Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Broznitsky

German Dead on 1916-07-01

Recommended Posts

Broznitsky

If we accept that 20,000 British and Imperial men died on July 1st, how many Germans died on the same date?

Edited by Broznitsky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phil andrade

Are you referring to the Germans who died fighting against the British, on the Somme, on that day ; or do you include those who died fighting against the French, too ?  It would be hard to separate, since French shells fell on German positions that were attacked by British troops.

 

Ralph Whitehead has conducted the most meticulous and authoratitive research into this.

 

If twenty thousand British soldiers died on the Somme that day, my guess is that the Germans fighting against them lost barely one tenth of that number killed, and perhaps as many taken prisoner, and another four thousand wounded...

 

In the southern sector, against the French, the Germans  also suffered several thousand casualties.

 

Phil

 

 

Edited by phil andrade

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Broznitsky

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

For this, let's say Germans killed in the sectors that the British attacked, on 1916-07-01.

 

The difficulty with all battles is separating the number of dead out of the casualties.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phil andrade

Martin Middlebrook wrote a ground breaking book on the first day of the Somme, and although it's dated, it still packs a punch and makes a very good read.

 

He makes a guess as to the German casualties against the British that day, and, if memory serves me, he reckoned that the Germans killed or wounded  roughly ten British for every one of their own. 

 

I would assume that the proportion of dead among the casualties was as high - maybe even higher - on the German side as it was on the British .  Where the British gained entry to the German positions, little quarter was given ; and the mine explosions accounted for many who were killed outright or buried alive rather than wounded.

 

Some Germans who surrendered were said to have been killed by their own shellfire as they attempted to cross the ground toward the British lines.  

 

All the same, 2,200 (?) prisoners were taken by the British, and with Middlebrook's estimate of five  and a half to six thousand killed or wounded on the Germans side ( one tenth the corresponding British figure ) , it would be my supposition that more than two thousand Germans were killed or died from wounds.

 

If Ralph Whitehead is willing or able to pitch in here, we would get the expert answer you seek.

 

Phil

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ralph J. Whitehead

Oddly enough I am currently working on several projects that include the updating of 1 July German losses based on new sources. These will include most of the 26th RD, 52nd Division in addition to those already known. I am hopeful that the actual 28th RD losses will be available soon to add to this work.

 

Ralph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ralph J. Whitehead

In regard to the post made yesterday, I am working on a long term review of the historical sources, VL, Stammrolle, etc. and trying to verify details on injuries, dates of injuries, etc. I had used all available sources when working on book 2 and since that time further sources have come to light. The following shows the current status of several regiments of infantry and artillery, from what was known to the current information:

RFAR 27, we had no exact dates for the bombardment period and 1 July. Now, we can identify 27 men as casualties from the 24-30 June period and 9 men from 1 July.

RFAR 26, we had information on 7 men listed as casualties from the bombardment period and 3 from 1 July. Now, we know of 22 men from the bombardment period and 15 from 1 July.

IR 169, we had 0 men listed for the 24-30 June period and 19 men for 1 July. Now the numbers are 122 for the bombardment and 390 for 1 July.

IR 170, 7 men from the bombardment and 270 men from 1 July. Now, 57 men from the bombardment and 492 from 1 July.

RIR 121, 27 men from the bombardment and 220 men from 1 July. Now, 126 men from the bombardment and 438 men from 1 July.

 

As you can see, with the new details the number of verified casualties for the bombardment period and 1 July have risen dramatically. While we had an idea of the loss numbers from different sources, we did not have details on names, dates, type of injury, etc. Once all sources currently available are reviewed I will be able to provide the most accurate details on the numbers lost on the German side for these dates.

 

Ralph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trajan
7 minutes ago, Ralph J. Whitehead said:

In regard to the post made yesterday, I am working on a long term review of the historical sources...

 

 

Excellent work Ralph! There is so much BS and 'received wisdom' around on such matters that it is good to see serious analysis being done.

 

Julian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Broznitsky

Yes, thank you Ralph for undertaking a proper study.

