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German Unit Histories

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Jack Sheldon

Robert

Sorry I hit the wrong button! Fabeck above. Casualties is a tricky one. If you want the total for 1 July 1916 for the Thiepval area, which stretched from St Pierre Divion to the Leipzig Redoubt, you need to include casualties from units such as Bavarian Infantry Regiment 8 and the Recruit Companies of IR 180, who lost heavily in the Schwaben Redoubt counter-attack - and there were others, such as 'Musketen' teams, MG teams from RIR 119 and an MG 'Detachment Fasbender'. (2nd Recruit Coy, for example had 23 killed, 98 wounded and seven missing). Unfortunately the history of RIR 99 did not include a full casualty list, but if Ralph Whitehead sees this post, he has got a great deal of knowledge on this subject. Suffice it for now to say that by about mid afternoon 1 July, 52 Res Infantry Brigade, having issued an order: 'RIR 99 must hold its position, even if it bleeds to death', reported to 26th Res Division tht it had lost 50% of its strength. Post-war, the unpublished history of the brigade states that the total casualties during the ten days from the start of the bombardment amounted to 70% of the regimental strength- and this was a four battalion regiment. At the start of the bombardment battalion strengths in the division ranged from 850 - 900 men, so you can see that it is a large figure overall.

Jack

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Jack Sheldon

post-6447-1148799786.jpg

I do not know what happened to the photo - Gremlins at work

Jack

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Ralph J. Whitehead

Hello Jack, Robert:

I am in the process of reviewing the losses for the Somme including RIR 99. In the case of this regiment there are 5 full pages of casualties (each page is like the London or New York Times in size). The first list for this regiment appeared in August and from what I can tell includes all of the regimental losses from 1 July through mid month and probably some for late June as well. This is the biggest problem, not knowing the dates of the casualty. Still, it gives me some idea of the overall losses. It seems that three men listed as casualties in RIR 99 were from the U.S. Something I have found throughout the lists.

I also have lists forthe other regiments and units mentioned by Jack, scattered through early August and into the month. Again, no dates. Some I can cross reference to other sources such as Bav. RIR 8 that does list losses and dates so it is possible to come to some conclusions over the number of wounded, sick and injured. I hope to have some concrete details as soon as possible.

The only big difficulty at present is that last week I bought a new house and sold mine. It was not expected but there you are. Now we are trying to get things ready here and prepare for the closings, etc. I will post as soon as I can.

Robert, why the interest in RIR 99?

Ralph

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bmac

Patrick,

Do you happen to know if there are unit histories for either:

111th Division

221st Field Artillery Regiment

I am interested in their involvement in the defence of Gommecourt, 1st July 1916.

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Jack Sheldon

Bill

The answer is no and yes in that order. There are hardly any German divisional histories at all. There is nothing for the 111th itself, but each of the constituent regiments published a history and I have copies of all three; that of IR 73 being particularly detailed. FAR 221 did produce a history. I do not have it, but it was published as Kgl. Preuss. FAR Nr. 221 Erich Scheitza, Berlin 1933.

Let me know if you want further assistance.

Jack

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bmac
Bill

The answer is no and yes in that order. There are hardly any German divisional histories at all. There is nothing for the 111th itself, but each of the constituent regiments published a history and I have copies of all three; that of IR 73 being particularly detailed. FAR 221 did produce a history. I do not have it, but it was published as Kgl. Preuss. FAR Nr. 221 Erich Scheitza, Berlin 1933.

Let me know if you want further assistance.

Jack

Jack,

Thanks for that I will try to track down the FAR 221 history. Their role in defeating the 46th Division at Gommecourt was significant and it might be useful material for the next project on their attack.

Cheers

Bill

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Robert Mueller

Ralph,

See my prior message for answer to your query. Thanks for your help. I guess that is why I could find a reference with a simple answer - there is no simple answer. I hope the house moving goes well.

Robert

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Ralph J. Whitehead
Jack,

Thanks for that I will try to track down the FAR 221 history. Their role in defeating the 46th Division at Gommecourt was significant and it might be useful material for the next project on their attack.

Cheers

Bill

Good news Bill,

I have located a copy of the 221st FAR and should have the pages ready for you shortly. I hope it holds some good information for your research.

Ralph

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Majordecor

Dear Patrick and others,

I've done a number of posts under a different thread.

I've copied and pasted two of them below in the hope that I can resolve an interesting thing involving two family members on opposite sides...

