Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

German IR 169

German Infantry Regiment 169 (Baden Regt 8)

Recommended Posts

German IR 169

Hi BKK,   John Rieth here.   Its been awhile since I have looked at this thread, and its always good to see another grandson of an IR 169 veteran pop up.   Hopefully my Iron Regiment book (hopefully you were able to get the 2nd edition, which has much more on 1917-18)  will help shed light on the type of experiences he went through during his time with IR 169, as well as the 52nd ID.   In the final year of the war, IR 111 was frequently aligned with IR 169, and in fact, at the very end of the war, the remnants of both regiments were merged into a small detachment.  In fact, the 100th anniversary of IR 169's destruction in the Argonne on 1 Nov will soon be here.   Thanks for your interest in this subject and please reach out to me at any time.   Best Regards, John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
German IR 169

 

 

The evening of 31 October - November 1918 marked the annihilation of German Infantry Regiment 169 in the Argonne Forest.   To remember the 100th Anniversary of this event, I am posting a portion the prologue to the 2nd edition of my book, Imperial Germany's Iron Regiment of the First World War; History of Infantry Regiment 169, 1914-1918.  (www.ironregiment169.com)  I would also like to pass along my best wishes to those descendants of all combatants from the Great War and to the many members of the WFA who keep their sacrifices and memories alive.

 

All the Best, John Rieth, 31 October 2018.

====================================================

 

Meuse-Argonne Battlefront: Landres Sector, 3:59 am, November 1, 1918:


    In four years of war, IR 169 had faced many desperate circumstances, but none as dire as this one. 

 

    Events leading to this last stand began four weeks earlier, when the regiment was rushed to the front to stem the American First Army’s fracture of German lines at the Argonne Forest. In 17 days of continuous combat, IR 169, along with its two sister regiments of the 52nd Infantry Division and other German units, repulsed attacks of three large American divisions. The intensity of the fighting was such that the Germans inflicted over 16,000 enemy casualties, with IR 169 losing nearly 700 of the 1,500 men they entered the battle with.


     Following a five day rest period, IR 169 was back at the front on October 21. The ceaseless pounding of enemy artillery was a misery, but true disaster first struck on October 28, when an American phosgene chemical attack all but annihilated the 1st Battalion. The second act of the catastrophe occurred during the early morning hours of November 1, when the 2nd and 3rd Battalions moved from a forward reserve position to replace a unit rotating out of the Landres Sector trenches. Of the few hundred men left remaining in ranks, many were replacements who only joined IR 169 a few days earlier. 

 

     On the other side of the no-man’s-land, the American First Army was about to launch its knock-out blow. Frustrated by weeks of stout German defenses, the Americans assembled the largest attack force they committed in the war. Artillery firepower came from 1,500 guns, with 300 of those targeting the Landres area defenses. The task of eliminating the Landres strong-point was assigned to the Marine Brigade of the battle-tested 2nd Infantry Division, who assaulted alongside a large concentration of heavy and light tanks.

 

   Zero hour of the attack was 4:00 am. Some of IR 169’s infantry had yet to enter their new trenches when one of the great barrages of World War I exploded upon them. The furious three-hour bombardment mixed chemical munitions among high explosive shells. A marine officer later remarked how every square foot of the enemy’s front line area was struck by shell fire. The ground attack began at 7:00 am. Under the cover of a rolling artillery barrage, the tanks easily churned over the barbed wire entanglements as waves of marines followed closely behind. Within minutes, the attackers set upon those shell-shocked Germans who had survived the bombardment.

Otto Lais’ memoirs recorded the final moments of IR 169’s destruction:

 

     “In the night of October 31 - November 1, the regiment marched quickly out of the forested Argonne region into the open fields of Landres and Landreville. During a pitch-black, rainy night, the regiment arrived and began to dig into the open fields and meadows. No sooner had they started to dig when a storm of heavy artillery fire descended upon them.
Within two hours, over 100 American heavy tanks and countless light tanks emerged to roll over, crush, and completely wipe out the regiment.