 

For the moment, so that I can advise the layman who asked me, if I told him 2,000 Germans died on 1916-07-01, or ten percent of the British dead, would you be happy with that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phil andrade

Look at the astonishing disparity in just three German infantry regiments that Ralph cites : a brief glance tells me that an original figure of 509 casualties  in those three regiments attributed to 1st July has now been increased to 1,320.  A one hundred and sixty per cent increase !

 

We would need to know what the number of killed and died from wounds - and the missing subsequently counted as killed -  was in those three examples, which would give us some sort of basis for extrapolation.

 

The enormous British figure was calculated after months of work, and included men who were originally posted as missing , and the  wounded who subsequently died.

 

Phil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ralph J. Whitehead

In regard to stating 2,000 German dead, until I can really check the numbers I would say ok. I will need to check the details as in the case of RIR 109 the reported dead were quite smaller than the 550+ that actually did die on 1 July.

 

I do have the cause of injury, subsequent details, on thousands of men. It is just a matter of time to get to review all of the data.

 

Ralph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phil andrade

Where would we be without your help, Ralph ?

 

We're blessed to be the beneficiaries of your hard, relentless work.

 

Likewise, we have gmac, whose book Pro Patria Mori gives us insights into the casualties suffered at Gommecourt, that notorious " attachment " battle in the extreme north of the British attack that day.

 

The loss here was five and a half to one in favour of the German defenders : 6,769 British in the two attacking divisions, against 1,241 Germans in their two defending divisions.  The breakdown : 

 

British : 2,206 killed ; 3,766 wounded ; 559 missing ( majority being dead ) and 238 prisoners.

 

German : 427 killed ; 654 wounded ; 160 missing ( including prisoners ).

 

Pro Patria Mori, page 387, Table 19.

 

The implications here are significant : a fatality count that equates roughly to  six to one ( allowing for the British missing being dead ).

 

How  far  was  this ratio replicated along the entire front that the British attacked ?

 

There were places along the Thiepval Spur where the British fared much worse ; there were also sectors where things went much better for them.

 

I'm beginnng to think that my suggested ten to one disparity appears suspect : just the Gommecourt figures that I cited, plus that single German regiment ( RIR 109 ) that Ralph alludes to aggregate about  a thousand German dead.  There must have been more than that in all the other sectors attacked by the British ....ten to one looks too extreme ; seven to one seems plausible.

 

I would think that the British killed at least as many as the 2,200 they captured.

 

Forgive my vacillation !

 

Editing again : We could do worse than look at Fromelles later on in July 1916 : the repulse of the Anglo Australian attack there conferred a five to one ratio in casualties in the German favour ; that ratio was more or less replicated in the figures of fatalities, too. So I would think that the ratio on 1st July was nearer five to one than ten to one.

 

Phil

Edited by phil andrade

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ralph J. Whitehead

In regard to the review of losses. The initial chart shows what appeared on the VL after the fighting on 1 July. The names were placed in alphabetical order by me as it was easier for my purposes. The second list following shows the actual losses suffered by this company during the late June/early July fighting along with specific details. I will explain the process in greater detail later this weekend.

