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German military discipline


Aaron Pegram
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Dear all,

Does anyone know where I might find the German equivalent of the Manual of Military Law? I am trying to find out a little more about German army discipline and punishments applied in the field.

Cheers,

Aaron.

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Interesting point - was there one? Given that in legal terms resulting from German unification in 1871 there were in effect three German armies - Prussian, Wutternberg and Saxon (although the first two were pretty well integrated by 1914) its possible that there was more than one such document. There was however a book issued by the High Command that covered the rules of war as interpreted by Germany (how prisoners should be treated, treatment of civilians in occupied territories, wearing of enemy uniforms, status of wounded, bombardment of cities etc etc) this was issued to every officer and senior NCO (however many of the clauses have get outs along the lines of "if this impedes the army then individual decisions may have to be taken".) This has recently been reprinted in a 1919 English translation

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Most likely you are looking for this antiquarian book:

Gordon A.v.: Jahrbuch des Soldaten. Ein unentbehrliches Handbuch für jeden deutschen Krieger und zugleich eine Erinnerung an den Weltkrieg 1914- 1915

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Thanks Cent. Don't forget the Bavarians!

I reckon you're right: the fragmentary nature of the German army poses questions about how military law was maintained, and there may have been differences within the various armies. However I suspect that there would have been a common law given Prussia was the nucleus of the German Army. Perhaps I'm wrong - Jack? Paul?

I came across the War Book Of The German General Staff just as I posted my inquiry, which assures me that I'm on the right track.

Cheers,

Aaron.

Interesting point - was there one? Given that in legal terms resulting from German unification in 1871 there were in effect three German armies - Prussian, Wutternberg and Saxon (although the first two were pretty well integrated by 1914) its possible that there was more than one such document. There was however a book issued by the High Command that covered the rules of war as interpreted by Germany (how prisoners should be treated, treatment of civilians in occupied territories, wearing of enemy uniforms, status of wounded, bombardment of cities etc etc) this was issued to every officer and senior NCO (however many of the clauses have get outs along the lines of "if this impedes the army then individual decisions may have to be taken".) This has recently been reprinted in a 1919 English translation
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I came across the War Book Of The German General Staff just as I posted my inquiry, which assures me that I'm on the right track.

Thats the one I was referring to but it has no 'internal' legal law equating to the equivelent of Kings Regulations or the like - it deals with effectively international military law which would have to be dealt with on a centralised basis since Berlin dealt with foreign relationships on behalf of the various German kingdoms making up the Reich.

BTW I believe that for the purposes of military organisation Bavaria was subsumed (in fact was the major part of the Wuternberg army. However Barvaria certainly maintained its own part of the flying corps and was definitely not subject to the reuglations put out by the air section of the war ministry in Berlin so it may also have deviated in other aspects of military regulations.

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BTW I believe that for the purposes of military organisation Bavaria was subsumed (in fact was the major part of the Wuternberg army. However Barvaria certainly maintained its own part of the flying corps and was definitely not subject to the reuglations put out by the air section of the war ministry in Berlin so it may also have deviated in other aspects of military regulations.

The Bavarian Army had the greatest independence from the Prussian Army. For a superficial sign of this, note how the Bavarian Army had an independent unit numbering system. All of the other German states, which were not kingdoms, had their military units closely under the wing of the Prussian Army.

As per The War Book of the German General Staff, I have seen either that book or one with a very similar name, and it clearly is a forgery, a war-time book to defame the Germans, one of the tidal wave of books and materials turned out in an organized fashion, in particular to sway American and Canadian public opinion firmly to the Allies. These books were turned out at every level of sophistication, aimed at every level of society. The British author Deborah Lake has recently found a very interesting document detailing this effort. So use that book with caution, as it may be the book that I saw. I continue to see concrete examples of how reputable historians continue to this day to be misled by propaganda written more than 90 years ago.

