Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Two types of people:

1) reserve officer candidates. This was the normal "career path" for them to get a der Reserve or der Landwehr commission.

2) young men who had enough money to pay for their own uniforms and equipment who did NOT want to serve 2 or 3 years in the ranks as a draftee private. One Year Volunteerss received extra privileges, and I am sure their status got them out of the dirtiest and least pleasant duties when they were, after all, just private soldiers themselves.

Many times the second category NEVER became reserve officers, at least before 1914.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not an expert in uniforms, and hardly one in matters of the complex German military bureaucratic system, but the Einjahrigfreiwilliger (did I spell it correctly?) term was not a rank, but was a term for a career path. There actually were two or three variants on this career path, in the course of which the officer aspirant may have held several ranks and displayed a succession of uniform details.

Uniform-wise, the hall-mark of soldiers of this class is the "candy-striping" piping bordering the shoulder straps, very visable in your photos. I believe that men with this status had to pay for their arms, equipment, etc., and probably were not paid, but relied on private funds.

Bob Lembke

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Taken 5 October 1910, here are all the One Year Volunteers from Brunswick Infantry Regiment 92 on uniform cleaning duty:

Sitting front left with the pipe was Otto Christian H?gel. Born in Braunschweig 6 January 1889, he served as a 1YV 1 October 1910 to 30 September 1911. He was promoted to Gefreiter 1 April 1911 and Unteroffizier 10 July 1911, which seems about normal for most 1YVs.

He went into the war as a Vizefeldwebel dR. After a severe non-combat frontline injury that took him out of action for over a year, he was still only an Offizierstellverteter in the 5th Company/ Reserve Infantry Regiment 232 when he was captured by the British on 11 August 1918. Upon return from POW camp, he was discharged as a Leutnant der Reserve aD...

but most of his classmaates were probably commissioned in 1915 or 1916.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, 2-3 years was...

draftee! :cheeky:

Actually, most career Non-Commissioned Officers seem to have been recruited FROM draftees, who signed up for careers AFTER their compulsory national service time--

they were called "Kapitulanten."

But that's another story.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Taken 5 October 1910, here are all the One Year Volunteers from Brunswick Infantry Regiment 92 on uniform cleaning duty:

Sitting front left with the pipe was Otto Christian H?gel. Born in Braunschweig 6 January 1889, he served as a 1YV 1 October 1910 to 30 September 1911. He was promoted to Gefreiter 1 April 1911 and Unteroffizier 10 July 1911, which seems about normal for most 1YVs.

He went into the war as a Vizefeldwebel dR. After a severe non-combat frontline injury that took him out of action for over a year, he was still only an Offizierstellverteter in the 5th Company/ Reserve Infantry Regiment 232 when he was captured by the British on 11 August 1918. Upon return from POW camp, he was discharged as a Leutnant der Reserve aD...

but most of his classmaates were probably commissioned in 1915 or 1916.

Hello Rick. Thank you for showing this picture.

It seems that the "Einjaehrig Freiwillige" while enjoying certain privileges still had to participate in the "Putz und Flickstunde" (for the non-initiated this means time set aside to clean, maintain and repair clothing and equipment) The narrow gismo with a larger hole at one end reminds me of a piece of equipment issued to French troops in the 1950's to polish brass buttons without coming to close to the cloth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great Picture Rick, thank you for sharing. As I can see "1YV" was some kind of nobility... what about the poor-young man? Was there anything like "2-3 year volunteer"?

Marcin;

Interesting question. The Prussian/German Army had a number of mechanisms for promoting the especially able men of all economic and social classes into careers as officers and NCOs, some of these being rather specific to an economic class. In this way they were able to preserve some privileges of the nobility and/or wealthy, while still being able to allow able men from the poorer classes to reach responsible positions. This was facilitated by the German dual command system, where a unit was commanded by a nobleman, but the chief of staff, who really was at least as important, might be a much younger man often of modest social background but with a General Staff education. I have heard of a division with a CO who was a Generalleutnant and a chief of staff who was a Hauptmann.

My paternal grand-father rose from a background as a peasant farmer to a military and social/economic position as a staff officer, gentleman farmer, and manager of the Berlin stockyards largely by using the mechanism of the Feuerwerker u. Feuerwerk=Offizier, where an able NCO would get two years of technical training and become a technical NCO and then a technical officer. In his case this military promotion was paralleled by social/economic advancement, in his case bolstered by a successful civil lawsuit against his wife, who had poisoned him with Deadly Nightshade when she discovered his second, "love family". (One often finds interesting things when researching one's family!)

