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Ever since 1977, my Main Collecting Obssession (subject of my undergraduate Honors Thesis) has been the Democratic Republic of Georgia's Order of Saint/Queen Tamara, created 13 December 1918 and bestowed (on paper only) on all German troops in that Caucasian nation on 4 November 1918, as well as those wounded in the Republic's defense and repatriated earlier.

Initially the wildly inappropriate unit badge of the so-called "Georgian Legion," composed almost entirely of Muslim Azerbaijani deserters from the Tsar's army, the atheist Menshevik government of the ephemeral (1918-1921) Democratic Republic of Georgia chose to revive that badge, named for a royal Orthodox Christian political "saint" best known as a legendary serial murdering nymphomaniac. :speechless1: Bestowed on German troops for fighting their allies the Turks, on behalf of the Menshevik regime in Tiflis AND their common enemy, the Bolshevik regime in Moscow. :o

But this chapter is less about that award, which I have covered elsewhere and no doubt (no doubt at all :cheeky: ) will cover again here, and is instead the saga of one of its recipients--

Just in TODAY, obtained for me by my Evil Twin and picked up by me this morning at Schloss Stogieman...

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Joseph (Josef) Schrall was born 9 November 1893 in Dachau, son of Johann Schrall. In 1910 young Sepp began his trade as a cabinetmaker (Schreiner) in G?nding.

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From other items now removed from this group, he had apparently enlisted as a War Volunteer in 1914, for by 1 October 1914 he was a recruit, and on 13 November 1914 was assigned to the 1st Replacements Company of Bavarian 1st Reserve Jäger Battalion. On 27 January 1915 he joined the 4th Company of k.b. Res. Jäger Baon. in the field, and would remain with this company until his routine home from legendary Colchis of the Golden Fleece in July 1919.

Promoted Gefreiter 10 September 1915 and Oberjäger (= Unteroffizier in Jäger units) 20 September 1916. Schrall had earned the Bavarian Military Merit Cross 3X on 12 January 1916 and the Prussian Iron Cross 2nd Class on 20 December 1916. On 10 April 1918 he received the Bulgarian Soldiers' Cross for Bravery 4th Class, while garrisoning the rebellious Russian city of Nikolaev--of which more later in this story.

His Black Wound Badge was processed in the Crimea on 1 June 1918 for being wounded on 14 August 1917. On that date, after a lucky Kerensky regime Russian artillery hit on a group of the battalion's officers assembling at Crucea de Sus to assault the Rumanian town of Panciu, a second shot fell directly on the 3rd platoon (Stosstrupp) of 4th Company BRJB1, killing and wounding 36 men--including Schrall. By the evening of that literally hot fight, 4th Company was under the "command" of the senior uninjured NCO, an Oberjäger named Abt.

Bavarian 1st Reserve Jäger Battalion was possibly one of the oddest units of WW1. On 17 August 1916 it was used as the cadre to raise Bavarian 29th Jäger Regiment, although only one third of the "Bavarian" unit's personnel were actually subjects of the Wittelsbach king. The remaining two thirds of this regiment were the 7th Reserve Jäger Battalion from Westphalia (Schaumburg-Lippe, actually) and the 9th Reserve Jäger Battalion from Lauenburg near Hamburg. On 18 August 1918 the 7 RJB and 9 RJB were detached, and 1BRJB, with local reinforcements, was AGAIN renamed, this time as Bavarian 15th Jäger Regiment--three designations for the same battalion!

The Bavarian battalion of the composite Regiment and Sturm Bataillon 10 were shipped out of Sevastapol in the Crimea on 6 June 1918 for the goal of Jason's Argonauts of Greek myth, Georgia in the Caucasus. Germany's fickle and delusional ally Turkey had embarked on a quixotic attempt to grab Azerbaijan's Baku oil fields, British troops (the "Dunsterforce") were making tracks for the Caspian from the southwest, and Lenin in Moscow was bellowing that the 1917 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was OFF unless the Germans kept Ottoman and Anglo-Saxon alike away from the bloodstained Bolshevik petroleum wells. Berlin, promised a tranquil Eastern Front and a secure cut of that oil, agreed to dispatch a fighting force to fight all comers among the peaks and defiles of the Transcaucasian range, with its primitive but crucial railway lines.

Arriving in Poti harbor on 8 June 1918, the German troops (rapidly reinforced by released German and Austrian former POWs and stranded ex-tsarist ethnic German Balts), were soon spread all across the infant Menshevik Democratic Republic of Georgia. On 13 June they beat off a "Tartar" horde of enthusiastic local Muslim volunteers, and were thereafter engaged in dozens of skirmishes and ambushes in and out of railway tunnels with these tribal auxiliaries and long-range reconnaissance parties of regular Ottoman forces.