    The majority of the officers are dead or severely wounded.  The machine gun crews, the anti-tank crews, and the hand grenade troop of the infantry have all been eliminated after a brave defense. Superiority of force has prevailed. Out of the pale gray mist of the dawn come row upon row of gray monsters with the rumbling of motors towards us. The heavy tanks move up one and two meters to the machine-gun nests and the anti-tank guns. The turret gun is lowered - there is a flash of fire and a report.  The defenders are swimming in their blood. ‘Move out!’

     The tank rattles on. Not one soul returns from the companies deployed to these forward positions. Only one officer, a courier, and three NCO’s make it back. These five
men, who had a special mission, were captured but were later able to escape.
     In the gray dawn of November 1, 1918, the Iron Regiment is no more
.”

 

 

Note:  The attached picture depicts an IR 169 MG Squad.  It was provided to me by Ray Merkler, a resident of New Jersey, whose father, Karl Merkler (shown lying at the bottom, left side) was an IR 169 veteran.   I hold a special kinship to Ray, as my own grandfather, Albert Rieth, served with IR 169 from 1912 -1915.

Scan_20151106 (3).jpg

Edited by German IR 169

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martin Feledziak
9 hours ago, German IR 169 said:

I would also like to pass along my best wishes to those descendants of all combatants from the Great War and to the many members of the WFA who keep their sacrifices and memories alive.

 

I agree completely with your sentiments.

All combatants from all nations were required to do their duty.

Martin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BKK
On 25/10/2018 at 04:41, German IR 169 said:

Hi BKK,   John Rieth here.   Its been awhile since I have looked at this thread, and its always good to see another grandson of an IR 169 veteran pop up.   Hopefully my Iron Regiment book (hopefully you were able to get the 2nd edition, which has much more on 1917-18)  will help shed light on the type of experiences he went through during his time with IR 169, as well as the 52nd ID.   In the final year of the war, IR 111 was frequently aligned with IR 169, and in fact, at the very end of the war, the remnants of both regiments were merged into a small detachment.  In fact, the 100th anniversary of IR 169's destruction in the Argonne on 1 Nov will soon be here.   Thanks for your interest in this subject and please reach out to me at any time.   Best Regards, John

John, Thank you for the response!

 

During the past couple of months I have been able to read your book (2nd Edition). It has caused me to try to dig even deeper into my grandfathers wartime service. Something which he talked to nobody about it seems. I loved how you were able to meld multiple accounts from different sources. The excerpts from Otto Lais were amazing. I can't believe he seemed to get through the whole war without getting severely wounded! 

 

I was able to pick up my grandfathers trail halfway through the book as he joined 2/169 in September of 1917. I have been lucky to find about a dozen unit Stammrolles with my grandfathers name listed, and from those I have been able to put together the story. Amazing that this info is all online. They even have aerial recon photos of the trench positions.

 

8 Sep 1917 - 2 Komp IR169 Infantry Regiment (#1325)

25 Oct 1917 - Light Wounded, Lizy France. Chem de dames

4 Nov 1917 - Transferred to 10th Komp 111 Infantry Regiment (#1095)  (Records Correspond exactly to what you stated in your book. He was one of the 110 men transferred)

30 May 1918 - Wounded South West of Reims – Hand Grenade. (Spring Offensive)

30 May 1918 - Treated in Field Hospital

8 Jun 1918 - Evacuated to Army Hospital in Riedlingen, Germany

25 June 1918 – Transferred to Convalescent Komp 2 Ersatz 111 IR (#8338)

11 July 1918 – Transferred to 2 Komp 2 Ersatz 111 IR (#2235)

19 Sep 1918 – Transferred to 10 Komp 111 IR (#1095), Battle for Exermont, Montrebeau Woods

1 Nov 1918 – Phosgene Gas Poisoning. Massive Artillery Barrage. Vic Landres et St Georges

4 Nov 1918 – Transferred to Army Hospital in Biberach, Germany

15 Nov 1918 – Transferred to Convalescent Komp Ersatz 110 IR (Location?) (#9508)

 

Now I have become extremely interested in the Meuse Argonne Offensive. Google Map Recons, Old Trench Maps, etc. I am planning to go visit the area next year and climb all around the well traveled, and less traveled old battlefield woods.

