(With a Gracious nod of the hat to The Sienkiewicz Society’s Format)
Although we were formed in late 1999/early 2000, we are a few years old, but in the ‘big picture’ standards, we are, relatively speaking, a new group. We are also, according to research, the ‘First’ group of our type, in United States History, making us rather unique, by many standards. Within the parameters of our presentation, our groups’ membership is open to virtually any type, age, gender, and ethnicity, any type of role (military or civilian), experienced with living history, beginners who want to learn, or wishing to contribute in other ways.
UNIT OBJECTIVES (See also ”PRIME DIRECTIVE”)
The contributions of Commonwealth arms and culture to our civilization are not yet well known enough – History tends to be written by the conquerors, and Poland was partioned (read: conquered), by Russia, Prussia and Austria. Then subjected to slavery by Hitler’s Germany & Stalin’s USSR. Our educational mission is to redress and correct any omissions, and to raise Polish Historic Awareness. After representing other countries of Western Europe, our groups’ founder (Rik Suligowski Fox), observed a severely noticeable lack of Polish representation and the largest land empire of Renaissance Europe, at various Festivals devoted to that interest, in addition to also being Polish himself, and having noble bloodlines, the path was set to be paved…It was decided, that after researching the subject, there was found, NO representations as such, anywhere in the United States, and Rik decided to establish the first of such a portrayal in U.S. History. Other such groups across the U.S. have subsequently followed Rik’s lead.
Our unit impression presents the material and military culture of the mid 16th to late 17th Century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Poland for brevity). Our presentation is an excellent way to introduce both young and old to our History – If you share this interest, we welcome your help.
A Commonwealth Unit offers a re-enactor an incredible degree of versatility in Costume and Arms, in an army in which uniformity was rare, and where the wealthy dressed to impress. A trooper in full Turkish armor and garb can stand next to an officer dressed in the latest Paris fashions without the least bit of historical incongruity. This was an army that had cutting-edge Cavalry and field artillery technology next to arqebusiers in the infantry and horse archers in the Tartar Light Horse cavalry. As stated, we focus on mid 16th to late 17th Century.
What does it take to join us? One needs a bit of passion for the pageantry and history of the period, as well as a sense of fun and a willingness to get your hands dirty and sweat the details.
Also, a certain level of loyalty and commitment. Since being located in Southern California, there has been an apparent lack of interest (with regard to recruitment) in our presentation that is just the opposite from our other, now-flourishing Polish re-enactment group-counterparts, located in the East and Midwest of the U.S. Our presentation and impression doesn’t strike the fancy of most others, here in California as equally, and, our numbers tend to be somewhat smaller than other, more robust, more popular, Living History groups. Another reason too, is that the Southern California Polish demographic is significantly smaller and more spread out, lacking a cohesive ‘Polish community’ so prevalently found in the Midwest and East coast. Therefore, we do ask a bit more of a commitment from our members, simply because we do not have the numbers of a larger group to equally share in helping with all the tasks necessary to successfully bring across our presentation(s). Should we be lucky to see our group numbers grow; these things will ease themselves out. Although experienced re-enactors and artisans are very welcome, you don’t need re-enactment experience or all the right gear right off the bat. Our group and allies have some great educational resources available to us, as well as some limited ‘loaner gear’ to start you off. Later, in time, you can provide your own equipment, piece by piece, like most do. The key is, if you have the right motivation and attitude, we have the patience and a
Willingness to teach you what you need to know, however, personal research on our subject(s) can go a long way in your learning process. That’s part of our objective. And, contrary to rumor, you don’t have to be Polish or Lithuanian, or male, or interested in military ways, or, any one thing in particular…there are many ways to participate for many different people! There are MANY Polish individuals who are happy to participate in other types of historical re-enactment groups and not represent their heritage & ethnic background. (God knows why…)
At the moment of writing, we are located in Southern California, not a notably large Polish demographic, when compared to centers like Chicago, and New York. We also have some allied-counterparts, located in the VA/DC/MD area, (Orlickie’s Artillery), MI/CANADA (Katcki’s Regiment), and CT/NY/NJ (Czarniecki’s Division). All it takes for a new geographic center is 2-4 folks with a bit of experience, and a lot of gumption and commitment.
HOW OFTEN DO WE MEET?
Aside from necessary group meetings, and workshops to perform maintenance and repairs to the groups’ materials and practice of sword/weaponry drills & techniques, there’s an occasional Irish Festival, 2 Polish festivals, two Military Timeline events, and an occasional other festival or two, depending on fitting it into our yearly scheduling.
We have, after some five years of trying to ‘crack the glass ceiling’ and receive equal treatment and recognition from the Southern California Renaissance Festival circuit, have stopped participating. In addition to the ever tourist-popular “Liz & Hank Show” (Queen Elizabeth Ist & Henry VIII), there seems to be a strong, inherent circle of negativity to the ‘dark underbelly’ of these events, which do nothing to help elevate our participation to a higher noticeable presence. Not having large group numbers has a lot to do with this. (It’s very difficult to show Poland as the largest land empire of Renaissance Europe without the large membership-numbers necessary to back this fact up). Since the ‘strength in numbers’ mentality is so prevalent amongst Renaissance events, there is a noticeable ‘elitist-snobbish’ condescension towards smaller, inferior numbered groups, and have on occasion, found ourselves the point of various mean-spirited jokes.
