1. Garde-Reserve-Division

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trickcyclist
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1. Garde-Reserve-Division

Postby trickcyclist » 18 Oct 2005 02:04

Can anybody tell me the Pionier formations that were part of the Freikorps unit 1. Garde-Reserve-Division?

I'm trying to find out if former members of the Garde-Reserve-Pionier-Regiment served with this Freikorps.

Thanks.
TC

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Peter H
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Postby Peter H » 19 Oct 2005 08:03

A breakdown of the division can be found here:

http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=5779

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Postby trickcyclist » 20 Oct 2005 23:44

Thanks, Peter. I should have looked around the site before I posted.

TC

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Flamm=Pioniere in Freikorps units

Postby bob lembke » 21 Oct 2005 10:06

TC;

I think that the only way you could tell if G=R=P=R men served in a Freikorps unit would be if that unit had a effective flame thrower detachment. During 1915 all flame warfare activity was centered in the predecessor of that unit and all FW were taken from other pioneer units that had them. It was intended to distribute FW to other units at the end of the war but I have not seen conclusive evidence that that was done, except for a number of reports that I have seen of the inept use of FW by German formations in the closing months of the war. The devices were fairly simple mechanically, but the continued use and maintenence of these devices would be beyond anyone who had not trained and served in G=R=P=R, or in the few small FW detachments that a few storm battalions may have had. (Most FW used by the storm battalions were FW platoons lent to the storm battalions by G=R=P=R; each of whose companies had a special platoon structured for that service.). (For example, on the difficulty of keeping FW operating, there were at least five different mixes of flame oil used in the same devices. Depending on the mix of oil used, the fittings and couplings of the FW should have been tightened to a different degree. Different oils also required different FW cleaning routines.) To me, it is not reasonable to expect non-G=R=P=R men to use, maintain, and refill these devices successfully, aside from a one-time "use and toss".

If G=R=P=R men joined a Freikorps unit and served as a rifleman, for example, there would be no way of knowing this, unless a participant mentioned it in a memoir, for example.

My father joined the Freikorps Potsdam in January 1919 and a few days later successfully used the weapon in the attack on the Vörwarts building. Although I have heard of other Freikorps units having FW, I have not seen anything concrete in this area. (If anyone has solid information on the use of FW by other Freikorps units, please mention this.) I think that such information would be the only way to know that G=R=P=R men served in that Freikorps unit. I have a cryptic mention by a G=R=P=R officer that suggests that G=R=P=R veterans were guided to the Freikorps Potsdam. As the 1. Garde=Reserve=Division was formed at the same area and time as the Freikorps Potsdam (I think), I think that G=R=P=R men would have gravitated to the Freikorps Potsdam, at least if they wanted to "work" with the FW.

Bob Lembke

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Postby RCW Mark » 21 Oct 2005 13:08

If anyone has solid information on the use of FW by other Freikorps units, please mention this.

The 45th Reserve Division had a troop, according to the orbats of Darstellungen aus den Nachkriegskämpfen deutscher Truppen und Freikorps.

Mark
Last edited by RCW Mark on 21 Oct 2005 16:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Peter H
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Postby Peter H » 21 Oct 2005 14:51

This photo is from Woolley's book on the Freikorps...said to be Munich 1919.

Image

The formation is not mentioned but likely candidates could be the Garde-Kavallerie-Schützen-Division which had Pionier Bataillon 412 attached,or the 2. Garde-Infanterie-Division.The 2. Marine-Brigade Ehrhardt also deployed to Munich.

Generalkommando des Garde-Korps (Berlin) in 1919 controlled the following formations:

Garde-Schützen-Division
2. Garde-Infanterie-Division
1. Garde-Reserve-Division
Freikorps Potsdam
1. Marine-Brigade
2. Marine-Brigade Ehrhardt
3. Marine-Brigade
Division von Lettow des Garde-Kavallerie-Schützen-Korps

It makes sense that an important urban fighting tool like the FW would be transferable between the assets of the Garde-Korps as required but I'm only guessing.Munich,May 1919,is a case in point--why hold FW assets in Berlin at the same time they could be fully utilised elsewhere?