If by "field punishments" you mean the sorts of things that were done in the British army (strapping to wagon wheels, etc.), to my best (but not complete) knowledge, they were not permitted in the German Army. In fact, I believe that NCOs were not allowed to physically approach an EM/OR closer than a certain distance, to prevent corporal punishment. I recently posted an example of this that my father told me, when a sergeant playfully poked him in the butt with a bayonet, Pop kicked him in the face with the sole of his hob-nailed boot, badly damaging the sergeant, and it was the sergeant, not him (a private) who was punished; an officer simply asked the sergeant how he came to be kicked in the face if he maintained the required distance from my father, a private. Does anyone know more about this? I correspond with two serving German colonels deeply interested in WW I; I could write one and get an opinion.

Bob Lembke

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Sorry Bob but the War Book was not a forgery. It was originaly published in 1902 under the title Kriegsbrauch im Landkriege ( a history is provided in the introduction to the recent reprint) but translated into English in 1915 by a professor Morgan who added commentary and notes. This was obviously intended as a propoganda exercise as the introduction to the recent reprint points out and looking back from today's viewpoint at the notes one can clearly see this. However the general tone of the book did give Morgan ammunition and a hook on which to hang propoganda points. The reprint also includes translation of some German commentaries on the text and itis interesting how these tend to use French actions in the Franco Prussian war either as examples of 'criminal' activities in war or as reasons why certain types of action are permissible.

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I correspond with two serving German colonels deeply interested in WW I; I could write one and get an opinion.

Goodonya Bob, that would be fantastic.

Cheers,

Aaron

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Sorry Bob but the War Book was not a forgery. It was originaly published in 1902 under the title Kriegsbrauch im Landkriege ( a history is provided in the introduction to the recent reprint) but translated into English in 1915 by a professor Morgan who added commentary and notes. This was obviously intended as a propoganda exercise as the introduction to the recent reprint points out and looking back from today's viewpoint at the notes one can clearly see this. However the general tone of the book did give Morgan ammunition and a hook on which to hang propoganda points. The reprint also includes translation of some German commentaries on the text and itis interesting how these tend to use French actions in the Franco Prussian war either as examples of 'criminal' activities in war or as reasons why certain types of action are permissible.

I am a disadvantage here as I am not sure that the book I saw some time ago was the same book. But the title seems the same. Just reading the book that I saw, it is clear that the General Staff would have been insane to write such a book.

Have you obtained a pre-war edition of Kriegsbrauch im Landkriege and compared it side by side with Professor Morgan's translation? If not, I would not trust any war-time publication that proclaims that it is an English-language translation of a German source. I will look into some German catalogs, etc., and see if the book that it is supposedly based on actually existed.

Bob Lembke

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The German National Library in Leipzig, the best German library for the WW I period, does have such a book, published in 1902 by the Great General Staff. It also has a reprint in English by Stackpole Books of Mechanicsburg, PA, USA, dated 2005. They also have a 1916 edition of a French translation.

There is one copy of the book on ZVAB.com, which may cover 10,000,000 books offered by German used book dealers, offered by a German book dealer at about 90 Euros, including postage.

For some reason, the Stackpole reprint of the translation seems to be almost twice as long as the original. The French translation is almost three times as long as the German original. The German original is 75 pages, the Stackpole edition 138 pages, and the French edition 198 pages plus a very long forward. I find this to be very suspicious. Was the German edition written in micro-print? Or were these editions, published during the war, packed with propaganda?

Depending as to what you describe as an individual source, in the last six years I have read many hundreds or several thousand sources, mostly primary or documentary, in English (Brit, US, Canadian, Australian, and NZ), German, French, Italian, Flemish, Czech, Slovene, Russian, and (very painfully) in Turkish, and the English language sources, especially the Brit or US, are frequently so "cooked" or openly fabricated, compared to the materials in other languages, that there is no comparison. There are, of course, good reasons for this, to advance the war objectives of the Allies.

