Wound Cards: An Alternative System

First let me start by saying I only have experience reenacting with 1 organization and while the methods employed by these two organizations were drastically different they almost assuredly do not represent all available methods for dealing with “casualties” during a reenactment.

The Original Casualty Simulation / Wound Card System

Was blue "alive" or was it yellow....

Was blue alive or was it yellow....

Before a battle whoever was reenacting as the medic would pass out small envelopes to each soldier. Those envelopes were to go — unopened — into your first aid pouch.

If you took a hit from the enemy (and this would depend on your organizations Rules of http://mccallssf.com/ Engagement and no doubt results in arguments) — you would fall, sit, or otherwise take yourself “out of action” and signify your “death” by taking off your helmet.

At this point — if you have a possibility of living — again, depending on your ROE — you could scream and cry for “medic” as much as you wanted hoping that he would come around.

When the medic arrived, he would open up your envelope and the card would either be “dead” or “alive.” Our medic used an UNO deck. If you were alive, put your helmet on and rejoin the action.

Medics from opposing forces were allowed to assist foreign soldiers, but they would usually request someone with a weapon to be present to guard over the now captured casualties.

Dealing With Casualties Without Medics

I’ll briefly explain how we dealt with low-attendance / no-medic situations:

  • If you take a hit, you’re out for the battle
  • Everyone is allowed 2 “lives” — wait until the battle has passed by, then regroup and reattack
  • If you die, immediately fall back, wait for an NCO, then reattack
  • If you die, immediately walk around looking for a lost grenade, give up, then find a bunch of similarly dead reenactors to go sit and talk loudly with thereby annoying every reenactor that is trying desperately to hear where the enemy went.
  • Throw your helmet on the ground and yell at the guy who “shot” you because he obviously saw your shot and should have taken the hit earlier but you……………………..

Wound/Casualty Card System Goals

I wanted to create a new wound card system for when there is medical staff — preferably more than one. It’s time we medics start having a more active role in the reenactment aside from only serving to recycle people back into battle.

Here are my goals viagra online canada for this new system:

  • Incorporate varying levels of aid into the system
  • Fully involve the medics and allow for use of a Battalion Aid Station (if one exists)
  • Keep it simple. We aren’t training medical staff, we’re having fun. These cards don’t tell you that you have a “fractured left femur with a partially severed whatever.” Not all medics are real-life medics, anyway.
  • Elicit some level of care from your fellow soldiers rather than them just moving on
  • Get somewhat close to mimicking real battle casualty odds

How my System Works

Basic Set-up

I created — for my organization — 53 cards for the weekend. Obviously your numbers may vary, but you want to create a set amount for the entire weekend with a ratio of about 1.5 “alive” cards to every “dead” card. In my case, this worked out to be 32 “alive” and 21 “dead.” Note that because you made a set amount for the weekend, the ratio for each battle is different.

In WWII, for each American death there were approximately 2.6 wounded, but that includes hospital admissions.

These cards are placed in small envelopes — don’t seal, you can reuse them — and those envelopes are placed shuffled. Each soldier gets one card per battle to be placed in their first aid pouch.

See below for some additional details on setting this up, including printable cards

When you are Wounded

Take your hit, remove your helmet to signify you are out of action and take out the card from your first aid pouch.

First off, you are either fully aware that you are hurt or you are knocked out cold. In the former situation you can scream your head off for medic, maybe crawl around a little bit, etc. In the latter the most you can do is some small groans, moans, or coughing.

You are Injured

You are Injured

Secondly, there are three levels of aid that you may require: Buddy Aid, Medic, or Aid Station.

  1. Buddy Aid:

    If one of your fellow reenactors (friend or foe) decides to help you, that is all that is required.

  2. Medic:

    A medic is required in order to return you to the battle

  3. Aid Station:

    You must be evacuated to an aid station by a medic to regroup before you are allowed back in the battle.

Note that in my system, I wanted to provide maximum incentive for reenactors to stop and help out their wounded. In my system if someone had “aid station” checked, but had a buddy with them, the medic could “downgrade” the card from “aid station” to “medic” thus returning them to battle immediately. I realize that that just adds all sorts of confusion to the mix, though.

When Someone Else Takes a Hit

It’s in your best interests (i.e. more firepower) to go help them. All you need to do is take a look at their wound card. If it says “buddy aid” then help them to their feet, grab their rifle for ’em, and watch their back as you both reenter the battle

When Your Card Says “Dead”

Sorry, You are Dead

Sorry, You are Dead

You have two options:

  • Play Dead
  • Scream and carry-on about some obviously mortal wound with the false hope that an aidman might evacuate you to a field hospital

Not an option:

  • Talk, move disruptively. (wait for the battle to move past you, then walk to the rear or aid station)

Second “hit”

The battle must end at some point. When you’ve been hit 2 times (or you don’t have a wound card at all) then you are “dead.” (see above for your options).