Contrastingly, we have noticed a remarkably fresh & positive difference in participating in events where we are openly welcomed, acknowledged & recognized for our efforts. We tend to perform at more events than our Midwest and Eastern U.S. counterparts, as there is a dire need to bring Polish culture and history out to more people in our areas, given the scattered Polish populations on the West coast, as well as better weather generally, and opportunities to do so, like an occasional parade. We usually begin our ‘season’ around March/April, and go until about October, mostly on weekends. But, not every weekend. (Only the Renaissance-themed events feature some form of re-enactment ‘battles’ aka, “Battle Pageants” which require some modicum of pre-arranged choreography and scripting for accuracy and safety. So, there was a need for members who participated in the battles to meet for the scripting and choreography). However, most of our groups’ events will be ‘military time-line’, living history, & educational appearances, said parades, etc. We might, in the future, depending on participation and motivation of membership, sponsor film festivals, cultural events, literary events, etc. We also have another FUN feature…Pizza-party/Wine & Cheese film parties! We get together to watch famous Polish period films like those of the “Sienkiewicz Trilogy”, “Ogniem i Mieczem” (With Fire & Sword), “Potop” (The Deluge), & “Pan Wolodyjowski” also “Zelazna Reka” (Iron Hand), and discuss them.
TYPES of CHARACTER / PERSONNA
Many choices are possible, given group objectives and scenario, please read carefully…
FEMALE ROLES: Since our normal scenario is a military camp, the obvious choice is a sutler…a vendor that travels with the army, selling stores from a wagon, and/or making repairs. Other possibilities are a spouse / ward of an officer, or, a civilian ‘just visiting’ (or resident of the hamlet we are temporarily occupying). Or, a civilian hired for a few days as a servant, cook, etc. Women enjoyed a fair amount of freedom compared to some other countries of Europe, but there were, nevertheless, practical limits in mobility and profession. One could also portray a ‘liberated’ prisoner’ from our enemy forces of the era, as well as portray a role as a soldier. (See also: CAMP HIERARCHY)
The Civilian roles may include sutlers and various service workers. A huge number of servants/lackeys were employed by noble ‘Towarszysz’ (Comrades), and could amount to thousands. Though technically non-combatants, they were used in defense of the camp, and were pressed into service into infantry roles, and to assist with shovel-work in sieges. Townsmen in regular contact with the army on campaign, could be widely varied, from horse traders, pawnbrokers, and other financial service providers (essentially 100% Jewish or Armenian), specialty craftsmen (mostly Jewish or Armenian), to the much put-upon Burgers on whom the troops were billeted. Other possible roles as a civilian would be to portray a priest, friar, or some Holy representative of the Church, or a scientist. (See also: CAMP HIERARCHY)
The main body of the military would be cavalry and/or dragoons. In our case, Husaria cavalry or dragoons (infantry foot-soldiers). Dragoons were the most versatile professional soldier, common men who were the elite infantry of the time. Dragoons were also mounted infantry, not the light cavalry they later became. In particular, dragoons can be a special unit of fusiliers in the service of artillery. As such they are armed with firelocks (fusil, from the French for firelock), like flintlocks and doglocks (other dragoons still carried the matchlock). They are trained to crew and help maneuver cannon and are also called to help with engineering tasks.
Since, for the time being, we have no members who possess their own artillery materials, our other core presentation of that of the Husaria, the winged and non-winged elite Polish cavalry.
When horses become available to rent and/or ride, we will make arrangements for that, if funding is available and hopefully our cavalry representation will have even some elementary riding skills under their belts. We especially welcome experienced equestrians, who would like to join our portrayals, and enlistment of members who are equestrians is a Very welcomed concept to our group, and we highly encourage it! When without horses, we are then dismounted cavalry. The Husaria were from the most elite, pea-cockish level of society, frequently competing with each other in dress and arms. They also tended to look down their noses at all other forms of military, even from other countries, because, they were the BEST! The Husaria embodied what was best in dashing, bold chivalric values, and proved their mettle, battle after battle, how fearsome and awesome they were. They had NO Equals! (See also: CAMP HIERARCHY)
This is an area where procuring armor and other accouterments is best done piece-by-piece, since some find this area of investment daunting and intimidating (unless one has the funds to do so all at once). However, you will become THE best-looking and most impressive members of the army’s troops! This impression is also the most memorable to visitors. Following this, is the Pancerni (mail-armored) cavalry, made up from the top-to-bottom of Polish or Cossack nobility. Rich or poor, all levels can portray a Pancerni, as well as take a role as retainers/attendants to the Rotmistrz (Captain) or other camp officers.
Since the concept of representing Poland can intimidate some at first glance, we would expect most new members and recruits with limited experience and funding to take on the role of dragoon and/or infantryman, until proven as loyal members, and feel they want to move up as far as portrayals go. It is much easier and affordable than cavalry impressions.
Also, we require anyone who wishes to adopt a cavalry impression to know how to ride, or start learning how, and get some basics in the saddle.
As such, we would be accompanied by a variety of other services of the Polish type, including:
Hussar (Heavy Cavalry) Plate-armored lancers, famous for their wings and nearly 20 ft. lance.
Pancerni (light-armored cavalry) chainmail clad horse-archers, lancers, and carabineers, which also carried a 10-12 ft lance and pistols, war-hammers, etc.
Jazde Lekka (Light Cavalry), Unarmored horse-archers, carabineers, and sword-fighters, sometimes in the model of Tatar or Walachian cavalry.
Haiduk, Hungarian Infantry matchlock-armed in Polish costume.