 

Reading your book, it seems my grandfather was quite lucky to survive his time in IR111 during the Argonne Offensive, and then surviving the 1 November Artillery Barrage with IR169. I am assuming he was probably one of the IR111 survivors that were with IR169 on 1 November. 

 

Do you have any good Unit History leads for IR111?

 

Thanks again, and great job on your book. Really enjoy it, and will re-read many sections over.

 

Pete

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JWK
On 26/08/2018 at 18:34, BKK said:

Scan10062.JPG

 

Scan10061.JPG

 

Looks like the man on the left has been photoshopped either out of or in to the picture!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martin Feledziak
1 hour ago, JWK said:

photoshopped

 

Great spot.

Now that is a puzzle.

 

I can't think what a plausible explanation could be.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BKK
21 hours ago, JWK said:

 

Looks like the man on the left has been photoshopped either out of or in to the picture!

Ha Ha No photoshop then.

 

Look at my grandfathers thumb position in relation to the belt buckle in both pics. Different. Also a bit of his left wrist showing more in one pic. Cig is also in a different position.

 

That WAS his favorite pose stance his whole life...with cigar or cig. 

Edited by BKK
Addition

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BKK
23 hours ago, charlie2 said:

Wow. Maps and everything! Thank you so much. Will have to have my mother read parts to me. Germans are great with getting this stuff online for free!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martin Feledziak
2 hours ago, BKK said:

belt buckle

 

Yes you are right - you have provided the plausible solution.

Even the shadows are in the same position so taken at the same time of day.

 

But the thumb and belt buckle combination has it.

 

Enjoy the history of 111.

My Grandfather's 171 came on line this year. I do not read German either.

But maps and names are great.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BKK

Here is a way that you can translate German Fraktur. I am using it to translate this IR111 history.

 

Take a screen shot (Snipping Tool in Windows) of what you want to translate. 

 
Save it to an image file
 
Load it here https://www.newocr.com/    type "G" in language box and German Fraktur will come up
 
Hit OCR...and it translates it into normal german. Copy and paste that into Google Translate.
 
It is free and it does not do a bad job.
Edited by BKK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martin Feledziak
21 minutes ago, BKK said:

translate

 

Greetings.

I have been using exactly that resource.

However I get very hit and miss results from it.

Sometimes it does a good job, other times  just rubbish comes out.

BUT

it does give an idea of what is going on in the paragraphs.

I like it better when JWK does the conversion for me.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BKK
7 minutes ago, Martin Feledziak said:

 

Greetings.

I have been using exactly that resource.

However I get very hit and miss results from it.

Sometimes it does a good job, other times  just rubbish comes out.

BUT

it does give an idea of what is going on in the paragraphs.

I like it better when JWK does the conversion for me.

 

 

 

I agree. Hit and miss. Sometimes I can make it out bit between reading "as is" and using the translate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JWK
On 21/11/2018 at 17:09, BKK said:

Ha Ha No photoshop then.

 

Look at my grandfathers thumb position in relation to the belt buckle in both pics. Different. Also a bit of his left wrist showing more in one pic. Cig is also in a different position.

 

That WAS his favorite pose stance his whole life...with cigar or cig. 

 

Aaahhh! I was right in the first incarnation of my reply "Unless it was his favourite pose"!

He's got it down to a T, hasn't he?! ;)

 

A bit of background to his pictures: Fritz Limbach, in his letters home after he'd received his camera (in August 1915), "complains" that his fellow soldiers are "queuing around the block" to get their photo taken (which they then can send home to their families).

When they asked nicely he takes their photograph. If not: "Sorry, something went wrong" after "taking their photograph".

Fritz's father was a factory-owner so Fritz had access to such an expensive thing as a camera. The vast majority of his fellow soldiers didn't.

