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Remembered Today:

German postcards

ian turner

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Bought two postcards at the weekend, both featuring the German navy.

The first - SMS Augsburg - a Kolberg class cruiser. I see her history on the World War 1 Naval Combat site:

SMS Augsburg

Built Kiel Navy Yard, laid down August 1908, completed November 1910, cost 7,593,000 Marks.


Length 130 m waterline 130.5 m overall, beam 14 m, draught 5.48 m, displacement 4,362 tonnes load 4,915 tonnes full load.


Kolberg 4 shaft Melms & Pfenniger turbines, 19,000 shp, 25.5 knots

Mainz 2 shaft AEG-Curtiss turbines, 20,200 shp, 26 knots

Cöln 2 shaft Germania turbines, 19,000 shp, 25.5 knots

Augsburg 4 shaft Parsons turbines, 19,000 shp, 25.5 knots


Kolberg 30,400 shp = 26.3 knots

Mainz 22,040 shp = 26.8 knots

Cöln 29,036 shp = 26.8 knots

Augsburg 31,033 shp = 26.7 knots


1-0.5in decks, 2in gun shields


12 x 105mm (4.1in) SKL/ 45cal (8 x 1), 4 x 52mm (2in), 2 x 450mm (17.7in) TT.Comments:

Significantly larger continuation of the light cruiser designs with 2 extra main guns and more speed. Crew 367.


1914 Assigned to coast defences and served in Baltic.

September 1914 Operates in Baltic and involved in skirmishes with Russian forces.

25 January 1915 Damaged by mine - under repair until April.

1918 U-Boat then minesweeper support ship.

Ceded to Japan and scrapped in 1922.


The card has been written on, and posted in 1916 - I will post the reverse side shortly. If any German handwriting decipherers care to have a go I should be interested to learn what was written.



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The second card - a view of the warship harbour at Kiel.

Likewise written on and posted - by the same sailor if I am not mistaken.

Once again, I would appreciate a German interpretation.




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Hi Ian,

Can't make out much because the images are very faint, but both were sent by a sailor - can't read his name - from SMS Bremen to an address "near Augsburg", hence perhaps the SMS Augsburg card. (The recipients were Frau Anke Hausner and Fräulein ?Emilie Hausner)

Could you try rescanning with a touch more contrast and a slightly higher resolution, if possible?


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Thanks for the new scans - a great improvement!

Slow progress with the messages, but here are a few snippets to be going on with:

Your sailor's name was Josef Hopfenzitz (rank Minenmatrose) and his ship was SMS Bremse (a Brummer Class Cruiser Minelayer), not the Bremen which was sunk by mines in 1915 before these cards were written!

The ladies in question lived at the caretaker's residence (Hausmeisterei) of Nähfadenfabrik Göggingen, a sewing yarn manufactury in Göggingen near Augsburg (now a suburb thereof). A bit of googling shows that the company still exists, but is now called Ackermann-Göggingen AG, having merged with Zwirnerei Ackermann of Heilbronn in 1957. I would guess the ladies were the wife and daughter of the caretaker.

Hopfenzitz is an uncommon name, but there is a Johann Hopfenzitz on the war memorial in the Catholic church of SS George & Michael in Augsburg-Göggingen.

See http://www.denkmalprojekt.org/dkm_deutschl...ael_wk1_bay.htm

He died 24/9/1914. A relative, perhaps.


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Thanks a lot for your interpretation and research! Well, I always find these little things quite interesting. Such a mundane item as a postcard nevertheless carries its own bit of history.



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OK, Ian, here's the SMS Augsburg one:

Z.H. Frau

Anka Hausner

Nähfadenfabrik Göggingen

b. Augsburg


S.M.S. Bremse d. 29.8.1916. Abs. Minenmatrose Hopfenzitz / S.M.S. Bremse / Feldpost

Sehr geehrte Frau Hausner!

Durch auf Sie wandern mei=

ne Gedanken zurück in die

Heimat. Und da ich gerade noch

Zeit habe, sende ich Ihnen

eine Ansicht vom kleinen

Kreuzer Augsburg. Ich bin

noch gesund und munter

was ich auch von Ihnen hoffe,

doch ist der Krieg noch nicht bald

vorbei? daß man wieder

?zu Haus kommt! Viele Grüße von

der Ostsee sendet Ihnen

Josef Hopfenzitz

Dear Frau Hausner,

My thoughts drift back home all the way to you. And as I happen to have time at the moment, I'm sending you a picture of the small cruiser Augsburg. I am still in good health and spirits, as I hope you are, but won't the war be over soon? so that we can all go home! Regards from the Baltic to you from Josef Hopfenzitz


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The information on SMS Augsburg leaves a bit to be desired. German light cruisers were also designed to lay mines. This wasn't just a theoretical capacity; Kolberg, for example, conducted a minelaying sortie along the English east coast in December 1914 that accounted for a number of ships.

In addition, both Kolberg and Augsburg were rearmed during the war, with the 12 105mm being replaced by six 150mm guns. Two 88mm anti-aircraft guns and a pair of torpedo tubes were also fitted in 1918.

Augsburg was among the more important units in the Baltic for much of the war. Very late in the war she wasn't just a minesweeper support ship -- she was the flagship of German minesweeping forces in the North Sea.

Best wishes,


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Hi Ian,

After sleeping on it, and following valuable consultation with Mick "Siege Gunner" Forsyth (thanks Mick!), here's my/our best reading of the other postcard. Some question marks remain, I'm afraid, but the gist is clear.

Z.H. Fräulein

Emilie Hausner

Nähfadenfabrik Göggingen

b. Augsburg


S.M.S. Bremse d. 22.8.1916. Abs. Minenmatrose Hopfenzitz / S.M.S. Bremse / Feldpost

Sehr geehrtes Fräulein Hausner!

Sie werden mir bitte wohl

verzeihen, daß ich bei Ihnen

nicht [mehr or recht] ?vorgekommen bin

denn die Zeit ist immer kurz -

Hier sende ich Ihnen eine

Ansicht vom Kieler Hafen

?von meinem ?Lebensort.

Bin jetzt auf der Bremse

und bin noch ziemlich

gesund. Aber hoffentlich ist

bald Friede. Viele Grüße vom

Ostseestrand sendet Ihnen

Josef Hopfenzitz

Dear Miss Hausner,

Please forgive me for [either: not calling in on you, or: not making a good impression on you], but time is always short. I am sending you a view of Kiel harbour, ?of my ?present location. I'm now on the Bremse and am still in fairly good health. But hopefully there will be peace soon. Regards from the Baltic coast from Josef Hopfenzitz.


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