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

Martin Feledziak

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Martin Feledziak
On 26/11/2017 at 21:11, German IR 169 said:

Leutnant Lais commanded IR 169’s 2nd Machine Gun




Do you know if Otto and his 2nd Machine gun company were deployed together with the Second battalion of the regiment or did they get free option to deploy as they liked.

I am asking because during the fighting on 5th October the regimental history for IR171 reported that the 2nd Battalion of IR 169 was right up alongside company 11 of IR171.

Indeed a machine gun company from IR169 opened up on the units in main street, Gesness.

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Thanks for the good words Martin and I look forward to your future posts.    John

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Regarding your question on the 2nd MG Company,  they were actually attached to IR 111 in the opening phases of the 52nd Division counterattack that took Exermont on 29 September.  Lais is clear that they rejoined 2nd Battalion, IR 169 on or about 1 October, and remained in direct support of the 2nd Battalion for the rest of the Argonne campaign.  On  5 October, the were into last, desperate struggle to hang on to the Montrebeau Woods before the retreat to the Romange Heights.  He confirms that IR 171 was on the 2/169's left flank at that time.    


Regards, John

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Martin Feledziak

Great Thanks John.


So that exactly fits with the regimental history of IR171, or at least the pages that JWK kindly translated for me.


From some reading that I have done a machine gun company is made up of three platoons each with 2 Maxim guns, so a command of 6 guns per Company.

Or at least that was the model, obviously things change when supplies of men and guns become scarce.


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     Yes, Martin,  the subject of the German MG companies is indeed an interesting topic.   Lt. Lais provides rich accounts of the construct and tactics of the MG company, which he served in the roles of gunner (Somme and Chemin des Dames (1917), MG company executive officer (German 1918 Spring Offensives), and MG commander at Bapaume and in the Argonne).   (In a correction to my previous note, he actually commanded the 3rd MG Company in the Argonne, attached the 3rd Battalion, and the 2nd MG Company at Bapaume.)


     In the Argonne, Lais describes how his MG Company went in the battle with 92 men and six machine guns.  The company train consisted of a collection of wagons to transport the MGs, ammunition and other baggage.   A month earlier, IR 169, as well as the other two regiments of the 52nd Infantry Division,  went through a major refit in Belgium after suffering severe losses at Bapaume.  The 52nd Division redeployed to the Metz in mid September as the Theater reserve, and were only there a short while before being called into the Argonne on 29 September 1918 to stem the US 1st Army breakthrough.     


     The company took minimal casualties in the counterattack at Exermont, but that quickly changed during the intensive fighting on the Montrebeau Woods.  By Oct 8, his company was down to only 25 men and could barely man the four remaining guns.   By the time IR 169 pulled back from the Kriemhilde Stellung to the rear areas for a five day refit, only 20 men were left in ranks.   


     The 3rd MGC received 18 men during the rest period, bringing it up to 38 troops when it returned to the front.   As noted in one of the above posts, Lais was temporarily transferred to a staff position on 30 October, with orders to soon take over IR 169’s 9th Company (my grandfather’s old outfit).   It was a fortunate move for Lais, as all the remaining men from his company were combat losses when overrun by tanks and Marines during the 1 November assault.   So, of the 92 men of 3rd MG Company that entered Argonne in late September, Lais was its only non-casualty.        

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Martin Feledziak
On 04/12/2017 at 02:44, German IR 169 said:

correction to my previous note


OK Thanks John, that does make much better sense now as Montrebeau Woods would be more West of where 11/IR171 were at Gesnes.


For us now, and looking back, it is a fascinating subject.

But for those poor fellows, who had to endure, it must have been true hell.



Here is an image from page 29169 of the loss list for the 3rd Machine gun comp of IR169. printed 18th Feb 1919, possibly from the late war fighting.

not the best quality, most shown as missing.







Edited by Martin Feledziak
loss list - and lost map
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Martin Feledziak

Somehow got two posts of the same thing . And now it appears there is no option to delete a post.


