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Sergeant Louis Elbe (EK2) - fought the entire war


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A little over a month ago, I obtained the militärpass of Sergeant Louis Elbe of the Masurisches Fuss-Artillerie Regiment Nr. 22. Twice promoted and recipient of the EK2 in 1917, this was a grizzled veteran who fought from almost the first day of the war until the last - on both fronts.

Here's his story that I've determined from his militärpass and a bit of other research. Unfortunately, I didn't find much on Fuss-Artl. Regt Nr. 22; however, Sergeant Elbe's story reads like a mini-history of at least part of the Regiment.

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Coming from Hildesheim in Hanover, twenty-year old Louis Elbe entered military service on 14 October 1898 as a recruit with the 2. Badisches Feld-Artillerie-Regiment Nr.30, 8. Batterie; garrisoned in Rastaat, Baden. He spent two years with the Regiment, being promoted to Gefreiter in April 1900 and transferring to the Reserves in October of that same year. With the outbreak of WWI, Gefreiter Elbe was mobilized with Ersatz Munitions Kolonne 44. and immediately went to the front in Lothringen (Lorraine). He would see further battle during most of 1914 on the Western Front, including at Arras in October 1914.


Sometime in the middle of December 1914, his unit transferred to the Eastern Front, arriving in the region along the Bzura and Rawka rivers in Central Poland, probably joining the IX. Armee. According to the chronicle of the IX. Armee, heavy artillery from the vicinity of Lille and Metz, from the 4. and 5. Armee, moved by rail and off-loaded in the region west of Warsaw. Elbe was with his unit in this region on 31 January when the Germans attempted the first large-scale use of poison gas at the Battle of Bolimów west of Warsaw, Poland. Elbe participated in several battles on the Eastern Front, including the Battle of Lemberg (Lwów in current day Ukraine), during 1915 before returning at some point late in the year or early 1916 to the Western Front.


On 10 March 1916, Elbe joined a munitions column in the newly formed Masurisches Fuss-Artillerie Regiment Nr. 22. Beginning with the Battle of Verdun in April 1916, Elbe participated in battles from the Somme to trench warfare on the Siegfriedfront to Flanders and culminating with the fighting at St. Mihiel before Germany surrended in November 1918. A grizzled veteran, Gefreiter Elbe was promoted to Unteroffizier for bravery in the face of the enemy on 23 May 1917 and later that year on 19 Dec 1917, he was awarded the Eisenes Kreuz II. Klasse. On 23 January 1918, Elbe was promoted to Sergeant. By the war's end, Sergeant Elbe had seen combat from shortly after the guns of August opened fire in 1914 until the guns fell silent on 11 November 1918. Fuss-Artillerie Regiment Nr. 22 mustered out one of its finest on 21 November 1918. Four days later, he boarded a train to reunite with his wife and seven children, who at some point had moved to Langenfeld in the Rheinland.

Edited by Nick
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