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Where were components of the HR 16 in 1916?


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Hello GMIC members and fellow researchers,

I have an EK1 award given to a Oberstleutnant des Reserves "Plessing" in Hussar Regiment No. 16 for his actions at Verdun hill 304. The award was presented by Generalleutnant Wetter on 9 Sep 1916. Reservist Plessing does appear in the 1914 Prussian Rankliste for Reserves as a Ltn and must have been promoted to Oberstleutnant sometime between 1914 and 1916 when he was presented with the award. Information provided with the award gives the specifics for the award but could be in error. I have looked in the usual references (Nolls and 250 German Divisions) for information about the HR 16 but the two references are inconsistent. I can find information on the whereabouts of the HR16 at 1914 mobilization and in 1917 & 1918. However, HR 16 and components are unlocated in 1915 and 1916. I have no information that would place any component of the HR16 on the Western Front between 1914 and 1916. I do not have the HR 16 regimental history book and so have no specific details on HR16 (or specific squadrons) location.

Can anyone help me place a HR 16 reserves officer on the Western Front before Sep 1916 or specifically at Verdun in 1915/1916? Also, does anyone have information or pictures of a Generalleutnant Wetter awards ceremony on or about Sep 1916? Also, your direction to an appropriate reference work would be welcomed.

Thanks for your help. Sincerely, John

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John

Leutnant Plessing was promoted to Oberleutnant d.R. on 12.2.15 whilst serving on the staff of 35. Infanterie-Brigade.

Regards

Glenn

Hello Glenn,

Wow, awesome! He was a staff officer! Its starting to make some sense! If you don't mind, can I get the name of the reference from you?

Thanks so much for the info.

Sincerely, John

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Glenn,

Based on your tip above, I was able to track down the following additional information on my EK1 recipient:

From Wikipedia The Free Encylopedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/54th_Infantry_Division_(German_Empire)

The 54th Infantry division was “formed on March 3, 1915 from units taken from other divisions or newly raised. Its infantry core was from different parts of the German Empire: the 27th Reserve Infantry Regiment from Prussian Saxony, taken from the 7th Reserve Division, the 84th Infantry Regiment from Schleswig-Holstein, taken from the 18th Infantry Division, and the 90th Reserve Infantry Regiment from the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, taken from the 18th Reserve Division.”

“From May to November 1916, the division saw extensive action in the Battle of Verdun, especially in the fight for Fort Douaumont.”

“The 54th Infantry Division's initial organization when formed in 1915 was as follows (Hermann Cron et al., Ruhmeshalle unserer alten Armee (Berlin, 1935)

108.Infanterie-Brigade

Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 27

Infanterie-Regiment von Manstein (1. Schleswigsches) Nr. 84

Großherzoglich Mecklenburgisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 90

Radfahrer-Kompanie Nr. 54

1.Eskadron/Braunschweigisches Husaren-Regiment Nr. 17

54.Feldartillerie-Brigade

Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 107

Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 108

Fußartillerie-Bataillon Nr. 54

Pionier-Kompanie Nr. 107

Pionier-Kompanie Nr. 108”

From the Die Suchmaschine zum 1. Weltkrieg 1914-18 web site:

http://www.1914-18.info/erster-weltkrieg.php?u=188

“54.Inf.Div.: 35.Inf.Brig. (18.Inf.Div.) wird aufgelöst. Stab/35.Inf.Brig. wird umbenannt zu Stab/108.Inf.Brig. Stab/108.Inf.Brig. mit Inf.Regt.84 von aufgelöster 35.Inf.Brig. (18.Inf.Div.) zu 108.Inf.Brig./54.Inf.Div.”

Elements of the 18th Infantry Division, the staff of the 35. Infantry Brigade and IR 84 were reassigned to the 54th Infantry Division on June 3, 1915 as a part of the 108th Infantry Brigade.

http://www.1914-18.info/erster-weltkrieg.php?u=188&info=54.Infanterie-Division&start=30

11.5.-9.9.1916:

54.Inf.Div.: Schlacht bei Verdun

<A name=bid135133>18.-29.5.1916:

54.Inf.Div.: Kämpfe um Höhe 304

From Nov 5, 1915 through Sep 9, 1916, the 54th Infantry Division is involved with the Battle of Verdun. And from 18 to 29 May 1916 the division fights around hill 304!

My Conclusions:

The 54th Infantry Division was an active participant at Verdun in 1916 and at Hill 304. So your clue plus the additional information above provided the needed trail that links Oberleutnant d. R Plessing, HR 16, to Verdun 1916. Plessing must have been a staff officer on 108th Infantry Brigade (reassigned from the 35. Infantry Brigade) when he won award of his EK1. The date of his award was 9/9/16 which corresponds to the end of the 54th’s campaign at Verdun and at hill 304. This information matches with the date and info (for actions around hill 304) penned by Plessing himself on a note to accompany his EK1. The EK1 inscription bears the 9/9/16 date. (Plessing states in his note that Generalleutnant Watter presented him with the award.) So, the unit information researched above would tend to confirm information in the handwritten note (where, for what, and by whom the award was given) and in the inscription on the back of the EK1 (rank, name, rank, unit, date).

My original thoughts were to trace elements of the HR 16 to Verdun which would have been a dead end.

Actions at Hill 304 at the left flank of Verdun

According to Wikipedia when frontal assaults on Verdun failed the Germans turned to the flank and attacked the west (left) bank of the Meuse river at the hills of Le Mort Homme on 6 March and Hill 304 on 20 Mar 16. The German artillery preparation was substantial and turned the hills into a quagmire of mud and rock. At great human and material cost, the German's eventually were able to occupy the crests of both hills and silence guns that had hindered progress towards Verdun and provided commanding views of the battlefield. Staff Officer Plessing must have been a part of this action.

Thanks to you, Glenn. I have some pretty good info for the EK1. Sincerely, John

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John,

Herr Plessing's promotion to Oberleutnant der Reserve was gazetted in Edition 45 of the Militär-Wochenblatt in February 1915.

Regards

Glenn

Glenn,

Great research and info! Thank you very much for providing key information about Herr Plessing. It proved the valuable link to discovering the history behind this EK1 and his connection to actions at Verdun. I will post a few pictures of the artifacts for members to see. They will observe an EK1 that has seen service. It is well worn and imperfect. Reviewing the engagements of the 54th Infantry Division following actions at Verdun, Herr Plessing was lucky to have survived the war and if he wore his award it explains the condition. I suspect that after the war he penned his modest note to an interested family member who kept it with the EK1. I have no idea what the structure of a Brigade Staff HQ would look like and wonder what his specific job might have been. Since he was a Hussar officer that might be a clue. I imagine the HQ had to be close enough to the combat to be hazardous duty. Certainly if the location was determined by the enemy it would be a priority target.

Sincerely, John

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