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Interesting photograph from my collection, dating to circa 1917, of a mixture of Gunners and Drivers attached to a section (Züge) of one of the batteries of the 5. Badisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 76, whose regimental depôt and garrison was at Freiburg im Breisgau, in the Grand Duchy of Baden. Of the ‘Other Ranks’ on the strength of a Field Artillery battery, 45 were Drivers, and 64 were Gunners. This photograph has been taken in front of the Wagenschuppen (wagon shed) at the barracks.

 

Even at this late stage of the war, and in lieu of the field-grey Feldrock or Feldbluse, the ‘Other Ranks’ seen here are wearing the dark-blue Model 1895 Waffenrock. The Field Artillery distinctions worn on this tunic are clearly seen, i.e. black collar and (Swedish) cuffs (both piped scarlet), scarlet piping down the front and on the skirt-slashes of the tunic, and, for F.A.R. Nr. 76, scarlet shoulder straps, with a flaming grenade above the regimental number, both in yellow. The headdress being worn here by those in the Waffenrock is the matching dark-blue Model 1867 Feldmütze für Mannschaften (known by the troops as the Krätzchen) as worn by both Field and Foot Artillery, i.e. black cap-band piped scarlet, plus scarlet piping around the crown. The State Cockade of Baden, worn on the cap-band, was yellow/red/yellow. Most of these men can be identified as being Drivers, as opposed to Gunners, by the wearing of riding boots, mounted troops’ breeches (blue-black, reinforced with black leather strapping on the inner leg), and by the use of the Other Ranks’ Model 1895 open-buckle waistbelt, worn by cavalry and other mounted troops. The Gunners, sitting on the floor, wear scarlet piped blue-black trousers, with marching boots.

 

Both the N.C.O.s, wearing field-grey, show interesting uniform details. The senior N.C.O. on the left is an Etatsmäßiger Wachtmeister (Battery Sergeant-Major), and seems to wear a light field-grey version of the Model 1916 cotton Feldrock, originally manufactured in khaki for use in Palestine, the Balkans, and in the Ukraine. In the west, these summer tunics (devoid of any piping) were most often seen worn by Officers and senior N.C.O.s, whose Officers’ pattern versions are immediately identifiable by the external pockets on the breast and skirts; this N.C.O. wears the second variation of the Officers’ pattern, with six exposed buttons, replacing the previous fly front. His rank lace on the collar is in the dull, silver-grey, artificial silk braid (Borte) introduced in 1915 to replace metallic Treße (lace), and is in the abbreviated form which became common during the war, but only officially sanctioned in 1917. The three-bar Unteroffizierswinkel (N.C.O. chevron) on his upper left sleeve, again made from Borte in place of Treße, was the unmistakable mark of the Feldwebel/Wachtmeister; a scheme of chevrons had been introduced for N.C.O.s in the 1890s to indicate their rank on the Litewka (‘Undress’ jacket), but in 1894 these were abolished for all except the Feldwebel/Wachtmeister. With the introduction of the Vereinfachte Feldrock (simplified field-tunic), and then the Feldbluse, in 1915, both of which dispensed with the ornamental cuffs upon which N.C.O. Treße had been worn, the immediate need was there to distinguish the Feldwebel/Wachtmeister, whose exact rank had hitherto been indicated by a double row of Treße; as a stopgap measure, the three-bar chevron was permitted to be worn on the left arm, and although cuff lace was reintroduced for the Feldbluse, this chevron was still often seen. The use here of the chevron on the summer tunic is indicative also of its tropical heritage, as in khaki the three-bar chevron was regulation for this rank.

 

The junior N.C.O. on the right is an Unteroffizier (Corporal), and wears the standard Other Ranks’ Model 1907 or 1913 field-grey Feldrock, with Field Artillery distinctions, i.e. collar and (Swedish) cuffs piped black, scarlet piping down the front and on the skirt-slashes of the tunic; the shoulder straps are piped scarlet (as worn by all four Field Artillery regiments of XIV. Armee-Korps) and display a flaming grenade above the regimental number, both also in scarlet. Although his tunic and shoulder straps are fully piped, he could still, nonetheless, be wearing a version of the Vereinfachte Feldrock, introduced early in 1915 for reasons of economy. These simplified Model 1907 or 1913 tunics (found with, or without, any combination of coloured piping around the collar, shoulder straps, down the front of the tunic, and on the skirt-slashes) all had one distinguishing feature i.e. the replacement of the ornamental cuffs with deep, plain, turn-backs. However, since the cuffs of this Unteroffizier are hidden, we will never know. Like the Wachtmeister, this N.C.O. wears abbreviated collar Borte. Of especial interest on this man’s uniform is the Schützenabzeichen der 1. Klasse (Marksmanship Badge, 1st Class), which was the lowest of ten grades of award for good marksmanship. The ‘badge’ was in the form of a Schützenschnur (Marksmanship Lanyard), introduced in 1894, the first three classes of which consisted of braided woollen cord in the black/white/red Imperial colours (except Bavaria), with a braided rosette nearest the shoulder. Small cord acorns were added to the lanyard to denote specific grade, although for Artillery units these were replaced by silver artillery shells: thus this Unteroffizer wears the single shell denoting 1st Class status. Like the ‘Other Ranks’, he wears the mounted troops’ waistbelt, as well as the blue-black mounted troops’ breeches.

