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

Martin Feledziak

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Martin Feledziak
12 hours ago, JWK said:



I miss most things in text - I can only guess at pictures and maps.

So this was clearly an issue and I had no idea this was in that line.

So GRIPPE means Flu ( influenza )


Yes the Americans were now on plot. And would be the main opposition for the 115th German Division when they were moved to the Gesnes battlefront

for October and wars end.


With this time line I guess, but can not prove, that my Grandfather would have been "medi-vac" from the Longport/Corcy battlefield early June 1918 with some form of combat injury. ( I have not noticed reports of died of GRIPPE in the verlustlisten)


BUT in any event he would have been returned fit for the next phase of battle in the Argonne.



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Martin Feledziak
On 24/06/2018 at 11:08, Martin Feledziak said:

On their march through Vailly ( Perhaps Vailly-sur-Aisne)

They viewed a large "Fat Bertha" which the French had been forced to abandon during their retreat.









from page 270 of "The German 66th Regiment" 

it would appear that on 26th/27th May, a rail gun was captured by Captain NIEMEYER and  company 1 IR66. The gun was at Vailly railway station and preparing to move off.

For a considerable time this gun had been the terror of Laon.


so it is possible that the gun depicted in the regimental history of IR171 above was the gun captured by IR66

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Martin Feledziak

I have been having a look at possible details for the large gun.

The best I have come up with is

Obusier de 520 modele 1916 - the image is a fair match but the accompanying description below the image does not appear to fit the above circumstances..





The Obusier de 520 was a railroad gun developed by the French during World War I. However, due to a delayed procurement process, the first gun did not reach trails until late 1917 during which a round exploded prematurely and destroyed it. The second gun was completed in 1918 but did not finish trails before the war ended after which it was put in storage. The Obusier de 520 modèle 1916 fired a 520mm round weighing over 3600 pounds to a range of over 8 miles. When Germany invaded France in 1940, the remaining gun was being renovated for battle where it was captured, still in the workshop, by the Germans. Germany, with a penchant for enormous artillery, pressed the Obusier de 520 into their own service where it participated in the siege of Leningrad in 1942 before also being destroyed by a round prematurely exploding in the barrel in January 1943.


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Martin Feledziak

From page 281 - The German 66th Regiment in the first world war re June- July 1918


“The regiment took 56 officers and 3,810 men prisoner and captured 18 artillery pieces of all sizes including a 30.5cm railroad gun.”


I presume we now know the calibre of that gun captured by company 1.


So another search of the internet provides this image of a French 320mm ( which looks just like the one above described as a 520 )






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Martin Feledziak
On 18/07/2018 at 21:04, JWK said:

Spanish Flu


From page 281 – The 66th Regiment in the First World War.

clearly there was a big problem with Flu as reported below. The 113 ID were in the same area as 115 ID.


“During the night of 6th  and 7th June The regiment moved from Lechelle through the recent battlegrounds of Vasseny in the Vesle Valley, in which area 113 ID would rest for several weeks, which the regiment took full advantage of. Some attack exercises and a river crossing with pontoons provided welcome diversions. Unfortunately, the regiment was hit with a flu epidemic that spared no one.”

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Martin Feledziak

According to the history of IR171 -  In August 1918 the Regiment had been located North of Verdun.

With the return of the sick and new replacements the strength was  around 1000 men.


Three Battalions with machine gun companies were maintained.

They were equipt with 25 Heavy and 45 Light machine guns.



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Martin Feledziak

At the beginning of October 1918 the 115th German Infantry Division are defending positions around Gesnes in the Argonne Forest.  IR171 are somewhere in the area of Hill 255.

The American Divisions are present in large numbers and have been conducting early morning raids, using tanks, taking advantage of heavy morning fog.











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Martin Feledziak

Just bringing this back in as it is 100 years old.

