Heinzelmann-Tätigkeit, meaning of the phrase

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Heinzelmann-Tätigkeit, meaning of the phrase

Post by Hoplophile » 12 May 2020 23:54

While reading a popular wartime account of the German attack on the French fortress of Camp des Romains on 25 September 1914, I ran across the phrase "Heinzelmann-Tätigkeit." It appeared in the following sentence, "Die uns zugeteilten 16. Pioniere begannen bereits am Abend ihre Heinzelmann-Tätigkeit, besonders in dem das ganze Fort umgebenden Gewirr von Drahthindernissen." ("In the evening, the pioneers of the 16th [Pionier Battalion], who were parceled out to us, began their 'Heinzelmann activity', especially in the tangle of wire obstacles that surrounded the entire fort.")

When I conducted an internet search on the phrase, every example of the use of the phrase "Heinzelmann-Tätigkeit" that I could find was, marvelous to say, embedded in the sentence quoted above. Thus, while I discovered a great many instances of plagiarism, I was no wiser as to the meaning of the expression.

I am sharing this post in the hope that one (or more) of the participants in this forum can shed some light on this little mystery.

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Re: Heinzelmann-Tätigkeit, meaning of the phrase

Post by Richard Anderson » 13 May 2020 00:56

Heinzelmännchen are the "house gnomes" of Köln who did worked all night so the people of the city could laze away their day. :D
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
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