So here are a few plastic figures from two boxes I happily played with in the early 70's.

I know they are pre 1916 Germans and not as would be seen in 1918.


These are all we had to play with as computer games had yet to be invented.



Edited by Martin Feledziak
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Martin, thanks very much for posting IR 169's 3rd Machine Gun Company casualty list, fascinating stuff.   The first name that caught my eye was that of Lt Wahl.    Lt Lais was serving as the acting 3rd MG Company Commander in the Argonne in place of the actual commander, Wahl, who was convalescing from wounds.   Wahl had the misfortune to return to command on October 28, three days before IR 169's final destruction.   In fact, it was Wahl's return that resulted in Lais moving on to temporary 52nd Division staff position just before the fateful early morning hours of 1 Nov.    Thanks again for sharing!



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Martin Feledziak
11 hours ago, German IR 169 said:

The first name that caught my eye was that of Lt Wahl


Looks like he made it out of there as  Prisoner of War and with a gun shot wound to his right foot.

could be to evacuation hospital Number 10.


From The Red Cross POW reports :-


Georg Danniel Philipp WAHL 


Leutn.& Kpf. 169.Inf.Rgt.3.M.  G.Komp. Born 5. Nov 1893 - Missing 1 Nov 1918


could be next of kin - Frau Franziska BUSAM- WAHL

(Schwest er ) Friedrichsring



The card on the left is the index card made from the original inquiry by the family member - looks like his sister

9.AZ.627  is the reference number for original letter.

the handwritten information in red is ICRC summary.

                                                    The card on the right will have been completed by the authority for the hospital/detention.




I have tried to view document AK2280 but the link fails.

  • Some cards indicate a reference number but this register does not exist any more. So, you will find no more information about this person.


This is the report from the lost list.



Edited by Martin Feledziak
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Martin,  Kudos on your detective work!   Fascinating stuff.   Lais' account recorded the fate of some of the officers who were wounded/captured and made it to US Army hospitals, but my understanding of Lt. Wahl's fate was unknown until your post.  Imagine the degree of relief his family had when they received this report that he had survived.   Thanks much for sending this along.



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Martin Feledziak
On 06/12/2017 at 22:50, German IR 169 said:

detective work


The ICRC , 1914 - 1918 Prisoners of the first world war historical archives is a little tricky to navigate but it is an excellent resource.

The names are not always where you would think as they use the first three letters of the surname as an index.


Sometimes you may find their index cards and a linked book entry but it is very hit and miss.

I managed to find two great uncles in the database and pages linking to where they were held.





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Martin Feledziak

Lt De Reserve KUHNERT, Georg LEMBKE and the Marmalade knife,

December 1916


From the regimental history IR155 – End December 1916

Page 224 ( A translation by Bob LEMBKE )


Lieutenant of the Reserves Kuhnert reported over the following undertakings:


   ..............  "At 11:30 in the morning began the slowly increasing 'fire for destruction' of our artillery and mine throwers (mortars)

on the enemies' first positions.  It gave me great enjoyment, to observe the well-laid fire. The Frenchmen appeared to be not

too clear over our plan. They first responded only faint-heartedly.


"I went further in the trench and came into the sector of the 9th. Company. Quickly I found the den of the company commander. 

We did not know the living, good Lieutenant of the Reserves Karl Emil Schmitz. A true Westphalian! In an agreeable fashion

he sat at a game of Skat and smoked his pipe, which he loved over everything. Directly he played a 'Grand'! No, this contrast! 

Outside the roar of the cannon, the nerve-ripping detonations of the mortar shells, the hum and clatter of the shell- and mortar-

shell splinters - and here within Karl Emil played his 'Great Game' in a dense cloud of tobacco smoke! Quickly the 'Grand' is

won, then he went out of the dugout, to throw a glance on the French terrain that lay under our fire. Karl Emil drew rather briskly

on his Immhof-pipe, murmured something like "Hm, Hm", and vanished towards the other wing of his company."