I cannot remember the details, or even where I saw the book in English (I have an idea), but what I saw was clearly cooked. I have bought many hundreds of WW I books in the last few years, but for some reason I did not bother to buy this; perhaps it was too expensive, or I was put off by its obvious falsity. I ocasionally buy such books, as curiosities. If I could see the German 1902 edition, and the English wartime, French 1916, or 2005 Stackpole editions side by side, I could form an opinion. The wide disparity in the lengths of the edditions is very suspicious.

I have a friend of 50 years who is a major believer in G. W. Bush, and he posts stuff from "born again" lunatic fringe web-sites to dozens of friends; he recently posted a supposed translated German article supporting Iraq nuttyness. I went on-line and found the original, it was written years ago, by some very odd Germans, but also the translation was badly cooked to twist the meaning of the German original. I posted this to the many friends of his that he sent this to, and to his credit he appologized to all.

'

I trust very little on its face value, including the oral history of my father, until years of cross-checking proved it remarkably accurate, as far as can be cross-checked. Almost nothing actually published during the war is reliable, but, as I have said, IMHO the English-language material is by far the worst, due to the organized propaganda effort,seemingly unmatched by any other literature of the period.

Bob Lembke

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Trust me Bob when I say that I'm not taking anything at face value. Problem is that I don't speak or read German. But thank you for laying the emphasis on the 'cooked' nature of these potentially dodgy sources - I will have to have a good look through a few papers on British propaganda (from German historians) to see whether any mention this particular book.

Cheers,

Aaron.

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A forensic examination of material such as Bob mentions would, in itself, make a useful addition to the literature of the War. My only reading of German disciplinary measures stems from "All Quiet.." How fair a reflection of actual custom and practice is that?

Edwin

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A forensic examination of material such as Bob mentions would, in itself, make a useful addition to the literature of the War. My only reading of German disciplinary measures stems from "All Quiet.." How fair a reflection of actual custom and practice is that?

Edwin

My knowledge on this topic is limited but I did correspond some years ago with Commander C.M. Clausen, the German Naval Attache in London regarding the number of capital sentences handed down by German military courts between 1915 and 1918. He provided me with the following statistics

Prussia

1915 - 0

1916 - 6

1917 - 12

1918 -6

Saxony

1915 - 0

1916 - 0

1917 - 0

1918 - 0

Bavaria

1915 - 0

1916 - 2

1917 - 1

1918 - 2

Wurttemberg

1915 - 0

1916 - 0

1917 - 0

1918 - 0

There was at that time no information available as to those death sentences carried out. Commander Clausen was most helpful but he was unable to find transcripts of courts-martial proceedings in any military or legal journals. He did point out however that many records had been destroyed during WWII.

Hope this is of some use - Des

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Very interesting material. I posted a detailed reply and the posting did not take. Have to run to work. The statistics on deaths are very interesting and I would say important. According to the IWM, the Germans shot a total of about 80 men in the 4 1/3 years of the war, across an army of 6-7 million men at any one time, for reasons like murder and rape, as well as cowardice. I believe 18 men were shot for cowardice in the whole war. The Brits scentenced about 2200, and actually shot about 323, pushed Commonwealth countries to shoot some. (I believe that Graves said that sometimes the CO told the officers on the court martial that the OR was to be shot, before the trial.) The French shot hundreds and even thousands, some without a real trial, I believe. (The Brits only shot 3 officers, I believe, while the French seemed to like to shoot junior officers.) The Italians were very brutal and must have shot thousands, some by the roadside by military police, whose NCOs supposedly could shoot officers without a trial. The Russians? Who knows?