I am sure that Grandfather was now back with his company - company 10 IR171. I will never know for sure because he never disclosed his experiences, but the two reports in the verlustlisten fit the circumstances and I am confident he was present.


The below passage was kindly translated by forum member JWK, 


One didn’t anticipate that Gesnes, which was secured by 10/171, and the Höhe 255 close by, would become focal points for bitter combat, even though the recces and our own battle experiences of the first day taught the Regiment quite quickly that it had again captured a “very windy corner”.

Drumfire on the position and second line, daily attacks by the Americans, repeatedly with tanks, mostly in the early misty hours of the morning, which often continued well into the morning, meant that the Regiment was always at its post, so that despite 5 to 6 attacks a day it could always report at night “Position held”.

The Elsas-Lotharingen regiments of 115 Inf. Div. did their duty in the most difficult of situations, as they had done elsewhere, which was reported several times in the Heeresbericht.

The artillery, machine gun companies and minethrowers were outstanding in defending the position, alongside the small number of infanterists.

The 5th october was a particularly heavy day of battle, as our own frontline, III and II/171 in front, and the neighbouring division to our right were heavily attacked, during which the left wing of that division came into serious problems. It was however freed from its unpleasant position by counterattacks by the brave III/171, under command of their energetic leader Hauptmann Kietzlich, and the defensive flank of I/171 to the west.

The day-order of 115 Inf Div for 5th October says of this day of battle: “The main burden on this day of battle lay on IR 171, which was instrumental in the success of the day”.

Gruppenkommando Argonnen relayed a message of thanks from the neighbouring division: “for its loyalty and for the, on this day, very valuable “Gefechtsnachbarschaft” [which I would translate as “Brothers in arms”]

The Gruppenkommando Argonnen was commanded by General von Kleist, former commander of 115 Inf. Div. The recognition was even more enjoyable because now, as on previous occasions, the former division-commander could see that, even under a different commander, the brave 115 Inf. Div, and with it IR 171, stood their ground.

A member of General von Kleist’s staff at this time was Hauptmann Buchholtz, who, as Regiments-Adjutant of IR 171, and later as Brigade and Division Adjutant, had proven himself superbly, and who was appointed to his new staff by the General .

All troops of 115 Inf. Div. remember fondly this able officer, also because of his personal kindness and comradeship.

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Martin Feledziak

On 07/03/2017 at 17:16, jeffbir1 said:

My interest is with my grandfather's unit, 362nd Infantry, 91st Division. 


The Regimental history for IR 171 is now online.


Here is a link to an article based on 362nd and American 91st Division.




The World War I Battle That Turned Into a Suicide Mission

American troops were ordered to take a German-held town in France, even though nearly all involved knew that once they attacked, they would not return.


First Sergeant Harry Taylor and the rest of the 91st faced a suicide mission: Gesnes.

The Germans had turned Gesnes into a fortress, and a subterranean network of tunnels bored under the town connected bunkers and strongpoints. To reach the tiny French hamlet, the Americans would have to cross a full mile of open ground with no cover. And the land was “double enfiladed by machine guns and subject to the highest concentration of [German] artillery fire I have ever seen,” recalled “Gatling Gun” Parker, who would lead the assault on the town.

Despite the tremendous risk, V Corps headquarters had ordered Major General William Johnson, the division commander of the 91st, to attack Gesnes “with utmost vigor and regardless of cost.” To carry out the order, Johnson turned to Parker. Surveying the ground, Parker saw at once that this was a forlorn hope; he attempted to explain to Johnson the bloodbath that would ensue. “The position can be taken,” he argued, “but only if it is desired to pay the price, which will be very severe losses.”


The Regimental history for IR 171 is now online.




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Martin Feledziak

According to page 278 of the Regimental history the losses from the beginning of October up to the 16th were.


Dead - 3 officers and 46 men.

Wounded - 1 officer and 226 Men

Missing or Prisoner - 1 officer and 293 men.