I refer to Bernhard Alfred RATAJCZYK, born 4.3.1895 and died 28 5 1980. He

> and his wife lived at 56 Burgstrasse, Lippstadt for many years and I knew

> them both.

>

> Herr Ratajczyk served with the German Army during the First World War and

> I have two photographs of him. He does not have any medal ribbons to help

> with the identification of his unit, but one of the photographs shows a

> group of soldiers standing in front of a makeshift building with two signs

> visible. One says "Gechaeftszimmer Division" and the other looks like

> "Campzimmer Kriegsgerichte".

>

> I am researching my late father in law who fought in both World Wars in

> the British Army. His wife (Inge) is still alive and lives with us. She is

> 80. Her husband was 32 years older that she was and they met after WW2

> when Colonel Major was Military Governor in Lippe-Detmold. She was his

> secretary and simultaneous translator.

>

> It happened that Inge's father and Inge's husband were of nearly the

> same age. Her husband fought in France between 1915 and 1918 and we

> believe that they were involved in battles very close to each other to do

> with the Kaiser's Spring Offensive, 1918 around Ypres.

>

> If it helps, Herr Ratajczxy won an Iron Cross sometime during WW1.

>

> I would very much like to know as much as possible about Herr Ratajczyk's

> military career and hope that you can help in my research.

I should tell you that I got the following reply from Nat Archives in Germany...

Dear Mr. Major,

there was no "German army" in those times but armies of the German single states (except navy). I suppose that Bernhard Alfred RATAJCZYK belonged to the Prussian army. Military personal files of the Prussian army got lost during World War II, except military hospital records of wounded soldiers.

Regards

Im Auftrag

Klaus-D. Postupa

1. He was not an officer.

2. Do the two attached photos (see Forum posts) reveal anything?

3. He was born in Berlin, Neu-koelln 4 3 1895.

4. He lived there through WW1 until the early 1920's.

5. His Iron Cross was 2nd. class.

6. He was half-Polish.

7. His son-in-law (my late father-in-law), Lt. Col. AWC Major (MC and two bars, Order of St. George and Order of St. Anne with Crossed Swords), was of similar age to him.

8. The two fought against each other on the Western Front, we think around the time of the Kaiser's Spring Offensive. I know AWCM's locations 1915 to 1918. He was evacuated wounded 4 4 18.

9. AWCM's wife (Herr Ratajczyk's daugter) is 80 and lives with us. If there are any questions you want to ask to help in our search for her Dad's WW1 whereabouts, please ask.

10. In WW2, Herr R's parents had eight children. 6 died in childhood. Herr R and his one surviving brother were sent to the Eastern Front. The brother (Rudolph) was killed in action. His parents successfully petitioned the authorities that the one surviving child be transferred to the Western Front.

11. In WW2, Herr R. was sent to Poland (near Bromberg in the Polish Corridor) as a teacher (Hauptschullehrer). In 44/45, he did the march back to Germany between the advancing Russians and the retreating Germans. His group missed the last boat out of Gdansk (Danzig) - luckily, because it was sunk with all hands lost.

However, there may be another way of tracking down Herr R's unit.

I have made the following deductions/assumptions from this thread...

1. He would have been in the Prussian Army being from Berlin, and

2. The group photo (with woundbadges dating from the time of the Kaiser's 21 March 1918 Spring Offensive) must date from then.

Incidentally, the right-hand sign hung on the building, the one that reads 'Campzimmer Kriegsgerichte' has the words on two lines with a logo of what looks like a stylised artillery piece in between.

Question: In a list of Divisions, would Guards Divisions be Prussian Guard Divisions?

Right, mum-in-law remembers that her father and husband were 'close together' in opposition to each other. I know in detail where her husband (AWCM) was at that time.

His unit details:

2 Suffolk Batallion=76 Brigade=3 Division=VI Corps=3rd Army.

2 Bt to battle zone on 12 March with HQ at Wancourt. 2 Bt @ 3 Div's extreme left with its left on Arras/Cambrai Road at Cavalry Farm. Took a hammering, with few losses, on 21 March with artillery and gas.

24 March. 9 Brigade relieved 76 Brigade. 2 Bt moved to old german trenches north of Neuville-Vitasse and dug switch line from Telegraph Hill to Ficheux.

27 March. Back to Wancourt.

Neuville-Vitasse proved to be the limit (in that sector) of the German advance. Battle of Wancourt is called Battle of Arras 1918.

