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Eric91

History of german pionniers companies

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Eric91

Hi all,

In my mind, German pioniers history is even more complicated than french Genie or English Royal Engineers history. This is obviously a consequence of the existence of independant landers.

Is there a book or a website dealing specifically with this topic (pionniers history), before (and during ) WW1 ?

Thank you for your help !

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Paul Hederer
Hi all,

In my mind, German pioniers history is even more complicated than french Genie or English Royal Engineers history. This is obviously a consequence of the existence of independant landers.

Is there a book or a website dealing specifically with this topic (pionniers history), before (and during ) WW1 ?

Thank you for your help !

Hello,

I would suggest " Das Ehrenbuch der Deutschen Pioniere," edited by Paul Henrici.

Paul

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Hoplophile

Welcome, Eric, to the forum.

Paul is quite right. The best book on the subject is Paul Heinrici, Das Ehrenbuch der Deutschen Pioniere. Unfortunately, there is nothing comparable in English.

The organization of the Pioniere in World War I was very different from that of the Royal Engineers and somewhat different from that of the French Troupes de Génie. It was nonetheless based on a relatively simple concept.

In peacetime, each army corps had one or two pioneer battalions. The first of these was the ordinary pioneer battalion of the army corps. The second, if present, was a "fortress pioneer" (Festungspionier) battalion. (In sharp contrast to French and British fortress engineer units, which were concerned with the defense of fortresses, the German fortress pioneer battalions were concerned with offensive siege warfare.)

Each of these battalions, whether fortress or not, consisted of four companies. Upon mobilization, each battalion raised two reserve companies. Once these companies had been formed, each battalion split itself into two field battalions.

In the case of ordinary pioneer battalions, each field battalion received a different assignment. The first was assigned to the active army corps fielded by the peacetime army corps of its parent battalion. The second was either assigned to a reserve army corps or a fortress.

In the case of fortress pioneer battalions, the two field battalions were kept together, thereby forming a fortress pioneer regiment of six companies.

I have written an article that lays out the organization of German pioneer units in the first year or so of World War I. It's still pretty rough, but may be useful for those who want an English-language introduction to the subject.

The electronic manuscript to too large to attach to this post. I am, however, happy to send a copy, via personal message, to anyone who would like one.

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Eric91

Hi all,

Thank you Paul and Bruce for your responses.

I am currently writting an article dealing with pioniere, RE and french Génie for our website. I try to make a comparison of the 3 systems.

For commonwealth tunneling companies and even more for french génie, many documents are available. It is more difficult to find something relevant for german pioniere.

Unfortunately, the book written by Paul Heinrici is difficult to find (at a reasonable price !). It would have been a good exercice for me to read in german !

Bruce, I'm sure that your manuscript will be helpfull, I will send you my email by PM. Many thanks for your proposal.

Regards,

Eric

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Hoplophile

When I advertised my article, I had forgotten how rough it was. I am thus going to clean it up for distribution to those who might be interested. Here is the first part of that effort. Comments (and corrections) are most welcome.

German_Pioneer_Troops_I.pdf

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bob lembke

Eric;

The Pioniere also had other roles than what you would expect from combat engineers. One of the most important was a role in the testing of new equipment, not only equipment that you would associate with engineers or infantry, but, for example, with new advances in artillery. For example, the famed storm unit, the Sturm=Bataillon Nr. 5 (Rohr) , was (actually its predecessor unit) originally organized to test a new infantry gun (cannon). Hence the original unit (Detachment Caslow) and the final storm battalion were actually pioneer units. Additionally, as with the French and the British, the flamethrower detachments were Pioniere. (My father served in Garde=Reserve=Pionier=Regiment (Flammenwerfer) , the German unit.)

There was a pioneer testing company (I am having a momentary problem coming up with its name) that was actually, at least for practical reasons, was the fifth company of the Garde=Pionier=Bataillon, although its formal title did not mention the Prussian Guards, and had an important role in testing equipment.

Additionally, Pioniere were often used to stiffen infantry units for major attacks, and also add their specialized weapons, like explosive devices, often like a company of Pioniere for an infantry battalion, or a platoon per company.

I have studied the Pioniere quite a bit, and the Brit and French engineers a bit, and would be happy to try to answer further questions. Would you mind mentioning the web-site you are writing for?

Bob Lembke

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Tom W.
Is there a book or a website dealing specifically with this topic (pionniers history), before (and during ) WW1 ?

This is a great book.

http://tinyurl.com/a4yl9r

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Eric91

Thank you all for your responses, and thanks to Bruce for his article.

In fact, my initial question was not specific enough : my research concerns the companies who have carried out underground works : Tunnelling companies, "compagnies de mineurs" in France, and Pionniers an Germany.

But now, I have the answer !

Eric

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