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Gentleman's Military Interest Club
Claudio

Early Rommel's career as w?rttembrgischer Gebirgsj?ger during WWI

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Here a picture of Sp?sser after war, wearing his General aD uniform with his magnificent medal bar. I was told that this medal bar was in the family of Sp?sser until the 80ies and then sold to a collector. It would be great if this collector could post some pictures of it on this thread, but I am afraid that we won't see it for a long time...

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Here another picture of Sp?sser, this one also shown on the Blue Max book. On this book you can see this photo and admire the medal bar in all its splendor and detail. However I am wondering if on that post-war medal bar he added some more orders and medals.

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To finish my contribution, I am posting a picture of the monument of the fallen w?rttembergische Soldiers fallen in many conflicts, for God, King and Country (f?r Gott, K?nig und Vaterland). This is to show the legacy of the small earlier garrison town in W?rttemberg.

Ciao,

Claudio

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Claudio;

Great thread! Thank you!

It looks like the monument is one to the soldiers of a specific regiment, Infanterie=Regiment "Alt Wuerttemburg" , which I think I have heard of.

I have cousins in Ludwigsburg, transplants from Berlin.

Bob Lembke

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Claudio;

Great thread! Thank you!

It looks like the monument is one to the soldiers of a specific regiment, Infanterie=Regiment "Alt Wuerttemburg" , which I think I have heard of.

I have cousins in Ludwigsburg, transplants from Berlin.

Bob Lembke

Bob,

That would be Infanterie-Regiment Alt-W?rttemberg (3. W?rttembergisches) Nr.121, raised in 1716 and based in Ludwigsburg.

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Claudio,

Thanks for all of the information and photos. I really enjoyed them. I am a big fan of the German mountain units, especially the Ski units, the W?rttemberg mountain troops and then (of course) the 3.J?ger Regiment.

There is something that I would like to point out in post #5. First, the "Gebirgsj?ger Mantel" appears to be a normal M15 example, with the exception of the smooth buttons. To my knowledge, there was no special overcoat for mountain troops. The cape it is covered with is a "Radfahrer Umhang" and though the mountain troops may have adopted it, it would have been unofficial gear, as this cape was meant to be for bicycle troops. It's too bad we can't see the enitire thing, but it sure looks like the one in this picture (though the one you have shown is much faded).

Edited by Chip

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This PLM is an original one in GOLD, but not of Rommel... they told me it was the PLM of the Officer who took Fort Douamont in Verdun... I forgot his last name... arrggghhh...

Sorry for the bad quality of the picture, but I didn't want to take them with the flash out of respect, although I could have if I pushed for it.

I discovered this thread a little late.... Claudio, thanks for posting the pictures you took. They, and the exhibit are all very interesting.

Oberleutnant Cordt von Brandis was awarded the PLM on the 14th March 1916 for the capture of Douamont, although he was not the first officer to arrive take possession of the fort. Brandis was ordered by Hauptmann Haupt (who also received the PlM for his actions that day) to directly report to headquarters that the fort had been captured by German troops. Brandis relayed the information directly to the Kronprinz, who the story goes, handed Brandis his own PlM on hearing the news of the capture.

Haupt's "paper group" was for sale about ten or twelve years ago, minus the medal. The family sold the paper items, but reportedly were keeping the medal itself. Whether they still have it or not...I don't know. The one on display might be his, or possibly Brandis' since the traditional histories usually credited him with "taking" the fort, while ignoring NCO Kunze and Lt. Radke's role in the capture of Douamont.

If it's possible to get better photos of the medal, it would be greatly appreciated!

Also, at the Haus der Geschichte in Stuttgart, there is a "Mythos der Rommel" exhibit running through the end of August this year, with what is said to be the PlM he wore when wounded in 1944, his WWII medals and decorations, and also his FM baton. Has anyone seen this exhibit and/or purchased the catalog?

Les

Edited by Les

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Oberleutnant Cordt von Brandis was awarded the PLM on the 14th March 1916 for the capture of Douamont, although he was not the first officer to arrive take possession of the fort. Brandis was ordered by Hauptmann Haupt (who also received the PlM for his actions that day) to directly report to headquarters that the fort had been captured by German troops. Brandis relayed the information directly to the Kronprinz, who the story goes, handed Brandis his own PlM on hearing the news of the capture.

------- or possibly Brandis' since the traditional histories usually credited him with "taking" the fort, while ignoring NCO Kunze and Lt. Ratke's role in the capture of Douamont.

Les

The story of the taking (or "taking over") of Douaumont is interesting and fun. The event was very important, and also for national morale, so of course there had to be an official, annointed "victor". Von Brandis wrote at least one book, the one published in the late 1930's (he includes a story of touring Douaumont in the mid-1930's, and finally it comes out to the French that he is von Brandis) was fun; he was in England when the war broke out, and got back to Germany and his regiment with some adventure, also a story of espionage in England by kayak.)

The story of the Crown Prince is interesting and characteristic. Wilhelm and his father were patrons of my father's unit at Verdun, and he supposedly often dropped into the barracks and chatted up the men; my father both told me and wrote in his letters from Verdun that he often caged cigarettes from the Crown Prince. Last year I had the privilege of sharing beer and pizza with a great grand-son of the Crown Prince, and shared a really funny story about a visit of "Little Willi" and his father to the barracks with him. (I have to day that although the official format of the social meeting was beer and pizza, "Prince Fritz" seemed more partial to Congac (sp? - not my beverage) and pizza.) I have read a good deal about the Crown Prince, and he seems to have been a decent, humane fellow, seriously interested in his men, and in some cases his judgement eventually turned out to be better than his supposedly more professional associates.

A great story is how the Crown Prince treated the commander of Fort Vaux after the surrender of the Fort after bitter fighting, a nice personal dinner (the extremely cranky French officer admitted that Willi's French was excellent), and then the officer went off to captivity with his sidearms (a pistol and a French sword, although he did not have one at the fighting, plus an entrenching tool), a servant, his dog, and so much cake that the officer fed it to his dog. And he was soon sent to spend his confinement in Switzerland! Despite this, the French officer complained bitterly about his treatment! Some people are never satisfied.

I have digressed a bit, but I hope it was entertaining. The story of Rommel at the Ionzo is also great, how he and three companies of the mountain troops took 10,500 POWs and 82 guns at a cost of six men killed. He took the last 1500 men, a regiment, by himself and his handkerchief, as he only had about 6-8 men, clerks and messengers left, not guarding prisoners.

Claudio, thanks for a great thread!

Bob Lembke

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Claudio,

In looking over your excellent photos again, I noticed that the Schirmm?tze in post #12 appears to have a special Edelweiss with a crown on the gold center. There is another example at the museum of the Gebirgstruppen at Sonthofen. This pattern may have been worn by Bavarian troops as well, but up until now, I have only seen it on W?rttemberg caps. Here is my example.

Chip

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Hello, were there any photos of Gebirgs Artillerie? Thanks

Edited by KMB

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I was hoping more photos would be posted..

 

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