30 March. 2 Bt. relieved by Canadian troops and went to Sombrin.

This action won AWCM his third Military Cross. It was thought at the time that he should have been 'in for a VC' but it was not witnessed. Citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When the flank of the batallion was in the air, he was ordered to move his company to form a flank defence and, although very painfully wounded, he personally posted each section to the best advantage, saving the position for some hours. He kep a Lewis gun in action himself when all his gun teams had become casualties and was the last to withdraw, covering his men with his gun and holding off the enemy at close range.

Actually, there was an NCO with him whom he ordered to kneel so that he was able to rest the Lewis gun on the man's shoulder to be better steadied given that he was shot through the hip. I wonder if the poor NCO became deaf. I hope he got a medal too.

On 4 April AWCM was evacuated to England. In August, he was sent to Archangel, Russia.

From N to S, the British Order of Battle was: 3 Army...XVII Corps...3 Div...34 Div. etc.

From N to S, in the same general area, the German Order of Battle was: 17 Army...XVIII Corps...VI Reserve Corps...XIV Reserve Corps etc.

In the three German Corps, the only Prussian units I find are:

FIRST LINE. 221 Div, 41st and 45th East Prussian regiments...234 Div, 451st, 452nd and 453rd Branenburg and Prussian Saxony regiments...3rd Guard's Div, Guards Fusilier regiment (Berlin)

SECOND LINE. 1st. Guard's Reserve Division.

Are we any closer to finding out which unit he was in???

Best regards.

Two pictures follow, the second in a separate post...

Dear Patrick and others,

Here is the second photograph.

post-5635-1149185717.jpg

post-5635-1149185954.jpg

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Chris

Hi patrick

Would be very interested to know if your information on the Reserve Infanterie Regiment Nr 208 has any information from around the 29/4/18 such as location and inparticular if they suffered any casulties on that day or the day before.

Cheers

Chris

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Jack Sheldon

Sorry Chris

The history of RIR 208 is particularly indifferent. The regiment was in French Flanders from 9/4 - 8/5 1918. On 24/4 the 1st Bn was in a rest area near Neuve Chapelle. The regimental staff moved to a new command post to the east of Lacouture to avoid heavy shelling and the implication is that the other two battalions were forward somewhere near La Couture. They seem only to have had one battalion in the line, with one in reserve and one at rest, but I cannot make up my mind what the roles of the 2nd and 3rd Bns were that day, nor is it possible to say what casualties they suffered. The tour as a whole was costly in terms of casualties, but the figures are not clearly broken down.

I cannot help you more than that I am afraid.

Jack

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Jack Sheldon

I see your question concerned the 29/4, not the 24/4. Well unfortunately there is even less information about that day. All the history says is that they carried out an internal relief in the line operation, but not who did what!

Jack

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Chris

Cheers for looking Jack. My point of interest was that the 1/5th lincs War Diary records how they retrieved the body of dead German soldier ;from the RIR 208; from no mans land whilst they were in the frontline. Did not expect to find anything from the German side but thought i would check it out anyway

Thanks

Chris

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pratt

@Erika

The following is mentioned in the lists of casualties of the history of the regiment:

Reinhold, Conrad – 7. 10. 1915 – 2. Kompanie

On October 7th 1915 the 2. Kompanie was situated west of Sommepy at level 185 ( near the railway line Bazancourt – Challerange)

The history of the regiment writes about this date:

“October 7th. During the day enemy gunfire of all calibres and heavy activity of hostile

mortars. In the afternoon gunfire increasing to barrage continuing to 7p.m..

After a one hour-long break renewed barrage which was answered well by our own

artillery.

Casualties were especially high on the 7th because of the barrage and mortars.

IR 74

4.8.-11.9.1914

Marneschlacht

Guise-St.Quentin-Petit Morin

12.8.1914-16.4.1915 Reims

Cernay-Fort de la Pompelle

Fresnes

Betheny

southwest Loivre

17.4-22.9.1915

Dunajec-San

Lubaczowka

Werchrata

Krasnostaw

railway line Warschau-Kowel

Berejow

Brest-Litovs

October 1915

Champagne

Friedhelm

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bob lembke

Guys (including the female side of the equation);

I have been reading a secondary source on the Great War, and it cited Der Weltkrieg 1914 - 1918, Band 13. I have, as far as Baende 1 - 12, 17 copies, all but Band 11, with duplicates, and I am supposed to receive Volumes 11, 12, and the railroad volume (although I think that the dealer is trying to cheat me), but I have never heard of Volume 13.