IR 169    
Name Rank Notes
Diehl, Adam Infanterist Injured
Dreier, Franz Infanterist KIA
Duppel, Wilhelm Gefreiter KIA
Echner, Johann Infanterist Severely wounded
Eickhorst, Friedrich Infanterist Slightly wounded, remained with the regiment
Falk, Franz Infanterist KIA
Fischer, Albert Infanterist KIA
Greulich, Josef Infanterist KIA
Grobs, Wilhelm Infanterist Slightly wounded
Grzywatz, Friedrich Infanterist Slightly wounded
Heck, Franz Gefreiter Injured
Hertlein, Friedrich Gefreiter Severely wounded
Hoch, Georg Infanterist KIA
Hucklenbroich, Hubert Gefreiter KIA
Hurst, Wilhelm Infanterist Slightly wounded
Jenny, Willibald Gefreiter KIA
Krause, Hermann Infanterist Injured
Kraut, Friedrich Infanterist KIA
Kress, Karl Infanterist Severely wounded
Licht, Albert Infanterist Severely wounded
Maier, Odo Infanterist KIA
Mayer, Oskar Gefreiter Severely wounded
Menzel, Karl Infanterist Severely wounded
Mergner, Wolfgang Infanterist KIA
Milz, Bruno Infanterist KIA
Nadler, Georg Infanterist Severely wounded
Nagel, Johann Infanterist Injured
Ovitz, Wilhelm Infanterist Slightly wounded
Pohland, Robert Infanterist KIA
Quindt, Friedrich Infanterist WIA
Rahm, Adam Infanterist Severely wounded
Reichenbach, Georg Infanterist Died from wounds, Field Hospital 1, 
Richter, Oswald Unteroffizier Slightly wounded
Rosendahl, Erwin Infanterist Again slightly wounded
Roth, Gustav Gefreiter KIA
Schätzle, Ernst Gefreiter Slightly wounded
Schauenberg, Moritz Vizefeldwebel WIA
Schilling, Franz Infanterist Slightly wounded
Schlittenhardt, Otto Infanterist Slightly wounded
Schmidt, Gustav Infanterist Slightly wounded
Schneider, Josef Gefreiter Died from wounds, Field Hospital 1,
Schröder, Ludwig Infanterist Slightly wounded
Seitz, Karl Gefreiter KIA
Stahl, Friedrich Infanterist Injured
Stärk, Hermann Infanterist Slightly wounded
Steiert, Ernst Infanterist Severely wounded
Teuchert, Otto Infanterist KIA
Tröndle, Gustav Infanterist KIA
Wachofski, Karl Infanterist Slightly wounded
Walz, Friedrich Infanterist KIA
Zeeb, Hermann Infanterist KIA
Ziegler, Anton Infanterist KIA

Here is the second list of the same men after the additional details became known.