Get the Materials

I am providing you with printable PDFs for the “alive” cards (front & back) as well as the “dead” cards. The dead cards don’t have a back because it was my goal to print unique stuff back there to keep the reenactor occupied such as a short story, some trivia, an MoH citation, or a Sudoku. Feel free to do so.

Filling out the cards

Also, you’ll need to fill out the “alive” cards. I recommend printing the appropriate number and checking the appropriate boxes. Feel free to tweak, but I went with the following ratios:

  • Buddy Aid: 10%
  • Medic: 30%
  • Aid Station: 20%
  • Dead: 40%

Additionally, I pretty much just made up how many cards would be conscious or unconscious weighting conscious toward “buddy aid” and unconscious toward “aid station” with “medic being pretty even. Again, feel free to tweak.

Downloadable Materials

Casualty SOP:

This went out in an email before the battle and was reiterated before passing out the cards:

Casualty SOP:

– It is a bit different than you veteran types will remember. Here’s how it works.

There are 53 cards for the weekend out there. 32 of them are “up” cards, 21 are “dead” cards. Which means for every dead card there are 1.45 Alive cards. Decent odds. In WWII, for each American death there were approximately 2.6 wounded. But that number takes into account hospital admissions.

When you take a hit, pull out your wound card and examine it.

If homepage you are dead:
– Please do not talk or walk around while the battle is progressing, it is extremely distracting to other individuals. Instead sit or lay tight until the battle has passed by.
– Once it has, you may walk to the far rear (preferably to a battalion aid station) where you may quietly talk so others are not distracted.

If you are injured, there are two things indicated on the card:
1st: Alertness (conscious or unconscious). The first will allow you to call for assistance, the second will make you stay quiet until a medic or buddy comes to your aid.
2nd: Level of aid required.
– Buddy Aid
– Medic
– Aid Station

Once your card is used up for the battle, your next hit renders you dead.

I’m interested to know if you use the system at a reenactment and how it worked for you. Additionally, if you see areas that could be clarified or corrected just fire off a comment below.


  • Nate Collins says:

    One event I went to had a hit in leg, arm or butt on some cards if you weren’t dead. i think something more for the medics to do would be better than just pretending to assist.

    • admin says:

      Nate, thanks for stopping by. When I was making this up, I started with a crazy-complicated wound card — I should upload a photo of it — it was nuts. Here were the options on it:

      You are Dead / You are Alive
      Barely or unconscious / conscious (check all that apply)

      – unable to walk
      – incoherent
      – walk with assist
      – in extreme pain
      – other

      Plus it had a silhouette for “wound location” as well as a box to write in dramatic tips for the soldier as well as a detailed wound description for the aidman.

      While it would be great if we were doing a medical reenactment, ultimately I thought it defied the KISS principle. There’s nothing stopping a medic that wanted a “more involved” tactical to write some notes on the wound cards before handing them out…

      Were you a medic at that event, or a regular Joe? What did you think?

      • Nate Collins says:

        I was a regular leg at that event. But it helped the event. At one point I knew I was bing shot at but could not locate the shooter and after the second shot decided to take a hit. I had wounded right arm and could continue a little later I found the shooter and he said he had shot me twice before and I took a kill. It helped because it added a little realisem to the event. My dad does medic and at the last event he was not able to do medic fuctions, so I was trying to come up with better ideas. thanks.


      • Taylor Dewey says:

        Here’s a link to the original version of the card I did. If it helps you, feel free to download and use it Wound Card version 1

  • ww2md says:

    This is always an issue in reenacting. Who dies and who doesn’t. In some units being a medic is like being the low man. Every unit should have good medic impressions, in the field and for living history. Thanks for bringing the medic impression to a higher level.

    • admin says:

      Yeah, there’s been a lot of situations where the “new guy” who doesn’t have a rifle is given a Geneva Convention brassard and told to go give the magic touch to downed GIs. It does a disservice to medical reenacting as well as the “new guy.”

  • Ryan Henry says:


    To avoid the situation you described about medics in a unit being an afterthought, I became part of a cadre that formed a new unit and stated outright that I would do medic impressions ONLY. I have broken that rule and done rifleman on occasion, but I have all the gear and stuff to do airborne, leg, and corpsman impressions as needed. New guys to our unit come in as riflemen only. As an aid man re-enactor, nothing gets me more angry than to see a bunch of guys who don’t know how to do the impression correctly “sporting the brassard” to allow them to participate. If I get detailed with guys like this (and I have), I put them on litter teams.