I assume that Band 13 is excessively rare. Are there others? I think I have heard of one or two volumes on economic questions. Is there a Band 14? I know that the later volumes are exceptionally scarce. Can anyone cite the entire series?

Bob Lembke

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FJ_VF168

Hi Bob & the others....

I am back in town ..

There are 14 Volumes on "Der Weltkrieg 1914 - 1918"

Volume 13 was published in 1942

Volume 14 was published in 1944

I have no names at the moment but i will supply soon ... thats quite easy since they are lcoated inthe local library here. They also then to be rare... (both of them)

@ Bob ...

Got a new book thats perhaps of special interest for you.

Geschichte der deutschen Flammenwerfer by Reddemann (Garde Pionier units)

Patrick

Guys (including the female side of the equation);

I have been reading a secondary source on the Great War, and it cited Der Weltkrieg 1914 - 1918, Band 13. I have, as far as Baende 1 - 12, 17 copies, all but Band 11, with duplicates, and I am supposed to receive Volumes 11, 12, and the railroad volume (although I think that the dealer is trying to cheat me), but I have never heard of Volume 13.

I assume that Band 13 is excessively rare. Are there others? I think I have heard of one or two volumes on economic questions. Is there a Band 14? I know that the later volumes are exceptionally scarce. Can anyone cite the entire series?

Bob Lembke

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Jack Sheldon

Patrick

I only have volumes 1-11, so would like Volumes 12, 13 & 14 when you have done them. Any luck on the books I mentioned a couple of months ago?

Jack

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FJ_VF168

Hi Jack !

No luck until today on the books you mentioned ago... but i am on them ;-)

About the Weltkrieg series i am really sorry to disappoint you ...

I see no chance to scan these books at the moment. They are too big and have too much pages .. 700+

The time for one of these books equals almost more than 10 regimental histories. ..But i will check book 13 and 14 .. maybe i will do these same as 11 and 12.

since these tend to be rare (compared to the first 10) this makes more sense...

It should be quite easy to get the first 10 books .. or am i wrong there?

(Earlier or sooner i will do them all for sure ... )

Greetings Patrick

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Jack Sheldon

Patrick

You are quite right. I had no problem via ZBAV or e bay in obtaining 1-11. I have been trying to get 12 for about two years - so I am still in the market if you can manage anything!

Jack

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FJ_VF168

Ok ..

then i will try to get volumes 14 , 13 , 12 and 11 hunted down ... but this will take surely some time ...

I have 8 books lying around here that cry for my scanner ....

That Landwehr Corps book has 800+ pages ... and its only 1 of 2 books belonging together ... lol....

Greetings Patrick

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Guest friedrich

Hi Patrick,

have just joined this forum. Wonder if someone may help me.

Am tracking my grandfathers time in Northern France, when he was there with the

3. Maschinengewehr Kompagnie Reserve Infanterie Regiment Nr. 91

At that time he was a socalled "Leutnant der Reserve".

Have explore here that there is a book containing information of this Regiment Nr. 91. What is the content of this book, kind of information?

Would be glad to get an answer soon.

Friedrich

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Jack Sheldon

Friedrich

RIR 91 has a good regimental history: Res.Inf.Regt. Nr. 91 im Weltkriege 1914-1918 Kuemmel, Leutnant d.Res. a.D. Adolf published by Stalling, Oldenburg 1926. Occasionally second hand copies come up for sale and it is available in certain specialised libraries.

Jack

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Paul Hederer
Patrick

You are quite right. I had no problem via ZBAV or e bay in obtaining 1-11. I have been trying to get 12 for about two years - so I am still in the market if you can manage anything!

Jack

Jack there is a broken set for sale at the moment, and includes vol. 12. Not sure if you'd be interested.

276 euros (bds 1-8 and 12)

Keip & von Delft GmbH

I've seen at least one complete set for sale in the past year, and at a good price. Tried to get the fellow to sell me just vols. 13-14, but he wouldn't hear of it.

Paul

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bob lembke

Jack;

Are you interested in the railroad Band 1 volume? If so, PM me.

Bob Lembke

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dphillipsd

I would appreciate any information that could be provided in relation to the disposition of Rhenish Infantry Regiment 28, part of the 16th Infantry Divison, VIIIth Army Corps; in particular for 1917 and the period of January, February, March and April 1918 but as much as possible throughout the whole war as well if possible.

Thanks in advance!

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