Cossack Infantry, Matchlock-armed and with sabers, etc. Can be mounted as well.
Of the Foreign Type:
Arqebusier Cavalry – Western style, buff coat, breastplate, carbine.
Western Infantry- As in England and Germany; Western costuming, matchlocks, pikes, etc.
Jannisary Infantry- Turkish Janissary costuming and weaponry, can be deserters from the Turks.
Our stated goals are to accurately (as best as possible), portray the Polish/Lithuanian military forces of the 16th-17th Centuries, both for our own enjoyment and for the education of the public who will be deeply observing us at live events. Our goals mandate a certain level of motivation and dedication not only to the group itself, but, to the idea of ‘authenticity’ in our endeavors. That said, no, we are not real Polish soldiers and can never hope to present ourselves as these folk truly appeared in the 1600’s, nor to act, speak, eat and think exactly as they did. However, we can do the best we can, within the limitations of a modern-day hobby or passion, to present as true an image as is possible. With this in mind, we will touch on some specific areas wherein these notions of ‘authenticity’ most come into play.
The garb and accessories of the period is best detailed in the clothing guidelines of friend & ally, Rick Orli’s groups’ site: http://www.kismeta.com/diGrasse/PolishHorseArtillery.htm
Members to our Yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Suligowskisregimentofthepolishcommonweal,
will also be treated to a wealth of research information in the groups’ ‘links’ and ‘files’ pages, but only if your access is directly to the yahoo site homepage. Correct fabrics and patterns for the time period must me adhered to. We won’t quibble about machine, versus hand sewing, but obvious anachronisms must be avoided, especially modern jewelry, wristwatches, footwear, eyewear, etc. As well, some clothing items you might have from another reenacting era, earlier or later than ours, might be inappropriate too. Current National Dress is based upon 18th Century fashion and bears only a passing resemblance to the dress of the pre-1700’s and, must not be worn. Similarly, all Dark Age or Medieval manifestations are equally incorrect. Finally, while at an event and especially if staying in the period camp, maintaining your 16th-17th C. appearance the entire time is mandatory, until the closure of the event for the day, and if you are leaving. That means no t-shirts, and modern clothing as soon as the event is over for the day, etc. or when the public leaves! This is particularly unfair to your fellow re-enactors, who are striving for as true a period experience as is possible, at night as well as day.
We will also eventually be establishing a specific ‘changing’ tent, for the female members, so as not to ‘tie-up’ the main tents during the day and give them some modicum of privacy when needed. This way we may display the insides of the tents to the always-curious visiting public who like to view the tent interiors, which are also on display, without accidentally looking in on someone changing. This reinforces the illusion as to our sleeping quarters as well.
Most events we attend will involve setting up and ‘living in a period camp’. This is not mandatory, and members may choose to stay in nearby hotels/motels, or modern campgrounds. However all members should help assemble the camp and tents together first. (Some one-day events will be light-duty only, and require only costuming, some tables for display, and not require tents). If you choose to enjoy the period camping experience, adherence to the authentic tentage and gear is required. Like the group-leader, this involves some investment in the proper materials. The more you can invest, the more realistic-looking your impression will appear. The use of the term ‘authentic’ here is rather questionable perhaps. We will almost always be camping much ‘heavier’ than the true Poles did on real campaigns, and are much more in need of a certain level of comfort than those hardy folks were! That said, the use of items that are ‘true to the period’ is what we’re ultimately after. Tables, chairs, chests, lanterns, cooking implements, tents and awnings, blankets, and even cots of 16th-17th C. design are readily available. The use of modern items such as sleeping bags and coolers is permitted; however, such items must be kept covered or otherwise hidden from public view and your fellow hobbyists. The ringing and/or visible use of cell phones are also unfortunate intrusions to be avoided. If you must use a cell phone, please make sure you are out of public view.
There are many ways to create and build period tents on a shoestring, and our group-leader’s tent is one example. Many suggestions are also put out by the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), online: http://www.housebarra.com/PastTimes/ . Lightweight modular pipe-framing and canvas painters tarps available from local chain hardware super-stores are a good way to go if one cannot afford a professional period tent from the likes of Panther Pavilions, etc. If one simply cannot afford to make their own period-style tent, the use of modern ‘pop-up’ tents may be used only at night, and to the rear of the camp, and must be struck upon the following morning, folded and stored for the day. The serious, dedicated re-enactor, however, would either already have a period-correct tent, or eventually get or make one. Ground tarps and cheap Persian-looking carpets are also a must, for ground comfort.
Many re-enactors seem to feel that mealtime is a free time to ‘cheat’ and all manner of modern wrappings, containers, cans, bottles and food items seem to make an appearance in the camp. This is unfortunate, as meal preparations are one of the most interesting aspects of living history to the public on hand to see the event. There is no reason for this! Food can be cooked over a period-correct looking fire (propane at Koroneberg & carbon-based at events allowing this), using correct utensils, pots, pans, etc. It can be served and eaten from period-type bowls, platters, and plates. Likewise, beverages should be drunk from proper cups or mugs. Obviously, modern menu items such as hot-dogs, can be dispensed with for a weekend! Sensible food safety measures should, of course, be followed. After all, we don’t wish to contract a dose of authentic dysentery!
Transfer, the food from the Tupperware in your cooler to some period container before bringing it from your tent. Pour your beer or beverage into a proper vessel and hide the can, or bottle. Simple steps like these will go a long way towards enhancing the overall impression of our camp.