Retrospective awards :-

Divisional commander General KUNDT "Pour Le Merit"




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Martin Feledziak

From 17th to 21 October 1918 IR171 were taking rest following extensive battle at Romagne and Gesnes.


From 31st October they were in the area of Sommauthe, Mouzon and Pouilly sur Meuse.

New battles near Buzancy.

The village of Vaux en Dieulet.





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Martin Feledziak

A search using the term "Vaux en Dieulet" reveals the below order indicating the American Division in opposition.


American Expeditionary Forces.


France, Nov. 5, 1918.



During the night of November 2-3, the 2nd Division moved forward overcoming the resistance of the enemy's advance elements, and at 6 :30 A. M. it attacked and seized the enemy's line of defense on the ridge southeast of VAUX-en-DIEULET.

Late in the afternoon, the enemy, having reorganized his line on the border of BELVAL FOREST, was again attacked and defeated. After nightfall and in heavy rain, the advance elements of the Division pressed forward through the forest, and occupied a position on the heights south of BEAUMONT, eight kilometers in advance of the Divisions on our right and left.

During the night of November 4-5, the Division again pressed forward, occupied BEAUMONT and L'ETANNE, and threw the enemy on its front across the MEUSE.

The endurance, the skill, the courage, and the fiery energy of the officers and men of the 2nd Division are unsurpassed in the annals of war. The victories of the Division have been a tremendous factor in bringing near the day of decisive defeat of the German Army.


Major General, U. S. M. C.,




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Martin Feledziak

I have posted this before but I think it is worth another revamp.

You just need Flash player on your viewer.

It is relevant to the above two posts.




The link to the interactive page is above,

A screen grab is shown below. 




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Thanks for sharing Martin, great interactive map and very timely.   Regards, John Rieth

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Martin Feledziak

 In following the movements of IR171, and after a  little research  I found a report for Henry as below.

As 100 years marks this event I present :-


Henry L. Thompson, captain, 23d Infantry. For extraordinary heroism in action near Vaux-en-Dieulet, France, November 3, 1918. Although painfully wounded, Capt. Thompson led his battalion to the outskirts of Vaux-en-Dieulet., the advance being without artillery support and accomplished only by effective rifle fire.


This officer himself set an example for his men by killing with a rifle two German machine gunners at a distance of 500 yards.


He was again seriously wounded after reaching the objective while making dispositions for defense against counterattacks. Emergency address: Mrs. Eleanor K. Thompson, wife, 1605 Bull Street, Columbia, S. C. Residenceat appointment: 1605 Bull Street, Columbia, S.C.






Henry died on 4th November 1918. He is at rest in the American Cemetery, Meuse Argonne.






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Martin Feledziak

On 5th November 1918 IR171 were in and around Sapagne, and the following day the third Battalion were billited at Villers La Loue, near Virton.

They were on the March back to Germany.





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Martin Feledziak

This report appeared in the Verlustlisten in February 1919.


I believe this to be casualties and losses sustained by the regiment in the October fighting in the Argonne Forest. 

Having skimmed through the regimental history late October, through November there are no significant mentions of fighting on the scale which was as severe as reported around Gesness and Romagne.

Grandfather would not speak of the war. So I don't know the full circumstances of his missing status. There is a  photograph of him in uniform  dated 1919 in Rimke, Germany. 

I do not know how he returned to Germany.


Feledziak, Martin - 14.10.97 Wrotkof, Koschmin- Missing. 

 10 Company Infanterie Regiment Nr 171.





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Martin Feledziak

 Krakow 11 11 2018



For most of the world the end of war was and end to slaughter. For Poland it was an end of slaughter also but rebirth of a nation.

SADLY there would be much, much worse to come.


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Martin Feledziak

I have made this little collection of Genuine and reproduction items to mark his "Great War"

He appears to have been prepared to pose for the photographer in this 1919 studio portrait.

There is evidence of a class 2 ribbon in his left button hole and a possible wound badge below.

