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The first piece - base piece - in the Artillery collection

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IrishGunner

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I guess I better publish a new entry since my fellow bloggers are getting ahead I'm being left in the dust. ;)

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Some of you know - and others may have guessed - from my username of Irishgunner - that I am in fact a gunner. I'm coming to the end of a 30 year career as a Field Artilleryman in the US Army and that has started to color my collecting interests more and more. When I started collecting militaria, I really had no theme other than WWI. I was drawn to that period simply because I believe - as I am sure do others - that this was the pinnacle of ODM. Medals had to be earned and they carried considerable prestige. I think the appearance of the unofficial veterans medals in the inter-war period foreshadowed a gradual dilution of the meaning of military medals. That's not to say that later medals - even more modern awards - have no meaning. Certainly there is both value and honor to many medals today; especially wound and valor awards. But the Imperial period was the golden age for ODM in many ways. So, this is what has drawn me to primarily focus on ODM of the WWI combatants.

Initially, I was out to collect examples of every WWI-era medal that I could afford. Not without subtle meaning, my time spent on GMIC has gradually edged me towards more of a specialization. Combining my personal career as a gunner with the awards earned by my predecessors in WWI seemed like a natural progression. I will specifically credit Chris Boonzaier with planting these seeds with his Kaiserscross website. I started to think about an area in which to specialize and possibly create my own website, chronicaling the stories of the men who earned these awards. As I started doing research on some of my acquisitions, I realized there isn't really a consolidated source of information related to the German Imperial Artillery. And thus the idea to focus on that area germinated. There are many web and published sources - excellent sources - which I've mentioned in an earlier blog. But my idea was to consolidate some basic - and unique - information for the casual researcher. I decided to base that initial research upon items representing each regiment of the Imperial German Artillery.

And the base piece in this collection was actually acquired in 2006 - long before I decided to concentrate on Imperial German Artillery. A base piece in artillery terminology is the gun that is initially sighted (or laid) and whose fire is adjusted as necessary and then all other guns in the battery base their bearings upon this base piece. And I think my base piece is truly unique and appropriate for this endeavor.

My first acquired - and base - piece is a commemorative medal produced in 1914 for the 50 year anniversary of the Fußartillerie Regiment von Linger Nr. 1 (Ostpreußische). The regiment was organized on 16 June 1864 in Königsberg, East Prussia. It saw service in the Franco-Prussian War 1870/71 and of course, in WWI. Pure coincidence that this piece dates from before the war as far as my collection goes, but I think it's an excellent place to start as Europe edged toward war in that summer of 1914. And an excellent connection to the legacy of the Imperial German Artillery.

It foreshadows the coming storm of war and is a link to the proud lineage of the Prussian Army. I've researched some already of the 1. FuAR in WWI, but that will have to wait until I publish the website.


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