SMOKING: Cigarettes did not appear in Europe until the mid-19th Century, and God knows when they reached Scotland. Nothing looks quite as bad as an impeccably dressed and accoutered re-enactor puffing away on a modern cigarette. We are not politically correct anti smokers, either.
Get yourself a little clay 18th Century pipe and smoke to your heart’s content. Ladies too. It’s a pleasant aroma around the camp with the right tobacco, and, it drives off the mosquitoes!
Or, if you like a more decorative pipe with a long stem. There’s a great pipe dealer in the SCA who has some really nice inexpensive long-stemmed pipes: Thomas the Peddler, e-mail: email@example.com , (940)325-6864.
ARMS & EQUIPMENT: Without getting into a detailed discussion at the moment, suffice to say that weaponry and accouterments that date from the mid-16th, to the beginning of the 18th Centuries, and could have been used in Poland during that time are acceptable. Some leeway is permitted. For instance, if your style of musket didn’t actually appear until the 1700’s, but still, a European flintlock arm, it is ‘true to the period’ and ok to carry. Conversely, such things as American longrifles, samurai swords, Napoleonic cartridge boxes and Victorian period dirks would be considered wrong for our group. However, items ‘procured’ from the trade routes of the ‘Silk Road” i.e. from India, Turkey, Persia, etc., would be acceptable as well. This makes our impression further ‘plausible’, as, ‘The Mysterious East’ brought many things to Poland.
In conclusion, the intent here is not to be stitch-counting “Authenticity Nazi’s”, and especially not to discourage anyone. Doing it “right” is easier than one might think. Besides, as a history-oriented organization, we have a certain duty to strive for as accurate a portrayal as we can manage, and not appear as something out of a poorly researched Hollywood movie. It’s not only interesting, it’s fun as well. We now have two sources in the U.S. who make authentic reproductions of Polish Hussar armor; Eric Jadaszewski in New Hampshire; firstname.lastname@example.org, and Dave Demers in Arizona; email@example.com. Both are reasonable and depending on what you can afford, they can make you an entire kit, or, just piece at a time, usually starting with a breastplate or accouterments.
The basics are the essence of our ‘show’. They are the general knowledge points of who we are and what we’re doing with those pointy things. We need to get these “points” across to the majority of the public in small, but efficient bites that they can digest (and hopefully remember). While the original, older members already know these things, they need to be repeated from time to time for the sake of the newer folks. And it never hurts to polish your character in the off-season.
We can start with the public. The public, in general, are fairly harmless and may be ‘caught’ easily. The best way is to look them in the eye and acknowledge them. A nod of the head will stall them most of the time, quickly followed up by: “Dzien Dobry Pan (or Pani)” Once you’ve ‘ensnared’ them in your greeting-trap, you may do (within reason) as you will with them. Bring them closer to the camp, invite them in. Remember, whatever mundane task you’re doing is interesting and new to them, even carrying water. In an extreme case when you’re trying something new and have no idea what you’re doing, let alone why, refer the ‘prey’ to a more experienced member of the group.
Next, you’ll need to know what to say. You will be a more convincing interpreter if you’re prepared. In our yahoo discussion group, in the ‘files’ section, is a cheat-sheet of various Polish military commands and some phrases. Print out a copy and carry it around with you. For the introductory phrases, ask the group leader for the Polish/English ‘flash-cards’, and before you speak any Polish to the public, MAKE SURE your pronunciations are correct! If you study and practice reading them aloud, in short time, you will be able to speak to the public more easily, and your role will be more convincing. (A default effect we also use is ‘Polish-accented’ English, what we humorously refer to as a ‘talk like Russian spy’ accent). The public needs to be talked to constantly to remain at ease. Remember, most visitors have little to no working knowledge of Poland as is. For the average person, knowledge of Poland begins in 1939 and W.W.II. It’s up to each of us, to learn to interact with them. If they grow disinterested, they tend to wander away before they can get the full impact of our timeline presentation.
Listening to other, more experienced people’s demonstrations (besides personal research) is one of the best ways to learn. Listen a couple of times and get the general knowledge of what they’re doing. The next time a patron asks you “what is he/she doing”? You will be able to answer as if it were a familiar task in your eyes.
When there is a drill, or demonstration of something important, be prepared to interpret it to the public. Drill and saber demos (aka the ‘kerang’ of steel), draws many people to our camp and we should try to convey the basics to all of them. Talking about drill and our fighting skills naturally leads into the overall purpose of our camp, and who, when, and where we are. From there, you may lead them where you will, to the display board and its many factoids, and pictures, the campfire, tavern-talk, horses, etc. Although we would be renown for our Polish hospitality, and we are not (in reality) rich, however ‘on campaign’ food and drink are scarce so, you may offer them some beverage if you can afford it. (Do not feed them, they may be impossible to get rid of after that). If there’s downtime in the camp, “GIG”: Perhaps taking them to a favored vendor to patronize and purchase some wares, will go a long way in friendly relations both with the patrons AND the vendors. The vendors would LOVE that part, and it’s still ‘in character’. Then, you may excuse yourself back to the camp, with: “Duty Calls and your commander would take it from your hide if you were found missing”…
Lastly (and most importantly), you must be respectful of the hierarchy of the camp!!! The punishment for almost everything is death, and the most SEVERE death. This, historically, is how life was conducted in those times. When an officer gives you an order, you jump! The Rotmistrz is everything to you if you’re a soldier. He literally has the right to say if you can breathe, let alone approach him without permission. No camp follower would dare intentionally anger him (especially since they’re not officially supposed to be there). It would be very unwise in a time when food, clothing, shelter and safety were not to be taken for granted. Your relationship to others outside of the event is irrelevant…at the event, UNDERSTAND YOUR ROLE IN THE CAMP and how your character would have related to other characters. If you’re unsure how to respond to someone, ask them (they usually don’t bite…hard). It’s MOST important for our portrayal to remember, good character interaction strengthens the illusion of time travel for the patron or visitor. If you need to ask something personal and out of character in private, use your characterization in public, to ask permission to speak with whomever in private, for “News most urgent and for that persons ears alone”…This will plausibly get you off the hook and to the back area to discuss whatever it is that just can’t wait. Otherwise try to stay ‘in character’ as much as possible. Especially for those members of the group, who may tend to ‘forget’ that the public is watching…always…
I’m sure there’s more to discuss about the basics, and we’ve only covered a few. These points though, are very important. You may possibly have points or hints of your own addition for the group and cheat-sheet. Please feel free to know, that we are always open to new suggestions!!!
