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ph0ebus

The Hermanstellung - October 28, 1918

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ph0ebus

Hello all,

My grandfather was, while assigned to the Prussian Army, Feldartillerie Regt. Nr. 43, 3. Batterie, engaged in a battle along the Hermannstellung. From his Militrapass I have the following brief entry:

28.10.18 Fighting before and in Hermannstellung

A book I found ('Over There') referred to the Hermannstellung as 'Germany's last defense'...I am hoping someone on the GWF can direct me to where I can read more about the Hermannstellung, preferably in English. I am trying to wrap my head around what my grandfather's experiences were in wartime, and I would think the loss of the Hermanstellung must have dealt a considerable blow to morale, which by this time during the war must already have been in steep decline.

Any and all information would be greatly appreciated.

-Daniel

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mebu

Hermanstellung I ran between Le Cateau and St Souplet , on the east of the river Selle; Hermanstellung II was between Landrecies and and Catillon, behind the Sambre & Oise Canal, with extension to the north. Neither actually had had much work carried out: trenches and defences were planned but little work was carried out, apart from marking trenches and wiring, so use was made of the waterways, woods etc as natural defences.

If the date in question is Oct 28th the Hermanstellung II is the most likely, although this was a quiet period after the severe fighting crossing the Selle / Hermanstellung I and a lull for a few days. British 6th Division did some smaller attacks on some parts and further north the 3rd Army front was also quiet.

I'm not aware of a book which gives full info but the divisional histories of the New Zealand, 25th, 42nd divs contain some info as well as the Story of the Fourth Army.

Hope it's of use, Peter

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bartensabien

The Hermann Stellung was the line following the river Scheldt (Schelde in Dutch).

The line ran from north of Gent (Flanders) al the way down to Tournai and Valenciennes in northern France.

The "final advance" was started on 29th of september 1918.

Two days later the Allied forces had moved 6 miles, more than they did in 4 years.

Near Ledeghem the advance was stopped: the strong German resistance and the difficulties to get the necessarry supplies (food, guns, men...) throught the old front line on time. An enormous amount of material had to be moved through the mud, swamps,.... (After 4 years of war the landscape was totally destroyed).

After 2 weeks reorgazation the attack went on (14 oct. 1918). The front line moved quickly to the river Lyss and the river Scheldt.

The attacked was held up at the borders of the river Scheldt untill 11 november 1918.

The river Scheldt was the last German defence.....

You will find more on this forum or on the web. Search for "Hermann Stellung" (2 words) or Herman Line.

regards

Bart

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mebu

So the enquirer now has 2 replies to his query, covering the southern and northern parts of the line along the Selle/Sheldt.

Does he acknowledge the replies or thank any who have taken the trouble to reply?

This is not an uncommon occurence: repliers often have to dig out sources/photos/diaries etc, and generally enquirers say thanks, which is fine, but lack of thanks is both discourteous and unhelpful to future posts wanting info.

Peter

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SiegeGunner

Peter,

Dan/Phoebus is an active member of the forum and regularly gives assistance as well as receives it. If he has not returned to this thread for a few days, I am sure there is a good reason, and I hope no-one will be put off giving further information pending his reappearance.

Mick

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ph0ebus
So the enquirer now has 2 replies to his query, covering the southern and northern parts of the line along the Selle/Sheldt.

Does he acknowledge the replies or thank any who have taken the trouble to reply?

This is not an uncommon occurence: repliers often have to dig out sources/photos/diaries etc, and generally enquirers say thanks, which is fine, but lack of thanks is both discourteous and unhelpful to future posts wanting info.

Peter

Hi Peter,

Point taken...I am indeed grateful for the replies on this (and other) threads and usually am pretty good about saying so.

Apologies to any I offended by my inaction.

-Daniel

EDIT: Peter, I should also mention I have been, since your initial reply, trying to chase down a copy of the book you mentioned (the Story of the Fourth Army). It appears that the New York Public Library has a copy at the main branch and I am trying to rearrange my schedule to get over there to have a look.

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mebu

OK Dan, sorry for the rant but it has happened with one or two enquiries from other people.

If you have trouble getting hold of 4th Army book let me know and I'll scan and send relevant bits...off-forum as it will be larger than 100 KB.

Suggest you check first if likely to be southern sector, as per 4th Army, or northern sector as posted by Bart.

Peter

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ph0ebus

OK Dan, sorry for the rant but it has happened with one or two enquiries from other people.