About 2:50 PM the already chosen 'Patr.' (Fighting patrol- Trench raid) undertaking of the 13th Infantry Division took place,

which concluded successfully.


"Now, in the following minutes, the unforgettable remained. It is to me impossible; these split seconds describe an even

higher straining of the nerves. So anyway one must experience at first hand. The assault troops stood in crouched positions,

hand grenades ready for use in their hands, distributed on the breakout positions.

I directly found myself by First Lieutenant Graeter. He had positioned himself at the head of the sap of the 'Berthold Sap', 

the pistol in one hand, the watch in the other, counting in a calm loud whisper, the passage of the last minutes and seconds:

'three, two minutes, now one minute; now 30 seconds, now the last second' - the great point in time is there! A pistol shot! 

As a wind the assault troops broke forward over the sally ladders. Into the wire entanglements. Immediately the artillery and

mine throwers lay their fire forward - the storm set in on an agreed-upon second on the entire line. In the space of 30

seconds the leadership let the various storm formations run off.


"In the first wave the assault troops went forward, which were to take and hold the enemy first line. They were accompanied

by pioneer troops, flame throwers, and machine guns. In the following second wave of assault troops, that were to take the

enemy second line, and above all to have held it as a defensive line. 


"Three red light flares, that quickly rose up, signaled that the first enemy line was in German hands. A report came out of the

defensive line. It also was taken. Three green light flares reported to the commander, that the reported order in conformance 

of orders was ????. Our losses were light. I had the order, to observe, from the sortee

exit position, to observe the forward advance of our storm formation, the eventual resistance of the French, and so on; and

then travel to the rear to report - and then cannot see anything. The first prisoners, that seemed very exhausted (not sure) here,

were already on the sally port. To count them was no work for me. I wanted to see more. What mattered there was long to be considered."

(note: last sentence may be archaic idiomatic. Not at all sure.)  


By Bob Lembke 2017.

Then Kindly at my request forum member JWK has added the missing passage from

LT KUNHERST’s account.


Resolutely I climb the side of the trench. Luckily I came into the French first line. It’s a colourful sight here. Our shelling had caused large parts of the trenches to cave in. Our men are already there to repair it all, enemy barriers are relocated, parapets built up again, communication trenches towards the enemy lines blocked off, machineguns put into position. In short, the position is made defendable again. Everybody is lending a hand. And how fast those men work! All this labour could be done almost without enemy fire.

Our artillerie and “M.W.” shell the enemy trench system with “harassing fire”

The French apparently don’t know yet that we have taken their two forward most trenches, as they can’t see anything because of the thick gunsmoke, and because their men in the forward most trenches did not have time to hightail it to the back when we attacked.

At first the French only shelled our trenches from where our attack originated. But little by little they shifted their fire and started to shell the newly won trenches with stronger fire, which caused quite some casualties amongst our defenders. And I was one of them….

Page 226

After I’d watched the activities in the enemy position, I went on my way. All of a sudden I found myself in the “security line” [Sicherungslinie] where I bumped into Oblt Grafer, who was in a very cheerful mood and quenched my thirst for jokes. I knew enough and went towards the behind, that is: to the first French trenches, in order to “slide” to our own trenches from there and report there.

On my way I met Lt’s Weitzenstein and Klintsch. Both were just lighting their cigarettes in a shelter.

I asked Weitzenstein for a smoke too. Then – wizzz – BANG! A grenade detonated close by. A comically muffled pain boggled me. My right hand had been blown off.



Thanks God a sturdy 155er in the trench had a piece of string with him and he bound off my arm. The hand hangs from just one nerve. I climb out of the French tench and go towards our own first line.  There a Sanitätsgefreiter, whose name I forget unfortunately, applied first aid. He was quick. With a marmelade knife he cut through the last nerve. After receiving a temporary bandage in a lazarett a few hundred meters away, and recovering with the aid of some Cognacs, I was signed off with the Regiment, I was taken to the lazarett in Forges, together with some wounded companions.