GENERAL WELCOME / ORIENTATION
Witamy! (Welcome!) In our camp, you have not only jumped back in time, but across the ocean to Poland. We portray a Military camp (depending on the events’ timeline) under the elected Kings, Stefan Batory (1576-1586), or, Sigismund III Vasa, or, Jan Kasimir, or Jan III Sobieski. (Serving under Commanders/Hetmen Jan Zamoyski, Stanislaw Koniecpolski, Jan Karol Chodkiewicz, Stanislaw Zolkiewski, Jan Tarnowski, Aleksander Wincenty Gosiewski, or Jerema Wisniowiecki). There are camp-followers and locals with us, supplying new and old soldiers with things of life that they may need. At this time Poland has experienced constant warfare with the Swedes, Tartars, Turks, Muscovites, and Austrians for many years as well as having sent regiments (surreptitiously) to the Thirty Years War. The soldiers being re-enacted here, are all hard campaigners having survived all, to be here now for your pleasure…
NOW, FROM THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE…(Sorry, but it has to be said)…
A common practice, as is done by many re-enactment groups, for new recruits as incoming members, they are voted in as permanent members after 1 (one) years’ good service probationary membership. This is due to the fact that while there are many potential members out there, a screening-policy had been installed to observe recruits and how they behave and interact both with the public and other members of the group. Also due to the fact, that although we’ve had MANY members, they haven’t always been the right members for this group. Some individuals have come into the group with their own personal agendas, which, at first, aren’t evident, yet eventually becomes so. When individuals come in, ‘learn the ropes’, and think they can do a better job, try to insight a mutiny and/or steal the members for their own purposes, kick out the group leader(s), or cause general malice, that is why such restrictions have come into place. Sad but true…Every recruit must qualify for permanent membership.
Necessity has made this a non-negotiable point. It is up to the discretion of the leadership of the group. Since the group-leader founded, formed, and owns most everything in the group, he cannot be voted out of leadership. Recruits becoming members should be aware that they are joining an already-formed group, not the other way around. If any monies are paid or otherwise donated to the group, unless otherwise stated by group leadership, goes back into repayments and repairs of camp materials, and recoupment of purchases, made by such leadership.
If the group, however, is hired to perform an organized, scripted show together, then payments will be dispersed equally for work input. This group is a non-profit group, ergo, we do not make a profit, explain bookings, or arrangements, unless necessary, on a need to know basis.
We’ve had members who were broke, and jobless. This can and has, hampered our forward movement in the past. So, it’s pointless to try and use the group as a personal profit-making issue.
We understand the employment market first-hand. Please try to support yourself as best as you can, it’s your responsibility, not ours. If it’s money you’re after, then become a vendor, get a resale license, pay the vendor fees, and sell a product. We do however, have Polish Nobility booklets, personally supplied by the group leader that we offer for a “Suggested Donation”. If members ‘actively assist’ in getting patrons and visitors to make ‘donations’ for the booklets, then we can split the donations for gas, and minor expenses at the leader’s discretion.
Challenging the group leadership is a serious no-no, and grounds for termination. It’s happened before, and not with happy results. It’s just a bad idea all around. It has been voted, that since the group leader founded the group, if anyone disagrees with anything, it is to be taken thru the proper ‘chain-of-command’ for review, and decision(s), and, at the proper time.
Implying a passive-aggressive approach is also a bad idea, and grounds for termination.
Why? / THE TEAM CONCEPT:
Attempting to manipulate control (whether solo, or unified), i.e., “If you don’t allow us to do whatever it is that I/we want to do, me and my friends will leave your group, because you won’t do what I/we want. Then we’ll join another group and talk smack about you to everyone”.
That, right there, is the wrong attitude to carry into any group, especially ours. Trust us, it’s happened before, and we do need to have some protections in place. Theft of ‘loaner-gear’
(or anything), is also grounds for immediate termination. Most promoters use the same precautions, so, we do as well. Sorry. We really do want to be one big happy family, really! But everyone has to pull together as a team. That breaks down to everybody helps with set-up and tear-down, so we all can get done early and not continue these burdens unfairly, on one or two individuals. It’s because of past experiences that all this needs to finally be put into print, so don’t take it personal…
A good person is a good person, and this won’t upset them. Rather, they’ll be glad and thankful to see this protecting THEM as well!!! Anyone leaving the group, must surrender their member laminate I.D. membership tag and neck-strap, as supplied by the group leader.