Bob Lembke

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Very interesting material. I posted a detailed reply and the posting did not take. Have to run to work. The statistics on deaths are very interesting and I would say important. According to the IWM, the Germans shot a total of about 80 men in the 4 1/3 years of the war, across an army of 6-7 million men at any one time, for reasons like murder and rape, as well as cowardice. I believe 18 men were shot for cowardice in the whole war. The Brits scentenced about 2200, and actually shot about 323, pushed Commonwealth countries to shoot some. (I believe that Graves said that sometimes the CO told the officers on the court martial that the OR was to be shot, before the trial.) The French shot hundreds and even thousands, some without a real trial, I believe. (The Brits only shot 3 officers, I believe, while the French seemed to like to shoot junior officers.) The Italians were very brutal and must have shot thousands, some by the roadside by military police, whose NCOs supposedly could shoot officers without a trial. The Russians? Who knows?

Bob Lembke

From what I've read, the Russians were compassionate. Their doctors recognised shell shock back in 1904 during the conflict with Japan and the Tsar's army had psychologists on hand near the front to deal with these cases. I know that psychology was in its infancy then but the Russians were quite progressive and saw its benefits.

Roberts Graves didn't let the facts get in the way of a good story. The only Commonwealth nation whose troops were not subject to the extreme penalty was Australia. There's a pretty good thread on here that deals with this called "Class War."

I've never heard of a CO trying to influence a court-martial before it had tried a case but such an action would be contrary to military law and the officer would face sanctions. However, a man's service record was available to the Court after it had made its findings. If the man had a poor disciplinary record or his commanding officer had entered adverse comments about him, that certainly could have influenced the tribunal's decision.

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Dear all,

Does anyone know where I might find the German equivalent of the Manual of Military Law? I am trying to find out a little more about German army discipline and punishments applied in the field.

Cheers,

Aaron.

Aaron;

Turning to your original question. I addressed this yesterday and my post flew off to some "Black Hole of Cyber-space".

By "punishments applied in the field" I assume that you mean the like of the punishments that I understand that occurred in the British Army. Wasn't there a punishment like strapping a man to a fence or wagon wheel for several hours, which even has a name, something like "Field Punishment No. 2"?

Someone in the last few days posted, either on this Forum or the GMIC, a description of a British officer having a soldier whipped to death in Iraq in 1921 for sleeping on duty, the punishment including have salt rubbed into the wounds during the whipping. (It was added that this was not legal, but seemingly was "gotten away with".) This sort of thing, IMHO, would have been inconceivable in the German Army of 1914-1918; for one thing, the officer's regimental court of honor would certainly have ended his career, even if he was not officially prosecuted.

Most days for the last six years I read about WW I for several hours, and I probably read more German than any other language, but rarely secondary sources; rather official histories, regimental histories, but also many personal memoirs (from private to field marshal, and sometimes ones written by communists and books published in the DDR), books of soldiers' letters, manuscript letters from the field, including about 50 from my father and grand-father, and I cannot recall having read about any corporal punishment in the German Army.

Some Pal earlier in this thread mentioned All Quiet on the Western Front (of course fiction, and written by a man who was not only anti-war, but arguably anti-German) describing corporal punishment. Could this Pal speak up and mention what it said? ? I have not read the book for 30-40 years. (My father hated both the book and the author, but he was not very specific about it.)

Additionally, my father told me that he once kicked a sergeant in the face from above with his hob-nailed boot, damaging his face quite nicely, when the sergeant playfully poked him in the butt with his bayonet. The enraged sergeant chased him, and was halted by an officer, and it was the NCO who was in trouble, as he was simply asked how he was kicked in the face when he maintained the specified distance from the EM/OR. My father explained that there was a rule that a NCO had to remain a specified distance from a EM/OR. The NCO had no plausable explaination, and was in big trouble. I assume that this rule, if it existed (I have not heard of it elsewhere, but my father's oral history has proved over time to be very accurate), was established to prevent any form of corporal punishment.