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Freikorps Flammenwerfer

Postby bob lembke » 21 Oct 2005 17:24

Peter;

I was looking at this photo a year or so ago, and have seen it several times; I believe that it is a commercially-produced PC. If memory serves, I had thought that it was taken in Berlin, but I might be wrong. Note that the fellow holding the Brandrohr ("fire tube"). Note the Litzen on the collar and the black Pionier shoulder strap. A pity that one cannot see the left sleeves of the men. But it is fairly certain that they must be Guarde=Reserve=Pionier=Regiment men.

I have always been interested in the photo as the guy with the Brandrohr, although his face is not recognizable, has the height (a full six foot, quite tall for the period), the slenderness, slender legs, and the whole "body English", of my father. As there may have only been 50 or possibly 100 Freikorps flame thrower men, if taken in Berlin there is a fair chance that it is him. (I think that there might only have been two FW teams at the Vörwarts building; I might be wrong.) Also, with his damaged upper left arm from his worst wound (Dead Man's Hill, Verdun; 28. 12. 16.) he would not have chosen to carry the Wex tank. The wound spit bone fragments for at least 10 years.

I saw the PC for sale in Germany for $26, and let my writing partner, who was handling the photos, buy it. Anyone have something concrete on the photo? If one has the actual PC it is probably marked, and a real veteran.

Bob Lembke

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Peter H
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Postby Peter H » 21 Oct 2005 19:14

Bob,

With apologies to Mr Woolley--another view of the men.

Regards,
Peter
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Postby RCW Mark » 21 Oct 2005 20:23

Just a thought about dates -- if it is May, then it very nippy, because the guy in the back is wearing a buttoned-up greatcoat.

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Berlin flame thrower photo

Postby trickcyclist » 21 Oct 2005 22:53

Here's a scan of a postcard version of the image. The caption says that it was taken in Berlin in March of 1919, which would explain the greatcoat.

Woolley's Freikorps book also refers to the flamethrower as the "Wix," which is what the French called it. The actual name is Wex or Weschelapparat M.1917.

TC
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Postby RCW Mark » 21 Oct 2005 23:21

Is that a bank title in the background on the top of the building? I can't quite make it out off the scan.

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Sign on building

Postby trickcyclist » 22 Oct 2005 03:48

RCW Mark:

I can't read the sign. It looks like it says "Bank," but it also has "& Co." at the end.

"Central _________ Bechtel(?) Bank Stanholz(?) Ebestadt(?) & Co."

TC
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Postby Peter H » 22 Oct 2005 05:16

Not wishing to nitpick Woolley's book but he gives the supposed Munich photo as being March 1919.I have found one or more other errors in it.

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FW pics

Postby bob lembke » 22 Oct 2005 06:04

Peter;

Thanks for the additional posts. It is Berlin,as I thought. But the new view of the guy with the Brandrohr showing more of his face makes it fairly clear that it wasn't my Dad. He did fight at the Vörwarts building in January 1919, burning their way in the back door (he indicated that the FW were a major factor in getting the Red occupiers to surrender once they had gotten in the building) and also took part in the March 1919 fun (he described activities to me, blockading Berlin areas where the Reds were strong, searching children wearing suspiciously bulky overcoats to find that their parents had wrapped MG belts of ammo about them under their coats, trying to get ammo into the Reds in the surrounded districts, etc.) But he didn't describe any March 1919 fighting. He thorougly enjoyed the war itself (one of that crazy 2%), but found the civil war a lot less fun.

The guys in the photos are wearing rather complete G=R=P=R gear and insignia; a pity no left sleeves are visible to show their Totenköpfe. However, the Kaiser's edict of 1916 said that they could wear the patch for the duration of the war; possibly they took them off. Note the helmets; I think that they are a special model, although I don't know a lot about such matters. Any helmet nuts out there?

Bob Lembke

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Flame thrower sleeve badge

Postby trickcyclist » 22 Oct 2005 08:44

As Bob Lembke points out, German flame thrower operators were only allowed to wear the Totenkopf sleeve badge for the duration of the war. When they joined the Reichswehr or Freikorps, most former Flammenwerfer-Pioniere took the badges off, although some substituted generic "Prussian"-style death's heads.

This is a blow-up of a postcard that shows a former Totenkopf-Pionier NCO as a member of a Freikorps unit. Note the white Totenkopf badge on his lower left sleeve, a replacement for the regulation gray death's head of the flame thrower regiment. This guy is also in the famous photo of the flame thrower team and the Erhardt armored car. If you can find an uncropped version of that image, you'll see a second flame thrower team behind the armored car.

TC
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