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Remembered Today:

Martin Feledziak

Marcin FELEDZIAK 1897 - Infanterie Regiment 171- Meuse- Argonne 1918

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Martin Feledziak

Greetings Bob,

 

Your Father was in action in exactly the the location poor Johann would be the following year.

It is important that we do not loose sight of what took place.

 

It is lucky we have your accounts to refer to.

 

For Johann I came across this web article which appears to describe the action which would end his life.

 

Operation "Drahthindernis" (Wire obstacle) would be carried out by the 37. Reserve Infanterie Regiment (Sector Quelle) and the 37. Füsilier Regiment (Sector Hindenburg). Operation "Beobachtung" (Observation) would be carried out separately by the 155. Infanterie Regiment in the sector "Höhe" (Height).

The orders for the division were as follows..

The 10th R.D. will attack and capture the French trenches in front of the sectors Hindenburg and Quelle

The objective is to give a bloody nose to the facing French division, take their positions, thereby thereby taking away observation posts that allow him to see deep into our lines. We will have won useful observation and defensive positions for ourselves.

The orders for the 155. I.R. and operation "Beobachtung" were..

"The 10th R.D. will continue the attack in sector "Höhe" and take positions that assure our observation on the Southern slope of the Höhe 304.

Two hours before the Infantry attack the most dangerous enemy artillery positions will be gassed, and 10 minutes before our main bombardment the enemy Command and observation posts will be engaged.

For one and a half hours the Artillery and Minenwerfer will bombard the positions then seal them off from the rear with a barrage. During the bombardment "Sturmgassen" (Assault paths) will be blown in our own defensive obstacles. 

At Y hour the Sturmabteilung will break into the enemy positions and take them. The barrage will last as long as it takes to secure the positions."

The Operation "Drahthindernis" was ordered for the 28th of June, operation "Beobachtung" for the 29th of June.

Commanding the Sturmabteilung were Lt.d.Res Biedermann, Lt.d.R. Pollmeier, Lt.d.Res. Pellner and Lt. Ronke. Coordination the attack were Oblt. Graeter and Lt. Fraedrich. A number of Flamethrowers from Sturmabteilung Rohr would accompany them.

On the 28th of July operation "Drahthindernis" was carried out successfully.

http://www.kaiserscross.com/40029/41518.html

 

Note -  Johann was reported missing on 28th June and I assume as a member of FR37 he was in on the assault.

Edited by Martin Feledziak

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bob lembke

I am talking to our Internal Revenue and I am on hold (so far a 1 hr 32 minute call, exactly; maybe 10 min. of conversation.

so I will be brief.

 

My father also was loaned to the Sturm=Battalion Rohr for flame attacks, to enhance their small detachment of FW,

 maybe only eight FW teams. He loved working with them. Real pros.   

 

When wounded on Dead Man's Hill, my father's entire FW Trupp of 8-10 men were wounded by the same French 75 blast, and my

father was the worst wounded, so the Trupp had to put my father into a French dugout, as they, all wounded, could not carry him.

He never expressed resentment. He had a fascinating experience with two French soldiers in the dugout. When he heard them

coming he put his P 08 under his butt so they did not see it, if they turned nasty, but they were nice to him, in a way I won't 

describe here. (There is a troll poaching my material. I am amazed that I said so much. Finally I am writing the book,)

 

I have gone on a lot, again, but I think it gives you some athmospherics,  I see that IR 155 was still there. I have that regiment's 

official history, a very good volume, and it might shed light on what happened on Hill 304. But I can't now. You don't read German,

I think you said? I taught myself German and the old handwriting systems when I found my father and g-father's letters when I was

60. I estimate I may have read and/or translated German about 10,000 hours since then.

 

Hope my ramblings are interesting. My father loved the war, and loved talking to me about it when I was a kid. He didn't like 

the civil war in Berlin in 1919. He and others  shot 26 Red sailors in the forehead after a drum-head trial, after he and others

burned their way into their fortified building with FWs. About 275 prisoners were spared. The sailors were in Berlin in part to kill

my grandfather's former commanding officer, General von Beseler, the later Governor of Poland.

 

My call was 1 hr 41 minutes, and I got about 10 minutes of conversation, rest on hold. Useful but annoying. 

 

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Martin Feledziak

Bob

 

Your ramblings are always interesting and also very important. 

They are important because they are real life accounts and available in English, so good luck getting those books out.

 

I have several digital versions of regimental histories which are nice to look at and contain easily understandable photographs, maps and diagrams. But when it comes to the text I am unable to read German and can only just work outs dates, places and regimental terms. I seriously miss out on what was actually taking place and the finer details.