From there we were transported by ambulance to the Feldlazarett where I was operated on that same evening.

Imagine my surprise when the next afternoon Lt Weitzenstein was delivered there too, and became my “bed neighbour”. We talked happily for some time, but then the morphine-shot I had to calm me down a bit, started to work and I fell asleep.

The next morning the bed next to me was empty.

Lt Weitzenstein had given his young and promiseful life……



The Sturdy 155er was in fact Georg LEMBKE a member of a "storm troop" attached to IR155.

This is what Bob wrote back in July and August


"I will paraphrase from memory how Lt. Kuhnert described the event. He was not in the storm formations themselves, but in support, and was about to cadge a cigarette from a brother officer and a French 75 shell exploded nearby, almost completely taking his right hand off. 


A big soldier sprung up, and lashed a tourniquet about his wrist. (Kuhnert, probably in shock, thought it was one of the men of IR 155, although my father was wearing a very unusual uniform unique to the German Army and different from a normal infantry uniform in about ten ways. The soldier then escorted him thru the trenches to the rear, till they encountered medical personnel. 


After moving the lieutenant back my father rejoined his Flamm=Trupp and they attacked. However, another French 75 shell exploded amongst them while they were in no-man's-land, and every man (about 10) was wounded. As my father was the worst wounded, a bad wound in the  back upper left arm, they had to leave him in an old abandoned French dugout.   Finally, after three days sitting against a wall of the dugout, he was found as the Germans were about to pull back.

He was taken to a medical post.





Sadly Bob never finished the full story about his Dad,  but now we know this small chapter.


Edited by Martin Feledziak
comment from Bob back in July - and Map
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With regards to the above translation: I now see I made a mistake!


Lt Weitzenstein should be read as Lt Weißenstein (Weissenstein).


Here's 19 year old Kurt on the Verlustliste of 23 jan 1917



According to the Volksbund Kurt died on 30th december 1916, and is buried in Brieulles-sur-Meuse, Block 4 Grab 282.



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Martin Feledziak

Great find Jan. 


That has to be him. I did have a search today but drew a blank. 1897 was a very bad year to be born under German rule. You were going to get dragged into it like it or not.

i am going to suppose that Kurt may have been sponsored given his rank at such a young age. What a sad story.


I do have a PDF version of the regimental history of IR155. I am unable to read the text but I can view Photographs, maps and names. Looking through the images I fear that LTN Klintsch became a victim of war the following year.


Thanks very much for closing off that account and some great research.

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Martin Feledziak

So this now makes sense. Originally posted by Bob in July 2017.


Großes Hauptquartier, 29. Dezember.
Westlicher Kriegsschauplatz: 
Heeresgruppe Deutscher Kronprinz: 
Auf dem Westufer der Maas führten gestern an der Höhe 304 und am Südhang des "Toten Mannes" Teile der Infanterieregimenter Nr. 13 und Nr. 155 und des Füsilierregiments Nr. 37, sämtlich von der Somme her rühmlichst bekannt, Vorstöße in die französischen Stellungen aus. Eingehende Vorbereitung durch Artillerie und die durch ihre Wirkung der Infanterie unentbehrlich gewordenen, bewährten Minenwerfer bahnten den Stoßtruppen den Weg bis in die zweite und dritte Linie der feindlichen Stellungen, aus denen 222 Gefangene, dabei 4 Offiziere, und 7 Maschinengewehre zurückgebracht wurden. In den genommenen Gräben wurden mehrere, auch nachts wiederholte Gegenangriffe der Franzosen abgewiesen.
Am Walde von Cheppy und Malancourt holten sich wackere Württemberger und Badener mehrere Gefangene aus der feindlichen Stellung.


Der Erste Generalquartiermeister.