If you have trouble getting hold of 4th Army book let me know and I'll scan and send relevant bits...off-forum as it will be larger than 100 KB.

Suggest you check first if likely to be southern sector, as per 4th Army, or northern sector as posted by Bart.

Peter

Hi Peter,

Thanks...I am not sure how I can determine where my grandfather was along the line. The mention of his service along the Hermanstellung with the 43rd FAR in his Militarpass is minimal, at best. Would giving the entries before and after that line help?

September 1 – October 15, 1918: Defensive battle on the Champagne and on the Meuse.

October 21, 1918 – Emanuel is transferred from the 9th Battery, 43rd FAR to the 3rd Battery of the 43rd FAR.

October 28, 1918 – Emanuel and the 3rd Battery were engaged in battle in and around Hermannstellung, or the ‘Hermann Line’ in Flanders; it was the last major defensive system west of the Rhine.

November 11, 1918 – Armistice is announced, and formal hostilities cease. Emanuel is in Englefontaine with his unit when the Armistice is announced.

-Daniel

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mebu

Dan, Englefontaine was about 20 miles behind the British line on Nov 11, it is on the western edge of Mormal Forest which was fought over in the first days of November. The front/armistice line was at Hautmont, 20 miles east of the forest.

The British 42nd Division says it was fighting the Prussian 25th Division here but I don't know if this included 43rd FAR. Perhaps one of the German army experts could help here.

Regards Peter

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ph0ebus

Dan, Englefontaine was about 20 miles behind the British line on Nov 11, it is on the western edge of Mormal Forest which was fought over in the first days of November. The front/armistice line was at Hautmont, 20 miles east of the forest.

The British 42nd Division says it was fighting the Prussian 25th Division here but I don't know if this included 43rd FAR. Perhaps one of the German army experts could help here.

Regards Peter

I may have had my wires crossed on that last entry. I think I got that from the 43 FAR Unit history, but I will have to recheck my notes and see where I got Engelfontaine from. I do know he was with 3 Batterie at the Armistice, wherever they were.

-Daniel

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momsirish

So the enquirer now has 2 replies to his query, covering the southern and northern parts of the line along the Selle/Sheldt.

Does he acknowledge the replies or thank any who have taken the trouble to reply?

This is not an uncommon occurence: repliers often have to dig out sources/photos/diaries etc, and generally enquirers say thanks, which is fine, but lack of thanks is both discourteous and unhelpful to future posts wanting info.

Peter

Hello Peter:

I'd rather not criticise someone who has not replied right away. I find it frustrating at times trying to get back to an enquiery when I do not recall which forum I was on when I made the enquiry. That may sound dumb, but some of us are not as well organized as other people are. I still have not found out how to PM another member in this new format which is a week old now.

momsirish

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ph0ebus

Dan, Englefontaine was about 20 miles behind the British line on Nov 11, it is on the western edge of Mormal Forest which was fought over in the first days of November. The front/armistice line was at Hautmont, 20 miles east of the forest.

The British 42nd Division says it was fighting the Prussian 25th Division here but I don't know if this included 43rd FAR. Perhaps one of the German army experts could help here.

Regards Peter

Hi Peter,

I got the info re: Englefontaine from 'Histories of the 251 Divisions of the German Army Which Participated in the War', starting on page 236. It was referencing not the 43rd FAR specifically but the 14th Division, of which 43 FAR was a part. In looking at the Unit History (which I by and large cannot read) I see the last casualty registered on a specific date in my grandfather's battery (3 Batterie) was November 5th at Jolimetz, so I would assume (perhaps incorrectly) that is where he was along the line on the 28th. Oct. 6th the unit sustained casualties (4 wounded and two dead) in St. Clement. Did the Hermann Line run through either of these two places?

-Daniel

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mebu

Jolimetz (you will see on any map that this is only a few miles from Englefontaine)lies between the planned Hermmanstellungs I and II and so could be called loosely in the zone of the Hermannstellung. Neither had much defence work carried out, with few trenches or fixed positions. These villages are at the southern sector of the Third Army.

The fighting here seems to have been mobile rather than the earlier trench-type warfare, with British divisions leap-frogging each other in the advance. German tactics seem to be reliant on mobile machine gun and artillery rather than fixed positions, so it may be hard to pin down any one unit to a particular place. I am not aware of a Third Army History (the Fourth Army, only a few miles south, gives much detail) or of some of the divisions involved such as 3rd, 5th, 37th, but the New Zealand history will probably give quite a lot (I don't have a copy)and they were very active here. 42nd div gives details of fighting in the area around these villages up to Oct 23 and after Nov 3.

