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Chris Boonzaier

Why so few EK doc collectors?

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Arendt units were, if I remember correctly, a strange signals technology which used wireless through the ground transmission of radio signals. Must have driven the earthworms mad... and been easy for the enemy to pick up. Maybe it was secret code Morse code they tapped through the ground.

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As soviet stuff gets priceless, I just started to collect EK II?s and documents First World War.

The first EK II document group with a Frontk?mpfer Ehrenkreuz.

regards

Andreas

P.S. What is a Arendt Abteilung? of the 9th Army.

Hi,

A rough section that I am working on for kaiserscross.com

The listening service, "Ahrendstationen", were formed towards the end of 1915, but it was only in January 1917 that they became independant units. In Febuary 1917 there were 22 Arendt-Abteilungen (1J4). In March 1918 they were restructured into 292 Arendt-Stationen. Of these, one was attached to each division (1J5) leaving a number free as a reserve. The staffs of the now defunkt Abteilungen were reasigned to the Akonach and Grukonach to process the information from the messages heard by the stations.

Until 1916 there was a carefree exchange of conversation on the field telephone lines. There were few apparant dangers and no concievable negative effects.

At some point in 1916 the Germans began to suspect that their communications were being overheard. This suspicion was confirmed then special communications equipment was discioverd in a captured enemy trench. The fact that the enemy could branch themselves directly onto a telephone line was not the issue as the lines ran behind the German lines, rather the enemy was using the electrical current in the earth to listen in.

A field telephone operated in an electrical circuit, the message only being transmitted when the current went from the sender to the reciever and back again. This required 2 cables between telephones. An alternate system had been developed to save the confusion that would be caused by having double the amount of cables being strung between positions. The second wire, instead of being connected between the two telephones was connected between the telephone and a steel peg or bayonet, which in turn was stuck into the damp earth, in this way the current would be carried by the earth from one telephone to the other.

The catch was, the current did not travel directly from one bayonet to the other, but radiated in all directions. If one was to put another cable into the ground, a "searcher cable", it was possible to pick up these currents, usually to weak to be of any use. With a system of valves and special light bulbs the enemy had suceeded in increasing this current to a point where he could listen in on the telephone conversaton of the German signallers. The Germans immediatly tried to implement counter measures, includining running an "earth wire" with a length of 4-500 meters behind their line. This did not seem to have any effect, so they were forced to do away with the earthing system and run double lines between telephones. It was soon discovered that only telephone lines in perfect condition were secure. Any slight damage to the isolating cover would mean the wire would give off current and this in turn would radiate to enemy litening posts.

The German signallers did not take long in creating their own listening stations, named Ahrendtstationen after their founder. These rapidly surpassed the technology and efficiency of the enemy stations. Signalers would often sneak across nomans land and earth their searcher cables directly in front of the enemy positions, or alternately attach them to the enemy barbed wire, which acted as a superb conductor. The results were extremely satisfying to the German high command.

It did not take long for the enemy to realise that the Germans now also had listening posts. The counter measures were limited, as on the German side, to implementing a double wire system. This could not prevent the enemy listening in, but did limit the amount of traffic he could listen to. Both sides imposed strict control on telephone conversations, including the content and frequency. Lines not of tactical necessity were removed and front line units were limited to only the bare minimum of calls, once again limited to those of tactical neccesity.

The Arendt-Stationen, in addition to their task of listening in on enemy conversations also listened for enemy tunnelers and miners as well as being responsible for listening in on German conversations. All conversations, both enemy and friendly, were recorded and sent to the rear to be controlled. This allowed the staff to sanction those who had breached the rules related to telephone security and access what information may have been intercepted by enemy listeners.

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The Arendt (listening) Abteilungen (22 units in total) were formed in February of 1917. Small irregular units had existed since 1915, but they were not numbered. The Abteilungen were dissolved in March of 1918 and formed into 292 autonomous "Listening Stations". They were under direction of the commander of the Signal Troops. As Rick has mentioned, the process was experimented with for the purpose of signalling, but it was found to be unsatisfactory. The listening activities, however, continued to be of great benefit. Here is an excerpt from a website with the reminiscences of a WWI German soldier, who was used as an interpretor on the Eastern front.

"The designation Arendt section was a code-name for listening stations. In those years there was already wireless telegraphy, but radio was an unknown concept. The telephone was the usual means of communication. A wire was strung over field or trees, the return current going through the ground, for which a wire was wrapped around a bayonet and it was stuck in the ground. From those locations waves were emitted that could be received with rather primitive vacuum tube equipment. The listening posts used so-called "earths" [erden] which were hidden wires that were buried in the no-mans-land as close as possible to the enemy positions. These were antennas that picked up waves in the ground, rather than in the air. An Arendt station consisted of a listening device and the "earths" which would sense several kilometers of enemy front. Each army corp had many listening stations. The personnel in each was half interpreters who listened, and half communication specialists who laid the wires and maintained the batteries and other equipment. The living quarters were a few kilometers in back of the first line, connected to the listening stations by telephone. The German telephone lines at the time used two wires, the Russian ones only one. Thus when the Russians spoke by telephone the listening posts could hear them easily and send all important news immediately to headquarters."

Chip

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Bought this document with cross on the military trade fair in Stuttgart.

It?s awarded to the Musketier Leweling 10. Ersatz Division, 371. Infanterie-Regiment , 9. Kompanie.

As I am new to the subjekt, I found the last line interesting. "His cross is number 7.953 in the award book of the 10. Ersatz Division."

Are these books available today? What is written in these books?

regards

Andreas

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Sinceim not a online auction hunter its fairly hard to found docs. 

I have a few - ww1 and ww2. All from the houses / Appartements i cleared out. 

I found them all very interesting - but i saw that the new collectors only want the medals / helmets and other stuff.  Photos and paper docs are mostly left behind. 

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