IR 169      
Name Rank Casualty Notes
Greulich, Josef Infanterist 17-Jun-16 KIA 4:45 a.m., shot in lungs
Milz, Bruno Landsturmmann/Krankenträger 24-Jun-16 KIA 11:50 p.m., struck in head by an artillery shell fragment
Rahm, Adam Musketier 24-Jun-16 Severely wounded 1:30 p.m., wounded in head by an artillery shell
Schilling, Franz Musketier 24-Jun-16 Slightly wounded on head by an artillery shell
Hertlein, Friedrich Gefreiter 25-Jun-16 Severely wounded (slightly wounded) on shoulder by an artillery shell
Licht, Albert Musketier 25-Jun-16 Severely wounded at 2 a.m. in chest by an artillery shell
Menzel, Karl Landwehrmann 25-Jun-16 Severely wounded 4 p.m. (slightly wounded) to back from an artillery shell
Diehl, Adam Musketier 26-Jun-16 Injured from _________ fall
Fischer, Albert Kriegsfreiwilliger 26-Jun-16 KIA 11:15 a.m., struck in head by mine fragment
Grobs, Wilhelm Musketier 26-Jun-16 Slightly wounded, no additional details. (Stammrolle No. 930)
Krause, Hermann Landsturmmann 26-Jun-16 Injured by crush/contusion to chest from being buried
Kress, Karl Ersatz Reservist 26-Jun-16 Severely wounded on left upper arm and left hip by an artillery shell
Nagel, Johann Landsturmmann 26-Jun-16 Injured, bruised/contusions to chest from being buried
Richter, Oswald Unteroffizier der Landwehr 26-Jun-16 Slightly wounded on right upper arm by an artillery shell
Dreier, Franz Musketier 27-Jun-16 KIA 5 p.m. from being buried
Duppel, Wilhelm Gefreiter/Tambour 27-Jun-16 KIA 5 p.m. from being buried
Hoch, Georg Musketier 27-Jun-16 KIA 5 p.m. from being buried
Hucklenbroich, Hubert Gefreiter 27-Jun-16 KIA 5 p.m. from being buried
Kraut, Friedrich Musketier 27-Jun-16 KIA 5 p.m. from being buried
Reichenbach, Georg Musketier 27-Jun-16 Severely wounded 2 a.m., struck in chest by artillery shell fragment. Died from wounds, Field Hospital 1
Schätzle, Ernst Gefreiter 27-Jun-16 Slightly wounded on left hip and right upper arm by an artillery shell
Zeeb, Hermann Musketier 27-Jun-16 KIA 5 p.m. from being buried
Eickhorst, Friedrich Landsturmmann 28-Jun-16 Slightly wounded on the right foot by an artillery shell, remained with the regiment
Maier, Odo Kriegsfreiwilliger 28-Jun-16 KIA 7:30 p.m. from being buried
Quindt, Friedrich Musketier 28-Jun-16 WIA, gas poisoning
Rosendahl, Erwin Reservist 28-Jun-16 Again slightly wounded, sick from gas poisoning
Roth, Gustav Gefreiter 28-Jun-16 KIA 7 p.m. from being buried
Schauenberg, Moritz Vizefeldwebel 28-Jun-16 WIA, gas sick
Schmidt, Gustav Landsturmmann 28-Jun-16 Slightly wounded in head by a rifle shot
Stahl, Friedrich Musketier 28-Jun-16 Injured, contusion to chest from being buried
Teuchert, Otto Musketier 28-Jun-16 KIA 7:30 p.m. from being buried
Tröndle, Gustav Musketier 28-Jun-16 KIA 7:30 p.m. from being buried
Walz, Friedrich Musketier 28-Jun-16 KIA 7:30 p.m. from being buried
Heck, Franz Gefreiter 30-Jun-16 Injured by contusion/blow to right knee
Jenny, Willibald Gefreiter der Reserve 1-Jul-16 KIA 9:30 a.m. from rifle shot to head
Mayer, Oskar Gefreiter 1-Jul-16 Severely wounded on back by an artillery shell
Mergner, Wolfgang Musketier 1-Jul-16 KIA 9:30 a.m. from rifle shot to head
Opitz, Wilhelm Musketier 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on right upper thigh by a hand grenade 
Pohland, Robert Landsturmmann 1-Jul-16 KIA 9:30 a.m. from rifle shot to head
Schlittenhardt, Otto Musketier 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on right arm from rifle shot
Schneider, Josef Gefreiter 1-Jul-16 Severely wounded 9:30 a.m. in chest by an artillery shell. Died 3 July from wounds, Field Hospital 1, 52nd I.D.
Seitz, Karl Gefreiter 1-Jul-16 KIA 9:30 a.m. from rifle shot to head
Stärk, Hermann Landsturmmann 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on right upper arm by a rifle shot
Steiert, Ernst Musketier 1-Jul-16 Severely wounded on head by a hand grenade
Wachofski, Karl Landsturmmann 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on foot by an artillery shell
Echner, Johann Musketier 2-Jul-16 Severely wounded in stomach by an artillery shell
Falk, Franz Kriegsfreiwilliger 2-Jul-16 KIA, hit in chest by artillery shell fragment
Nadler, Georg Musketier 2-Jul-16 Severely wounded on left upper arm by an artillery shell
Ziegler, Anton Ersatz Reservist 2-Jul-16 KIA 10:30 p.m., hit in head and chest by artillery shell fragments
Hurst, Wilhelm Musketier 3-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on right hand by an artillery shell
Grzywatz, Friedrich Landwehrmann 6-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on right hand by an artillery shell
Schröder, Ludwig Musketier 6-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on arm by a rifle shot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ralph J. Whitehead

