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6. Garde-Feldartillerie-Regiment & Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 106


Ken S.
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Unfortunately not. Almost all histories were produced at regimental level. For some reason Garde FAR 6 chose not to produce one. Unusually, 4th Guards Division does have a history. I have no idea if it is any good, but, at 180 pages (It was a 1920 book by K Gabriel) I doubt if it will be much more than an expanded chronolgy. Of course all the divisional infantry regiments have a hiostory in this case, so there may be mentions of the gunners and engineers there.

Jack

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At the beginning of the war there were only about 30 pioneer battalions. According to Cron (Imperial German Army 1914-1918, the English translation), there eventually were 238 pioneer battalions formed. As the pre-war formations were consecutively numbered, clearly it was a war-time formation. What sort of information are you seeking? Do you know anything about it?

Bob Lembke

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Jack,

I have the scans for the 4 GID history and it is as you say; I've also managed to track down two of the infantry regiment histories--RIR 93 and 5GRzF--but the artillery and pioneer units are only occasionally mentioned, mostly in that of the 5GRzF.

Bob,

The 4 GID history states that Pionier Kompanie 269 was formed out of the 1/3 company of the Pionier Bataillon 28; no mention of the origins of Pionier Kompanie 261. The battalion is subsequently mentioned only on a few occasions in general terms.

Basically I'd just like to know as much about the division as possible.

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Tracking German pioneer units is tricky, so it may be helpful to begin with an overview of the way that ordinary pioneer companies (the rough equivalents of the 'field companies' of the Royal Engineers) were formed.

In peacetime, there were thirty-five pioneer battalions in the German Army. These battalions were autonomous units that, for purposes of administration and tradition, had many of the rights and functions as regiments of other arms (such as the infantry, cavalry, field artillery and foot artillery). In that respect, pioneer battalions were very much like Jäger battalions.)

At mobilization, each peacetime pioneer battalions fielded six field companies, as well as a number of specialized pioneer units. The field companies, in turn, were grouped by threes into two 'field pioneer battalions', each of which was assigned to an army corps, a reserve army corps, a fortress or a fortress pioneer regiment (Festungpionier Regiment).*

In the twelve months or so following mobilization, the German Army formed a number of individual field companies for service with the new divisions being formed. Once this reform had taken place, the typical German army corps had four or five field companies - three from the original field battalion and one or two from the recently formed division that served as the third division of the army corps. Like the original field companies, each of these new field companies were affiliated with a peacetime pioneer battalion, the depot of which provided it with drafts of trained men.

Early in 1917, the German Army formed most of its field companies into small battalions of two field companies apiece, each of which was designed to provide for the needs of a single infantry division. (In the few cases I have seen, the two field companies of each of the divisional battalions were affiliated with the same peacetime battalion. My sample, however, is far from representative, so I cannot say if this was always the case.)

According the standard bibliography of German regimental histories, almost all of the histories that deal with ordinary pioneers (as opposed to special units such as Reddeman's flamethrower regiment and Assault Battalion Rohr) cover all of the wartime units fielded by a single peacetime pioneer battalion. Unfortunately, no such history was published for the 28th Pioneer Battalion. It may, however, be worth the trouble to check the two volume history of the Guard Pioneer Battalion, on the off chance that Pioneer Company 261 was affiliated with it.

Siegfried von Held

Das Königlich Preußische Garde Pionier Bataillon und Seiner Kriegsverbände, 1914/1918

(Potsdam: Berg, 1932)

You may also want to check out

Paul Heinrici

Das Ehrenbuch der Deutschen Pioniere

(Berlin: Kolk, 1931)

Ernst Eisenhart-Rothe and Martin Lezius

Das Ehrenbuch der Garde

(Berlin: Kolk, 1931)

Both of these books are composed largely of vignettes, each of which deals with the role played by a particular unit (usually a company, battery or squadron) in a particular battle or event.

By the way, a very short (twentyfour-page) history of the 6th Guard Field Artillery Regiment was published.

Breithaupt (no first name given)

Ehemaliges Lehr Regiment der Feld Artillerie Schießschule (Jüterborg) in verbindurng mit dem bei der Mobilmachung aufgestellten 6. Garde-Feldartillerie Regiment

(Berlin: Kyffhäuser, 1938)

Good hunting!

*Unlike the fortress companies of the Royal Engineers,which were concerned with assisting in the defense of a fortress, the fortress pioneer regiments specialized in offensive fortress warfare. As a rule, one fortress pioneer regiment was assigned to each of the seven armies mobilized for service on the Western Front, with three additional regiments for assignment to the three armies that had the largest number of French or Belgian fortresses along their intended lines of march.