 

I have a digital (PDF) copy of IR155 as they were elements of 10th Reserve Division with Fusilier Regiment 37. I feel sure I know about Johann now. There is a regimental history in print for FR37 but I have not found one and I am sure that even if one did turn up it would be mega bucks. It has not been digitized as yet and again I would still have the language issue.

 

I have a digital copy of Pioneer Battalion No 29, this is relevant for the other Johann, my Grandfathers Brother. He was killed in the Argonne in 1915 as part of field company 2, which was, as I am sure you will know, Bernard REDDEMANS early unit.

 

There is also a history of IR171, which is pertinent to my Grandfather. I have scanned pages from October 1918. He would have spent his 21st Birthday in a fierce struggle for life in the retreat from Romagne Sous Montfaucon. Fortunately for me Grandfather did make it out alive. I have seen that history recently on an auction site for about 200 euros. clearly too much for a casual purchase.

 

I am currently reading the translated history of IR66, although there is no family connection, the content layout, format and presentation is most excellent. I believe that it is the only German Regimental history to have been translated.

 

P.S, I am sure you know all this but here is a link to the REDDEMANN material.


On 18 January 1915 the War Ministry and the Acting Engineer Committee ordered the establishment of Flammenwerfer-Abteilung Reddemann, the first unit armed exclusively with flamethrowers. The commander, Haupt. Bernhard Reddemann, would develop the weapon technically and create new tactics. Flammenwerfer-Abteilung Reddemann consisted of a Posen Fire Brigade Feldwebel as Offizier-Stellvertreter and 48 Posen firefighters and young war volunteers. The unit was formed in Berlin and assigned to the Fifth Army. It took to the field on February 1, accompanying the VI Reserve Corps to Romagne sous Montfaucon to prepare for its first action. 

 

Full article on the below link.

http://www.kaiserscross.com/40029/76401.html

Edited by Martin Feledziak

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Martin Feledziak
On 18/07/2017 at 11:49, AliceF said:

May he rest in peace.

 

Christine

 

I am so happy that you are reading this thread, So that is just me you and Bob.

 

But for me this is a trip out to a past history that I did not know could be found.

 

 

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bob lembke

Martin;

 

I hope you found the flavor of fighting on Hill 304 interesting. The problem was that the French, in December 1916 and later, were pushing forward on Morte Homme and 304 to get observation positions to see the entire Getman positions on the West Bank of the Meuse, to rain down accurate fire on the Germans. My father's attack in December 1916 was to do that. And it was successful. 

 

Got to end. 

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bob lembke

Wrote the previous note sitting on my stoop, some fool had pulled the doorknob off and pushed the spindle in. Wife had arrived with a few tools.

 

i just, amazingly, found my copy of the history of IR 31 von Bose. Was that the one we want to peek into? Running on memory here. 

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bob lembke

I think memory has failed me. I think we are interested in IR 155. I think I have it on CD as well. I may be able to peek into it. 

 

Wasn't one of your ancestors a Pionier?

Sorry to ask you so many questions. Pioniere took part in attacks in part to use some special weapons not available to regular infantry. For awhile infantry did not have hand grenades. Later there were special Grenades like geballtne Ladung, which my father was trained to fight tanks with. (One guy in his class knocked out three British tanks in two days with the device, which was a stick grenade with seven, or occasionally 13 warheads, one hell of a grenade. 

 

Perhaps half of a platoon of Pioniere per infantry company was a typical stiffening. Special weapons and generally tough, elite troops enhanced an attack. There were flame weapons other than Flammenwerfer that all Pioniere formations could access, like Brandrohr.  "Fire barrels" or "flame tubes"; alternative translations. Projects a fierce stream of flame maybe two meters, for for example blazing into a firing slot for a machine gun in a fort. Another Pioniere trick used in the attack on Fort Vaux at Verdun was to get on top of the fort and lower a basket of grenades on a cord from the roof to a MG aperture and detonate perhaps 12 grenades right at the MG slot. Spoil the crew's day, for sure. In attack the Pioniere carried sacks of grenades for such tricks. 

Edited by bob lembke

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Martin Feledziak
7 hours ago, bob lembke said:

Wasn't one of your ancestors a Pionier?

Sorry to ask you so many questions.

 

Bob, I think you may have missed post 753 above.

My Great Uncle Johann Feledziak was a Pionier with Pionier = Bataillon Nr 29.

It is very possible that he appears on the far right of the below right image. He was an Unteroffizier  so if this was photographed before 22 April 1915 he should be present.  I do not know for sure but it is certainly his company.

