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Help researching a Prussian soldier


Obal7

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I recently acquired a WW1  German/Prussian private purchase M1910 Captains Tunic and hat. Although there is no identifying names etc. on the tunic the officers hat that came with it are a couple names in it. Landst Olbrisch, and under the sweat band was the name “Balan.”  
A search on Ancestry WW1 German Files found a Major George Balan of the 31st Infantry Regiment/Magdeburg. For Major Balan there are wound records for August 19,1916; May 5,1917 and September 1,1917. 
As far as the written words Landst Olbrisch, it may be an area , street or maybe a name? I found one listing for a Lt. Olbrisch with an Artillery Regiment Number 5 in the Prussian Officers directory on Ancestory. 
If I could get these correct translations, and any other information, records on Balan and Olbrisch , it would be greatly appreciated. 

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Thanks again, Charlie. 
I have been trying to look into the 162nd IR (Who Major George Balan was with when he was captured) ,  I found that there is some connection to the German/Prussian 17th Infantry Division - and the 162nd IR was under the 81st Infantry Brigade-( but that was in the beginning of the War. 
I assume that after Balan was with the 31st IR, some how ended up with the 162nd. 
if you have any other Ideas, I would love to hear them. 

 

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As I mentioned in my original text, Major George Balan, according to Ancestry wound records, was wounded August 19, 1916, May 5, 1917 and September 1, 1917. BUT according to Charlie’s Red Cross Prisoner record, Balan was captured April ,6 1917 in Arras. 
so it is strange that Balan was wounded 2 more times after his capture during the Battle of Arras. 
I can only guess that Major Balan “escaped” or was released for some reason?

any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. 

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Hello,

 

The Schirmmütze was worn by a Landsturmmann Olbrisch, it is an NCO and enlisted men's cap, not an officer's cap (visible by the cockades).

 

Jan

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I‘m afraid you have misunderstood what is recorded in the Verlustlisten :) The lists are always behind actual events, the dates on the lists are only the publishing date.

Major Balan‘s entries are:

19.8.1916 - reported lightly wounded

5.5.1917 - reported missing

1.9.1917 - reported as PoW

 

Charlie

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2 minutes ago, charlie2 said:

I‘m afraid you have misunderstood what is recorded in the Verlustlisten :) The lists are always behind actual events, the dates on the lists are only the publishing date.

Major Balan‘s entries are:

19.8.1916 - reported lightly wounded

5.5.1917 - reported missing

1.9.1917 - reported as PoW

 

Charlie

 

You just beat me to it.

 

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17 hours ago, Obal7 said:

Thanks again, Charlie. 
I have been trying to look into the 162nd IR (Who Major George Balan was with when he was captured) ,  I found that there is some connection to the German/Prussian 17th Infantry Division - and the 162nd IR was under the 81st Infantry Brigade-( but that was in the beginning of the War. 
I assume that after Balan was with the 31st IR, some how ended up with the 162nd. 
if you have any other Ideas, I would love to hear them. 

 

 

He served in Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 31 when he was wounded on 31 July 1916, near Martinpuich on the Somme. He was captured, leading II. Bataillon Infanterie-Regiment 162 in the area Neuville-Vitasse - Tilloy-lès-Mofflaines near Arras on 9 April 1917.

He arrived as battalion commander to II/162 in October 1916, probably after his wounds were healed?

Both regiments belonged to the IX. Reservekorps in 1916, so a transfer from one regiment to the other would have been normal, especially after the heavy losses because of the fighting on the Somme.

 

The tunic is that of a Captain. Balan was a Captain with Infanterie-Regiment 31 (the active unit) in 1914. However, the medals can't be original to the tunic in connection with this man. There's twice the Iron Cross 2nd Class (the ribbon in the buttonhole and the upper ribbon), which would never be worn like this. The positions of both the Iron Cross First Class and the Black Wound Badge are too high up, they should be lower. Anyway, the Black Wound Badge was only issued from 1918 onwards, so Balan did only receive this after returning from captivity after the war, when he was an honourary Oberstleutnant, so then the shoulder boards are wrong.

 

Jan

Edited by AOK4
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Thank You!!  This is very interesting. Thanks for translating the verlustlisten. I do not read or write German and not too  familiar with how these lists were formed. 
But I do appreciate it very much!  
It is amazing and so generous , of both of you, to find and share Major Balan’s record. “It is all making sense to me. “

I have been trying to piece together the histories and relationships between the 31st IR and the 162nd IR and found that they were both with the same IX ArmeeKorps and were in the same battles... I am trying to trace as much as this tunic and Major Balan as possible. 

But now, you are filling in the blanks and having it make sense.
As far as the Medals, I’ve added the Iron Cross and Wound Badge on the Tunic, for their were medal loops already there. The medals are not original to the tunic. (You are very observant and correct again).  I placed the Iron Cross Ribbon over a slight hole where something may have been torn off. 
( By the way, do you have a possible idea , what medals, awards that may be appropriate to be place in the loops etc? I would like to restore it with proper appropriate medals and ribbons. )

Anyway, Although I believe that the cockades on the Schimmutze are for an enlisted soldier , Landsturmmann Olbrisch, But why would Balan’s name be under the sweatband along with Olbrisch’s name?

I’m sure that any story is possible, but I received the Tunic from an old Reputable collector who receive the Schimmutze with the Tunic when he received it a very long time ago. He is now in his 80’s and selling off his collection. 
Thanks again Jan and Charlie, your help and knowledge, and is outstanding and extremely valuable. You are truly a great asset to the forum, history and collecting. 
If you can add any other information or offer any other advice , please feel free.. it will be extremely appreciated. 