Here is a similar review of the 12/R121

Autenrieth, Georg Gefreiter   Slightly wounded
Bihlmaier, Gotthilf Infanterist   Slightly wounded
Bösenberg, Hans (From RFAR 26) Hauptmann der Landwehr   Slightly wounded
Brecht, Friedrich Unteroffizier   Slightly wounded
Brecht, Wilhelm Infanterist   Injured
Burger, Heinrich Gefreiter   Slightly wounded
Dierolf, Karl Infanterist   Injured
Ehret, Johann Infanterist   Slightly wounded, remained with the regiment
Haag, Friedrich Infanterist   Injured
Häussermann, Otto Infanterist   Slightly wounded
Hirsch, Anton Infanterist   Severely wounded
Horlacher, Otto Infanterist   Slightly wounded
Karle, Georg Musketier 1-Jul-1916 KIA
Keller, Friedrich Infanterist   Slightly wounded
Kohnle, Albert Infanterist 26-Jun-1916 KIA
Maier, Christian Musketier 1-Jul-1916 KIA
Megnin, Wilhelm Kriegsfreiwilliger 1-Jul-1916 KIA
Miller, Georg Infanterist 25-Jun-1916 Died of wounds (Died 25 June 1916, Bapaume)
Niklas, Christian Infanterist   Slightly wounded
Noz, Karl Infanterist   Slightly wounded
Rieger, Friedrich Infanterist   Slightly wounded
Scheu, Friedrich Leutnant der Reserve   Slightly wounded
Scheuermann, Wilhelm Unteroffizier   Slightly wounded
Schlör, Julius Infanterist 25-Jun-1916 Died of wounds (KIA)
Schmidt, Josef Reservist 1-Jul-1916 KIA
Schoildmann, Gregor Infanterist   Slightly wounded
Schöllmann, Karl Infanterist   Slightly wounded
Stegmaier, Friedrich Unteroffizier   Slightly wounded
Stengel, Johann Feldwebel   Slightly wounded
Stöttner, Franz Landsturmpflichtiger 1-Jul-1916 KIA
Strecker, Georg Infanterist   Slightly wounded
Sturm, Anton Unteroffizier   Slightly wounded
Wirth, August Infanterist   Severely wounded

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ralph J. Whitehead

Here is the same list with the additional details from all sources using the original VL listing format..

Bösenberg, Hans (From RFAR 26) Hauptmann der Landwehr 25-Jun-16 Slightly wounded
Scheu, Friedrich Leutnant der Reserve 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on left leg by fall
Stengel, Johann Feldwebel 25-Jun-16 Slightly wounded on left leg by artillery projectile
Brecht, Friedrich Unteroffizier der Reserve 25-Jun-16 Severely wounded on left leg by artillery projectile 
Scheuermann, Wilhelm Unteroffizier der Landwehr 25-Jun-16 Slightly wounded on left leg by artillery projectile
Sturm, Anton Unteroffizier 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on left shoulder by hand grenade
Stegmaier, Friedrich Unteroffizier (Active) 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded from sharp blow by hand grenade (Returned 24-7-1916)
Autenrieth, Georg Gefreiter 25-Jun-16 Slightly wounded on right lower arm by artillery projectile
Burger, Heinrich Gefreiter der Reserve 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on head and hand by infantry projectiles
Miller, Georg Musketier 25-Jun-16 Severely wounded in stomach by artillery projectile. Died 25 June from massive injury to intestines
Schildmann, Gregor Fusilier 25-Jun-16 Slightly wounded on head by artillery projectile
Schlör, Julius Reservist 25-Jun-16 Severely wounded in neck and chest by artillery projectiles. Died 25 June from serious lung wound and destruction of clavicle and open pneumothorax
Strecker, Georg Ersatz Reservist 25-Jun-16 Slightly wounded on left arm by artillery projectile
Hirsch, Anton Musketier 26-Jun-16 Severely wounded on neck, back, right arm, right leg by artillery projectile
Kohnle, Albert Ersatz Reservist 26-Jun-16 KIA 5 p.m., severe wounds to head and stomach by artillery projectile
Schöllmann, Karl Musketier 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on left upper arm by artillery projectile
Keller, Friedrich Reservist 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on head by hand grenade (returned 19 July 1916)
Ehret, Johann Musketier 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded, crush injury to right leg from being buried, remained with the regiment
Niklas, Christian Landwehrmann 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on right leg by artillery projectile
Haag, Friedrich Landwehrmann 1-Jul-16 Injured, left foot sprained
Dierolf, Karl Reservist 1-Jul-16 Slightly injured, tear wound to left leg from fall on a screw picket
Nolz, Karl Landwehrmann 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on left hand by artillery projectile
Brecht, Wilhelm Reservist 1-Jul-16 Severely injured from fall from horse
Häussermann, Otto Ersatz Reservist 4-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on right arm by artillery projectile
Rieger, Friedrich Landwehrmann 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on head by hand grenade (returned 29 July 1916)
Schmidt, Josef Reservist 1-Jul-16 KIA 12 noon, struck in chest by artillery projectile
Megnin, Wilhelm Kriegsfreiwilliger 1-Jul-16 KIA 5 p.m., struck in chest by infantry projectile
Maier, Christian Fusilier 1-Jul-16 KIA, struck in head by infantry projectile
Karle, Georg Musketier 1-Jul-16 KIA, struck in chest by infantry projectile
Stöttner, Franz Landsturmpflichtiger 1-Jul-16 KIA 5 p.m., struck in head by infantry projectile
Horlacher, Otto Infanterist 1-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on head and left shoulder by infantry projectiles
Wirth, August Ersatz Reservist 11-Jul-16 Severely wounded on left shoulder by hand grenade
Bihlmaier, Gotthilf Musketeir 12-Jul-16 Slightly wounded on right upper arm by artillery projectile
Edited by Ralph J. Whitehead