The image is from the regimental history which I have on CD.

 

So I have absolutely no first hand information about the finer details of their experiences apart from the fact that both Johann's were killed.

That is why your examples of Pioniere tricks are good to know about.

 

The fellows in the lower left image appear to have some other type of devious weapon.

 

597067dcd7edb_PI29.jpg.bcbccf90d33eb3ab95bc832f0e411bbf.jpg

Edited by Martin Feledziak

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SiegeGunner

The devious weapon in the left-hand photo is a Granatwerfer 16, a small and highly portable spigot mortar.

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Martin Feledziak

Thanks SiegeGunner.

after your little ID of the item.

Amazing the internet is you can even find a scan of the instructions.

 

http://www.forgottenweapons.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/GeW16.pdf

The below diagram is from the PDF - shown here without the finned Grenade in place

 

5970831842723_Werfer16.jpg.174e224e1c7e95c09c344ad68d108a38.jpg

 

and more information here

http://www.forgottenweapons.com/granatenwerfer-16/

 

 

Edited by Martin Feledziak

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bob lembke

Yes, the Pioniere were often involved in work with mortars. My father's Pioniere=Regiment even made a special

model of mortar in their workshop at the regiment HQ in France (especially light, could be carried as a backpack;

a comrade carried a backpack with 12 shells, I think. Made light enough to weigh no more than a standard

backpack, the standard Wex light Flammenwerfer loaded with flame oil and nitrogen weighed 43 lbs, and my father's

company used especially light captured French light MGs that might have only weighed about 25 lbs.)

 

Besides the 16 cm spigot mortar the Pioniere also were involved with 17 cm and 24.5 cm conventional mortars;

I think that later in the war they turned that work over to a different branch. Pioniere had a role in field-testing new

equipment, even light artillery; the famed Storm Battalion Rohr originally was formed to test a new model of light

infantry gun; the German design failed the test, Rohr later used about four different models for their infantry gun 

battery; their favorite was a re-worked Russian 76.4 mm parapet gun (better sights, and lightened. The five different

guns they used gradually crept up from the original 37 mm gun to eventually a lightened 105 mm howitzer, I think.

 

My father's Flamm=Trupp sometimes was detailed to work with S=B Rohr at Verdun, he loved to work with them, as

they were great pros, which of course is safer. (The flame regiment hated to work with most regular infantry; if possible

they carried out an attack by themselves, hence the special light mortars and light MGs.) The most detailed thing he

said about Rohr was the efficiency of their infantry gun battery, he said: "Two shots, three shots; the machine gun nest

is gone!" 

 

The fighting in the Argonne in 1915 was very interesting; the German commander, von Mudra, who later (sort of) 

commanded my father at Verdun, made several technical innovations there, and was very successful pushing the

French back thru the forest. But unfortunately your Grand Uncle perished there. Pioniere were important in that fighting.

 

Stationed at the HQ town of Stenay-sur-Meuse, when free my father sometimes hung about the Crown Prince's HQ

building, and he got to know the Crown Prince's official photographer. (He himself was a photographer, trained at about

12, even to make his own film.) I have a cover letter for a photo he sent to his father back at Spandau; it showed

von Mudra and Crown Prince Wilhelm walking out together from the HQ; my father had talked Wilhelm's photographer

out of a copy.

 

The Crown Prince was a patron of my father's flame regiment, and my father wore Wilhelm's personal insignia, the

Death's Head, on his left sleeve, and sometimes caged packs of ten cigarettes from the Crown Prince when he visited 

the Stenay barracks of the 2nd Company of the flame regiment. My father told me: "The Crown Prince always wanted to

have a company of flame throwers about." A few years ago I was able to tell Prince Fritz of Hohenzolleren about a visit of his 

grand-father (the KP) and great-grand-father, a very funny story about an interaction between the Kaiser and a private. Prince

Fritz (here I am name-dropping) enjoyed the story; he was a Oberleutnant d. Reserve of the Bundeswehr and fully understood it.)  

 

We are fortunate that my father loved WW I (as he told me frequently), and that he constantly told me about his experiences

when I was a young boy. He did not enjoy the civil war in Berlin, where he and others captured and killed 26 Red sailors, shot

one by one in the forehead.

 

 

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Martin Feledziak
On 20/07/2017 at 11:46, bob lembke said:

We are fortunate that my father loved WW I (as he told me frequently),

 

I am fairly sure that my Grandfather was not too happy about it, although he does appear dressed in uniform in 1919 and sends that postcard to his brother. So I can't be sure of his true feelings. To be fair when WW2 came about he was living in France and with a wife and two sons his village was to be occupied by a German army.