My father's letters to his father were more about military matters than most soldiers' letters that I have read (I collect modest numbers of German PCs from the field, and also often read PCs that are on e-Bay auction if their reverses are also posted), as my grandfather was a staff officer, the Id on the Generalkommando von III. Reservekorps. My father also reported regularly on local agricultural conditions, crops, weather, etc.; grandfather was originally a Brandenburg peasant. They never mentioned such a thing. I have written down 40 single-spaced pages of oral history, as I recall it, from him, and it never mentioned such a thing. And father hated his company command structure, and was one of the men who shot the company commander to death, and who also once shot a sergeant in the butt with a "half-sharp" round on manuvers, and had quite a big and sarcastic mouth (after volunteering for Gallipoli service, he was a storm trooper for over two years, wounded four times, was big, athletic, hot-headed, and frankly was a very dangerous person from 1916 to about 1926, a real thug. If anyone was a candidate for "field punishment", if it existed, it would have been him, and he probably would have told me about it, if it occurred. (Unlike so many veterans, he spoke a great deal about his military service, and told me it was the best years of his life, and most of his civilian life in Germany and the US was rather good.)

As I said, I privately communicate with a couple of currently serving fairly senior German officers who are serious students of WW I, and I may write one of them and ask about this "field punishment" question.

Discipline, in particular corporal punishment, was very severe in the Prussian Army of the eighteenth century, with things like "running the gauntlet". (I have a Serbian-American friend, and I understand that about 1948-1950 his father was arrested for political reasons, and on arriving at a prison camp in Jugoslavija he and the rest of his transport of 112 prisoners were forced to "run the gauntlet" of the other prisoners to enter the camp; I was told that his father and five other prisoners of the transport of 112 survived. He later, politically rehabilitated, became the Police President of Kosovo.) There were many important reforms in the Prussian Army between say 1780 and 1914.

Bob Lembke

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Aaron;

Someone in the last few days posted, either on this Forum or the GMIC, a description of a British officer having a soldier whipped to death in Iraq in 1921 for sleeping on duty, the punishment including have salt rubbed into the wounds during the whipping. (It was added that this was not legal, but seemingly was "gotten away with".) This sort of thing, IMHO, would have been inconceivable in the German Army of 1914-1918; for one thing, the officer's regimental court of honor would certainly have ended his career, even if he was not officially prosecuted.

I think that this is a military urban myth, the same story can be found over many years and many theatres of war (and the soldier and officer are never idetified , nor are those who would have ccarried out the flogging) and probably has its origins in the days back in the 19th century when flogging was an official military punishment and brine (salt water) was used after the flogging not as a punishment (although it must have stung something awful) but as a form of primitive antiseptic. It certainly would not have been something gotten away with.

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I can't remember the details of the thread where the Iraq story was presented, but there was, I think, some discussion of the plausabitity. I probably should not have presented it in a fashion that suggested that it was established fact. But the very fact that such a story (real or imagined) would be repeated is telling, IMHO; it suggests that such a story might be considered plausable. Allied wartime propaganda often has stories about brutal mistreatment of German soldiers by their officers; they are not belevable (sp?) to people on the German side of the coin.

It the case when my father and others (several dozen others!) shot their CO, the company, when back in barracks, was surrounded by infantry, and for three days staff officers took statements and depositions. At the end of the three days a decision was made and the infantry was withdrawn and a large quantity of beer was delivered to the men in barracks. Clearly the cowardness of the officer, his theft of the men's money, and his insulting attitude to the men and the Pioniere Korps were considered. The outcome is remarkable as it could be interpreted as tacit approval of the summary execution of an officer by his men. The CO was seemingly made a "non-person", but I have found a fragment of documentation that may support this story. There is strong evidence that the Crown Prince was involved in this event and the decision-making.

Would anyone care to speculate on how such an event would have been handled in other armies of the period? I especially like the detail about the beer.

