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Battle fatigue … how was it dealt with in the German army?

Sometimes you find Militärpasses where the men are for undisclosed reasons sent to work in a factory.

This is often the case with men who have had a lot of front experience, sometimes highly decorated, then suddenly they are unskilled labor at a factory…

One would think they would have been of more use at the front, or training other men…

Could it be that there was a system whereby men suffering “battle fatigue” were discreetly moved away from active duty…

A prime example is here…

http://www.kaiserscross.com/40029/269601.html

after what must have been a veeery intense frontline career, he suddenly goes to hospital (no wound), then goes to work in a factory… he was a EK1 awarded NCO in the premier unit of the army… no more frontline.. but would he not have been better used in a training role? But instead… off to a factory…

I have 2-3 passes where things like this happened, and I really cannot explain it, other than that the Army found it better to move them out of sight…

Any thoughts?

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Hi Chris,

I have my problem with your assumption.

I think, that the soldier in the link was seriously diseased and sent consequently into a hospital.

"Am 18.7.17 erkr. z. Laz. Pierrepont"

erkr. = erkrankt (diseased)

That could be an infectious disease, a mental disorder or something else.

And after all that, the hospital in Pierrepont, the hospital in Trier and the recovery companie, he was not longer "k.v.", fit for active service.

Then he was sent to Rheinmatall, a strategic important factory.

I think, that is normal in such bad times.

Uwe

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I have a Militärpass of a flamethrower pioneer who fought for a year straight, was sent to the hospital twice (once for burns on his head and once for combat wounds), went to work in Berlin at a private company for four months, returned to the replacement battalion of the flamethrower regiment, was transferred into a line-pioneer formation, fought at Cambrai and the Sigfried Line for another three months, was sent to hospital for an ear infection, returned to combat, and was then transferred into the Riesenfleugzeug-Truppe, where he worked on giant R-class bombers until the end of the war.

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"My" flamethrower pioneer fought for several months after his stint in a civilian job. He even took part in antitank warfare.

If he was given a civilian job because he wasn't physically fit for combat duty, he certainly recovered enough to go back to the battlefield.

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I think there is much that can be hidden behind the "Erkrankt",

There are quite a few example I have of guys who are sick for longer periods after a long time at the front.

One of the things that makes me wonder... the guy in the link above and TomWs were highly trained specialists... Both were fit enough to work in factories...

Surely they would have been prime material for work at their respective Base depots, training units.. either as admin, stores or whatever...

By sending them to a factory they are seperated from their peers...

I remember wounded guys in my comapany were soon back in the company... but on two occasions we had guys who broke under stress, and we never saw them again, they were posted elsewhere...

It makes me think that in some cases guys who had "battle fatigue" or nerves were sent away for a time...

Best

Chris

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I think there is much that can be hidden behind the "Erkrankt",

There are quite a few example I have of guys who are sick for longer periods after a long time at the front.

One of the things that makes me wonder... the guy in the link above and TomWs were highly trained specialists... Both were fit enough to work in factories...

Surely they would have been prime material for work at their respective Base depots, training units.. either as admin, stores or whatever...

By sending them to a factory they are seperated from their peers...

I remember wounded guys in my comapany were soon back in the company... but on two occasions we had guys who broke under stress, and we never saw them again, they were posted elsewhere...

It makes me think that in some cases guys who had "battle fatigue" or nerves were sent away for a time...

Best

Chris

Makes sense Chris.

Chip

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Makes sense Chris.

Chip

I have always wondered.... nowdays PTSD is all over the media... so many guys seem to have it....

But you seldom if ever hear of it for WW1... there must have been many cases, how did they keep them quiet?

The more I think about it the more I think they accepted it and covered for the guys with "erkrankt"

Best

Chris

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I have always wondered.... nowdays PTSD is all over the media... so many guys seem to have it....

But you seldom if ever hear of it for WW1... there must have been many cases, how did they keep them quiet?

The more I think about it the more I think they accepted it and covered for the guys with "erkrankt"

Best

Chris

In WWII, Patton would have just slapped them and sent them back to the front!

Chip

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I have always wondered.... nowdays PTSD is all over the media... so many guys seem to have it....

But you seldom if ever hear of it for WW1... there must have been many cases, how did they keep them quiet?

The more I think about it the more I think they accepted it and covered for the guys with "erkrankt"

Best

Chris

Part of it was that at that time psychological issues simply weren't discussed publicly. But doctors were well aware of the problem.

Shell Shock and its Lessons (1918):

http://tinyurl.com/43vx745

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