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Further to my last posting, his biography:


Geheimer Kriegsrat Reinhold Belser: born 22 January 1849 in Leonberg, died 10 May 1935


03.08.70: One Year Volunteer

1873-1879: in financial service

19.05.79: Intendantur-Assessor

19.08.85: Chief of Intendance of 27. Division

24.03.88: Intendanturrat

01.11.91: Transferred to Intendance Department of XIII. Armee-Korps

27.06.01: Oberkriegsrat

28.09.01: Vortragender Rat in War Ministry

11.03.06: Geheimer Kriegsrat

27.09.09: Retired



Württemberg Crown Order Ehrenkreuz (on retirement)

Württemberg Friedrich Order Knight’s Cross 1st Class

Prussian Red Eagle Order 4th Class


I can find nothing to suggest that he was recalled for service in WW1.




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Гвардеец по имени Рудольф из 10-й роты 3-го батальона 5-го полка пешей гвардии из состава Гвардейского корпуса. Полк квартировался в Шпандау, где и был сделан этот визит-портрет.


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солдаты вроде как 228 полка . но у унтера 359 , а у первого в третьем ряду просматривается цифра 77 ганноверский полк (Ватерлоо ) .


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Кавалер Рыцарского креста австрийского Ордена Франца Иосифа по имени Альфред. От остальных орденов Двуединой монархии этот отличался не только всесословностью, но и тем, что не давал своим кавалерам никаких привилегий и, в первую очередь, личного или потомственного дворянства.

Надпись на обороте фотографии гласит: "Моей веселой очаровательной мышке от влюбленного и преданного Вам Альфреда. Сентябрь-октябрь 1894 года".


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Мушкетир из 9-й роты 3-го батальона резервного пехотного полка № 238 52-й резервной дивизии. Портрет датирован 19 мая 1916 года. В эти дни дивизия сражалась под Ипром.



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I can´t say for sure what the stripe at the shoulder strap stays for. There are different meanings.

He could be commanded to a shooting-school or to the Lehr-Infanterie-Regiment. It also could be a coloured strap that indicates the different bataillons or companies

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Four infantrymen from Infanterie-Regiment von Manstein (1. Schleswigsches) Nr. 84, photographed prior to 17th February 1915 (the date of the message on the reverse). By reason of the postmark, the apparent age of the men, and their uniform, insignia, arms and equipment, it is likely that these troops are Ersatzreservisten (supplementary reservists) undertaking training with the regiment’s Ersatzbataillon (depôt & training battalion), prior to being posted as replacements to the active battalions in the field.


The three active battalions of I.R. Nr. 84, together with those of Füsilier-Regiment Königin (Schleswig-Holsteinsches) Nr. 86, drew recruits from the 35th Brigade District, an area which covered the former Duchy of Schleswig, Danish before 1866, and thereafter part of the Kingdom of Prussia’s new Province of Schleswig-Holstein. As a result, these regiments would always contain a high proportion of Danish speakers, and during the Great War the majority of ethnic Danes of military age would serve within their ranks.


In August 1914, the 35th Infantry Brigade took to the field as part of the 18th Division, IX Army Corps, and thus the battalions of I.R. Nr. 84 left their peacetime stations (H.Q., I & III at Schleswig, II at Hadersleben): in their place an Ersatzbataillon was established at Schleswig, to function as a depôt and training unit. This battalion comprised a recruit depôt, four ersatz companies to which newly trained men were assigned until posted directly to the regiment’s active battalions at the front (although from February, 1915, troops posted to active units in the field were first sent to divisional Feldrekrutendepots, i.e. Field Recruit Depôts, behind the front-line, to receive final training). In addition, the Ersatzbataillon was tasked with administering the regiment’s wounded, forming convalescent and garrison-duty companies from these men: here they would undertake light duties until fit enough to join the ersatz companies, from which they would return to front-line duty.


The postcard’s date and Schleswig postmark is therefore the first indicator that these men are serving with the Ersatzbataillon (I/84 and III/84 being on the Aisne at the time!). Moreover, given the age of the men in the photograph (young, but not so youthful as to be 20-year old conscripts, or even younger Kriegsfreiwillige), it is very likely that these troops are Ersatzreservisten. These supplementary reservists comprised those men who, during peacetime, had been found fit for duty, but nevertheless excused active military service. This might occur due to a recruit’s pressing family or financial obligations, or because of minor physical defects, or simply because his unit had exceeded its peacetime strength. These men undertook basic training, but were then placed in the Ersatzreserve for 12 years, which would provide manpower for the active and reserve units in time of war: at mobilisation, Ersatzreservisten aged 20-22 would be transferred to the active army.


