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bierast

Fighting the Kaiser's War: The Saxons in Flanders 1914-1918

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bierast

I'm not sure this is the right place, but I can't see any specific place on the forum for new / upcoming book announcements. Anyhow... Pen & Sword have now given us the go-ahead to make the cover public, so here goes.

Fighting the Kaiser's War: The Saxons in Flanders 1914-1918 by Andrew Lucas and Jürgen Schmieschek is due to be published by Pen & Sword this Spring. We are currently planning a launch at the Passchendaele Memorial Museum's 'Museum Weekend' (25th-26th April). To quote the blurb I wrote for the publisher:

"This is the story of thousands of German soldiers who fought and died in Flanders ‘for King and Country, Kaiser and Reich’ with the Royal Saxon Army. Heirs to a distinct military tradition that was among the oldest in Germany, the Saxons played a major part in every campaign on this crucial front, and earned the British army's respect as brave and tenacious fighters. Their reputation with Tommies as the ‘most decent of the bunch’ was cemented by coverage of the famous Christmas Truce of 1914. For decades the old Kingdom of Saxony lay beyond the Iron Curtain, limiting the sources available for study of its army. This ground-breaking book uses archival documents, regimental histories and unpublished personal accounts to present the Saxon experience of the war in Flanders in unprecedented detail. It is illustrated with over 300 mostly unseen wartime photographs, German trench maps and other images."

Once the book is available, reviews and comments will be much appreciated!

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joerookery

Looking quite forward to this! T

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leibregiment

Just got it, great book......

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anthony osborne

Andi,

Thanks for posting - now on my shopping list.

Ant

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joerookery

Expecting a rather focused look at mid war Saxony in Flanders, I was seriously impressed by the robustness of the study. This is a book that any fan of world war one should possess. I really felt there were three books and at the end I wanted another in the series… there really should be a series if indeed the authors can resource it. Initially there is a mindnumbing set of details about Saxon actions broken down by unit and year. While this might seem like mundane research, suddenly the style of the authors and publisher comes to the front. This is the best picture collection I have seen in a book. The publisher and authors interspersed the pictures and maps throughout the text along with insets telling side stories. The affect was incredibly good. The pictures are clear, well annotated and not the normal "repeated pictures". While the story is book 1, it is the collection of pictures that put you on your feet. Rare, well explained, and integrated into the text. This is not the standard picture section that my books have been relegated to. This is real time expansion of your understanding. These pictures no doubt took a lifetime to collect and I am very pleased to have read it. Just when you thought this was well worth the money you come along to chapter 9. OMG The series of individual histories of soldiers and officers during the war. This is complete with pictures and letters from the soldier. This long chapter could not have been assembled without a serious collection of diaries and papers. All translated nicely into English and a real treasure trove that makes his third book worth the price of admission alone. You will not regret this one at all.

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bierast

Wonderful - a proper review at last, and from one of the 'big guns' of the subject too!

I should point out that the book is currently on special offer at P&S, so for an unspecified period (I hope, not indefinitely!) you can buy it direct from them for only £13.50 plus P&P. An absolute bargain even if I do say so myself!

http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Fighting-the-Kaisers-War-Hardback/p/6120?aid=1133

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Martin Feledziak

Great review + generous discount = order placed.

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trenchtrotter

Snap plus two cheeky titles re the Aisne / Chemin Des Dames!

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bierast

Thankyou both - do be sure to let amazon.com know that the above review (which the Herr Colonel posted there first) is helpful!

In fact, here's a little incentive I just thought up... if any of our readers publishes a review of the book (a proper one, at least a paragraph in length) on Amazon (UK, US, Germany or wherever) I will send them a free copy of The Saxons at Zonnebeke. In the interests of good Saxon fair play I will honour this even for negative reviews, as long as they're somewhat constructive and intelligent!

This offer applies to the first six reviews only on any one Amazon site, and is subject to availability. I'll post on here if I run out of copies of The Saxons at Zonnebeke.

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Martin Feledziak

My copy arrived today and a splendid looking book it is too.

Honestly - very many superb sharp images and documents together with some great maps.

Also just the type of Korps information I was trying to work out over the last couple of months.

IE how Brigades, Regiments etc work and where they were at specific times.

But in English.

I am a slow reader and enjoy taking my time so your incentive to get a speedy review posted is most unlikely.

Martin

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trenchtrotter

Well my copy arrived today. Seems like an excellent book. Super images and a text that takes us year by year through the war. In addition blended in are themed chapters and case studies of individual soldiers.

TT

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bierast

Thankyou both of you - enjoy!

Also just the type of Korps information I was trying to work out over the last couple of months.

IE how Brigades, Regiments etc work and where they were at specific times.
But in English.

I will be happy to assist if you need to locate any Saxon units more precisely (in Flanders or any other theatre of war - the Royal Saxon Army served on every European front, and in divisional or greater strength on all such fronts bar Italy). My co-author and I have been collecting information on and photos of any and all Saxon units (including rear-area and home service formations) for many years now. We picked Flanders both to maximise British interest and because Jürgen has a special fondness for (and many WW1-friends living on) that front.

Hopefully someone else will give the Bavarian and Württemberg armies the same focused treatment eventually - although to be fair Jack Sheldon and others have already given both of these a lot of attention in their more general 'German' works. I'm not sure whether there would be much point in studying the Royal Prussian Army as a distinct body, since it amounted to the great majority of Germany's land forces all by itself.