BUT other than a hospital recovery photo and entries in the Verlustlisten I have no documentary papers.


However, he did, in later life hate everything to do with war and would refuse to speak of it. 

Things did not get any better in 1939 when now living in France his family was under German occupation.






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  • 2 weeks later...
Martin Feledziak


In Early December 1918. IR 171 were quartered In Vilbel.

They were in a neutral zone between Vilbel and Rauheim.


It would appear that the Regiment were now performing the role of Security for the City of Frankfurt.

A type of Police Troop.








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Interesting: there was revolution in the streets, soldier's committees were formed, but IR 171 applauded its commander for staying true to his Kaiser and King?

And the people on the street wholeheartedly approved of that?


Anyway, 171 was on borderwatch on the border with the neutral zone, which was somewhere north of Frankfurt. (the slightly darker "yellowish" is the border of the "neutralised zone")




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Martin Feledziak
15 hours ago, JWK said:



Great Map Jan.

It is very interesting too.


Remembering that pre war - IR171 were Garrisoned at Colmar, down there in the purple area, in ALSACE.

That area had been under German control since the war of 1871.


So then in 1918 the regiment was defeated in war and had lost half of it's home too.

They were also garrisoned at Lahr which was still German and East of the Rhine.


I have no idea what Grandfather was doing and can only place him in Gera, Germany, later at the photographers sometime in 1919. Post 946 above

Interestingly his first son, My Uncle, was born in Frankfurt in 1923.

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Martin Feledziak

Here is the Full list for Grandfather and his Brothers and cousins.


V Reservekorps

9th Reserve Division.
18th Reserve infanterie Brigade
Reserve Infanterie Regiment No6 (POSEN)
Kompanie 13........................Jozef Feledziak born 1894 (9) POW 1916


I Reservekorps

36th Reserve Division.
69th Reserve Infanterie Brigade
Reserve Infanterie Regiment 61 (GDANSK)
Kompanie 10 &
Reserve Jager Battalion No2
Kompanie 2..........................Jacob Feledziak Born 1886 (8) Seriously Wounded 1914

 Initial National service (THORN) 


XVI Armeekorps
34th Infanterie Division.
68th Infanterie Brigade
Konigs Infanterie Regiment No145 - (METZ)
Kompanie 12.........................Andreas Feledziak born 1889 (11) Wounded 1914


XVI Armeekorps
Pionier Regiment No29 (POSEN)
Kompanie 2..........................Johann Feledziak born 1891 (3) Killed 1915

 Initial National service (METZ)


 Anton Feledziak Born 1892 (3) Killed in action, Unknown Grave

Unknown service history.

VII Armeekorps

14th Infanterie Division

28th Infanterie Brigade

After 1915

V Armeekorps

50th Infantry Division.
100th Infanterie Brigade
Fusilier Regiment No39 (DUSSELDORF)
Kompanie 4 ...........................Martin Feledziak born 1895 (12) POW 1915

XV Armeekorps
39th Infanterie Division.
82nd Infanerie Brigade
From April 1915
115th Infanterie Division
229th Infanterie Brigade
Infanterie Regiment No171 - (COLMAR)
Kompanie 10.......................Martin Feledziak Born 1897 (6) Wounded 1918

V Armeekorps
10th Infanterie Division.
77th infanterie Brigade
Fusilier Regiment No37 (KROTOSZYN)
Kompanie 4..........................Johann Feledziak Born 1897 (4) Died of wounds 1917


Walenty FELEDZIAK 1898 - could have been German army but was  a part of the Polish uprising in Poznan 1918 - Fledgling polish Army


Karol FELEDZIAK 1888 Dubiecko -Galician Infantry Regiment Freiherr Von Albori No 89 . 1940 Captain Polish Army murdered Katyn Forest




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  • Martin Feledziak changed the title to American 77th Division - Meuse Argonne and another reluctant pigeon

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