Bob Lembke

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I can't remember the details of the thread where the Iraq story was presented, but there was, I think, some discussion of the plausabitity. I probably should not have presented it in a fashion that suggested that it was established fact. But the very fact that such a story (real or imagined) would be repeated is telling, IMHO; it suggests that such a story might be considered plausable. Allied wartime propaganda often has stories about brutal mistreatment of German soldiers by their officers; they are not belevable (sp?) to people on the German side of the coin.

Nor would the British story be widely believed in Britain Bob

It the case when my father and others (several dozen others!) shot their CO, the company, when back in barracks, was surrounded by infantry, and for three days staff officers took statements and depositions. At the end of the three days a decision was made and the infantry was withdrawn and a large quantity of beer was delivered to the men in barracks. Clearly the cowardness of the officer, his theft of the men's money, and his insulting attitude to the men and the Pioniere Korps were considered. The outcome is remarkable as it could be interpreted as tacit approval of the summary execution of an officer by his men. The CO was seemingly made a "non-person", but I have found a fragment of documentation that may support this story. There is strong evidence that the Crown Prince was involved in this event and the decision-making.

Would anyone care to speculate on how such an event would have been handled in other armies of the period? I especially like the detail about the beer.

Bob Lembke

I have seen suggestions that the low level of executions in the German army was due to a reluctance to bring things into the public gaze by having formal court martial procedings when "extra legal" solutions could be found. I didn't place much credence on this but your story suggests that "avoiding legal solutions" might certainly be possible at all levels so there might be some truth in them after all. I certainly couldn't envisiage this happening in the British army.

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Dear all,

Does anyone know where I might find the German equivalent of the Manual of Military Law? I am trying to find out a little more about German army discipline and punishments applied in the field.

Cheers,

Aaron.

Aaron,

You might see if you can find a copy of "Military Executions During World War I," by Oram. I haven't read the book, but from the review I read in the "Journal of Military History," he does compare the military justice systems of France, Germany and Britain during the war.

Paul

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Interesting thread this. The articles of War and military Justice are published (with commentary) in the book mentioned by Egbert. How justice was enforced is a very interesting question and I suspect there is a rocking good PHD. thesis on the role of Military Judges in East and Western Front areas.

Certainly NCOs knew regulations quite thoroughly-there are hundreds of references to a Sergeant or whatnot saying things like "You don't have the right certificate" for some sort of object/action.

There was an entire justice section of the army and these officials were counted as Beamten in all the German armies.

I suspect Bob's wife might be able to locate a legal article or two on German military justice out there.

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I have seen suggestions that the low level of executions in the German army was due to a reluctance to bring things into the public gaze by having formal court martial procedings when "extra legal" solutions could be found. I didn't place much credence on this but your story suggests that "avoiding legal solutions" might certainly be possible at all levels so there might be some truth in them after all. I certainly couldn't envisiage this happening in the British army.

One of the suggestions of "extra-legal solutions" in the German Army was made by the US commander of gas and flame warfare, Amos Fries (great name for a flame thrower officer!), who, in concert with his British equivilant, Gen. Foulkes, having (IMHO) badly screwed up their flame warfare effort, spent almost 20 years after the war cooking the truth about the topic, especially about the successful German flame effort. One of the things that Fries wrote after the war was the opinion that Flammenwerfer (FW) were just about the dumbest weapon conceived by the mind of man, but that the Germans retained the flame regiment as a means to execute soldiers that they wanted dead but did not want to formally put on trial and shoot, for morale reasons.

The flame regiment wore, by the order of the Kaiser, Crown Prince Willi's personal symbol, the Death's Head, a symbol only worn by three or four very old, historic regiments, including the Death's Head Hussars, that Little Willi served in and eventually commanded. I don't think that any other unit was given this honor during the war. As my father's company was in Stenay-sur-Meuse, the Crown Prince frequently dropped in and chatted up the men; Pop said that he frequently caged cigarettes from him, and his letters corroborate that. Pop told me really funny story about when Little Willi dragged Big Willi to the barracks to chat up the men, and how he got into an amusing conversation with a private, which ended up with both the Kaiser and the company sergeant major angry with the private, to his extreme distress. I have a picture of the Crown Prince going into a memorial service with the flame regiment CO in the 1930's. The unit was, of course, a unit of the Prussian Guard.

