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New Imperial German Officer research tool


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Paul was at my palatial estate earlier today and demonstrated this for me:

To suggest that I was amazed and thrilled with Paul's CD would be an understatement. My antiquated computer's inability to use a CD like this means one thing: my next upgrade will be to one that CAN use it. Because then I will be using these all the time!

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Paul didn't just copy pages from the best assortment of Rank Lists (all four armies and the navy) for WW1 German officer research, he added the ability to easily and quickly get right to specific sections:

whether into each List's name index, by initial letter, or into artillery or pioneers or whatever unit sections, or directly from any one page to any other...

without ever having to be concerned about cracked bindings or damaging pages again.

EVERYTHING can be printed out, whether one page for a ready reference to one officer, or an entire Rank List. Paul left me with a 1903 Bavarian Rank List which printed one original page per printer size paper...

and let me tell you, hideous medieval Gothic typeface is MUCH improved at 100% bigger than in the original. It is astounding how much BETTER than the originals the CD versions are to use!

Pages in the CD can be viewed at that size or larger. Zoom in: no more squinting at squiggles and glyphs. Try THAT with an original!

Because Paul had each page scanned individually, the images are FLAT, without the distortions from partially opened bindings inevitable with Lists opened on scanners. And since the pages were scanned in at black and white and "tweaked" they are absolutely perfect, black on white, probably better than the day the original was printed.

The scan quality is literally perfect. It is impossible to tell the difference between original print and the copy. No blurs, no smudges, no splotches where you can't tell if a Gothic "k" is an "l" or not. And the pages print out just as phenomenally perfect.

In fact, so much extra work has gone into these that where an original owner has made a notation in one of these (something we buyers of the originals always hope for), Paul has even inserted unobtrusive "click on" features that reveal what may be lined out on a page, or is scrawled in as the old notation! NO information is lost-- data is ADDED.

FINDING original Rank Lists is not only expensive, it is often simply impossible. It took me over ten years (back in the Good Old Days) to accumulate the amount of WW1 related research material on this CD. Today, it would cost roughly $1,000 for the original Rank Lists on this CD-- IF you could find them all, and even more in the long run while waiting and hoping to pick them up later as "bargains" someplace, sometime.

Now they can ALL be obtained together at the price of a single pre-war Prussian List. Incredible. If I had EVER made any money doing research cheeky.gif these would be putting me out of business. Now anybody with a computer and the "research disease" can do at home what the Wizards Guild has taken decades learning. And Paul will be issuing MORE titles to his offerings in the future!

The content is unsurpassed. The quality is perfection. The ease of use and range of options is phenomenal. It even passes my personal "moron proof" user test. ohmy.gif For those of you NOT using a coal powered computmasheen with squirrel powered backup like mine, this is the best Imperial German officers research tool to come along in a lifetime.

Instant Archives In A CD-- just add computer. Wow. cheers.gif

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WW1... WW2. Depends on the age of who is being looked for.

One example: This is NOT John Steed in disguise waiting for Emma Peel. This is a completely anonymous photograph of a Saxon J?ger Battalion 12 Hauptmann:

[attachmentid=10133]

We look in the Saxon 1914 (this BTW is my splotchy yellowed original, not one of Paul's perfect crisp white pages) for that unit, match the awards, and Hey Presto

[attachmentid=10138]

Kurt BRAMSCH

Hauptmann 23.9.11 Z

go back and forth and

Leutnant 21.7.97

Oberleutnant 22.4.05 S

Major ern. 26.3.17 final seniority 21.5.17 W

Then having that data from various Rank Lists, to recently published Orders Rolls--

Knight of the St Henry Order 10.5.16 (citation in 1936 WW1 St Henry winners book, which gives his birth data 15 February 1876 etc), SA3aX 18.6.15, Crown to that 9.12.15, Xs to his SEHR1 (in Prussian Lists = HSH3a) 20.7.15.

From there to Erhard Roth's work on Saxon officers, and HSH3a in photo was awarded 11.9.12. Bramsch went aD 31.3.20, having served in Jgr Bn 12 to June 1915, then in Res Jgr Bn 12 to December 1915, then a Battalion Commander in Saxon Reserve Grenadier Regiment 100 from February 1916, leaving active service in Match 1919 as Adjutant of Gkdo XII. Armeekorps,

all started rolling from one Rank List--and impossible to do without it.

These Rank Lists are the essential basic references for ALL career research on German officers who served under the Kaiser.

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Example two: This completely anonymous medal bar and matching ribbon bar set was identified by my late Imperial guru, from whom I obtained it... and the Research bug BIT.

