Kokampf - Freikorps armoured forces

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Kokampf
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Kokampf - Freikorps armoured forces

Post by Kokampf » 31 Jan 2003 15:55

It's been a while since I read Hundleby and Strasheim's book on WW1 German tanks in the Bodleian in Oxford. As Oxford alumni on here will know, books cannot be borrowed and photocopies have to be done by library staff, at ruinous expense.

Does anyone on here have access to a copy of this excellent volume? My memory is fading with regard to the history and organisation of the Kokampf / Kampfwagen Abteilung Körting, the Freikorps tank unit formed in Berlin by the former 2ic of Imperial German tank forces, and equipped with five 'borrowed' tanks acquired locally (3 captured British MkIV, 1 captured British Whippet (which had been undergoing testing in Berlin during the war) and Hedi, a home-made machine with an armoured body built on an old A7v tractor chassis and armed with four MG08/15).

I remember that the unit included many former Imperial tank crews (but not Bavarian tank sergeant 'Sepp' Dietrich IIRC) and served in the fighting in Berlin, where they were headquartered, with maybe three of their vehicles (these were very unreliable machines, with limited spares), and later travelled by rail to a few other trouble spots, specifically Leipzig.

I think the designation Kokampf (KOmmando der KAMPFwagen) is a Provisional Reichswehr one, leading to the tanks eventually being scrapped due to allied demands (Germany was not allowed to possess tanks under the Versailles terms).

Pictures of Hedi from January 1919 in Berlin, from Schneider and Strasheim's Schiffer book on WW1 German tanks (of which I do possess my own copy) show it crudely marked with a totenkopf (symbol of panzer troops from WW1 onwards!), the words 'Panzer-Kraftwagen-Abteilung / Regierungs-treue-Truppen' and the number '54'.

Can anyone contribute anything further?

Incidentally, there was a K-Wagen super-heavy tank virtually complete at the Riebe Ball Bearing Works in Berlin-Weisensee when the war ended, according to the Schiffer volume. Sadly Körting never tried to steal it! :wink: I imagine, though, that a 120 ton tank 127 metres long would be little use in street fighting, despite its six or seven MGs and four 77mm guns... :D

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Post by Durand » 31 Jan 2003 20:39

Hallo Kokampf,

Your post is interesting. I was not aware of this unit and now I am curious. You might find the following website to be of interest (particularly the heading AV-7 Clone):

http://www.panzernet.com/articulos/wwone/wwone.html

It does not offer any additional information regarding the unit, but there is some technical information about the machine which you may not have known. Hope it helps.

BTW, Dietrich was a Freikorpskämper, but he served with FK Oberland.

Regards,

Durand

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Kokampf
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Post by Kokampf » 01 Feb 2003 05:06

Durand wrote:Your post is interesting. I was not aware of this unit and now I am curious.


My source is almost entirely my memory of Hundleby and Strasheim's A7v book, which is pretty hard to come by. I'm surprised the Kokampf is so obscure now even to writers on the Civil War, as its tanks appear in several very well known Freikorps photos. Do you have any info on Freikorps armour deployments in general, or on any possibly relevant personalities?

You might find the following website to be of interest (particularly the heading AV-7 Clone):

http://www.panzernet.com/articulos/wwone/wwone.html

It does not offer any additional information regarding the unit, but there is some technical information about the machine which you may not have known. Hope it helps.


Very nice article and camo scheme pics! :D

I've built a model K-Wagen from scratch for my 20mm WW1 Germans, which I may see about putting a pic of up on the 'Models' section of the forum. :)

BTW, Dietrich was a Freikorpskämper, but he served with FK Oberland.


I know, I have Messenger's biography. :) A pity he didn't join Kokampf - we might know more about the unit now!
Last edited by Kokampf on 07 Feb 2003 21:46, edited 1 time in total.

