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An excited telegram!

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Here is a telegram from Franz Mensch, sent from the hospital in Metz, excitedly informing his girl that he has been awarded the iron Cross 1st class.

Its one of those great little add ons to Iron Cross document collecting.

I do not yet have the regt history, but for a description of the actions and his EK1 doc... see here..


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  • 2 years later...

If I remember correctly the only part I missed was a post war Austrian red cross service award. Pity...

Here is his postwar card "Reichswehr Miniterium U7 (Abwehr)" he was in the abteilung responsible for the repatriation of Russian POWs and combatting Bolschie Politics in the camps.



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  • 7 years later...

2. Posensches Feld-Artillerie-Regiment Nr.56 – Hauptmann der Landwehr Mensch


The Combres Heights (Les Eparges) are situated on the northern hinge of the St Mihiel salient and were one of "hotspots" on the Western Front in early 1915 when the Germans repulsed attack after attack. The 10. Infanterie Division arrived in the Sector in late 1914 and stayed there until it left for Verdun in October 1916.


An eye witness on the heights described the effects of the German Artillery on the French attackers in front of the 10th I.D.


“The French have suffered very heavy losses. They throw the bodies out of their positions to form a protective wall. They seem unable to bury them. They also seem unable or unwilling to remove their wounded. No Man’s Land is covered with bodies. Our losses are also heavy but in no proportion to theirs. Our artillery does excellent work. They fire on the reserves preventing them from reaching the front line where they would be able to enter the fray. The attacking troops are met with a terrible storm of shot and shell.”



The Iron Cross 1st Class award document to Hauptmann d.L. Franz Mensch was issued by the deputy commander of the V Armeekorps in January 1916. The award had been made in April 1915 for fighting on the Combres Heights. The document implies that the award had been approved by the Kaiser himself and Generalleutnant Eduard v. Below was simply documenting this fact with his signature. The Regiment was part of the 10th Infantry Division.


The Iron Cross 2nd Class award document to Mensch as Batterie Führer was issued on the 26th of February 1916, a month after the 1st Class document. From the wording it also implies that the award was made by the Kaiser. The award itself was made on the 24th of  December 1914 and the document was issued after an order in 1916 asked units to supply recipients with a written proof of entitlement. The document was signed by Oberstleutnant Hugo Weichsel, Regiments Kommandeur.

here is the group.....mensch.thumb.jpg.381aea22d03efd97beee0a2df2ff1fc5.jpgnos1.thumb.jpg.0b058d0cfb956a9ee0d58455944a7f1b.jpgnos2.thumb.jpg.6bd9ae34649b27c4c6cbfe73e51717d6.jpgnos3.thumb.jpg.64e4d8ce6e70053c007d24f942c4c76c.jpgnos4.thumb.jpg.70a8e1c0e5b697df67f9737da5e1081f.jpgnos5.thumb.jpg.bd7879a1f41e12557bfc05f4b4262c1a.jpgnos6.thumb.jpg.56a2cdc80bfcbedf9175d746b5f2fcd5.jpgnos7.thumb.jpg.bdda3f77ec204155f1fb341280d09faa.jpg

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Mensch was a luckier mensch than this comrade of his: 


Hptm. Ferdinand Voigt was an active officer in FAR 56, killed while commanding the 3.Batterie. The picture is from a German cemetery in Viéville-sous-les-Côtes, about 8km southeast of Les Éparges and Combres-sous-les-Côtes.

Detail of a French monument on Les Éparges. From the looks of it on the left side of the photo (front of the monument), the monument suffered the loss of a bronze plaque like far too many monuments in France in recent years.



Monument to the 12e Division on the south face of the Les Éparges spur, facing Combres-sous-les-Côtes. It's the "Monument du coq au Point C" on the photo at the bottom. Presumably the poilus here were on the receiving end of FAR 56's shells. 



Overview of the area. Les Éparges is about 18km southeast of the Formule 1 in Verdun, Chris, so you really have no excuse if you haven't visited the area yet. ;) 


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