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Remembered Today:

Reserve Feldartillerie Regiment Nr. 5


ph0ebus

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Hi all,

My great uncle Simon Stern was a Gefreiter in Reserve Feldartillerie Regiment Nr. 5 in 1917. This morning I noted the following for sale on eBay.de:

Regimentsbuch Königl-Bay Res Feldartillerie Regiment No 5

I know very little about Simon; the only reason I know he was with Reserve Feldartillerie Regiment Nr. 5 was because I inherited a postcard my grandfather sent him in 1917:

EmanuelSternandFieldArtilleryRegimen-custom-size-600-386.jpg

In case anyone is curious about what the card says, a pal on the GWF kindly translated the contents some time ago:

Mein lieber Simon

Beifolgend eine

Aufnahme aus unserer

letzten Stellung vor V. Hast

du keine mehr von dir, die

du mir evtl. schicken könntest.

Herzl. Gruß dem Bruder,

Emanuel

So, those better versed in these things, could Simon have been with a Bavarian unit, or was there also a Prussian RFAR 5? I would assume if he was with a Bavarian Unit my grandfather would have noted the "Königl-Bay" bit of the unit title, correct?

Thanks,

-Daniel

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Both existed. Prussian RFAR 5 was part of 5th Res Div and Bav RFAR 5 was part of 5th Bav Res Div. Confusion tends to arise because the Bavarians refused to alter their numbering system, so, in terms of usage within the Bavarian contingent, Bav RFAR 5, would simply have been referred to as RFAR 5.

Jack

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Jack,

I though so; so the notation (or lack thereof) does not necessarily help, then. I have a photo and don't know if this helps ID his regiment as Prussian or Bavarian?

119250499753.jpg

Simon is the fellow second from the right.

I should add that I feel a bit like I am grasping at straws, as far as researching Simon is concerned. I am in touch with his great grandson and I want to help him learn more about Simon, but there is such a dearth of information about him in the Great War it is somewhat disheartening.

Thanks,

-Daniel

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You will need to ask a uniform expert. However, even if V = Verdun, then it is still hard to split them. 5th Bav Res Div, occupied positions on the Verdun front from 2 May - 8 Oct 17. During that time, 5th Res Div, recently returned from the Eastern Front had been in OHL reserve, but was then then on the Meuse Heights near Combres and les Eparges, both of which are close to, but a bit southeast of Verdun itself.

Jack

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Jack,

Thanks...probably the frustrating bit is that LAGeSo probably has the answer in their files, but they are not open to research at present. I suppose it will be a waiting game, then. As an aside, should a uniform expert happen upon this, apart from IDing the men as Prussian vs Bavarian, I find the hat on the fellow second from the left most curious. Not one I am familiar with.

Thanks,

-Daniel

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Daniel, I tried enlarging your photo to get a better look at the cockades; about the only way to tell Prussian from Bavarian in this photo. Other than the fellow in the middle with the cross decoration on his tunic. It didn't look exactly like an Iron Cross to me and the other candidate is Mecklenburg (not Saxony like I wrote before) - which doesn't clear anything up at all, but points to Prussian.

Where is this photo from? Is it a post card with something on the reverse?

It's only a guess, but I'd lean towards Prussian RFAR 5 since it was your grandfather who wrote the address. While Jack is quite correct that the Bavarians often referred to their units without the b. or bayr. or bayrische in front to the unit designator, I've seen this most often on death cards (Sterbebilder). On post cards, I've usually seen some indication of Bavarian in either the sender's or receiver's address.

As for the cap; at first I thought he was just wearing his feld mutze in a very odd way, but upon enlargement it looks even odder.

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I will try and run a high dpi scan of the cockades and mystery chapeau tonight...and the cross too. Who knows? It certainly can't hurt.

On the reverse it says 'Mein bruder am Winterburg'.

Daniel

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I have been through the relevant pages of Bav RFAR 5 and there does not seem to be anything at all to link it to the photo. The Winterburg rings a bell; I have certainly read about it previously, but I cannot remember where. A quick look at either of the available histories from 5th Res Div should help: RIRs 8 & 48 (the latter being particularly comprehensive). There is not one, as far as I know, for RFAR 5 or RIR 12. Unfortunately I only have extracts from those two histories relating to Flanders in 1914, so I cannot help further.

Jack

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Daniel

I think it is most probably the Prussian Regiment. Winterberg is in the Chemin des Dames sector. I have 5. Reserve being on the Chemin between May and October 1917.

Regards

Glenn

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Glenn

You must be correct. I have just had another look and see that the pc was posted in May. However, according to the Kalendar I have, RFAR 5 was still in OHL reserve or SE of Verdun until 26 May so, perhaps the annotation is a bit previous. The regiment was certainly involved the following July in the battle for the northern slopes of the Winterberg, but I cannot see how the men could have been up there two months earlier. Any thoughts?

Jack

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Hi all,

Scan completed, will be posting closeups in a little while. I fear I have confused things a little. The reverse of the first postcard I posted, which was sent to Simon, does not relate to the obverse of the second, which is a picture of Simon and his unit. The second postcard of Simon was not postally used, is undated and just has the notation in pencil about the Winterberg. The first PC reverse is a photo of my grandfather with his pals at an artillery position outside of Verdun. It was posted just a few weeks after receiving his EKII; the ribbon is still bright and new in appearance. I sincerely apologize for inadvertantly muddying the waters.

More to follow.