 

Both Wachtmeister and Unteroffizier wear the peaked, field-grey, Model 1910 Feldmütze für Offiziere, which was regulation ‘Undress’ wear for Officers and Unteroffiziere mit Portepee (senior N.C.O.s) when in the field-grey uniform. Although junior N.C.O.s were issued peaked field-caps for wear in the field, and ‘Other Ranks’ could privately purchase similar peaked caps for wear behind the front-line, what identified Officer’s caps were the distinctive, smaller, Officers’ pattern of cockade, and thus we can identify the field-cap worn by the Unteroffizier as a privately purchased, Officers’ quality item; this was against regulation, but very common. He has also removed the stiffening in the crown to achieve a ‘crusher’ look, and dispensed with the chin-strap. Both caps seen here bear the Field Artillery distinctions of a black cap-band piped scarlet, and scarlet piping around the crown.

post-555-0-70554000-1442961474_thumb.jpg

Edited by cmf
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Hi, Andreas! Thanks for your opinion!

 

1. If we assume that here we have personnel from the 7/58.Mörser-Batterie, then it was one of hundreds of selbstständig Fußartillerie-Batterien raised since the beginning of the Great War. Was it part of any Fußartillerie-Bataillon or remained a separate unit?

2. How many companies that battery comprised of?

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Hi Andrew!

I must say, my answer was stupid... A battery was like a company.

A battery didn´t have any companies...

There was a Landwehr-Fußart.Btl.58 and a Fußart.Btl.58 from Saxony.

But a bataillon didn´t have seven companies...

 

Could it be an A.B. for Armierungs-Bataillon?

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That men look like Landwehr/Landsturm personnel, please also note diversity in their outerwear...

Armierungs-Bataillon Nr.58 was raised in Baden, am I right?

Do you have order of battle of Grodno? Maybe that list could give us a hint?

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Hello Andrew!

Unfortunately I don´t have any infos about Armierungs-Bataillone.

I have the order of battle of Grodno from 27.8.-2.9.1915, but I couldn´t find a "58".

What about the text of the card? Is the sender´s name readable? Could you show that side of the card, please?

One of the men has brandenburg cuffs. So it will be infantry, foot-artillery or Armierung

post-5-0-96466000-1495158834_thumb.jpg

Edited by FAR43
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Групповой снимок . Гродно. Сама почтовая карточка отправлена 12.12.15.

 

Игорь, выложите, пожалуйста, скан оборота фотографии в хорошем качестве. Пытаемся "опознать" запечатленное подразделение.

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Игорь, выложите, пожалуйста, скан оборота фотографии в хорошем качестве. Пытаемся "опознать" запечатленное подразделение.

Выкладываю. Состояние адресной стороны удручающие......

post-1296-0-28373200-1495180430_thumb.jpg

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What about the text of the card? Is the sender´s name readable? Could you show that side of the card, please?

 

You were absolutely right assuming the man served with the Armierungsbataillon, Andreas!

Here's an extract with the sender's particulars:

 

Abs[ender]: L…(?) Engels, Armierung Batl.58, 2.Comp[agnie], 2.Korp[oralschaft].

3.Inf[anterie] Division, Osten

 

Unfortunately I can't read his name...

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Andreas, :Laie_99: :LaieA_050: :flag_ge:

As for the name, you won't believe me but I thought about "Landsturmmann" and I even went further: Landsturmmann S.Engels. BUT: if you look at the bottom of the text (not at the section where he wrote his address) you could see the final words of the letter: "...auf Wiederseh'n Ihr L..."!

That's why I don't think L stands for Landsturmmann, but for the certain male name. Am I right?

post-1-0-61155900-1495217280_thumb.jpg

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Почтовая фото карточка изд. A.Parant, Atelier Herz. Berlin, Frankfurter Allee 45.

 

Думаю, фото с восточного фронта. Если судить по хате. Адресная сторона не подписана.

post-1296-0-89018900-1495226241_thumb.jpg

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Hello Andrew!

#47: You are right! Not Landsturmmann. Unfortunateley I can´t recognoize anything. It could be an L or a B... no ides...

 

Hello Igor!

Yes, it´s eastern fornt. The house is typically for that.

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I found out some more!

The 3rd Inf.Div., since may 1915 was reduced to the 6th brigade and stayed at Vidzy district:

https://ru.wikipedia...%B4%D0%B7%D1%8B

The sender writes: Widzy (the german kind of Vidzy).

So we are about 300km northeast of Grodno!!!!

That fits to the battles of that division in december 1915 (it belonged to Armee-Abteilung Scholtz):

20.10.15-14.11.17: Narotsch Lake and Dryswjaty Lake

12.12.15 (the date the card was written!!!): Attack on Woinjuny

20.12.15: Battle of Detschne

31.12.15-1.1.16: Battle of Vidzy

 

Note: We have an Armierungs-Bataillon! Surely it was not engaged in the battles. Armierungs-Troups built trenches for the fighting-units, cleaned the battle-zones and collected weapons and equipment of the battle-field.

I can´t read the entire text, but he mentioned the "front south of Dünaburg" . That fits too. 80km from Dünaburg (Daugavpils) to Vidzy

Edited by FAR43
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