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trajan

Thanks! Fascinating lists and details... And somewhat chilling to see the numbers of those KIA by being buried...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ralph J. Whitehead

In regard to the high number of dead from being buried, especially in IR 169 I can only assume that these were the result of collapsed dugouts.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phil andrade

If you just look at Gommecourt, Thiepval and Mametz, the German infantry regiments in those three places alone lost about 1,250 killed that day.

 

The two regiments at Thiepval and Mametz suffered very much heavier casualties than the average for the entire frontage attacked, but surely there must have been at least another thousand in all the other places.

 

Phil

 

 

Edited by phil andrade

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris Henschke

I do not have the book Pro Patria Mori mentioned in post 11.

This is a table reproduced from a captured German document, listing casualties at Gommecourt by 55 RIR. It was reproduced in SS 536, Report on the Defence of Gommecourt on the 1st July, 1916, by the AP&SS in January 1917.

Chris Henschke

Gommecourt_55RIR_cas_SS536.jpg

Edited by Chris Henschke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ralph J. Whitehead

Why we may never really know the identity all of the German casualties on 1 July 1916.

I have been looking at twelve infantry regimental Stammrolle and two artillery regimental Stammrolle for details on the men who could have been reported as casualties on 1 July 1916. The records cover four of the five German divisions that fought on the Somme on 1 July.

While many have detailed descriptions as to the type of injuries, time and place, there are some that only provide only minimum details. In at least one instance, the 1/R111, many of the dates given for the casualties suffered by the company are 2 July 1916. In a few of these entries, later reports on the details of the casualty place the death or injury of the individual to 1 July 1916. It appears that 2 July was used in many cases as it was the first day that the losses were assessed and with so many men lost there was almost no way of knowing when the actual casualty occurred, 1 July or sometime on 2 July.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ralph J. Whitehead

The Stammrolle books are a real gold mine of information. I am currently downloading the final books on the 28th Reserve Division units and have come across many interesting details.

 

In regard to the losses we could identify in the past as compared to the present I can give an example of the 11/R109. Up until recently we could positively identify losses during the bombardment at 12 men and during 1 July at 44 men. With the Stammrolle records the new numbers are 27 men identified as losses during the bombardment and 174 men lost on 1 July.