Baku was, in fact, reached by the Turks on 14 September 1918, with Dunsterforce pulling back. Turkey now controlled the oilfields, but had no way to ship anything back through the German controlled railroad in very, very hostile Georgia.

Things fell apart when Bulgaria sued for an armistice, followed by Turkey on 30 October 1918. Scrambling back to Poti in early November, the German Military Mission to the Caucasus's forces found their evacuation flotilla had bugged out, abandoning them to whatever fate would bring!!! Thus emboldened, Georgian Reds then proceeded to dynamite railroad bridges leading back to the capital, Tiflis, splitting German forces as Germany too sued for peace.

The former POWs were finally shipped out from Poti, as first priorities, aboard the steamer "Asgard" on 26 November 1918.

But 4th Company, spread out along the entire Armenian-Georgia border, all rail lines therein, and the port of Poti as harbor guards, evacuated Poti only on 2 December 1918, aboard the "Rodosto" with the nominal "IInd Battalion" of Bavarian Jäger Regiment 15. Arriving at Odessa on 16 December 1918, the homebound Jägers had gotten as far as, again, Nikolaev, where they were stopped cold on 22 December by the Ukrainian civil war. Attempting to break through as the crew of an armored train did not work. Sick, weary men died. Eleven were murdered by Reds after surrendering in an internal war that was not the Germans' to fight. BACK to Odessa they went, and waited. And waited.

Finally shipped out on 22 March 1919, they got as far as Saloniki when the French front commander in Greece decided they needed to be locked up as prisoners of war, and not allowed, as agreed, to pass home as disarmed personnel for repatriation. There they remained, in Greek limbo, behind French barbed wire, until 10 June. The 10 officers and 406 men of II/BRJR 15 were then among the 1,000 German troops embarked on the steamer "Konstantin" and finally sent home. Out of coal, "Konstantin" put in after a rough voyage at Falmouth on 29 June. There they were met with "job action" and waved on to Portland, where they finally re-coaled on 1 July for the last leg of their return to Germany.

These men were the first former POWs returned to Germany, so they were held at Lockstedter Lager for processing before discharge.

There they turned in their uniforms, received random suits of civilian clothes, and were sent home to Bavaria by train in mid July 1919-- seven months fter leaving Poti harbor! Schrall spent the next three months badgering military authorities for his back pay, eventually returning to civilian life.

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In March 1935 he was a Werkmeister (foreman or overseer of some sort) at Bad Tölz. Given his pre-war trade, perhaps he was making custom furniture for the SS-VT Officer Training School there. There he fades from history.

In early 2005 items from his military career and civil employment began surfacing on German eBay. An initial ribbon bar, loose and unattributed, made it to California, and was then stolen in the U.S. Mail by modern day pensionable pirates in this New Golden Age of postal and customs employee pilferage. :violent: In May, most of the now-identified Schrall group surfaced, and I won the initial lot, being outbid on most of the rest by an insane overbidder (egged on by reckless, heedless German "specialist" bidders compulsively attempting to snag their single-interest items out of what had been, until last month, a COMPLETE GROUP :banger: who managed to split most of the group off, while ignoring a final item completely, which fell to a third bidder completely disinterested in anything but the most common and unattributed item in the group, which I had graciously left unbid upon assuming that the Bottomless Pockets who had scoffed up all Schrall's OTHER awards AFTER I won the Hindenburg Cross would want TOO, silly, sentimental me. :rolleyes: alt="rolleyes.gif" />

The large Bavarian style 4 ribbon bar above: Bavarian MMC, Prussian Iron Cross, Bulgarian Soldiers Cross for Bravery, and Georgian Order of Saint/Queen Tamara (like the Turkish War Medal Star, the ribbon for this was to be worn only when the star itself was not) was worn by Josef Schrall between 1919 and 1935. The smaller five ribbon bar, matching five lapel ribbons bow, and "German only" 3 ribbons lapel bow were worn from 1935, when he received the Hindenburg Cross for Front Fighters shown. That and its award document below were the first items from the FORMER Schall GROUP to come up, rescued by me for my 28 year collection of 1BRJB/29BJR/15BJR Georgian campaign collection.

I also obtained Schrall's 1910 Work Book, and his discharge from Lockstedt Camp in July 1919 as shown above, enough "crumbs" for Yours Truly's VERY limited pockets, unwanted "odds and ends" to a trophy-hunting moneybags... but "priceless" (value is NOT cost) TO ME. :jumping:

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I like that it takes so little to please my Evil Twin... (aka Skippy)...... periodic Chinese Lunches, obscure ribbons and devices...... a welcome change from much of the "public"..........

