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2 Captains Alone Against The World--Together


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From the increasingly diminished David S Collection of ANONYMOUS Ribbon Bars:

This minty :jumping: little gem has an extremely unusual Austro-Hungarian Order of the Iron Crown enamelled "war decoration" wreath simulating the full sized one. :love::love::love:

TWO possible wearers of this bar, which had the middle of the backing (not the ends) opened at some distant time presumably to add the logical--but never authorized--SMK bronze crown to the otherwise mint and deluxe devices

MENCHEN, Alfred

HOH3X 3.11.17

SMK 26.12.15 #150 ?aktiv Hauptmann BnsF Res Inf Rgt 22?

?EK3K 1917

?M3K 1917

Leutnant 20.7.97 H9h (date indicates joined as a F?hnrich in 1896)

Oberleutnant 11.9.07 T3t

Hauptmann 1.10.12. C29c

charakterisiert Major aD

In Infantry Regiment 23, Adjutant of II./ IR 23 in 1907, Regimental Adjutant in 1912, Adjutant of Landwehr Inspektion Breslau when the war started. Retired with the uniform of Inf Rgt 23.

RUMLAND, Walter

HOH3X 24.2.17 ?Hauptmann Inf Rgt 157?

SMK 6.8.15 # 85 ?Hauptmann Inf Rgt 157?

?EK3K 1917

?M3K 1917

Leutnant 20.7.97 J4i (date indicates joined as a F?hnrich in 1896)

Oberleutnant 11.9.07 W

Hauptmann 18.4.13 Cc

charakterisiert Major aD

In Infantry Regiment 19 until promotion to Captain other than detached as Adjutant of Landwehr Bezirks Kommando Lauban circa 1907. On staff III./ IR 157 in 1914.

Note that BOTH suspects received the 1897 Kaiser Wilhelm Centenary Medal which is NOT being worn on this bar, and that both would have received the Prussian XXV Years Service Cross on discharge in 1920. This ribbon bar thus dates from time of Hohenzollern House Order 3X award in 1917 (for either) to 1920.

That the TWO suspects have identical awards is not surprising, since from April 1915 both served in the same Division?the 117th Infantry.

From May to October 1915 the division lost 216 officers and 11,718 men as casualties on the Artois sector around Lens!!!! After fighting on the Somme, the division was sent to the Carpathian front in October 1916, then to the Rumanian front in May 1917 under the Austrian 3rd Army. The division was transferred to Italy October 1917 to March 1918. On 8 August 1918 the division lost 2,700 prisoners to the British, and in September 1918 they were overwhelmed by the American Meuse-Argonne offensive, losing another 1,861 prisoners and 1,400 other casualties. Reserve Infantry Regiment 22 was dissolved due to casualties there. Allied intelligence sniffed at the low morale and combat effectiveness of the 117th Infantry Division?but there was very very little of it left!

During their 3 ? years with this division, Menchen and Rumland fought the Americans, British, French, Italians, Rumanians, and Russians. The division was literally wiped out twice?in 1915 and 1918. Both officers were alive in 1926. EITHER could have worn this ribbon bar, probably as a battalion commander.

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It's interesting to me to see the incredible history brought to light by the constant pursuit of rolls and the tireless efforts of the research gnomes both here and abroad. Many of the bars that Rick has been posting up, ex-David S. Collection passed through my hands. (Scary how much of this stuff we see I've handled...)

When these bars came through Taxachusetts the first time there was no chance of an identification.

Many years later.... Voila! History has a name!

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True! :cheers: The Roll Wizards Department of the International Federation of Research Gnomes? is a COLLABORATIVE TEAM EFFORT. More and more and more gaps in knowledge are being closed.

It's dull. It's tedious. It's boring while slogging through it all

but :jumping: when those results come through!!!! :catjava:

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Rick,

Alfred Richard Menchen, born 14 November 1877 at G?rlitz.

Educated at the Realschule and then the Gymnasium at G?rlitz before entering Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 23 on 8 March 1896. Promoted to Portepee-F?hnrich on 17.11.96. Seconded to the Military Physical Training Establishment (Mil. Turnanstalt) from 1 October 1900 to 28 February 1901. Assistant Instructor at the Mil. Turnanstalt from 1 March 1901 to 31 July 1901 and from 1 October 1901 to 28 February 1902 and from 1 March to 31 July 1902. Battalion Adjutant from 11 July to 30 September 1907. Regimental Adjutant from 27 January 1908 to 30 September 1912. Assigned as Adjutant of Landwehr-Inspektion Breslau on 1 October 1912 on promotion to Hauptmann.

He was apparently taken prisoner at some stage in the war as he was promoted to Major on 4.3.20 (Patent of 18.10.18) in Reichswehr-Sch?tzen-Regiment 92 on his release.

Regards

Glenn

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