[attachmentid=10136]

This is an "itch" that has one "cure"-- Rank Lists.

Navy 1918... and there he is, KaptLt zS dSWI WIEHR

[attachmentid=10135]

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He did it with Rank Lists. I do it with Rank Lists. And now, without waiting ten years to FIND originals, YOU can do this with Rank Lists too--

The 1914-1918 Navy Honor Rank List:

[attachmentid=10137]

And from there, on to such things as the Naval Officers Association (MOV) professional directories and so on:

Paul Wiehr was born 7 May 1868. He joined the Imperial Navy as a One Year Volunteer 1 April 1892. Although one might have assumed that merchant navy officers were logical candidates for careers in the naval reserves, the status-obsessed regular officer corps actively DISCOURAGED merchant navy officers from entering the navy, in the same way they piled humiliating social and professional restrictions on engineering officers.

Wiehr was commissioned as a Leutnant zur See der Reserve in the 1890s, promoted Oberleutnant zur See der Reserve 16 May 1899, an Kapit?nleutnant zur See der Reserve 10 June 1905. Sometime between 1908 and 1914 (a gap in my Naval Rank Lists), he "downgraded" from der Reserve to der Seewehr status.

During this same 1908-14 period, in his civilian capacity as a merchant navy captain, he picked up a Saxon Albert Order-Knight 1st Class, W?rttemberg Friedrich Order-Knight 1st Class, and Persian Order of the Lion and Sun-Commander: typical "thanks for the nice cruise" presents from happy Royals to liner captains-- but a uniquely ODD combination (wouldn't THAT have been a peculiar shuffleboard trio if all three were on the same cruise?...) that allowed his anonymous medals, with his WW1 awards, to be traced.

When the war broke out, he was safely back in Germany, so was assigned as Navigation Officer of SMS "Hertha." From November 1914 to January 1915 he was attached to the Admiralty Staff, then held a number of short training and shore commands until being appointed First Officer of SMS "Kaiser Friedrich III" from June-October 1915. He was Chief of the Kiel Outpost Half-Flotilla in the Fehmarn mine belt October 1915 to March 1916, when he was assigned as commander of Submarine-Hunter Flotilla II in the Baltic-- the post he held until the end of the war.

After the war, it is possible to track his merchant navy career through German Naval Officers Association Directories.

In 1928 he was the "F?hrer" (!) of the Hamburg America (HAPAG) Line's new flagship ocean liner "Albert Ballin," named after the Line's Director (1857-1918)--who, being Jewish, caused the Nazis to rename the vessel "Hansa" after Hitler took power. Launched in 1923, on the Hamburg to New York run, by the late 1930s newer, faster liners had taken the lead. ?Albert Ballin? aka ?Hansa? was an accommodation ship for the Kriegsmarine during WW2. Evacuating refugees from Gotenhafen, she struck a Soviet mine off Warnem?nde on 6 March 1945 and slowly bottomed in shallow water as the passengers were taken off in lifeboats. Raised in 1949 and refitted in the Soviet Union as the ?Sovietsky Soyuz,? ?Albert Ballin? was still on the Vladivostok to Kamchatka run in 1971.

Wiehr was HAPAG's Commodore, or senior Captain, so I presume he had spent his entire civilian sailing career with them. The 1931 directory omits any occupation for him, but it was a sloppily put together edition (and many members were then unemployed in the Great Depression), but in 1935 he was listed as the Pensioned Commodore of the Hamburg America Line. He was alive in 1939, living in Hamburg at 39 Lattenkamp 13. I have no idea when he died. It is entirely possible, based on other known merchant marine officers, that he was pulled "out of mothballs" and returned to merchant navy duty during WW2--past age 70. (I know of a recalled Commodore from business rival North German Lloyd who ended up a POW in Canada, in his mid-70s.)

Wiehr also received the Iron Cross 1st Class.

I have a number of books on the Golden Age of ocean liners, with 1920s-30s illustrations of "Albert Ballin/Hamburg." I know that many liners printed pamphlets listing crew and passengers, and would be interested in any such original documentation listing Kapit?n/Kommodore Wiehr-- before or after WW1. Who knows, somewhere there may be a PHOTO of him in his Commodore's attire!

You can't DO this... without Rank Lists! (Images from Rank List pages are from my originals. Paul's are sharper and clearer.)

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Example three: a medal bar which is COMPLETELY untraceable... but named photos with visible unit designation and Prussian officer rank:

http://gmic.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=2053

what good would only a NAME be without 1914, 1919, and the Army 1914-1918 Honor Rank List? EXPECIALLY since--fairly common in the 1920s-- he CHANGED his name, and it takes these several references to confirm that?

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