 

So guess this happy chappy on the left seized his moment and scooted in there for the photo.

Hope he got a copy and that that copy is still treasued in a faded photoalbum somewhere in Germany.

 

On 22/11/2018 at 15:00, BKK said:

Here is a way that you can translate German Fraktur. I am using it to translate this IR111 history.

 

Take a screen shot (Snipping Tool in Windows) of what you want to translate. 

 
Save it to an image file
 
Load it here https://www.newocr.com/    type "G" in language box and German Fraktur will come up
 
Hit OCR...and it translates it into normal german. Copy and paste that into Google Translate.
 
It is free and it does not do a bad job.

 

Ah, didn't know thar website, thanks!

 

But a word of warning: it gets you the gist of the story. But not necessarily the "true" story.

German (ánd Dutch!) can go off tangent in a "Boa Constrictor" fashion for several sentences before finally making a point.

And if you translate that "Boa Constrictor" sentence in a literal sense it might well be completely different from what they actually meant.

German Regimental Histories are awash with those sentences, especially if the writer was well versed in "Storytelling".

 

(And that "Boa Constrictor" typification isn't mine, I Re-used it from another thread on here (but I forget which one....)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martin Feledziak
16 minutes ago, JWK said:

typification

 

Yes and that thread has gone silent. General Eugene Von D. He was a true war mongerer. The snake has not been straightened so far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BKK
15 hours ago, JWK said:

 

Aaahhh! I was right in the first incarnation of my reply "Unless it was his favourite pose"!

He's got it down to a T, hasn't he?! ;)

 

A bit of background to his pictures: Fritz Limbach, in his letters home after he'd received his camera (in August 1915), "complains" that his fellow soldiers are "queuing around the block" to get their photo taken (which they then can send home to their families).

When they asked nicely he takes their photograph. If not: "Sorry, something went wrong" after "taking their photograph".

Fritz's father was a factory-owner so Fritz had access to such an expensive thing as a camera. The vast majority of his fellow soldiers didn't.

 

So guess this happy chappy on the left seized his moment and scooted in there for the photo.

Hope he got a copy and that that copy is still treasued in a faded photoalbum somewhere in Germany.

Interesting story on the picture taking. We are still truly surprised that my grandfather was able to acquire the handful of photos and that they survived back. Not to mention all these years. His Militarpak is also in excellent condition.

 

I just had a kind fellow in the medical forum translate some of his injuries from records. Perhaps he was not gassed in the Argonne, but wounded by a grenade again. I need to review those again, as my mother read gas somewhere in the records. It says he had a leg wound with 2/169 on 25 Oct 1917.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martin Feledziak
On 20/11/2018 at 16:45, BKK said:

Argonne Offensive

 

I have posted this before but I think it is worth another revamp if you have not seen it before.

You just need Flash player on your viewer.

 

It is a jazzy way of presenting the Argonne Offensive from the American angle.

 

https://www.abmc.gov/sites/default/files/interactive/interactive_files/MA_Website/

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BKK
1 hour ago, Martin Feledziak said:

 

I have posted this before but I think it is worth another revamp if you have not seen it before.

You just need Flash player on your viewer.

 

It is a jazzy way of presenting the Argonne Offensive from the American angle.

 

https://www.abmc.gov/sites/default/files/interactive/interactive_files/MA_Website/

 

Thank you Martin.

 

BTW, I read through some of your previous posts that you had relatives come from the Poznan Area. That is one ground zero for generations of my father's side of the family. I have yet to dig into that history!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martin Feledziak

I arrived on this forum in 2013 looking for information about a pioneer regiment. I have been here ever since.

I enjoy the research and find it fascinating. I have been to the Argonne twice - It is hard to imagine war was there. Nature has claimed it back.

 

We do not get to see what our Grandparents saw - that is why they never spoke of it.

BUT we must not forget and strive to share.

