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Group photo-84th Infantry Division - German Empire


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Hello Everyone,

Once again I have purchased a photo postcard that I can not translate, though I have more infomation on the unit than usual. Any help with the translation would be greatly appreciated. After the photos I'll write the information on the 84th that I found on Wikipedia.

The first thing that struck me about this photo was the age of the soldiers. They look like kids! I'm not sure if anyone can identify the time frame for this photo, it will probably be difficult, since the unit itself was active throughout the war. In particular I noticed one young fellow who is seated on the front row next to the officer (NCO?). You know this fellow would have been hell on leave (lock up your daughters). The officer or NCO next to him has the EK II ribbon while the officer with the sword has a ribbon bar with a single ribbon. It looks to have three stripes with the centre one the lightest. Any ideas as to what this would have been and what the actual ranks of the two officers would be? The belt buckles are the familiar "Gott Mit Uns" motif.

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can give me.

History of the 84th to follow the last photo posted (this may take a while as I am not fast with posting several images).

Cheers :cheers:

Brian

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Here's the two officers. I would think this was some sort of basic training group, considering the age of the soldiers.

I hope the photo is clear enough to identify the ranks and perhaps the ribbon worn by the officer with the sword.

Thanks

Brian

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Now the history.

84th Infantry Division (German Empire)

The 84th Infantry Division (84 Infanterie-Division) was a unit of the Imperial German Army in World War I. The division was formed in November 1914 as the "Division Posen 2", part of the PosenCorps (Korps Posen), and became the 84th Infantry Division in June 1915. It was initially formed from the garrison infantry regiments of Fortress Posen (Festung Posen). The division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I.

Division Posen 2 initially served on the Eastern Front, fighting in Poland, including at the 1914 Battle of Lodz and then spend most of the period until mid-1915 fighting along the Rawka and Bzura Rivers. On June 2, 1915, it became the 84th Infantry Division. It fought around Warsaw in July and August 1915 and then in the pursuit of retreating Russian forces. From September 1915 to July 1916, it occupies the line along the Servech and Shchara Rivers. From July 1916 to June 1917, it occupied the line along the Berezina and Neman Rivers until the armistice on the Eastern Front. At the end of December 1917, the division was sent to the Western Front. It occupied the line by Verdun from January to May 1918 and then moved to the Somme region. It remained in the line until the end of the war. Allied intelligence rated the division as fourth class.

If there is anything you can add to this history please do so.

Cheers :cheers:

Brian

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hello Brian.

Here is my (partial) reading of the postcard inscription:

" Schicke Dir hiermit mein Photo...Haette gern mal Post ... Es gruesst Dich Dein Bruder ...

E 8913 Resatzkompanie Abt. b 5. Korporalschaft

Schleswig"

translation of this partial reading:

Herewith I am sending my photo... Would like to receive mail on occasion. Gretings from your brother...

E 8913 Replacement Company, Abteilung B 5. Squad

Sleswig

I cannot make out any ribbon(s) but the one NCO wears the marksman lanyard with two acorns indicating at least shooting proficiency 2.class ( exact class one cannot tell because the differing treads in the lanyard besides the acorns indicate the higher levels)

I hope the above is of some help,

Bernhard H. Holst

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hello Brian.

Here is my (partial) reading of the postcard inscription:

" Schicke Dir hiermit mein Photo...Haette gern mal Post ... Es gruesst Dich Dein Bruder ...

E 8913 Resatzkompanie Abt. b 5. Korporalschaft

Schleswig"

translation of this partial reading:

Herewith I am sending my photo... Would like to receive mail on occasion. Gretings from your brother...

E 8913 Replacement Company, Abteilung B 5. Squad

Sleswig

I cannot make out any ribbon(s) but the one NCO wears the marksman lanyard with two acorns indicating at least shooting proficiency 2.class ( exact class one cannot tell because the differing treads in the lanyard besides the acorns indicate the higher levels)

I hope the above is of some help,

Bernhard H. Holst

This is of great help.

Many thanks Bernhard.

:cheers: Cheers

Brian

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Why do you think they are from the 84th Division?

I can't read the regimental numbers-- focus too blurry.

The recruits are wearing pre-war blue uniforms, which were still being "worn out" for such training into 1916 from dated photos I've seen. This must also date from about then, since the M1915 ribbon bars were only in wear by NCOs from early in that year.

The NCO with the marksmanship lanyard is a Feldwebel-- he is wearing an officer's sword knot, with the double cuff braid of that rank. It looks to me like the NCO sitting next to him also has senior NCO rank buttons on the side of his collar, which would make him either a Sergeant or a Vizefeldwebel. Probably the former, since he's not clutching his rank-displaying sword.

