Big Army or Little Army

Telekarster

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Had legions of em.... we used to blow em up with M80's, firecrackers, and melt em with a magnifying glass ;) All the good stuff.... none survived to the present day LOL!!!
 

Timbresmith1

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It was all fun and games until we learned that you could stick the barrel of the air rifle into the soft clay; thus creating a mud-plug that would leave a death-smudge on ya. That or a gritty welt…
 

Preacher

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We had a space in our yard that was under the basketball hoop hung on a tree that my dad had spread some sand on the ground to try to level it out. It worked decently but it also create a space where we could build battle spaces for our army men. We would dig trenches, build mounds and then place our men in position for the battle.
Our rules were this, riflemen had to be in the open but they could have cover. Grenade throwers had to be close to the front lines as how would they throw their gernades into the enemy? Each army man had a position and of course the general and field officers could be in a hut or tent away from the action.

So once everyone was set, we staked off the shooting areas. Each of us was armed with a BB gun and we had a certain space that we could take shots from so you made sure your guys were well guarded. You got a shot for every rifleman that you had in your army from the area where that rifleman was positioned (concealment was important when placing your riflemen). You could shoot from that rifleman's perspective as often as you wanted until that army man was deemed KIA. Your army man was deemed KIA when your opponent would shoot them or blow up enough sand around them to make them fall or flip over. We had so many army men that had BBs imbedded into them. We also used fire crackers when we had them for grenades and artilleries. It was all going so well until my brother one day went out and boobie trapped my area. He ran long fuses under the sand to three M80's he buried on my side of the battlefield. I was winning when he pulled out his lighter and started to light a fuse I could not see. He stood up with an evil grin and said, "you might want to back up a little". I stood up and saw this little whisp of smoke coming toward my army. Three explosions later I was finished, my battlefield littered with broken and in some cases melted army men.
My brother was always one who liked to "bend" the rules.
 

Cam

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Hey Moe is this Planet Oith? No numbskull Alboita!
Games of pretend violence were the norm for us back then. I grew up in a neighbourhood of veteran lands act lots/homes. All the veteran dads were somewhat "off kilter". A shell shocked bunch as opposed to todays ptsd. As kids guns, war play was the fun. I don't recall my late dad being that thrilled with our war games. I too had a Vic Morrow/Combat Mattel Thompson toy machine gun. I assume one wouldn't get far walking down the street these days with a toy like that without the flashing red and blue lights arriving.
 

getbent

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loved playing army. our neighborhood was full of military families and everyone was a veteran... so, lots of cool 'stuff' brought back and home. one neighbor, pat anderson, his dad had recreated the jungle in his 'backyard' of asia, it was crazy, he called it burma, had a sign... had a huge mockup of a Timber Elephant. trenches. The three fat kids (for the time) had great gear, I think their dad was some sort of armorer, but, they were slow and to specific about rules etc to have as much fun as us. We played all over the neighborhood. army men, gi joes, kind of re enacting fire fights in teams... once we all got bb guns, we wore goggles and had fire fights.

Our neighborhood was neat as a pin, all mil families, everyone 'policed the area' the far end of our neighborhood had pear orchards and hops.... having moved from Tahoe, it was a whole different set of riches for a kid on his bike rambling along the American River.
 

gitold

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Loved my little army men. we had a littl field on the side of our house and we would play all day making forts out of dirt. if Someone had firecrackers it was even more fun!!!
 

uriah1

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Ya, Combat with Vic Morrow or Rat Patrol..then I was too old ..lol
Did not do big and little.
 

Boreas

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Never really understood the Small Army. I guess I wasn't much of a strategist.

Only had a couple friends, but most days involved thrashing through the woods and diving into poison ivy patches to avoid being "shot" by imaginary forces. I wore out many a pair of ODs and the sound-making apparatus inside my Thompson either died of overuse, or was "disabled" by my father - who indeed carried a Thompson through France, Belgium, and Germany with the 9th Div.. I was definitely a "Combat" veteran. Since my dad was a sergeant as well, I definitely identified with "Chip" Saunders.
 

tery

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Girls like to play Army too.

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Rowdyman

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We always preferred Cowboys and Indians. Sometimes we would play. 'Who Falls The Best',
which is sometimes erroneously referred to in various neighborhoods as, 'Who Dies The Best'.
Fact- My best friend's older brother, Kevin Murphy invented, 'Who Falls The Best',
in Ottawa, Ontario in 1965.
I was there when the rules were first laid-out and participated in the very first game !!

We would also sometimes play, 'War'. I think your terminology is incorrect, Larry, re: "Army".
Kevin also invented 'War', circa 1964!
For some reason, despite most of us being offspring of WW2 vets, we didn't fight The Germans
very often, but battled The Russians mostly. Pesky Russians. LOL

A little off-topic, but remember Civil War Cards?? Those were COOL !!!
I still remember one that depicted a huge log with spikes sticking out being rolled downhill onto the unfortunate enemy... Ha! Ha!

(Disclaimer, as far as I know,, nobody from our group ever got involved in any serious crime
or violence later in life,,,,)

LOL, Stay safe, RM
 

raito

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Never had green army men. Never liked playing Army, Cops and Robbers, or Cowboys snd Indians. Much preferred to play Astronaut, exploring the moon and planets.
 

brookdalebill

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When I was a kid.
Playing Army was my favorite game, when I wasn’t playing Cowboy.
All my friends and I played.
We had helmets and realistic looking toy pistols and rifles.
We played with the little green soldiers, too.
My favorite aunt Louise gave me a GI Joe doll.
This was a strangely pivotal moment, for me.
I was about 8 or 9.
I loved my aunt, but my Dad explained to me that boys don’t play with dolls.
He said the same thing about long hair, earrings, perfume (after shave).
I never played with GI Joe.
My three little sisters commandeered him into their Barbie Army.
My Dad was looking out for my manliness, I suppose.
I grew my hair while I could, I never wanted any earrings, I like $2.17 Gillette after shave.
Highway robbery!
Thanks for listening.
 