-Daniel

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Greetings Jack and Daniel

I am afraid I am a little confused now! Anyway...according to the Divisionsgefechtskalender in "Deutschlands Schirm und Wehr im alten und im neuen Heer", the Division was deployed in 1917 in the west as follows:

15 - 21 April: OHL Reserve

21 April - 26 May: Positional warfare on the Meuse Heights by Combres, Les Eparges and the Grand-Tranchée-de-Calonne

26 - 27 May: Dual battle of Aisne-Champagne

28 May - 23 October: Positional Warfare on the Chemin des Dames

19 - 24 July: Assault on the North slope of the Winterberg and battles on the Heights of Craonne

Jürgen Kraus, in his "Handbuch der Verbände und truppen des deutschen Heeres 1914-1918, Feldartillerie, Band 2" shows RFAR 5 at all time during the above period as being under command ARKO 90 (5. Reserve-Division)

with the exception of III. Abteilung which was detached to the 15. Bavarian Division from 11 - 25 June 1917.

Regards

Glenn

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Hi all,

So, here are some closeups of the various people, and their cockades/ribbons.

First, Simon:

post-32240-0-83918200-1301060017.jpg

Until I magnified the picture I did not notice that Simon is wearing what looks like an EKII ribbon! Did different divisions wear the ribbon differently? My grandfather wore his EKII ribbon through his buttonhole (as did the other men in FAR 43), whereas these fellows (RFAR 5, presumably) all wear those EKII ribbons on ribbon bars.

I will post the other pics in separate posts, due to space concerns.

-Daniel

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Lastly, the EKI pin worn by the big cheese:

post-32240-0-32159500-1301061332.jpg

If there are other closeups you want me to post, just let me know. Do these help?

-Daniel

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Daniel;

Are we missing the obvious? Even if you have little information on Simon, don't you know if he lived in Bavaria or Prussia? It would be very unusual, and possibly unlawful, for a Bavarian to serve in a Prussian unit, or vis versa. A reservist would usually have first served his active duty in the corresponding line unit (e.g., Feld=Artillerie Regiment Nr. 5), and that would be drawn from a specific physical area, although as the war went on some of these state distinctions started to blur.

I am not a uniform expert, far from it, but don't those state cockades seem, in balance, rather light, and therefore more likely to be light blue/white, rather than the Prussian black/white. (I always loved the Prussian national colors being black and white, no ambeguity (sp?) there!)

I feel a kinship; I am busily burrowing in the family history, and my grand-father spent, wearing many hats, almost 40 years in the Prussian artillery, entering as a private from a peasant family, and exiting as a Feuerwerk=Major a. D. and on the Berlin Stock Exchange. An interesting social as well as military history. If Simon was in preuss. RFAR Nr. 5, he and my grandfather were distantly linked, as g-f's military career was centered on III. AK, III. RK (composed of 5. RD and 6. RD), and also service in 5. ID, I think.

Sorry for the drift OT, one of my specialties. Daniel, I have followed your tireless "family-digging" for years, and have greatly admired it.

Bob Lembke

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Hi Bob,

Simon was from Prussia, born and raised in Fulda, until the Nazis came along and made staying impossible. I have encountered men from Fulda who ended up in Bavarian Regiments before, so I would assume it was not so much prohibited as unlikely. I am just trying to be sure I am not limiting myself with assumptions I should not be making.

I agree the cockades seem light but I know boopkus about what that might mean. I am also researching the uniforms (there are four different ones in this photo alone) to see if that sheds any light.

Thanks,

Daniel

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The enlargements of the cockades didn't clear things up too much. It's always difficult in black and white.

But the EK's now push me very far into the Prussian corner. Especially the EK1. I would think that if these were Bavarians, the EK1 winner would have also gotten a Bavarian MVK3. And if he were Bavarian and had a MVK3, he'd be wearing that ribbon out of nationalistic pride. The fact that the EK2's are on ribbon bars - a bit more effort - also suggests to me that these are Prussians rather than Bavarians.

Still speculation, but I think all the circumstantial evidence points to Prussian. There's nothing really concrete that suggests they are Bavarian other than the oblique question between RFAR 5 and b. RFAR 5.

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I have encountered men from Fulda who ended up in Bavarian Regiments before, so I would assume it was not so much prohibited as unlikely.

I've got photos of the following:

1. Infantry-gun Kanonier with a Württemberger cockade and Saxon belt buckle;

2. Infantryman with Bavarian jacket and cap with Prussian belt buckle;

3. Mountain machine gunner with Württemberger belt buckle and Bavarian cap cockade;

4. Alpine Corps Kanonier with Bavarian jacket and Prussian cockade and belt buckle;

5. Flamethrower pioneer with Bavarian jacket and Prussian death's-head sleeve badge.

It's possible that all these photos simply show men who were issued belts, jackets, or caps from available stocks, but how likely is it that the various kingdoms borrowed uniforms from each other? I'm betting that the reason they're wearing the mixes of uniform items is because they served with the kingdom in question.

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Although Bob makes a good point about the relative lightness of the State cockades in the photograph, this in itself may just be a matter of photographic quality. Bavarian Army personnel of all ranks in 1917 should have been wearing the distinctive "Kennzeichenborte" (blue and white chequered braid) around the leading and lower edges of the collars. It appears that none of the guys in this photo are so attired.

Regards

Glenn

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  • 1 year later...

An interesting post-war mention of Simon I came across today:

Von STERN zu RHODIUS und zu TEKNOS - seit 120 Jahren Lacke aus Fulda

I want to thank everyone who contributed to this thread...I am sorry to say I have not learned much more about Simon since we last posted in 2011...Perhaps one day I'll find something else.

-Daniel

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