THE GROUP LEADER:
The group leader is like a quarterback, calling the plays, if the team doesn’t work together, and back the play, the quarterback will get his ass creamed every time. So, we need to work together at all times to make this a successful endeavor! And…LET’S HAVE F-U-N!!!!!
SULIGOWSKI’S REGIMENT “CAMPAIGN ENCAMPMENT” SCHEDULES AND RULES
Revised for 2006
The following, is the preliminary format used, upgraded and adjusted as is necessary. Most of the following includes, but is not limited to, the two big, yearly Military Timeline events.
Due to the enormous amount of encampment gear to load-up, drive out and set-up (let alone tear-down at the end), and our obvious lack of Active members in large numbers, if any members can meet with & assist us with loading up, it makes our jobs easier. So, at this point by default:
A) The Regiment requires all available Active members to be at camp no later than 9 A.M. every
morning while “On Campaign”, to assist with encampment set-up duties. (Remember, “This is
War! And, we must be ready for anything!)
B) It is considered ‘bad form’ and highly unfair to make the Rotmistrz and his Lady continue to do
ALL the work. Members who do this on a continual basis are subject to termination.
C) Everyone works or, no one plays! That’s the team / family objective…
D) That same applies to camp tear-down every afternoon, or upon close of event.
You want to get home at a decent hour, and get to sleep for work on Monday? Well! SO DO WE!!! That said, we will begin a slow tear-down at approximately 3-4 p.m. Our objective is to be done by 6 p.m., load out, and get home at said decent hour, with traffic allowances.
(Allowances will be made for emergency, family matters and other priorities within reason)
MORNING NOTES DUTY:
At some events, we are required to have a representative at this function, and, ON TIME.
Volunteers, welcome, anyone who can competently handle this please speak up.
CAMP: Upon Arrival, check in, stow your gear. Then check and secure fence-line & set up guild-yard one hour BEFORE opening of event gates. We have severe time restrictions placed on everybody to be ready in time!!!
Depending on the event, if there is a Parade, we must be equipped and ready at least one half-hour before needed in place in the parade. Then we march with commands, to the assembly/staging point to demonstrate our timeliness. Once in place, we can then ‘gig’ with others if need be.
When applicable: As noted in our daily ‘gig’ schedule(s) according to the prescribed times, we will commence with drawing patrons to our camp for “Hussar Academy Fencing” (for the kids), our “Battle Tactics of the Husaria”, and other demos/interacting with visitors to our camp. Remember, be friendly, and draw them in. See to it they have a pleasurable, memory of Polish ways. I will attempt to excuse us from gate duty while at Koroneberg, as, we are stretched too thin until more members are evident. However, they may force us. So be ready for anything.
DUTIES: There will be various ‘daily duties’ delegated out, such as going to get ice, food, supplies, clean up the camp, dishes, trash duties, morning ‘coffee run’ to Starbucks, making sure the camp is ready for the day, put out all the display items /signage /flags and weapons and again, policing /securing the camp in the evening, ‘guard-duty’, a designated ‘repair-person’ in case something falls or blows over, needs to be secured, like a tent flap, or roof. Again, duties may be delegated, and/or members can ‘volunteer’ for things they’d like to do and be responsible for.
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!!!
I cannot stress the importance of this enough! Since most promoters ridiculously schedule their events during the HOTTEST times of the year, we need to constantly look after each other and ask if they’re ok, and to drink your water or Gatorade! Eat snacks during the day, pickles and pretzels are good for returning salt to the perspiring we all do. Fruits such as clementines/tangerines are also excellent for keeping on top of your game. We don’t want anyone to pass out form heat and exhaustion. Let the EMT’s be busy elsewheres…
“BATTLE TACTICS OF THE POLSKA HUSARIA / HUSSAR FENCING ACADEMY FOR KIDS”
At 12 Noon sharp, draw all patrons within earshot to our camp. Demonstration time is approximately 25 minutes. (Most likely we’ll already have a crowd from the earlier Kids Fencing session). Assistance is needed by members to interact with the Rotmistrz as needed, and hand off weapons. New members should also be watching & listening to learn how to respond to visitors’ questions and answer them correctly. Get the visitors’ feedback at the end of the demo!!!
While patrons are still in the camp, ask who (of the kids) would like to fence with our best swordfighter in the Academy…We can then resume a half-hour of fencing with the kids. Remember to offer shade and refreshments to the parents if possible…We will be the most remembered and favorite camp there with the customers!
PARADES (at events):
Upon his command, all Poctowy/Towarzysz (Retainers / Comrades) will assist the Rotmistrz (Captain-Rik), to get geared-up into his armor and accouterments first! Then, we all assist other members participating in this event, to subsequently get equipped and accoutered out in kind, gloved, and weapons at the ready. Hopefully, someday, we can have a drummer to announce this and visitors should then be gently ushered out during this time, and the guild-yard closed off to wanderers. (They can watch from the outside of the fence-line), as we ‘prepare for war’. Hopefully we can have an Ensign or Flag-bearer (can be a member’s child in proper dress). They should be given the Polish Choragiew (Flag) at the ready to go. The flag-bearer walks before the Captain at a lively pace, and all must have learned their preliminary commands in Polish, as issued by the Captain, as we assemble and march out of the Oboz (camp), thru the event, (drawing attention), towards the staging area. As mandated, by the events’ promoters’ rules, we must have a representative in the camp in our absence. We must be in the staging area in time to hear the preliminary notes by the Battle Coordinators. Lateness is noted, and, not a good thing. This all applies to either foot parades and those with horses. The horses should be prepared at least 30 minutes before being ridden.