St Clement is much further south, in the French Army area.

Hope this helps, Peter

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ph0ebus

Hi Peter,

I think I need to bite the bullet and attempt to decipher the last bit of the Unit History, which I would think would likely give some real specifics on this, as well as where the unit was at the Armistice. If I get into trouble (which is likely) I will certainly ask for help. :)

-Daniel

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ph0ebus

Hi all,

I have been reading up on the Battle of the Selle (17-25 October 1918) and this seems to roughly coincide with the fighting along the Hermannsetllung...would you agree, or am I getting them confused?

-Daniel

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mebu

Sounds about right from the dates: there was a bit more movement than earlier fighting so the dates seem sensible for the Hemannstellung.

Regards Peter

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ph0ebus

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the insight. I have also found a map of the Battle of the Selle and it seems to fit with the descriptions I have seen (including yours) of the Hermannstellung I:

Map%20of%20Battle%20of%20the%20Selle%201918%201922.jpg

-Daniel

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von Smallhausen

Hello Friends,

I'm desperately looking for the locations of the Hermannstellung II, III, IV and V in Belgium. I know these defencelines were weak builded lines. I often read about these lines in Regimentsgeschichten but sor far I was not able to find the exact locations.

Google only gives the Hermannstellung I.... so far.

Maybe some of you have a detailed maps which they want to share.

Kind regards,

Jef

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Morance
On 09/06/2013 at 16:22, von Smallhausen said:

Hello Friends,

I'm desperately looking for the locations of the Hermannstellung II, III, IV and V in Belgium. I know these defencelines were weak builded lines. I often read about these lines in Regimentsgeschichten but sor far I was not able to find the exact locations.

Google only gives the Hermannstellung I.... so far.

Maybe some of you have a detailed maps which they want to share.

Kind regards,

Jef

 

Hello, have you found the map where is indicated Hermann Stellung I, II, III, IV and V ? I'm very interesting with them.

Sincerely

 

S. Morancé

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von Smallhausen

    Dear Morancé,

Thanks to Jan ( aka AOK4) I found the information. I published a study in the Shrapnel ( 2014 number 4), journal of the Belgian WFA which dealed with those very last days of WWI.

In the sector of the Second and Fifth British Armies ( Vs. part of German Fouth and Sixt Armies), Hermanstellung II, was situated anlong the right bank of the Scheldt. Herman III Stellung ran from Edelaere ( near Oudenaarde) to east of Ronse ( Renaix) to Anvaing, Frasnes, Grandmetz, west of Leuze, Blicquy, direction of Beloeil.

Hermann IV Stellung : situated between Nederbrakel, Everbeek, Ghoy, Lessines, along the river Dender to Ath till Lens (B).

Hermann V Stellung:  West of Aalst ( Alost), Heldergem, east of Aspelaar, West of Ninove, Pollare, Nieuwenhove, Galmaarden, Tollenbeek, Edingen, Steenkerke to Horrues.

Kind regards from the other side of the Scheldt.

Jef

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Morance

Thank you very much !

 

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ph0ebus
On ‎17‎/‎05‎/‎2018 at 06:39, von Smallhausen said:

    Dear Morancé,

Thanks to Jan ( aka AOK4) I found the information. I published a study in the Shrapnel ( 2014 number 4), journal of the Belgian WFA which dealed with those very last days of WWI.

In the sector of the Second and Fifth British Armies ( Vs. part of German Fouth and Sixt Armies), Hermanstellung II, was situated anlong the right bank of the Scheldt. Herman III Stellung ran from Edelaere ( near Oudenaarde) to east of Ronse ( Renaix) to Anvaing, Frasnes, Grandmetz, west of Leuze, Blicquy, direction of Beloeil.

Hermann IV Stellung : situated between Nederbrakel, Everbeek, Ghoy, Lessines, along the river Dender to Ath till Lens (B).

Hermann V Stellung:  West of Aalst ( Alost), Heldergem, east of Aspelaar, West of Ninove, Pollare, Nieuwenhove, Galmaarden, Tollenbeek, Edingen, Steenkerke to Horrues.

Kind regards from the other side of the Scheldt.

Jef

Thanks for adding this information.  Incredibly helpful!

 

Daniel

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