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bob lembke
15 hours ago, Martin Feledziak said:

 

I am fairly sure that my Grandfather was not too happy about it, although he does appear dressed in uniform in 1919 and sends that postcard to his brother.

So I can't be sure of his true feelings. To be fair when WW2 came about he was living in France and with a wife and two sons his village was to be occupied by a German army.

 

Yes, my father was one of the 2% who loved the war. He was out of the Army perhaps two weeks when he signed up into a

Freikorps to fight again, after fighting 3 1/2 years in the Turkish and then German Armies, being wounded four times, plus contracting malaria in Turkey, having his teeth ruined, and being treated in a discriminatory way, as it was known that he and others murdered one of their officers, a truly awful type, so bad that after an investigation the regiment did not really punish the men, but in my father's case did not allow him any medals (except for his wound badge, they could hardly deny that), and no promotion, although he led a Flamm=Trupp and should have been a junior NCO.

 

After discharge my father went to Hamburg to visit his mother, in December 1918, and was stopped on the street by a patrol of Red sailors, who at rifle-point stripped him of his great-coat (almost certainly identifying the Prussian Guard) and his boots. Furious, he

said to himself that it was time to kill some Red sailors, went back to Berlin and signed into the Freikorps most associated with the Prussian Guard, and in a couple of weeks, along with others, shot the 26 Red sailors in the forehead. Later, he was in a more rural area, and joined the local cell of the Schwartze Reichswehr, the illegal underground army formed to raise the number of German troops over the 100,000 allowed by the Treaty of Versailles. Then he worked as a personal driver and bodyguard for a wealthy young man who owned a drug company. He lived well; women, cars, some money, but repeatedly told me that the war years were the best years of his life. He fought in two of the three very best storm formations, and these troops fought extremely well (in most of their attacks the flame regiment did not lose a single man, which is astonishing, but he told me that when they turned on the flame throwers the French usually just ran). He was a very dangerous person for some years, but then settled down, and in the 40 years I knew him I only saw him angry twice. Once was with a stranger driving on our property, and in that case he transformed into a very frightening person.

 

My father told me that they had a number of ethnic-Polish soldiers in the flame units, and they were very good soldiers, good steady troops, very reliable. Our family farm is now part of Poland.

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SiegeGunner
On ‎20‎/‎07‎/‎2017 at 11:46, bob lembke said:

... my father wore Wilhelm's personal insignia, the Death's Head, on his left sleeve, and sometimes caged packs of ten cigarettes from the Crown Prince ...

 

'cadged', Bob ...

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Martin Feledziak
On 20/07/2017 at 11:46, bob lembke said:

Crown Prince's official photographer.

 

The below image is from the Regimental history of IR155, shown with "der Kronprinz" and probably taken by his official photographer. As it mentions 1917 and hill 304 it is of the period we are discussing.

I am looking for the officer with the missing hand next.

 

Hill 304.jpg

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bob lembke

There is a picture of three officers side by side, from memory his name is something like Lt. Hunert, my father slightly misspelled it in a letter from hospital to his father at Spandau. In the picture he is the officer to the right, from the position of the officers, he probably tucked his stump behind his back to avoid rattling wives and girl friends. 

 

The incident is also mentioned in another book. 

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bob lembke

The shell fragment cut his right hand off, it was dangling from a scrap of skin or tendon. My father sprang forward with a tourniquet and wrapped it about his wrist. He escorted him to the rear till they met a medic, who cut the dangling hand off with his "butter knife". A good shot of brandy, popped into a car, off to surgery. 

 

The Bundeswehr Hauptmann who wrote the book about Morte Homme (and one on Hill 304) was astonished when I wrote him and said that my father was the unknown soldier that prevented the Lieutenant from bleeding out. 

 

Maybe be the book on Hill 304 might help you. In German, of course. 

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bob lembke
On July 22, 2017 at 12:54, SiegeGunner said:

 

'cadged', Bob ...

 

Dear Old Friend Siege Gunner;

 

I have occasionally used "cadged" in conversation for 55 years, that probably was the first time I have ever written it. 

 

The Crown Prince in his memoires mentions having an officer detailed to accompany him with a large number of the ten cigarette packs to give the men he talked to. The men in my father's company noticed that he would resume a conversation with a private three months later and remember details of his private life. This was noticed with great approval. 

