Tableau Number 1
The 81mm Mortar Squad
Date: January 2013
Author: Chris Guska - 90th IDPG
What the hell is a "tableau"?
Webster's provides the following:
1: a graphic description or representation
2: a striking or artistic grouping
3: [short for tableau vivant (from French, literally, living picture)] : a depiction of a scene usually presented on a stage by silent and motionless costumed participants
As a kid, I remember spending many hours pouring over Windrow & Hawkins' The World War II GI : GI in Color Photographs, picking through the numerous vignettes and wishing that there was more than one photo of many of the scenes depicted.
With that being said, crew served weapons, (81mm, 60mm, 1919...) are a common display item in reenactment groups - but are seldom incorporated as part of a unit impression. With notable exception of our UK counterparts of GI 44-45 and FAAA, I have yet to see a stateside group put together a cohesive 81mm Mortar Squad.
With these "tableau" articles, I want to go beyond what Windrow & Hawkins did, and to present an entertaining, engaging look at what a what all a full "crew layout" would be - Background Knowledge, Weapons, Equipment, Specialty Items, and opportunities for "easter eggs".
I can't believe it has taken me this long to put something like this together. With some luck, I'll be able to take this concept beyond to look at some of the other common infantry weapons...
90th IDPG Original Research