Stubee

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I was never into the toy army stuff but my brother had a number of the little plastic soldiers. My friend Ernie has a huge set, many of which he molded himself from lead, and would stage “wars” with his two armies. He had everything from colonial to WWII toy soldiers.

We played more war type games outside than inside, often with real BB guns and in the woods where we could plan ambushes and such. I think we did more Cowboys & Indians than WWII battles.

I was born in 1950 so WWII seemed a very recent thing to all of us. Most dads had served somewhere and many in combat. I can guarantee none of them set up little combat zones in their yards but instead rarely talked with us kids about it, if at all. One of my friends once had an aftermath picture from a Pacific island battle and it was shocking, but I doubt his dad even knew he’d found it. My dad sidestepped any discussion of his European theatre bombardier role until I was a young adult. He did have a very strong bond with his wartime mates for the rest of his life.
 

Boreas

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Never had green army men. Never liked playing Army, Cops and Robbers, or Cowboys snd Indians. Much preferred to play Astronaut, exploring the moon and planets.
Sounds like you are a little younger. By the mid-late 60s, as the Viet Nam war soured the public opinion of conflict, war was becoming a "bad" thing again. Hopefully that trend continues.
 

Boreas

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I was never into the toy army stuff but my brother had a number of the little plastic soldiers. My friend Ernie has a huge set, many of which he molded himself from lead, and would stage “wars” with his two armies. He had everything from colonial to WWII toy soldiers.

We played more war type games outside than inside, often with real BB guns and in the woods where we could plan ambushes and such. I think we did more Cowboys & Indians than WWII battles.

I was born in 1950 so WWII seemed a very recent thing to all of us. Most dads had served somewhere and many in combat. I can guarantee none of them set up little combat zones in their yards but instead rarely talked with us kids about it, if at all. One of my friends once had an aftermath picture from a Pacific island battle and it was shocking, but I doubt his dad even knew he’d found it. My dad sidestepped any discussion of his European theatre bombardier role until I was a young adult. He did have a very strong bond with his wartime mates for the rest of his life.
My dad (European theater infantry) only talked about the cold, wet, and mud. An odd thing is that I could never once get him to "camp out" with me. He tried it only once, made it to about 11pm, then went back in the house. As a kid, I didn't really understand this. He said he had spent "enough" time on or in the ground during the war. While this is certainly true, as an adult, I now suspect it brought back more visceral memories he spent many years trying to bury.

He NEVER talked about combat. He would just clam up and say he didn't remember. Pretty much the only stories he would tell were amusing and not associated with direct combat.
 

Wrighty

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I grew up in a kid-rich environment in the 50s-60s. It was common to find at friends' house some small, olive green WWII action figures. We played with these for several years before growing out of it.

We also played Army ourselves. I had a Vic Morrow style submachine gun. Our Army play was mostly about shooting, getting shot, and dying in elaborate ways.

When we would. meet up after school, the question was always "Big Army" or "Little Army."

I predict that many of the older forumers did the same thing as kids.
We had Airfix soldiers about 1/2 inch high that you broke off of plastic ‘trees’, a bit like parts of an Airfix plastic kit. There were dozens of types available, American Civil War, Marines etc. etc. They were designed to be painted with modeling paint but we never bothered. So ling as the two sides in a battle were different colours, no problem. They used to turn up everywhere, under tge settee, in the cupboards, often stuck in the vacuum cleaner. Happy days!
AIRFIX A00731V WWI BRITISH ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY 1/72 1/76 Model Soldiers Kit
 

Larry F

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I remember my shock at finding some medals earned on a firing range for Hanford Patrol Men. He seemed to do pretty well with a submachine gun.

I'll let that sink in. My dad was actually trained in submachine gun usage. This was just a bit weird to think of my dad tooling around with a submachine gun.

Since this was at Hanford, which had 8 reactors at one time, he never spoke a word about it. Same with other dads. The only work talk at the dinner table was a summary of that day's news about who was going hunting or fishing that weekend. We did hear about a few of the pranks they played on each other. My dad's favorite had some guys doctoring with a co-worker's coffee cup. They filled it with mercury then added a shallow layer of coffee on top. When the worker came back to the area, one of the pranksters produced a lug nut and floated it on the mercury covered by coffee, saying "Geez Bob, your coffee is so strong that you can float a lug nut in it."
 

Larry F

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Concerning our ziplipped fathers, I had an insight into this when I read about a soldier at D-Day who was so frightened, that he crawled under the body of a dead soldier until it was safe for him to emerge. This poor guy was so ashamed of this that he never told a soul. I can easily imagine how soldiers in combat would react with self-preservation acts that they felt would be seen as cowardly. Even if they only entertained "cowardly" thoughts, I can easily imagine the shame they would have felt.

In Boy Scouts, we once spent a weekend at a nearby Army base (long gone). One activity was to visit a bombing exercise, where a string of cannons stretching as far as the eye could see began shelling an area some distance away. It was fine at first, when they were setting up and dialing it in with infrequent shots. But two hours later, we were almost reduced to tears amid this ungodly nonstop barrage of artillery blasting for hours. We spent the afternoon in a tent command center, huddled over cups of hot chocolate. We were barely keeping it together, so intense was the noise. Pretty soon, all we wanted to do was leave. When I see movies with shell-shocked soldiers being "softened up" for a couple of weeks before heading into battle themselves. It is not a trivial background noise for a couple of hours. It shook us to the core and could easily been driven nuts after a week or two.
 




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