I feel that these mechanisms were much more effective and successful than the limited mechanisms for this in, say, the British Army, to the detriment of the quality of leadership of the latter. (Arise and to the barricades, you Anglophiles!) These mechanisms actually made an army which was a lot more flexible socially than it appeared to be, while preserving privileges of the elites.

Bob Lembke

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marcin,

Was there anything like "2-3 year volunteer"?

In one word - yes. Young men could initially volunteer for two, three or four years active service in the army or navy and additionally for five or six year engagements with the navy. The volunteer (in the case of the army) like the "one Year Volunteer" could choose the unit in which he wished to serve. Permission from the Civilian member of the recruiting commssion to allow voluntary service was dependant on the permission of the father or guardian and also the good conduct of the volunteer in question.

Unlike the "one Year Volunteer", these volunteers were clothed and equipped as normal and were not considered prospective reserve officer aspirants. Volunteers under twenty could also seek acceptance in an NCO school which then mandated a 4 year engagement on graduation.

Regards

Glenn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glenn;

Perhaps you can give me some guidance on induction possibilities open to my father.

When my grand-father went off to Belgium with the Generalkommando III. Reservekorps he told my father, then in a school for construction engineering and management (he wanted to become a Festungs=Offizier), that he would "break his neck" if he ran out and volunteered for the army. He, being quite smart, knew that the war would be a terrible one, and told Pop that there would be enough war for everyone. Their correspondence over the next 10 months was in large part on how to enter the army in an advantagious fashion, in particular to keep my father out of the infantry and the crazy charges that g-f saw in Belgium. He wanted father to enter the Pioniere and join the pioneer battalion of III. RK in Russia; g-f wrote from Russia that, of the pioneer battalion: "I know all the officers, and have trained most of them." (Training in explosives, I am sure, g-f was a Feuerwerk=Offizier. Although he was the "Id", he wrote about doing the occasional especially large blasting job; once 1200 kg of explosives close to the front, which made him nervous about Russian artillery fire.) A lot of the correspondence was about what Bizerk=Offiziere to write, telling Pop to keep his sharp tounge under control, etc.

Finally in mid-1915 Pop was sworn into Pionier=Bataillon Nr. 3 "von Rauch", the pioneer battalion of III. AK, but g-f had to leave the front due to malaria, and Pop volunteered to go off to Gallipoli, where he also caught malaria.

How could Pop engineer going in to the Pioniere, and not get drafted into the army and probably into the infantry? G-f wrote about Pop joining the Pioniere before he was drafted. He went in when he was 18 1/2 years old. He had a good pre-university education, spoke six languages (of course including years of study of the supremely useful Latin and Classical Greek), was a journeyman bricklayer (did apprenticeship during vacations) to get into the school of construction technology, and had partially finished that course of study, so he was attractive to the Pioniere, I think.

Could he just volunteer and join the unit of his choice? Could g-f pull strings with the brass of "von Rauch"?

Thanks again for your previous help figuring out things about my family, especially g-f.

Bob Lembke

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bob,

he presumably simply volunteered as a Kriegsfreiwilliger or War Volunteer. According to the provisions of the Army Law (Section 98), all replacement formations could accept volunteers. That being the case he would have reported to the depot of Pionier-Bataillon von Rauch and signed on. If his intention was to eventually become a Festungsbau-Offizier, then he would have had to have first become a Pionier Non Commissioned Officer prior to attending the Festungsbau-Schule.

Regards

Glenn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glenn;

Just looked at my translations of the family letters from that period, as I pasted your information into my family history time-line, and your opinion is consistant with the language my g-f used. He repeatedly told his son that he would learn useful things in the pioneers, and nothing useful in the infantry. But once in the pioneers he volunteered for the volunteer pioneer company at Gallipoli, and when back joined the flame regiment, which I think that my g-f did not think too much of. Pop tried to convince him that it was relatively safe, which, counter-intuitively, it actually was; but nevertheless in about 6 months at the front, usually not in the line, he was wounded four times. The two worst times he was not exactly candid about the seriousness of his wounds, one of which kept him from the front for over 18 months (it spit bone fragments for over 10 years), the other a blinding by a German gas shell in no-man's-land; later got his sight back.

Bob Lembke

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...