Our oboz (camp) is to be regarded as like a real military camp, with regard to the afore-mentioned camp hierarchy, and also as such, an area of many potential details and dangers to the uninformed. There is to be no unsupervised minors belonging to anyone, visitors or members allowed to run around in our camp!!! EVER!!! Not only does this send out a loud, bad message to the patrons, it is highly dangerous to the minors and most disruptive to our fellow members. This is a high safety issue, and cannot be emphasized enough. (Right, it already happened to us in the past)…A real military camp would have violators severely punished for bad behavior…
Visiting patrons, who are minors, may inspect the weapons ONLY if accompanied by their guardians/parents. This is an obvious liability issue.
All the weapons and camp items should be kept under a watchful eye anyway. Even with adults, we want no items disappearing or stolen. Most items cannot be replaced easily or, without great cost to the owner.
When we have horses in the camp, they must be under constant supervision, and care. Watering and feeding, as well as cleanliness is imperative! Safety for the horses and the people around them is most urgent.
Regiment members, (especially female members), who invite in, or see patrons in our camp yard should make a note to remember to keep our water pitcher filled with ice and water and offer hospitality to visitors who look like they could use a drink. Remember your role in the camp. No one in this capacity is above performing this hospitality function to anyone. It is your role, and it makes us look favorable to the promoter and the visitors who will talk about it to the promoter.
WITH REGARD TO RECRUITMENT:
Like in Old Poland, we especially welcome ALL Slavic people for potential membership, however, despite any rumors floating around, membership in NOT closed to those of non- Slavic ethnicity! We WELCOME anyone who is GENUINELY interested and displays a self-motivated attitude. We also welcome virtually all ethnicities who fit the parameters of our group’s theme and presentation. Keep this in mind at all times. Just because someone wants to join, doesn’t immediately qualify them for membership. As with past issues, it’s not just a case of ‘filling out our numbers with bodies’…they must be the right bodies. Remember the axiom of the Rotmistrz:
“We’d rather have a small group of the RIGHT people than a large group of the WRONG people”.
(although we DO need a larger group), Western European soldiers/mercenaries are needed too.
At this time all potential male recruits are directed to the Rotmistrz. In time when we have a proven, loyal and trusted Porucznik (Lieutenant), who can perform preliminary screening this will be the task as is. Promotions do happen, but must be earned. Potential female recruits should first go thru the Ranking Female member(s) ultimately arriving at the Rotmistrz for final consideration (and the group).
Potential Members or, Members-Elect:
Interested individuals, couples, or (well-behaved) families, should first attend any and all Guild meetings and workshops (unless out of state members), so we have some idea of a meet & greet atmosphere, and get a preliminary idea as to personalities. These individuals should attend at least 4 (four) events. As noted earlier, there is a mandatory screening process in place to protect us (all members) from those individuals who aren’t truly devoted to our Prime Directive. While what we do is not for everyone, we encourage them to at least give it their best shot.
This Guild has been ‘burned’ in the past by taking in the incorrect types as members who turned out severely hurting our efforts and tried to destroy all that we’ve done. That said, all potential members performance’s will be observed by other members and so noted and report their notes at a guild meeting to the Rotmistrz. A final decision either way should be by way of a unanimous vote or veto. (Exceptions to this rule may be out of state members, who, obviously cannot drive in for every meeting, and can vote in absentia).
Look, we ALL love a good conversation, however, timing is of the essence here. “Tempis Fugit”
Members who have a propensity to be long-winded should be considerate to other members and not distract them in their duties. If you can walk and chew gum then there’s no excuse. You can clearly talk and work at the same time! Some of us have to be up REAL EARLY for our day jobs and cannot afford the luxury of standing around while other members are trying to work. If you have a good story, save it for around the campfire or, common meeting time. PLEASE be considerate or face “Punishment Duty”! (“See Punishment Duty”)
As a rule, Suligowski’s Regiment will not tolerate any forms of ‘soap-opera’, ‘drama’ or gossip amongst the membership. (Captain’s prerogative excepted, of course, in the most Dire moments, LOL…hey all couples argue, right?)…
1) Anyone found guilty of purposefully and intentionally disrupting the harmony we try to create, will be brought before the group president and the issue(s) will be addressed.
2) This also applies to continual absences from group meetings and events, which obviously defeats the purpose of joining the group, and will not be tolerated. We understand all families have their issues and work them out together.
3) Likewise with personal work schedules. But, if you joined, then you obviously have a reason to be at the meetings and events, correct? Please do not create problems for the group by joining, and then not participating fairly. When we go thru the trouble to post and notify the group members months in advance of the booked event(s), then it is the personal responsibility of the members to note these dates equally, in advance, and make the preparations to attend the events by arranging their personal & work schedules IN ADVANCE, around their other mundane doings. Last minute absences (especially continuous ones, unless an absolute emergency), will not be acceptable nor tolerated.
4) If the matter concerns several members, then the alleged offending parties will be addressed together, and attempts to clarify the matter will be dealt with. Obviously, a Positive resolution is our goal in such matters, however, if none can be reached, then...
5) Removal of the offending member(s) is a next step.
6) If anyone has an emergency or priority family issue, that needs immediate attention, then this should be considered a priority.
Report this to the Ranking guild member or whomever is ‘in charge’ at the time.