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I'm gonna say this right out front of God and everybody! I propose to nominate St. Tammy as the patron of medal/ribbon bar collectors. I think she's my kinda girl! ninja.gifblush.gifwink.gif

Edited by Bob Hunter

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Ah.... no!:blush: As the scuttlebutt goes, she used to have her one night stands dropped down a bottomless pit in the Royal Boudoir every morning-after. :o

Something to bear in mind when beholding her Mona Lisa like smile on the usual Meybauer products. Schrall himself had opted (may be why he was whining so hard about getting his back pay) for the ever so much swankier Meybauer enamelled style. Sigh.

Below are my OTHER Tamara ribbon bars: top to an officer of RJB7 or RJB9 (his Schaumburg-Lippe and Hamburg are reversed from as worn here on his minis lapel chain, so can't tell which), THREE in progression to a Baron from Saxe-Altenburg's Inf Rgt 153 who was a 1914 POW in France, exchanged in 1917, and apparently on Military Mission Staff in Georgia, later becoming an RAD Oberarbeitsführer. Left a Meybauer "2nd Class" marketed "for NCOs" and a "3rd Class" Meybauer offered for "privates."

There were no "classes," and indeed even the Georgians never clarified if the Order was named "Saint" or "Queen" Tamara.

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...Herr StogieO would do well to bear in mind that I am part of that "public."

Whose brilliant and selfless act of diplomacy defused the crisis over the Great Silver Crescent Scandal...in some parts of the world selling the same item to different people is considered a fraudulent activity...but not necessarily in Massachusetts. wink.gifwink.gifwink.gif :food-smiley-004:

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He's Evil, but also getting Sleepy in his Old Age. That's why sometimes he even thinks HE is the Good Twin!!!! :P

Close up of Her Nibs from that "2nd Class" (NOT from Schrall's group, for illustrative purposes only!) Meybauer's "2nd" and "3rd" "classes" versions are distinctive for the protruding veil over her "19" side ear. Any similarity in costume to a Dalek is purely coincidental!

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But Appearances Can be Deceiving... on ribbon bars as well. The ribbon bar fraud below recently proferred on eBay shows that ONE busy little Frankenstein butcher churning these out right now has gotten himself a supply of original old Tamara ribbon, which he is destroying.

I ask you, is that any way to treat a (homicidal maniac) lady? angry.gifangry.gif

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Should be--the top of that one's hat-thingum looks FLAT rather than pointy, but that could just be because it is not as nice as my Epson 2400 makes scans:

Meybauer either beat out the competition from Küst (the original "Legion" badge maker) and Sedlatzek, or his prices were better. Or maybe he was just "thar fustest with the mostest" when the mass of 1919 returnees got home and wanted a batch-- and NOBODY knew what the things were SUPPOSED to look like! :cheeky:

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Please note below:

"a welcome change from much of the "public".......... "

Hmmmm, in The Communistwealth of Massachusetts, usage of the word "most" is indicitive of "not all"

You "Left Coast" guys, so sensitive......... please move here where we are the "Kings" of sensitivity........ even if I did something wrong, hey, In Massachusetts, I mean Taxachusetts, I mean the Communistwealth...... anyway...

... the point is here, we have an "anything goes" free for all. All for one and all for one....... The needs of the few, or the one; outweigh the needs of the many. Why just look at the complicated lengths we go to satisfy a Massa..... (ahhh, heck! you know) "dinosaur" like Rick research. Illegal smuggling of fraudulantly declared "non-biohazard medical waste" shipped here weekly to satisfy his socially-deviant need to own every one of these! (Think I'm kidding about the medical waste thing? Hah, they have yet to open and "inspect" one of these parcels!) (Oh yeah, I also like to use: "Human tissue for laboratory experiments")

Anyway, you get my drift, why he even made his poor Mum drive him over here to the castle to get his greedy little paws on the group this morning. In most countries (and states) this would be considered elder-abuse and swiftly punished by the law........ not here! Remember our State Motto: "Quis vado" cheeky

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I think our state motto is, "Que pasa?"

My favorite declarations on customs forms are "Human Remains" and "Cocaine for making local anesthetics."  ninja.gif  tongue.gif

If you're trying to keep people out of the package, the latter may not always have the desired effect...

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The Saga Continues...

NINETY TWO DAYS IN U.S. MAIL TRANSIT FROM WEST COAST TO EAST COAST

I kid you not, 92 days, arrived stamped April, no sign of Exciting Adventures, undamaged---

a miracle out of the blue

the ribbon bar that started the process and was "lost" is now FOUND

Thanks Mike Dunn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:jumping::jumping::jumping::jumping::cheers:

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Rick! I can't belive that it finally showed up. I figured it was shreaded and in a land fill by now! So glad that you got it as I can't think of a better place for it to be!

One side thought--only .60 for ninety days in the postal system--such a deal!! Mike

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You have no idea how lucky you are to not have to listen to the constant mumbling, or watch him drool when he starts whispering "Tamara, Tamara, Tamar"........... cheeky.gif

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