Simulating Casualties

There is great debate in the hobby about simulating casualties.  A number of sites, including all National Parks, have regulations against simulating casualties at all.  Other sites leave the decisions to the participating units.  It is an overwhelming sentiment by re-enactors that not simulating casualties is disrespectful to those who we attempt to portray & honor.  Of course, we are obliged to follow the rules established by the hosting site, however, in circumstances with more leeway, simulating casualties effectively & honorably can be accomplished, adding realism to our portrayal.

Accurate "average" casualties of the time period are difficult to quantify, however a reasonable rule of thumb is approximately one killed, one severely wounded & one or two slightly (able to remain in the line or assist others) per ten re-enactors.  Taking a hit is generally voluntary, except when required by the scripted scenario.  If required by the script, the Regiment will be informed prior to the engagement.  At times, the NCO's' or Officers will call for taking hits depending on the evolving tactical situation. 

Guidelines for "taking a hit":

  1. Your firelock misfires 2-3 consecutive times & wiping the flint does not correct it.
  2. You are too fatigued or feeling ill.
  3. A majority of “hits” should be wounded, not killed.

To simulate being hit, crumple to your knees or fall down.  Hold on to your firelock rather than throw it away. Do not stagger around clutching your chest before you fall; it looks ridiculous from the crowd.  Do not prop yourself up on an elbow to watch & begin taking photos of the engagement!  If you want to watch the remainder of the engagement, fall in a way that allows you to watch without moving.

If wounded: make a quick examination of how badly you are ‘hurt’ by opening your coat, looking at your legs, etc.  If reasonable, move off the line to a point of cover & continue ‘treating’ your wound.  Use your firelock as a crutch, crawl, or limp.  You can also use this time to fix your firelock – change the flint, clear the vent, etc..  A line mate, the music, or platoon NCO's’ are appropriate sources of ‘aid’ to move & should follow up with each casualty.  Those whose firelock's are repaired can be chased back to the line.

Injured & “killed” soldiers are also sources of additional ammunition.  It also makes for a good show to rifle through pockets for possessions if time or the scenario allows. 

Because genuine risk of injury, including heat exhaustion in a tactical, a medical safety word is used to signify ‘I’m acting’.  It is very advisable to call  "Fireball" alerting the squad of your intentions before falling out of ranks.  If the medical clear word is not spoken when asked – the situation will be treated as a genuine medical emergency & immediate assistance should be sought from the organizers.  If necessary the unit will withdraw or stop the action.