If we had only the photograph to consider, and not the message on the reverse, then it might also be argued that, from their age, these men could possibly be Restanten, i.e. those who, in peacetime, had been examined at call-up and found temporarily unfit for service, and thus excused active military service, albeit with a re-examination every year until they reached the age of 22 (at which point the obligation for active service ceased). At mobilisation in 1914, those on the Restanten-Liste found fit were transferred to the active army. However, and luckily, although the message on the reverse of this postcard is written in old German script, we can clearly see a reference to the ‘Ers. Res.’, indicating these men are almost certainly Ersatzreservisten. This also removes the potential of them being wounded troops, from the regiment’s active battalions, posted to the Ersatzbataillon.


Reinforcing the clues, already discussed, which indicate that these men are Ersatzreservisten serving with the Ersatzbataillon of I.R. Nr. 84, is the combination of uniform, insignia, arms and equipment worn and carried here: these items are those typical for troops of an Ersatzbataillon of an infantry regiment of the active army, circa 1914-15. They wear the standard Other Ranks’ Model 1907 or 1913 field-grey Feldrock, piped red, with the Brandenburg cuffs worn by Prussian line infantry, and detachable, pointed, field-grey shoulder straps, with piping indicating Army Corps (white for IX Army Corps), and the regimental number in Arabic numerals, stitched in red (note the method of fastening the shoulder straps that three of the men in this photo have adopted, to keep the Tornister support straps firmly on the shoulders). However, instead of regulation Model 1907 field-grey trousers, these troops have been issued grey or brown corduroy trousers. This was an emergency measure which, given the pressing need to clothe men flocking to the Colours, became a feature of the uniform of new recruits and reservists of all types, whether Active Army, Reserve, Landwehr or Landsturm.


Similarly, obsolete items of uniform and equipment were issued to cope with the influx of men: three of the men in this photograph have the obsolete grey-black Model 1867 greatcoat strapped around their Tornister (field packs), instead of the stone-grey Model 1894 or Model 1908. In addition, three of the soldiers here have been equipped with the old, black leather, Model 1889 ammunition pouches for Other Ranks, in lieu of regulation, natural leather, Model 1909 pouches. Moreover, although the two men on the right are armed with the standard infantry service rifle, the Infanteriegewehr Modell 1898, the two on the left carry the older (albeit modernised) Infanteriegewehr Modell 1888/05: this latter rifle, only recently retired from front-line service, was issued in vast numbers to make up for shortages of the Gewehr 98, especially in training and reserve units (note also the substitute rifle sling in canvas webbing in the photo, at far left).


Given the emergency and obsolete items these troops are wearing and carrying, which as we have seen were indicative of new recruits in training, and reservists in general, we can identify these men as specifically belonging to an Ersatzbataillon of the Active Army by the insignia worn by three of these soldiers on their Uberzüge (helmet covers). Whereas depôt and training units of Active Army infantry regiments wore exactly the same insignia on helmet covers as the regiment’s active battalions, i.e. the regimental number in Arabic numerals, units of Reserve or Landwehr infantry wore an additional ‘R’ or ‘L’, respectively, above their regimental number. If going purely by uniform or insignia alone to identify these men, this distinction is key, because not only did Ersatzbataillone of the Active Army share the wearing of emergency or obsolete items with the Reserve and Landwehr, but the Feldrock and its insignia was the same for all infantry regiments which shared a regimental number, whether Active Army, Reserve, or Landwehr. The helmet covers bearing numbers, as worn by three of the men in the photo are of the standard pre-war type, reed-green in colour which quickly washed out to a bleached tan: as we see from the photo, numerals were not exactly uniform in appearance, a result of them being cut from thin wool or felt, or even stencilled or hand painted. Given the date of this photo, the numerals being worn are presumably green in colour, although they might possibly still be in red as worn before August 1914. The man on the far left wears the stone-grey cover introduced in 1914.


Shortages of stocks of the standard leather spiked helmet or Pickelhaube in the rush to the Colours in 1914 led to a variety of Ersatz-Helme (substitute helmets) soon being manufactured to cope with demand, made from felt, tin, steel, fibre, cork, etc. The Filzhelm (felt helmet) was especially prevalent, made from pressed or blocked field-grey felt manufactured from rabbit fur or shredded wool. The soldier second from left in the photo appears to be wearing a later production Filzhelm, or possibly a Stahlblech (steel) version, both of which lacked the brass edging on the front peak. The man second from the right could be wearing either a standard Model 1895 Other Ranks Pickelhaube, or an Ersatz-Helm, many of which did retain the brass edging on the front peak.




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