 

The American cemetery at Romagne-sous-montfaucon  is fairly epic.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BKK

Original IR169 Bier Stein. 1901-1903

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Regimental-Lithophane-Beer-Stein-1901-03-Antique-German-Lidded-Military-WWI/283086792676

On 25/11/2018 at 21:56, Martin Feledziak said:

I arrived on this forum in 2013 looking for information about a pioneer regiment. I have been here ever since.

I enjoy the research and find it fascinating. I have been to the Argonne twice - It is hard to imagine war was there. Nature has claimed it back.

 

We do not get to see what our Grandparents saw - that is why they never spoke of it.

BUT we must not forget and strive to share.

 

The American cemetery at Romagne-sous-montfaucon  is fairly epic.

 

 

Martin.....True words.

 

Hope to walk the woods next year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martin Feledziak
3 hours ago, BKK said:

Stein

 

 

They are very nice objects.

That one is massively expensive.

 

I think from a time when regiments were very big families.

When the great war came round - Death and misery became a horrible reality.

 

The traditions became unpalatable, 

Here is a similar object I found when researching IR171.

IR171 jug.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BKK

The culture of Camaraderie, Warrior Spirit, Patriotism, and Esprit de Corps use to run deep in German Society. Beer Drinking was all part of that. Reserve Units were probably more like beer drinking brotherhoods before the war.

 

These are all things that German culture has buried for 3 generations, and that burial is truly affecting their ability to have an effective Army today. Numerous Articles are out there to read about the sorry state of their affairs. From equipment readiness problems, to finding enough people willing to join the military after years of bad cultural PR. A friend's son quit the German Army recently after finding that training was one step above marching around with broomsticks.

 

Nice IR 171 Bier Stein!

 

I just purchased this cool Beer Stein at a cheaper price. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Patriotischer-Bierkrug-Pestalozzischule-Regensburg-Weihnachten-1916/143011822992?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martin Feledziak
1 hour ago, BKK said:

Beer Drinking

 

I think you are exactly right - I certainly have a pre-war photo of a great uncle pictured with his unit in 1909 - they all have jugs of beer and musical instruments. He was a reservist and in 1914 was sent off to the Eastern front where he was terribly wounded by shell splinters. ( ironically perhaps it saved his life because he was invalided out of the rest of the war )

 

Getting back to IR169 I watched this video of an old soldier from the 29th Infantry Division. I was trying to work out if he was from IR169 - But I suspect he may have been IR113. He mentions marching out of Freiburg which I think is 113. He still talks about all of the same locations where IR169 were - So it is still possible. Worth a watch if you have not seen it. ( BUT they were all part of the same Division )

 

 

 

 

Edited by Martin Feledziak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BKK

I have watched that WHOLE BBC Great War series TWICE. Great to hear these WW1 Vets tell their stories. Until I watched this series, I had no idea of how the War was fought in so many places around the globe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BKK

Archive in Baden has many Aerial Trench Recon photos. These are some from the Juvincourt Area in June 1917. I found these in the IR111 file.

 

Main Page: https://www.landesarchiv-bw.de/highlight_hp3.php?hl_link=https://www.landesarchiv-bw.de/web/58589&q=456

 

IR169 Page https://www2.landesarchiv-bw.de/ofs21/bild_explorer/index.php?bestand=13803

 

 

Landesarchiv_Baden-Wuerttemberg_Generallandesarchiv_Karlsruhe_456_F_37_Nr._53_Foto_4-5_Bild_1_(4-1872550-1).jpg

Landesarchiv_Baden-Wuerttemberg_Generallandesarchiv_Karlsruhe_456_F_37_Nr._53_Foto_77-78_Bild_1_(4-1872911-1).jpg

Landesarchiv_Baden-Wuerttemberg_Generallandesarchiv_Karlsruhe_456_F_37_Nr._55_Foto_1_Bild_1_(4-1873252-1).jpg

Landesarchiv_Baden-Wuerttemberg_Generallandesarchiv_Karlsruhe_456_F_37_Nr._55_Foto_2_Bild_1_(4-1873253-1).jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...