Durand
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Post by Durand » 02 Feb 2003 02:46

Hallo Kokampf,

Unfortunately, I do not have much to offer. I have not seen many references to specific FK armour units. The ones of which I am aware are Panzerwagen-Abteilung der Gouvernor Libau which was a part of the Iron Division during the Baltic Campaign in 1919 and Panzer Abteilung 10 which took part in the fighting in the Ruhr during the spring of 1920. I also have read that there was a Panzerwagen Abteilung attached to FK von Epp in Bavaria when the Munich Soviet was crushed. Until your first post on this subject, I had thought that the armour was limited to armoured cars and make-shift armoured cars. What I have seen mostly are simply references or pictures indicating that armoured cars were used during a particular crisis, e.g. the Spartacist Uprising in Berlin or fighting in Leipzig.

I do not know of any specific personalities, numbers of vehicles, or engagements. I am certain that there must be information out there and I am hoping that somebody on the forum can offer much greater detail.

Please, let me know when you post that picture.

Regards,

Durand

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Robert Hurst
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Post by Robert Hurst » 07 Feb 2003 12:16

Hi Kokampf

The only contribution that I can make to this post is the attached photo that I have come across which shows a captured British Mk IV tank in action with the FK in Berlin against the Spartacists.

The photo was taken from 'A photo History of Tanks in Two World Wars', by George Forty.

Could you let me know what the title of book by Hundleby and Strasheim is please.

Regards

Bob
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Durand
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Post by Durand » 07 Feb 2003 18:19

Hallo Bob,

That is a great picture. Thank you for sharing it.

Regards,

Durand

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Kokampf
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Post by Kokampf » 07 Feb 2003 21:41

Durand wrote:Unfortunately, I do not have much to offer. I have not seen many references to specific FK armour units. The ones of which I am aware are Panzerwagen-Abteilung der Gouvernor Libau which was a part of the Iron Division during the Baltic Campaign in 1919 and Panzer Abteilung 10 which took part in the fighting in the Ruhr during the spring of 1920. I also have read that there was a Panzerwagen Abteilung attached to FK von Epp in Bavaria when the Munich Soviet was crushed. Until your first post on this subject, I had thought that the armour was limited to armoured cars and make-shift armoured cars. What I have seen mostly are simply references or pictures indicating that armoured cars were used during a particular crisis, e.g. the Spartacist Uprising in Berlin or fighting in Leipzig.


It was my understanding that armoured cars were relatively common, but only Kokampf had tanks. This is because it was formed from ex-Imperial tank crews who were the only ones with the expertise to maintain and effectively operate them. Tanks were also in very short supply - the five they had were the only tanks to be found, for one reason or another, in Germany at the time of the Armistice - the rest (those used by the Imperial tank men during the war) presumably stayed at the Western Front in Entente custody.

I do not know of any specific personalities, numbers of vehicles, or engagements. I am certain that there must be information out there and I am hoping that somebody on the forum can offer much greater detail.


A fellow forum visitor has very kindly e-mailed me some relevant scans from Hundleby and Strasheim. I'll see if I can get them down to a size where they can be posted on here. I'll happily e-mail them to you if you like.

Please, let me know when you post that picture.


My K-Wagen needs a little maintenance for lost MGs during one of my house moves. When it's restored to its former glory I'll get a few digicam shots of it with my LKII and put them up on here. :)

I've also wondered about building an Oberschlesien assault tank now I've got a couple of reasonable pictures of the thing...
Last edited by Kokampf on 07 Feb 2003 21:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Kokampf
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Post by Kokampf » 07 Feb 2003 21:45

Robert Hurst wrote:The only contribution that I can make to this post is the attached photo that I have come across which shows a captured British Mk IV tank in action with the FK in Berlin against the Spartacists.


That would be one of Kokampf's three Mk IVs. :D

Could you let me know what the title of book by Hundleby and Strasheim is please.


I couldn't remember off hand, but thanks to Google I now know.

The German A7V Tank and the Captured British Mk IV Tanks of
WW1; Max Hundleby and Rainer Strasheim; Haynes Publ. Calif.
USA; 1990. ISBN 0-85429-788-X

Durand
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Post by Durand » 10 Feb 2003 18:28

Hallo Kokampf,

Thanks for the offer to e-mail the scans, but I think a lot of other people would also like to see them posted.

Regards,

Durand

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