Sincerely,

Dave

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9 hours ago, Obal7 said:

Thank You!!  This is very interesting. Thanks for translating the verlustlisten. I do not read or write German and not too  familiar with how these lists were formed. 
But I do appreciate it very much!  
It is amazing and so generous , of both of you, to find and share Major Balan’s record. “It is all making sense to me. “

I have been trying to piece together the histories and relationships between the 31st IR and the 162nd IR and found that they were both with the same IX ArmeeKorps and were in the same battles... I am trying to trace as much as this tunic and Major Balan as possible. 

But now, you are filling in the blanks and having it make sense.
As far as the Medals, I’ve added the Iron Cross and Wound Badge on the Tunic, for their were medal loops already there. The medals are not original to the tunic. (You are very observant and correct again).  I placed the Iron Cross Ribbon over a slight hole where something may have been torn off. 
( By the way, do you have a possible idea , what medals, awards that may be appropriate to be place in the loops etc? I would like to restore it with proper appropriate medals and ribbons. )

Anyway, Although I believe that the cockades on the Schimmutze are for an enlisted soldier , Landsturmmann Olbrisch, But why would Balan’s name be under the sweatband along with Olbrisch’s name?

I’m sure that any story is possible, but I received the Tunic from an old Reputable collector who receive the Schimmutze with the Tunic when he received it a very long time ago. He is now in his 80’s and selling off his collection. 
Thanks again Jan and Charlie, your help and knowledge, and is outstanding and extremely valuable. You are truly a great asset to the forum, history and collecting. 
If you can add any other information or offer any other advice , please feel free.. it will be extremely appreciated. 

Sincerely,

Dave

 

Hello,

 

Please note the difference between IR 31 and RIR 31! Balan was pre-war in IR 31. When the German army expanded upon mobilisation, reserve, landwehr and other units were created, also RIR 31, mainly with reservists from IR 31, but also some landwehr soldiers. IR 162 belonged to 17 Reserve Division in wartime and RIR 31 to 18 Reserve Division. Both divisions formed IX Reservekorps until early 1917.

 

Is the tunic marked? Balan would have needed a ceremonial uniform after the war, but it would not be logical to have his old captain's tunic upgraded with his medals as he was an Oberstleutnant a.D. after the war. There was also an Oberleutnant Balan serving in the Reichswehr Infanterie-Regiment 9, with a patent from 27 January 1917. He was a Leutnant in Grenadier-Regiment 6 upon mobilisation and was a captain by 1926 in the 100,000 men Reichswehr. 

This was this guy: http://des.genealogy.net/search/show/4336448

However, I can't connect him to IR 31, nor was he a captain by 1918, I think.

See also: https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/387238/1/2/

(Note that he was promoted to Oberleutnant after having been taken prisoner in December 1916.)

 

It would be good to post a detail of the loops on the tunic. I would say that there should be a medal bar where the IC1 is now and an IC1 where the wound badge is.

 

Jan

 

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Jan,

Thanks for you info and your help.

Per your previous quote,  The Tunic is not marked. I believe the Tunic is a "Private Purchase". I can not find any, marks number, names or tags in/on the tunic. Also nothing in the pockets.  I only connect the Tunic to Major Balan by the Schimmutze that was originally with the tunic, had his name in it. Researching the name Balan was connected to the IR 31st on his shoulder boards.

I agree that it could be his ceremonial tunic for after the war, (but as you mentioned, the rank does not fit). But I think that it may also, have been his M1910 Tunic when he was a Captain, and eventually upgraded his Major Tunic, Maybe an M1915 model?

I agree That Ernst Balan with the Grenadier Regiment 6, is not the same person.  I think we have the Correct Major George Balan (especially with your accurate research , units and history). Maybe Ernst, may be a relative?  But not the same person.

Yes, I am posting some photos of the Tunic and the "loops". It is interesting that the Wound badge was not issued until 1918.  If you have an Idea, which medals and their location on the tunic (loops) and maybe the Ribbons that could be accurate or appropriate, would be nice.  

Dave

 

 

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Edited by Obal7
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Charlie!  I think you are correct... I didn't realize it!  I think you found a big part of the puzzle.  It was probably his Captian Schimmutze?!

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But why would both Balan and Olbrisch s names be in the Schimmutze?  But When the tunic was originally acquired 40-50 years ago, this Schimmutze was with the tunic.  I think that the hat once belonged to Olbrisch, and subsequently, after the war acquired it to wear. I have also heard that it was not unusual for some offices to wear enlisted men’s cockades, if officers were not available. 
Your thoughts to this theory??

 

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Jan. 
fyi, in ref to your link to Ernst Balan. Through research of possible links to George Balan, I found a birth record for George Balan July 28, 1873 and found that his father was Ernst Balan. Coincidental ?  Maybe. 

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In the POW files, I could find appropriately 15 entries for the POW soldiers with the last name Olbrisch (Landsturmmann Olbrisch, in the Schimmutze). With their various Infantry Regiments. But none that were obvious, to me, that could be associated with Major Balan’s 31st IR and 162nd IR. 
 

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Would anyone have any ideas what “Medals/award/pins “ that could possibly be placed/added to this tunic, where the 2 medal loops are located?  And what ribbon(s) could be placed on ribbon bar above the loops?

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1 hour ago, Obal7 said:

In the POW files, I could find appropriately 15 entries for the POW soldiers with the last name Olbrisch

Therein lies the problem, neither the Red Cross records nor the casualty lists list all the soldiers that served and the records for the Prussian Army were all lost in WW2. 
Charlie

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