Yesterday parts of IR 13 and 155 and Fusiliers Regiment 37, who are held in highest  esteem since the Somme, attacked the French positions on the westbank of the Meuse near Hill 304 and on the southern Slope of the “toten Mannes”.


After preliminary preparation by the artillery and the Minenwerfer, who have proved indispensable to the infantry, the stormtroops made it to the second and third line in the enemy positions, from where they returned with 222 POW’s (including 4 officers) and 7 machineguns.

In the captured trenches repeated counterattacks by the French were repelled.

Brave Württemberger and Badener took several Pow’s in the enemy positions in the Bois de Cheppy and the Bois de Malancourt.

The First General Quartermaster. Ludendorff.


Thanks to JWK who has amended a poor Google translation.



So this would be the report on this action.


Edited by Martin Feledziak
Amending Google translation.
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Martin Feledziak

Just bringing this one back into line.

Lt KUHNERT, third from left, in 1918 - sporting a 1st Class Iron Cross.



Edited by Martin Feledziak
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Could  Lt. d. Res. Klintsch  actually be  Erich Klintzsch, buried in Neuville-St Vaast?

He's on the same Verlustliste of 18 June 1918 as Willibald Kiock, who died on 25th March 1918.

But Willibald is buried in Manicourt. And Hans Creutzmann and Kurt Grube, who also died on 25th March and are on the list of 8th June, are buried in Nampcel....




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Martin Feledziak
47 minutes ago, JWK said:



That has to be his entry and his birth place, OSTROWO,  was a regimental base for IR155 too.


I have just had a look at the pages for March 1918 but it is making me go "cross eyed" looking through the text.



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Martin Feledziak

Having looked through the text I see Lt d Res KLINTZSH, second paragraph, so the regimental history has variations in spelling his last name too.




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Martin Feledziak

Well, now it is almost the end of 2017 and so for the soldiers of WW1 this time 100 years ago they would still be facing another 11 months of misery.


We have 11 months to keep up the search and remember their deeds.


Good or bad.




Edited by Martin Feledziak
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Best New Years Wishes Martin.    Your comments serve as a good remembrance and challenge for us all.  Thank you for your own endeavors in your research.   


John Rieth

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  • Martin Feledziak changed the title to German 115th Division in 1918.
Martin Feledziak

According to 251 Divisions of the German army page 605 :-


On 1st February 1918 the 115th Division were relived from the Romanian Battle front by an Austrian Division. 

At this time it was composed of the

229th Brigade.

The three infantry regiments were IR136, RIR40 and IR171

Cavalry 2nd Squadron 22 Dragoon Regiment.

Artillery - 229 Field Artillery regiment, 94th foot artillery, 1074 1077 and 1078

Engineers - 43 Pioneer Battalion, 229 pioneer company, Reserve Pioneer 33, 74 Search light section 115 Signal command and coms detachment, 89 wireless detachment..

Medical and Veterinary - 115 ambulance. 376 and 377 Field Hospital. 167 Vet Hospital.

Transport - 598 M.T Col.

The Division was rested in Brailia, Romania, during February and March.




My Grandfather would be 20 years of age and I do not know if he served on the Romanian Front but he was of the age to be with an active service unit most probably with IR171, which he was certainly linked to later.

Edited by Martin Feledziak
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Martin Feledziak

I am just saving this post here so that I can find it later. Apparently there is a possibility that the Regimental History for  IR171 will be appearing in digital form. I understand there are a number of Histories due for release. ( In German of Course )



Thanks Charlie2.

It is certainly the correct book - I will keep looking in.


The Infantry Regiment No. 171 in the World War / on the basis of official war diaries edit. on behalf of the Imperial Archives of Kaiser, Buchholtz, Renovanz
Oldenburg: Stalling, 1927
347 p.: Ill. + 5 ct.
Edited by Martin Feledziak
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  • Martin Feledziak changed the title to American 77th Division - Meuse Argonne and another reluctant pigeon

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