The senior fellow must have dropped by to visit. Rather unusual to have a Sergeant (German rank term, not translating into English), since a Korporalschaft squad was normally led by an Unteroffizier.

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Why do you think they are from the 84th Division?

I can't read the regimental numbers-- focus too blurry.

The recruits are wearing pre-war blue uniforms, which were still being "worn out" for such training into 1916 from dated photos I've seen. This must also date from about then, since the M1915 ribbon bars were only in wear by NCOs from early in that year.

The NCO with the marksmanship lanyard is a Feldwebel-- he is wearing an officer's sword knot, with the double cuff braid of that rank. It looks to me like the NCO sitting next to him also has senior NCO rank buttons on the side of his collar, which would make him either a Sergeant or a Vizefeldwebel. Probably the former, since he's not clutching his rank-displaying sword.

The senior fellow must have dropped by to visit. Rather unusual to have a Sergeant (German rank term, not translating into English), since a Korporalschaft squad was normally led by an Unteroffizier.

Hi Rick,

The number is not visible in the photo but can be read with a magnifying glass. There are a couple of 84th markings readable under magnification. I either must invest in a better scanner or upgrade to a better camera. I'm leaning toward a better camera as I think it will be more useful in more applications than a better scanner. I hate to spend the cash on anything other than my collection. :rolleyes:

Cheers

Brian

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I've been playing around with my photoshop program and I hope this is a closer view of the shoulder markings.

Cheers

Brian

After the upload I can see that it's not much better and imagination is needed to read the 84.

Sorry. Guess this means a trip to the camera dealer. $$$$$$$ :banger: $$$$$$$$$!

Cheers :cheers:

Brian

Edited by Brian Wolfe
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Well, this one was taken by a photographer with as much ahem talent as me, back in 1916 so no amount of equipment would help. (Though I hear Eppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppson scanners are nifty. :rolleyes: )

You've got men from the (Schleswiger) 84th Infantry Regiment "von Manstein," which until March 1915 was in the 18th Division. They were then moved to the wartime 54th Division and remained there for the rest of the war.

I'd date this in 1916, when the 54th Division's main action was being pounded back by the French at Verdun September-October.

Recovered and refitted from that, the division was again pounded by the French on the Aisne April-May 1917, and without fully recovering was hit hard by the British around Ypres in August before being obliterated in the Cambrai tank assault of 20 November 1917. My most favorite award document of all is to a member of this very regiment, who miraculously survived the extermination of the 84th Infantry Regiment:

I thought I had written up Gefreiter Folz here, but didn't turn up on a search. Only 189 men from IR 84 survived the British assault-- 2 full divisions fell upon them. Not only did they hold, they threw the British back and held the entire German line. So I "value" this more than any Pour le Merite to some General (like Folz's EK2 presenter, divisional commander Freiherr von Watter, who got the Pour le Merite for this, duhhhhh) sitting on his well upholstered anterior region in some chateau 30 miles from the front.

Any member of the regiment who could say "I was at Havrincourt 20 November 1917" had a distinction equivalent to saying "I survived the Little Big Horn" or "I survived Isandhlwana."

The division was no longer able to recover, with returned wounded, underaged teenaged draftees, and reinforcements fed in from out of the northwest area of Germany. 1918 was spent holding defensive sectors, with no offensive capacity left.

Although rated as a "2nd class division" by Allied intelligence in 1918, before then it was considered an excellent division.

Given the staggering losses suffered in 1916-1917, most of the recruits in that photo were dead, wounded, or captured by November 1917.

The 84th Infantry Regiment may not have been "Guards," but they were the epitome of German line infantry and in my opinion, none finer 1914-18. :beer:

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BTW-- forgot (in my epic spate :catjava: ) the Sergeant/Vizefeldwebel is wearing the ribbon of the Hamburg Hanseatic Cross from his buttonhole, not the Iron Cross.

Folz got his Hamburg Hanseatic first too--

and possibly one of the last photographs taken of Havrincourt (September 1917) before it became a smashed, featureless wasteland on 20 November:

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Wow! :jumping: What a great deal of information. Now to record it on cards to be kept with the photo.

Many thanks for the research, Rick.

I'll probably look into an Epppppppppppppppppppppppppppson scanner since I've been hearing good things about them. However their name seems a bit long. :lol:

Thanks again.

:cheers: Cheers

Brian

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