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French Repacked BD-71 Switchboard

Advanced Guard Militaria offered a French repacked switchboard for $250 dollars, shipped. When I saw that I pounced on it as it was a good price and I wanted to rebuy the BD-71 switchboard I once had. I bought that one for $80 dollars at an auction in 2011.

The switchboard came in a large box and a smaller box contained the accessories.

Unpacking the switchboard was like peeling back an onion. First I had to peel back some paper coverings and open the box.

Next, I discovered some kind of canvas, metallic-backed waterproof bag. When I opened it up, I probably should have done it outside to be safe as the bag appeared to be vacuum sealed, and yet when I opened it, I heard gasses escaping.

Who knows what kind of gas might have been pumped into the bag prior to sealing? At any rate, I got a lung full of 1968 French air.

When I opened it up, there was another box!

When I opened the box, the switchboard finally came into view. It was packed tightly up against cardboard (which left packing lines on the unit). It also contained this weird brown cloth-like packing material (if anyone knows what that is let me know!) –

The accessories were all in waxy and gummy waterproofed cardboard boxes. I had to use scissors to cut it open.

The results look great! I really like the switchboard, the white/tan cardboard lines not so. If anyone had an idea on how to remove them without damaging the wood let me know!

When I began to open up the switchboard there were documents and manuals. There was a French inventory list, a French wire and circuit test, a wiring diagram, and a field manual, TM 1-330.

Now to make the switchboard more historically accurate to WW2, I bought a data plate and swapped it out. I kept the old French one and just added it to my bar as kitsch.

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WW2 Reenacting Personal Printable Items


Hobsons Soap 4oz Airborne – Looks to be some kind of 101st Airborne -branded soap box. Made by the Hobson Soap Co. out of New York. Print on cardstock and then cut and fold where applicable. The soap was likely wrapped in paper inside the container. Use any standard 4oz soap bar.

Toilet Paper Package – The US Army got 22 sheets wrapped up into brown kraft/brown paperbag type paper. About 6in in wide by 4in. long

Fold in the sides to the center. Fold up the bottom to about a third. Use some elmer’s type glue to glue the bottom. Put toilet paper in the top. You can glue the top down or leave it open so you can reuse the package

Red Cross Snack Bar Ticket Nibble for a Nickle – A Red Cross ticket to purchase something at a snack bar.

This measures 1.75in wide by 3in long. This was originally taken from an eBay listing in the late 1990s/early 2000s.

Paper type is unknown. It’s not cardstock but not regular 8.11in by 11in printing paper. Worthpoint has a picture of a similar model (that doesn’t include the pedestal).

The pdf hasn’t been tested but if needed you can download the document file and make edits.

As it’s supposed to be Romulus and Remus it’s probably a Red Cross Ticket associated with the Italian Campaign.

Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Permit No. 157416 | For use of a member of the US armed forces or its allies. It is dated 2 Dec 1944.

3.5in wide by 2.25in long.

Paper type is unknown as is use case. There is no pdf associated with this you’d have to take the images and create one.

V-Mail Envelope – This has two parts. The front and the rear. Print off the front first on a standard 8.5×11 sheet of printing paper. Then flip it over such that the address on the rear is at the bottom (link to my Google Drive) when holding the front. See the image gallery for specifics.

Then fill out the V-mail using a pencil or a WW2-era pen. Fold the sides inward and then close it.

Note that the actual V-Mail is 9.25 inches high by 11in. wide. This is because the envelope closure lip extends out.

GI Jerry Guide Book by Lt Dave Berger – A pdf of about a dozen GI Jerry comics. Lt Dave Berger was a cartoonist who published a book of his comics in 1945. His Wikipedia article explains more.

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WW2 Reenacting Ordnance and Firearm Printables

The Ordnance Soldiers Guide – This is a booklet an Ordnance replacement soldier would have gotten at a replacement depot. It’s designed to be a quick refresher of content they would’ve learned in basic training.

Converting an Ohio Ordnance Works BAR into a WW2 BAR – Ohio Ordinance Works no longer sells BARs but if you come across one you can use this guide to help swap out parts for correct works to make it period correct. This is not a WW2 document but a helpful one for reenactors.

M1917 Ammunition box plans – Plans on how to create the wooden M1917 ammo box used to hold different kinds of ammo

60mm M2 Mortar Firing Tables – FT60-D-2 – Print on ivory-coloured A4 paper (approximately 100-120gsm). Print on both sides to produce one Firing Table.

M1a1 Bangalore Torpedoes and Crate: There are a few guides out there such as one from the US Militaria Forum, one from a group of reenactors out of New Zealand, and another one out of Belgium. However, these guides are very brief and don’t provide quality step-by-step instructions or a pdf.

See Bangalore Torpedo Training on YouTube for a great video on how they work.

Denver Arsenal 30 cal – Prints off 10 little cards that get inserted into a bandoleer. Print on brown card stock.

1/2 Pound TNT – Prints off two types of labels. A white one and a yellow one. I’m not sure which is more accurate. You can follow this 3D printing guide by ChrisNZ to print off the block and then wrap the paper around it.

1 Pound TNT – Prints off a white label. You can follow this 3D printing guide by ChrisNZ to print off the block and then wrap the paper around it. My guess is you need to print off two 1/2 pound blocks and then put them together and wrap the label around it.

Chemical Warfare Identification and First Aid Pocket Reference Gas Guide inside and outside | Describes what to do during a gas attack

5th Army Engineer Training March 1943 – Looks to be a cleaned-up version of a quick primer on how to lay a minefield using the Hawkins mine.

The M-E5 Series Flame Throwers May 1944 – A tactical discussion of the E5R1-5 and E4-5 Flame Throwers in tanks. E5R1-5 is installed in light tanks and the E4-5 is installed in medium tanks.

The doctrine is to use the flame throwers where infantry units are likely to cluster such as in bunkers, heavy underbrush, and basements in an urban setting.