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trenchtrotter

Funnily enough both my WW1 bluses are to Saxons. One 12 th Train...depot marked Chemnitz and other to late war formed Regiment who served on the Eastern front before transfer to France. The last is very shoddy material. I also have a Saxon feld mutze.

TT

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bierast

Funnily enough both my WW1 bluses are to Saxons.

Very nice indeed - my only original uniform piece is a leutnant's shoulder board from IR 351.

One 12 th Train...depot marked Chemnitz

Train 19 / Chemnitz would be a more logical combination. Maybe the owner was issued a new tunic while in hospital in the other half of Saxony, or from divisional stores while in the field.

...and other to late war formed Regiment who served on the Eastern front before transfer to France. The last is very shoddy material. I also have a Saxon feld mutze.

Let me guess - is the regiment one of IR 472, 473 or 474 (all formed at the end of 1916 for the new 241.ID)? My GGF's field artillery regiment (FAR 48, originally with 23.ID) spent the last two years of the war with that division.

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Martin Feledziak

Andi -

I have sent you a PM.

Martin

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themonsstar

My copy come today looking forward to reading the book.

Cheers Roy

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bierast

Apparently the knock-down price of £13.50 on the P&S website was an error, and has now been corrected. Their price is now £20 plus P&P, which IMHO still represents excellent value for money (we went right up to the maximum number of pages allowed by the publisher - 256 - and none of them are blank!).

I will be bringing copies along to all my living history engagements while my personal stocks last, and selling them for £20 (signed if desired); copies of The Saxons at Zonnebeke will also be available for £3. At present I hope to attend the following together with my comrades from the 1914-21 Society:

Together with my father Michael Lucas (author of The Journey's End Battalion and Frontline Medic) and the redoubtable Ian Houghton (http://www.tommy1418.com/) I will also be at the Surrey History Centre in Woking on 24th October for To Journey's End and Beyond: The RC Sherriff Study Day. Dad will be delivering a lecture on the famous playwright's wartime service with the 9th East Surreys, while Ian and I will be putting on small living history displays respectively on the 9th ESR and a Saxon artillery unit known to have faced them at St. Eloi in October 1915.

Gott segne Sachsen!

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Martin Feledziak

Finished to the end. Great book.

Now I will go back and read 1914 again. It takes a while for me to understand various issues, I am now confident that I know where the Saxons fitted

into the bigger picture.

The personal accounts at the end are very good.

Martin

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bierast

Finished to the end. Great book.

Now I will go back and read 1914 again. It takes a while for me to understand various issues, I am now confident that I know where the Saxons fitted

into the bigger picture.

The personal accounts at the end are very good.

Thanks Martin, glad to hear that you got so much out of our book. Should you wish to write a full review for Amazon the offer I outlined above still stands.

Each of the chronological chapters is based on a comprehensive set of notes (in calendar form) compiled at the outset from all of my sources, which I then summarised as my first draft and repeatedly pared down until it met the necessary word / character count to fit the space available in Jürgen's layout. Hence the final result is very densely written, and intended more for reference and research use than casual reading. For 1914 I recommend Jack Sheldon's The German Army at Ypres 1914 for a full account of the campaign from a German (rather than purely Saxon) point of view.

Incidentally, having recently examined the personnel records of FAR 48 at the Saxon archives in Dresden I now know that my Great-Grandfather joined that regiment in the field on 12th October 1914. He volunteered at the FAR 48 barracks in Dresden on 24th August and certainly trained alongside many fellow volunteers and ersatz-reservists who were assigned to the new RFAR 53 or I. (sächs.) Abt. / RFAR 54. When reading the 1914 / XXVII.RK subchapter you can undoubtedly appreciate how lucky he was - although FAR 48 would eventually suffer heavier losses than any other Saxon field artillery regiment during the 1918 fighting.

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trenchtrotter

A do long shot. I have a field grey cap to a high ranking Saxon officer named v Waldersdorf. Does this name mean anything to you in relation to all the work you have done re the Saxon Army?

Thanks

TT

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bierast

A do long shot. I have a field grey cap to a high ranking Saxon officer named v Waldersdorf. Does this name mean anything to you in relation to all the work you have done re the Saxon Army?

I've checked the Saxon Rangliste of 1914 and the all-German Ehrenrangliste 1914-1918 but could not find any Saxon officer named (von) Waldersdorf / Walderdorff / Waltersdorf / Waltersdorff (I checked for all of those possible variations).

I did find a couple of non-Saxon officers, neither of them high-ranking: a Prussian Leutnant Graf von Waldersdorff with Jäger-Bataillon Nr.7 (survived the war and retired as an Oberleutnant a.D. by 1926) and a Bavarian Leutnant of the same name with the 2. Chevaulegers-Regiment (survived and retired as a Leutnant a.D. by 1926).

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trenchtrotter

Andy thanks. I did try some research and found a very old high ranking Saxon family of the name but was looking for the Great War link..

Anyway I have hijacked your thread so will let it revert.

I have a copy of the book and commend it. Well done.

TT

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Stefan

A do long shot. I have a field grey cap to a high ranking Saxon officer named v Waldersdorf. Does this name mean anything to you in relation to all the work you have done re the Saxon Army?

Thanks

TT

Can we see a picture of it? The only name which comes to my mind in connection with saxon officers and which sounds similar is "von Watzdorff"

Gruß Stefan

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Tony N

I have a Gedenkblatt to a soldier in IR 139 and have been trying to find their position at Lille and Loos and up to the first week of October as well as Feldlazarett 7, XIX AK. Does the book cover movements across the border or is it just Belgian Flanders?

Tony

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