 

One of the most moving accounts of what these men experienced was about:

Kriegsfreiwilliger Wilhelm Kessler, 11/R109

Died of wounds received on 1 July 1916

Kriegsfreiwilliger Wilhelm Kessler, born in Karlsruhe on 17 April 1893, an engine mechanic by trade, married with one child, Olga, born 18 January 1914 and a second child, Friedrich Wilhelm born 22 October 1916. He joined RIR 109 on 19 August 1914 and was assigned to the 11th Company as part of the III Platoon.

 

On 1 July 1916 Kessler was inside a dugout with a number of other soldiers in his platoon. When the English attacked Kessler and his comrades, including Kaspar Rieger, left the dugout at when Kessler exited the dugout entrance he was struck in the head and sustained an injury. Kessler was reported to have said ‘ich mach fertig’, that is to say ‘I will remain at this place. Rieger continued 'He then went back into the dugout once more. Just when he came out after that again he became injured on the head a second time while a part of his lower jaw was torn off. Immediately afterwards he fell to the ground and I saw how he gradually collapsed into himself, after which I had set him up somewhat sideways. A few minutes afterwards, it may be about 2 minutes later, I went back to Kessler, shook him and summoned him; It was in vain, he gave no sign of life anymore. According to my firm conviction, Wilhelm Kessler was dead and Kessler must be seen as killed on the 1st of July 1916 at 7 o’clock in the morning in the battle at Mametz Fallen. Immediately afterwards we were overrun and captured by the English; since then, I've not seen any more of Kessler.'

 

He left behind a pregnant wife and a daughter with his death.

 

Ralph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ralph J. Whitehead

I am not sure if a new topic should be used as this particular subject has been discussed in several different ones over the years. I will post here but if anyone recalls a more appropriate location, just let me know, thanks.

 

I have been researching the original Stammrolle entries along with the Regimental history, Verlustlisten and any other related source that would have details on German losses during the bombardment as well as on 1 July 1916. I am trying to work out a format for articles on integrating these details into the accepted accounts that appear in many books just to see how accurate the primary sources are when compared to our interpretations and theories. In the first instance I looked at RIR 121, the regiment holding the Heidenkopf area on 1 July. In Volume 2 of The Other Side of the Wire I mentioned that the exact number of losses for this regiment were not known but that based on all possible sources at the time the book was written the losses were thought to be: 24 - 30 June: 24 killed, 122 wounded and 1 missing. On 1 - 10 July: 179 killed, 291 wounded and 70 missing. Other than those who were killed, the exact dates and injuries were not known for the rest of the men. The regimental Ehrenbuch only listed the men killed or died of wounds.

 

Now, after reviewing all of the regimental Stammrolle and cross referencing the names with the Verlustlisten, etc. I came up with the following numbers: 24 - 30 June: 147 casualties (of which 5 did not have an exact date though the records show they were losses during this period and of these 5, 3 of them could have been late June or 1 July. I hope to narrow these down even further.)

 

1 July losses found: 464 officers and men. Since the 24-30 June losses match the number we previously assumed, it is possible we have found all of these losses. The 1 July total, 464 men against the 540 reported in the first 10 days of the month could also fit into the historic picture. Perhaps the most interesting part so far was the information on the types of wounds or cause of death, which also gives us a way to verify the written reports of the fighting or not and to determine if the accounts from both sides hold water or are at odds with the period details.

 

Ralph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
phil andrade
Posted (edited)

Ralph,

 

Look at the high proportion of fatalites among the 540 casualties the Regiment suffered in the period 1-10 July.

 

Almost exactly one third of them posted as killed. And even that begs the question as to whether there were additional died of wounds among the 291 wounded ; not to mention the prospect of numbers of the 70 reported as missing also being dead.

 

The contrast with the period of the bombardment is very stark : 24-30 June only about one sixth of the total casualties posted as killed......a ratio only half that attributable to 1 July.

 

Here is striking evidence of the lethal nature of the fighting on 1 July .

 

Any attempt to estimate the number of German deaths that day needs to countenance the probability that a much higher proportion than normal of the total casualties were fatal.

 

Phil

 

 

Edited by phil andrade

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×