Who We Are
The 151e Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne (151e RIL or 151 RI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit living-history organization dedicated to the remembrance and perpetuation of the Great War of 1914-1918. Through educational living-histories, reenactments, and online publishings, we portray and interpret for the public the infantrymen of the French army of the period.
Our impression is that of the ordinary French foot-soldier, or Poilu (which means "scruffy" or "hairy"). The regiment that we portray -- more informally known as the Quinze-Un -- was a front-line unit that served throughout the entire war with distinction. Our membership comes from all walks of life and all aged groups. The mass-mobilization of French male citizens meant that men from aged 18 to 50 served in the French army. This wide age bracket is reflected in our own membership.**The Unit Roll**
Our Parent Organization:
The 151e R.I. belongs to a larger parent organization, the Great War Association (G.W.A.), which consists of various units representing the other major powers that sent troops to fight on the Western Front. As a member unit, we also operate autonomously from the GWA in other venues.
Where We Are Based:
Unit members hail from various parts of the United States, from California to Indiana to New York. Most of our membership are based in the mid-Atlantic states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Though we are a diverse group of individuals, we all share the same desire to recreate the French soldier of '14-18' as accurately as possible.
Why We Reenact:
1) To Honor...and perpetuate the memories of these men who sacrificed so much.
2) To Learn...about the Great War and the French soldier's experience in it. Research and documentation play a central role in our approach to reenacting. From documenting the uniform and equipment used, reading up on every facet of army life and distributing this information to others, to even learning French songs of the period. We try to go beyond the books, and experience a small bit of the daily lives of these men all in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of the Poilu's experience.
3) To Educate...others, including the general public, about this terrible war and the French soldier's experience. We don't treat reenacting like a game of tactical paint-ball or Cowboys-and-Indians but rather strive to respectfully portray the real people caught up in a brutal war. Research and documentation play a central role in this process.
4) To Enjoy...the company of friends. Unit members of the Quinze-Un share a strong bond with each other. Undeniably, a big reason we go out to events is to spend some time hanging out together and "talking shop." Everyone of us comes to the hobby with a desire to learn and share, intrigued by the same era of history and the people in it whom we portray. The nature of our events -- particularly the non-public immersive reenactments -- help to cement the bonds of our shared interest. Whether toiling in the ground to dig a new entrenchment on a hot day, scrambling across No-Man'-Land on a dark night, or simply sharing a cup of ration wine on a rainy day, shared interest soon becomes shared experience.