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I am researching the development of the heavy German siege guns in late 19th Century and the early 20th Century. I am currently reading a source by Generalleutnant Kabisch. He mentions several General Staff officers and departments that participated in decision-making. He first mentioned that "the 4th Section of the Great General Staff (the heavy artilleryman General Deines was the responsible 'Oberquartiermeister' " was responsible for pressing for improvements in the first 30.5 cm mortars.

What was the "4th Section of the Great General Staff"? None of my references clarify this. In WK II the "Oberquartiermeister IV" was the chief of the Intelligence Section at the German Command. I have about 40 Ranglisten, so I can trace Deines' career, but I am trying to figure out what and where the "4th Section was and its functions. I am studying the decision-making involved in the development of these weapons, and the personalities that participated in this work. As the development of these guns was a secret, and I have discovered that the officers involved even had to swear special oaths of secrecy in regard to this work, there is a lot less information available in this area of study. (For example, my grandfather was quite involved in the use of these weapons in Belgium and Russia, but his letters, mentioning them, never stated their exact caliber, but described them by approximate shell weight.)

Additionally, a bit later, there was a similar idea, to make the initial 42 cm howitzers, which were astonishingly heavy (well over 100 tons, I think, I have the exact figures about) lighter, so that they could be transported by road or Feldbahn as well as by full-gauge railroad (the earlier decision mentioned above was to produce a more mobile version of the 30.5 cm mortar); Kabish stated that the idea was promoted by "the Artillery Section of the 'Aufmarschabteilung (Major Bauer)" . I am quite familiar with Major Bauer and his role in the development of new weapons, including flame throwers and poison gas. What was the Aufmarschabteilung, where was it situated organizationally (and physically, Berlin?), and what is a good translation of the term? Was it an office for planning mobilization?

What was the relation of the Great General Staff to the General Staff? (I know that it was a section of same, seemingly.)

Anyone chiming in with better translations of these terms will receive great hosannahas and obscure aromatic herbs will burned at your idol. Any further research suggesations gratefully received. Language not important. (Currently 99% of my reading is in German, French, and Flemish.) A research partner and I are writing what I think will be a definative study of the development and use of the "heaviest artillery", German, and probably the Austrian guns, and also of the fortifications that they reduced, and their defenders. But don't hold your breath, it will be exhaustive

Any good source on the General Staff? My one specific source dates to about 1885.

Many thanks in advance!

Bob Lembke

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Bob

What was the "4th Section of the Great General Staff"?

Well at the back end of the nineteenth century the 4th Department was responsible for foreign fortress matters.

The "Great General Staff" was the central organisation, that is the departments in Berlin; The General Staff was the remainder of the staff at corps and divisional level in peacetime.

Regards

Glenn

Edited by Glenn J

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Bob

Well at the back end of the nineteenth century the 4th Department was responsible for foreign fortress matters.

The "Great General Staff" was the central organisation, that is the departments in Berlin; The General Staff was the remainder of the staff at corps and divisional level in peacetime.

Regards

Glenn

Glenn;

Once again, thanks for your expert help. That makes a lot of sense, the big guns were being designed and built to bust up those foreign fortresses, so then of course the 4th Department would be a logical source for pressure to improve those guns. The first model came out in 1893, and then I assume they started thinking on how to improve the guns.

In the Ranglisten of the period the Great General Staff is given an address of Berlin; the General Staff is given no address; logical, as its personnel were all over the place. In Kabisch's account an infantry regiment stationed at Aachen, at mobilization, sent a General Staff Oberleutnant attached to the regiment as an observer to the Great General Staff at Berlin by express train to pick up the "final mobilization orders" and the "secret war map" and bring the final orders back to Aachen before the regiment marched out.

Bob Lembke

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