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Remembered Today:

German Army Reg Numbering


Skipman
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Did German soldiers have numbers, and are they as mysterious as British Army numbering?

Just curious, and would be interested in Hitler's number, if he had one?

Mike

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Is there something particularly mysterious about the British regimental numbering system? :mellow: .... .....anyway, in answer... yes, German soldiers were numbered within their company and also on a general muster. Hitler's various numbers at different periods were '148', '204' and '1062' (and '718' ?) 148 was the number he carried on his initial issue (M-1878) identity disc and 1062 was stamped on his 1917 issue version.

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Thanks for the info Dave

Is there something particularly mysterious about the British regimental numbering system?

Frankly? Yes, in that there is little rhyme or reason to it, and understanding it, takes a bit of effort. I'm sure it made perfect sense back then.

Mike

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the British system being a "regimental" numbering system should logically have meant that each soldier within a regiment (or Corps) would have an unique number. however The TF Battalions and I believe the service Battalions had there own numbering system meaning there could be at least four men in a Regiment with the same number. Some simplification occurred with the renumbering of the TF in 1917

Also because it was regimental system, a transfer between Regiments required a change of number.

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It obviously worked, but there are examples of ' strangeness' try figure out the 1st Gordon Highlanders S/1108* numbers. I think I have it, but it takes a bit of graft to figure it out.

Mike

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There are always going to be oddities within numbering systems - and there are individual numbers and number blocks in the German and French systems that fall outside of the 'rules' too.

Generally speaking, though the 'regimental' numbering system in the British Army appears to have become more of a 'battalion' style system (though still with the rules governing regimental issue) as the army expanded, there does appear to be some form of uniformity in the system.

Anyway, back to the Germans, I note a very strong similarity between their numbering methods and that of the British Army of pre-1881 (introduced in the 1850's?). I know that the German armies of the Franco-German War of 1870-71 (well ,those of Baden, Bavaria and Prussia anyway) had the 'Company number' system during this war, but I wonder how long this had already been in place?

Dave

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It obviously worked, but there are examples of ' strangeness' try figure out the 1st Gordon Highlanders S/1108* numbers. I think I have it, but it takes a bit of graft to figure it out.

I know the feeling, I'm trying to work on some of logic behind the post 1917 number allocations to the 6th DLI - 'I think' I've cracked part of it but it's a long term project in itself.

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I think that Dave, who is very knowledgeable, has shed light on the German system, and I have to confess that I do not fully understand it, far less than by a half, but I think that it was more complex. (Almost everything about the four Imperial German Armies was very and probably unnecessarily complex, which is half the fun.) What I do know is that there seems to have been a peacetime and a wartime system (I am talking about the Prussian system, the other armies could easily have been different, the Bavarian Army especially seems to have tried to do as much as possible than the Sau=Preuss.)

Also, I believe that a German, or at least a Prussian, soldier got a new number each year during the war.

My father's unit was quite odd, but from my father's numbers (I fortunately have a lot of his papers, and his "dogtags"), I think they might have been based on a regimental level. Could be very wrong there. (My father's principal unit started out as a "Detachment" of about 50 men, went to 80, then to a battalion in early 1915. That continued to add companies until it had nine field companies, plus a couple of other detachments, which added up to a weird and awkward battalion, so in mid-1916 it was converted to a regiment of three battalions, plus several associated detachments. This is from hurried memory, but I believe that it is generally accurate. Also, when it went from battalion to regiment, it went from a regular unit to a reserve unit. So it is quite possible that its numbering system could have been irregular.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Also, I believe that a German, or at least a Prussian, soldier got a new number each year during the war.

The Kriegstammrolle number did change periodically but I'm unsure as to the regularity. I, too, thought it was an annual occurrence, but I've just been flicking through a few soldiers' documents and, in one case I looked at, it seems to have been a bi-annual event.

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