 

The assertion by Foulkes that the flame regiment was a suicide unit designed to murder men who the officers wanted to kill but for PR reasons didn't want to shoot them before a firing squad is loathsome, and a major reason why I think that Foulkes was at the bottom end of the evolutionary pecking order. The flame regiment was a Prussian Guard unit and the Kaiser and his son put money into it from their private purses before the Army brass became convinced that the concept was sound. The Kaiser first saw the concept demonstrated, using fire department pumpers, in 1907, on maneuvers. 

 

The terrible design of almost all Brit and other Allied FW made them suicide weapons. But they were improvised, and the Germans began working on the designs in 1902, by Fiedler, a highly qualified engineer. 

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SiegeGunner
19 minutes ago, bob lembke said:

 

Dear Old Friend Siege Gunner;

I have occasionally used "cadged" in conversation for 55 years, that probably was the first time I have ever written it.  

 

According to the forum search function, Bob, it was actually the 19th time over the years that you have written it as 'caged' ... :P

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Martin Feledziak

Not doing very well on this - although it is from 1918 and they all look like "Gaffers" ( that is my slang for officers ) but clearly more than three.

one of them goes by the name of KUHNERT. still looking. From = Regimental history of IR155

 

Gaffers.jpg.472e4e1b30ebf730eb0817109a3ca0c9.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by Martin Feledziak

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Martin Feledziak
On 22/07/2017 at 15:32, bob lembke said:

Our family farm is now part of Poland.

 

Bob 

Just trying to map things in my mind, where about would this be. My family were in the process of moving West just before  WW1 and obviously needed to have gone more West, as France turned out to have been not a good option. He was in Remike, Germany in 1919 and then Douai, France  in 1925.

He was a miner and set up home in a coal village north of the Douai coal fields. He was mining at the time of German occupation in WW2.

 

Of those who survived WW1, many of Grandfathers cousins, remained in Szelejewo, Poland, not too far from Poznan, but they were also in for a bad time as a number ended up oppressed and some political prisoners.

It is all history but only becomes relevant when you know who the poor people were.

 

Edited by Martin Feledziak

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towisuk

This is my Grandfather, all I know is that he spent some time in Trieste during the war....only one of his children is still alive, my auntie and she's 92. I've tried to get some information from her about his service in the Austrian Hungarian army...but she doesn't seem to know much about his army career...

p.s. I speak Polish as a second language...

regards

Tom

My Grandfather.JPG

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Martin Feledziak
1 hour ago, towisuk said:

This is my Grandfather, all I know is that he spent some time in Trieste during the war.

 

Wow Tom,

 

Great photograph, Thanks very Much for sharing.

If you have been reading this thread, which is a large mess, you will see that I have had a look at Austro Hungarian issues, I think that I have Karol FELEDZIAK on my family tree and he served with IR89, They were stationed at Jaraslau just before the First war ruined so many lives.

 

I am sure that those three stars will put him in the upper ranks and sure to be in the Ranklist.

 

How nice to have an Aunt who is 92, i honestly believe that our elders seriously blanked this terrible history from their memory. So she would not wish to remember any of it or even share it if she did know. My dad would have been the same age now. He was born 1926 but died in 1993 - He endured those bad times too.

 

Rankliste here..

https://library.hungaricana.hu/en/view/RanglistenHeeres_1918/?pg=1&layout=s

 

once we get his unit we can work on with this.

http://www.comroestudios.com/StanHanna/

 

Is your Avatar at Notre Dame Lorette ?

 

Martin ( First and only language Enlish, sorry  )

 

 

 

Edited by Martin Feledziak

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towisuk

Hi Martin, I never met my grandfather, he lived with my grandma and their daughter (my auntie) in the Siberian forest during WW2, after many long and painful journeys they eventually ending up in a refugee camp in Tanganyika until the end of the war.

I try to get over to Poland every couple of months or so for two days to visit my auntie who is bedridden, and the photo I posted is one that she gave me a few years ago.

My cousin over there seems to know a little more than my auntie, she is the one that told me he'd been in Trieste so I'll see what more information I can gleen from her in September when I do my next "two day hop"...

Many thanks for the "heads up" on the database I'll see what I can find in that when I get some spare time Martin..

 

Yes it is indeed Notre Dame de Lorette I have as my avatar, I was there in 1970 with my Polish scout group from the East midlands and it left a deep impression on me...that is what stirred my interest in WW1 in later life. 

 

it's getting late, time to put away the keyboard mate, I've another busy day ahead of me tomorrow

best regards

Tom

 

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bob lembke

Martin;

 

 

i think i see kuhnert in the photo, third from left, hand behind back. But it is not the photo I saw. This is years ago, from memory. I'm 

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