the enemy who are just kids like you and your mates takes a terrible toll. Not everyone develops PTSD but some do and I think everyone who goes through that experience is changed forever.

Bottom lines.

Don't joke around about casualties, let alone war crimes. You can still have fun, and sometimes there may be laughter. But IMO don't distort historical realities just for a fun game.

Legion 426 Mar 2018 6:44 a.m. PST

Personally, since I'm stuck at the VA hospital for a day every month anyway, I make a point to talk to the old-timers. Though most of the ones around now are Vietnam vintage, not WW2 or Korea.
I do too when ever I get the chance at the VA. A bit of living history, at times. But yes, more Vietnam era. And some DS and GWoT, of course they are much younger … at least in age. But not in maturity in some cases. But so were most of all the Vets as one point. War as we know, it appears, is mostly prosecuted by young men[or women] …
old fart

I think everyone who goes through that experience is changed forever.
I'd think it would be hard not to be affected in some way.

But one thing about some of the more "recent offerings" of war in the media in all forms. As opposed to e.g. Vietnam. War, instead of soldiers being portrayed as "killers" … they some times come off as "victims". I'd think in many cases, depending on circumstances, etc., many/most may be a little of both.

But we have to remember again, combat units are there to primarily "inflict losses on the enemy", to ultimately cause them to lose the "ability/will" to continue the conflict. But as we saw more and more after WWII, that does not always totally apply to those conflicts post-war.

axabrax26 Mar 2018 8:01 a.m. PST

Nothing. We are not that important. Let's get over ourselves. The fact is that we play with toy soldiers. The notion that our games should do or have anything to do with politicizing or building social constructs and mores (or have any impact on mainstream society other than being an odd curiosity) are the grandiose disneyfication of wargaming.

Legion 426 Mar 2018 8:03 a.m. PST

As I routinely say … TMP is about adults(s) playing with toys … LOL ! laugh And I'm ok with that ! evil grin

War Panda26 Mar 2018 12:45 p.m. PST

I reflected on this topic after I posted an AAR based on a historical engagement involving the British 43rd. It was a small scale skirmish game where I created fictional members of 12th platoon. I later received a long and detailed email from a gentleman describing that my report mirrored the narrative of the actual engagement where his father had been killed while belonging to the 43rd with the same company but a different platoon. He was complimentary in his words regarding my report but I felt a new found respect and reverence towards those who actually fought in the battles that my tiny minis represent.

Legion 426 Mar 2018 3:13 p.m. PST

That was a very nice interaction …

War Panda27 Mar 2018 7:44 a.m. PST

@Legion 4

I thought so too. I felt (perhaps surprisingly) very humbled and privileged that my silly little toy solider game should have attracted the attention of a life that was so heavily impacted by the conflict.
In a way (and I might be wrong here) but I sensed a certain gratitude from the correspondent that this battle was being remembered in this way. A certain "Ode of Remembrance" played out on a miniature battlefield.

foxweasel27 Mar 2018 10:50 a.m. PST

+1 axabrax

Legion 427 Mar 2018 2:11 p.m. PST

@ War Panda

Yes, that was really something unexpected and very nice gestures, etc., on both your parts.

My Father was an INF SGT in the US 90th Inf Div, in France. He was wounded during the Lorraine Campaign. By German FA or mortar fire leaving him deaf in one ear and losing some of the movement of his wrist for the rest of his life. And I will brag about my "old man" now, he was awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze and Silver Stars.

So I can understand how that gentleman felt about his Father's service in WWII. And your gaming it was a bit like a display of gratitude, respect, observance, etc.

War Panda27 Mar 2018 6:25 p.m. PST

Thanks Legion 4

You must be very proud of your Father.

Legion 428 Mar 2018 8:08 a.m. PST

Very much so ! He passed in '80. He pinned my 2LT Bars on when I was commissioned in '79. He did not want me to join the Army let alone the Infantry and a unit like the 101. After his experiences in WWII.

Which I can understand as most would not want to have an offspring experience something like that. Even it there was just a possibility of it. But I like he thought serving your country is the right thing to do. He respected my choice. I'm sure he was watching over me at times.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2018 10:04 a.m. PST

As opposed to the romantic propaganda versions of the earlier movies?

Mark 128 Mar 2018 11:50 a.m. PST

So I can understand how that gentleman felt about his Father's service in WWII. And your gaming it was a bit like a display of gratitude, respect, observance, etc.

My father served in the US Army in tank destroyers in WW2.

I mentioned that to Charles Lemmons, the curator of the Patton Museum at Ft. Knox. He invited me to take a ride around some of the roads on post in the museum's fully restored and working M10.

Should be clear -- he didn't take the TD out just for me. He had brought it out for some USMC scouts -- children of Marines in a scout organization who were at the museum that day. He was planning to take them for a ride, but needed someone to crank the turret around so he could get in the driver's hatch. I volunteered, as I already understood where the gunner's seat and controls were located (and, at that point, recounted to him how meaningful it was to me, as my father, already gone for about a decade by that time, had served in TDs). I thought it was exceptionally nice of him to invite me along for the ride.


Head, civilian, Mk 1 is visible in cap and sun glasses peering over the turret front from the TC's seat.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2018 2:38 p.m. PST

I can only imagine Mark. Nice tribute.

Legion 428 Mar 2018 3:43 p.m. PST

Wow !!!! Very nice !!!!

Fred Cartwright29 Mar 2018 4:06 p.m. PST

Head, civilian, Mk 1 is visible in cap and sun glasses peering over the turret front from the TC's seat.

Very nice Mark you jammy so and so. Would love to have a ride in one! :-)

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