The idea of this unit being an execution ploy is fantastic and deeply insulting, and I have a 18 page letter of protest that the CO, Major Dr. Reddemann, wrote to Amos Fries in the 1920's. But this sort of propaganda was frequently written during the war, and even after the war, as in this case. The "German machine gunners chained to their MGs" story constantly found in Yank materials is a case in point.

I understand that, of all the combatants, only important German court martials were formal trials, with both the prosecution and the defense being represented by members of the Bar. A lot of German reserve officers were lawyers, Major Dr. Reddemann, although a published scientist, had his doctorate in law. In Germany of the period the doctorate in law was sort of equivilent to the MBA in current US employment culture.

Bob Lembke

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What I meant was that I have read, in an Allied source, that only the Germans always afforded a military defendant under serious charge a formal trial and a real defense lawyer. Not an expert here.

As to an earlier point, I remember Graves writing that his CO asked him to sit on a court, and that he told him that the defendant was supposed to be shot, and that Graves found the prospect very disturbing, and found a ruse to escape this duty. I know that Graves was controversial and not widely liked, and that many of the classic memoirs of the trenches, including Storm of Steel, show signs of being "refined" over time, but would Graves invent such a story? I cannot say.

Bob Lembke

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One example of some German avoidance of legal forms can be found in the autobiographical wrtitings of the artist Conrad Felixmueller (Born Dresden, May 21, 1897; died Berlin, March 24, 1977) who describes how concientious objectors were treated.

"The military penal code was quite clear about the punishment for refusal to serve. The courage to resist was seen as a sign of insanity. Civil resistance was unknown among the bourgeois military doctors–and so anyone who resisted or refused to serve was crazy, ready for the asylum and treatment as mentally ill.

Once someone sent back the notice to report for duty. The second notice was simply thrown in the stove. After a little while–precious time that one had one–another notice appeared in the mailbox: Report to the district commander on Sunday morning at 9 o’clock! Two emissaries came to the door–or rather, one entered the room, greeted one curtly and escorted one to the train station, and from there, as the guard said, ‘to the crazy house!’

In order to make this poor guard’s journey pleasant, the delinquent suggested buying some cigarettes. In the story an opportunity to escape through a back door presented itself–while the poor guard stood oblivious at the front door. A sense of compassion for him, however, prevented the escape, and so both traveled, smoking away, to the insane asylum. Here again the curt and angry greeting of the doctor, who, thinking of a Sunday with wife and children, and tying his tie, took a look at the admittance papers and exclaimed: ‘What were you thinking of, to ignore a call to duty–that is refusal to serve!’ ” "

This is apparently a an account in the third person of Felixmueller's own experiences. Commitment to the asylum apparently avoided having to have a formal trial and the public admission that concientious objectors could exist. It was a system adopted by the Soviets in the 1970s

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Mein gott! It looks like ive piqued some interest!

The reason why Im interested in German field punishments (eg.strenger arrest) is that Im looking into alied reports of German brutality towards Australian prisoners of war. Australians were known for their lax attitude to discipline, and It came to me that 'brutality' simply could have been the diffrence of discipline expectations in the two armies. Other allies prisoners alleged brutal treatment too, and in this sense, Australians were not the only ones to report their harsh treatment. But im interested to see whether German field punishments for things such as drunkeness on duty, or insubordination can be seen in prisoner grievences. But as you say Bob, a swift kick in the teeth might have presided before any formal punishment took place.

Thank you all for your contributions. Paul has turned up a readily available gem, so I'll have a look and let you all know how I go.

Cheers,

Aaro.

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