The balance of the guild members should then make it their business to assist with the other camp duties, what ever that may be. (i.e. set up, tear down, etc.).
If the group leader must leave for any emergency, then the remaining group members are to be schooled and learned enough in how to tear down and pack away the camp into the appropriate trunks without confusion, or, losing anything. (Hence, the need for workshops). Obviously, most of the group property was purchased and/or hand-made by the group President, and, at a major personal investment. That said, lost or stolen items may be replaced by those responsible at the time of the responsible duties. SO, BE CAREFUL on your watch!
Arbitrary Decisions made by members are susceptible to be overruled if not first brought to the Group President’s attention within reason, i.e. Use common sense when inviting individuals into the camp if they look ‘suspicious’, or act foolish. Never volunteer the group or guild for anything without first running it past the Rotmistrz, or the Vice-President. This will cause a scheduling rift, and upset the Captain (and other members).
When in doubt, Always go thru the chain of command. Like in real military situations, All visitors to the camp should be announced! Anyone may have the groups’ best intentions at heart, however, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.
"Concerning Regiment-group Commitment Levels":
"If a Regiment group-member has had three (3) consecutive absences from any Regiment group-meeting, workshop, and/or Regiment group-event, this is to be interpreted as, and considered a vacancy from the Regiment group".
"At the next subsequent meeting, following the Regiment group-member's third absence, the Regiment-group will declare that a vacancy exists, and the violating member shall be so notified. If terms cannot be discussed and amended to the satisfaction of the Regiment-group, then vacancies will then exist and be filled by a majority vote of the remaining Regiment-group Board and President.
In the event of a vacancy in the Regiment group and/or on the Board, and in case of no candidates running for available positions, the President of the Regiment-group and of the Board, may then fill said vacancies by appointment of a 'qualified' candidate, subject to approval of a majority vote of the Regiment-group and of the Board.
The President is required to disclose to the Regiment-group and Board, of any and all stakeholders interested in filling a vacant seat before the President makes the appointment of the vacant seat. Said appointee(s), shall fill out the remainder of the term for which he or she has been appointed. If the Regiment-group / Board is unable to fill a vacancy, this process shall continue at each subsequent Board meeting until such a vacancy has been filled.
Once filled, it is the personal responsibility of the candidate to prove their membership in good standing to the remaining members, adhering to the Regiment-groups' rules &
regulations and is considered 'under probation' for the time of one (1) year hence. If the candidate can pass the one (1) year probation, and not miss three (3) consecutive Regiment-group events, meetings, or workshops, the candidate is considered a full-fledged member.
If any member causes a minor infraction within the group (or to any other group), thereby creating an obstacle in the forward motion of our good efforts, yet, not big enough a problem to warrant expulsion from the group, (or death), then the offending individual(s) will be assigned “Punishment Duty” like in a real military camp. This may be whatever the Rotmistrz decides as his pleasure (remember the camp hierarchy), at the time as fit for such punishment. i.e. camp repairs that are needed, kitchen duty, garbage detail, errands to be run, guard duty, or a ‘gig’ of humiliation to teach a lesson as necessary…Historically, as with military justice, discipline is mandatory. All military camps have their various forms of punishment duty, and ours, is no exception.
“THE PRIME DIRECTIVE”
Never forget this most important point: “The Prime Directive is to raise Polish Historic Awareness and to educate others in what we portray”. That above all, is most important. It is why we do what we do. There is no self-glorification, or profit to gain by this. It is a passion that comes purely from the heart. Due to misinformation, bad publicity, and a seemingly growing anti-Polish agenda by many in control of publishing and the media, over the years, and throughout history, Poland has had to try twice as hard to get equal recognition, where others don’t have to exert any effort. Although Poland has made many numerous important contributions to the world, all things being equal, Poland is NEVER treated EQUALLY!
So, in essence, we must strive twice as hard as others, to receive our fair share of equal treatment and consideration. ALWAYS! Because of this, Poland has gone from one of the first, most powerful nations of Europe, to a being subjected to second-class citizen treatment, and ridicule by the ignorant. We in Suligowski’s Regiment have a most difficult job to prove what a great and mighty nation Poland, in our timeline, was, and not the negative stereotype that has attached itself to her over the recent years, that we now strive to redress and erase.
For this, we must always remember, we are under a public microscope, and are always being observed by those who would jump at the chance to cut our efforts down. Since its inception, this group is setting a precedent, and therefore must set the best of examples to all at all times. We must never give anyone toe opportunity to malign us or the good name of Poland. We will NOT tolerate ‘Polish jokes’ nor, approve the use of the term ‘Polak’, or the perpetuation of any negative Polish stereotype. Period!
Anyone who finds a problem with this, or cannot uphold the good name and memory of Poland should not consider membership of this group’s presentation or portrayals. If we succeed, then we ALL succeed. If we fail, then all fingers point to the groups’ leadership, which then comes under attack. This will not be tolerated. Sure, we’re a bit more ‘serious’ then the next group, but, then, we have to be. And, we can still do this successfully and have fun at the same time.
We’re learning all the time, and teaching others how to interact with us. We’re always open to suggestions and input by individuals and we strive to improve whatever & where ever we can. As the group grows, and we experience those ‘growing pains’ that all groups do, we’ll strive to adjust as best we can. And nurture the growth of our fine presentation, while at the same time HAVING FUN! Thank you for your time and consideration.
Rik (Suligowski) Fox
Rotmistrz, Founder, President: Suligowski’s Regiment of the Polish Commonwealth