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Many thanks for your reply; it clarifies things nicely. I don't have access to the Garde Pionier history at the moment, nor the pioneer Ehrenbuch; I do have access to volume 2 of Das Ehrenbuch der Garde but there is nothing in there about PB 106 or 6GFelda. But at least there is something about the 6GFelda, even if rather brief.

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  • 3 months later...
Tracking German pioneer units is tricky, so it may be helpful to begin with an overview of the way that ordinary pioneer companies (the rough equivalents of the 'field companies' of the Royal Engineers) were formed.

Hoplophile - thankyou, this clarifies nicely what I gathered from my reading of Cron. I am currently attempting to work out the unit assignments of a Saxon Pionier reserve officer and his company, and finding it frustratingly difficult. I shall attempt to source the Pionier references you mention.

My subject is Leutnant d.Res Georg Hellmuth Lenke, who won the Militaer St.Heinrichs Orden (Ritter) for rescuing 600 men of the Saxon 241.Division from encirclement west of Soissons on 18/07/1918 (the beginning of the Allied counter-attack). He appears to have been part of the II. Field Battalion of Kgl. Sächs. 1. Pionier-Bataillon Nr.12, and I would really like to establish the new company and battalion numbers for his unit for the late-war period. Based on his whereabouts on 18/07/1918, I suspect his unit to have been one of the following: Pionier-Bataillon 241 (Pi.Komp 373 / 374 - part of 241.Div.) or Pionier-Bataillon 353 (part of Saxon 53.Reserve Division, on the right flank of 241.Div.).

His service record says:

"7.8.14 z.Ers.Btl.Pion.Btl.12. / 1.9.14 z.Res.Komp.pion.53. / 3.6.15 z.Ers.Btl.Pion.Btl.12 / 29.9.15 z.pion.res.X (line break) XII.R.K.i.Feld. / 7.10.15 z.Res. 4 Komp.Pion.Btl. 12. / 28.8.18 z.Ers.Btl. Pion. Btl. 12."

He was wounded on 12/11/14 and again ("schwer verwundet.") on 6/8/18.

By the end of the war he was a company commander.

Do any fellow Pionier researchers have any pertinent clues?

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Andi;

I used to communicate with a fellow who specializes in Pionier=Bataillon Nr. 12, but I have not been in contact with him for a while, and might not even have contact information. I will look about for it.

You mentioned his "service record". Do you mean his Militar=Pass? Being in the Saxon Army, his service records may still exist; the Prussian ones are generally lost.

"My subject is Leutnant d.Res Georg Hellmuth Lenke". Where did you get the full name?

Bob Lembke

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I used to communicate with a fellow who specializes in Pionier=Bataillon Nr. 12, but I have not been in contact with him for a while, and might not even have contact information. I will look about for it.

Thanks Bob, much appreciated!

You mentioned his "service record". Do you mean his Militar=Pass? Being in the Saxon Army, his service records may still exist; the Prussian ones are generally lost.

"My subject is Leutnant d.Res Georg Hellmuth Lenke". Where did you get the full name?

What I have are scans of the following from Leutnant d.R. Lenke's grandson:

- Award document for the Ritterkreuz 2.Kl. des Albrechtsordens, signed by Friedrich August III and dated 02/08/1916.

- A type-written letter dated 06/12/1935 from the Reicharchiv in Dresden, headed 'Verkuerzter Ranglisten-Auszug', which details his promotions, awards, assignments and wounds.

- A type-written excerpt from a book, 'Der Koeniglich Saechsische MILITAER-ST. HEINRICHS-ORDEN 1736-1918, Ein Ehrenblatt der Saechsischen Armee' (Verlag Wolfgang Weidlich, Frankfurt am Main) - excerpt is headed 'Auszug auf Seite 420' and describes Lenke's actions on 18/07/1918 for which he received that award. At the foot of the typescript is 'Wiesbaden, den 29.5.1967'.

So sadly the only original document in there is the award document for the Albrechtsorden.

I shall ask Lenke's grandson for permission to publish this material on here.

I am keen to pursue research (into Lenke's unit and of course my great-grandfather's Felda. R. 48 (241 Div.)) in Dresden this year - Lenke's grandson (who lives in Wiesbaden) has family there, and my parents are planning a visit as well.

Kind regards

Andi Lucas

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