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Unusual Assault Troops


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Two NCOs of a Machine Gun Detachment, Füßartillerie-Regiment Nr. 13, 1917. Like Battery Squads, Machine Gun Detachments of artillery batteries were trained in shock tactics and hand-grenade fighting.

Edited by Thomas W
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Two members of the shock troop of the 7th Company, Landsturm Infantry Regiment Nr. 38, April of 1917.

Nice trousers... are these the Sturm trupp issued pants or one of the "knees repaired with leather" pants?

With a 6 year old at home my wifes Grandmother has spent the last 2-3 years repairing the knees of pants with patches of all kinds... I can now imagine how many issue pants had knee repairs.

Best

Chris

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I wonder if those are not mourning brassards? Sometimes you see them on german photos.

I thought of that, but the writing on the back identifies the men as belonging to a Patrouille, which was an early term for assault unit. The earliest assault units wore brassards on the left arm to identify them from regular soldiers. It's always hard to be sure of colors in monochromatic photos, of course, but the hue of the brassards doesn't appear to be that dark, and the men are from different companies. It wasn't often that men of an entire battalion would wear mourning brassards.

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I think it is difficult to say, by late 17 into 18 many, many units had Assault troops.

It remonds me of a memoire of a SAS guy who fought in the Falklands. They were told they were up against an Argentinain Special Forces unit. When they captured them they found them to be a bunch of pimply conscripts. They were "special forces" simply due to the fact that they had been badged and told "now you are special forces".

As the war progressed and Sandbags became a symbol for the "elite" it seems more and more units began to create "assault troops". Some would have been better than others, and a few may have become "assault troops" because they were the youngest, had had 2 days training from a guy who had been on an assualt course and then got two sandbags to hang around their neck.

So yes, the Gewehr 88 guys could technically be "Asaault troops" for a landsturm battalion, or any number of units where there were not enough 98 carbines to go around.

Pits there is not a unit stamp on the back to clear up the mystery.

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what is "the Battery Squad of Reserve-Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 57" in german? Did they have training different to other Feld Arty units?

The German term is Batterietrupp. They were trained in shock tactics and hand-grenade combat, because their job was to carry out reconnaissance for field-artillery batteries. They often ran into the enemy and engaged him at close quarters. That's why men of Batterietrupps were armed with trench daggers, the symbol of shock troops.

From Vocabulary of German Military Terms and Abbreviations, U.S. Army War College, 1917:

Edited by Thomas W
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This well-known image has been used in many English-language books, labeled as "stormtroopers." As you can see, it's actually a Batterietrupp. Note that the second man in the column is equipped with grenade bags, while the last man has a trench dagger. They appear to be wearing the leather gaiters of the artillery, since they're brown rather than black, and some may have leather reinforcements on the inner surface of their trousers.

Edited by Thomas W
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This is an interesting posting. Here is a picture that I may have used here before of my Great Uncle.

Pistols and rifles, and leather knees on the trousers. Very typical of Stosstrupps.

Here's a member of a shock troop of Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 102.

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How can you tell theyre shock troops?

They're from different companies, and the writing on the back identified them as being a Patrouille, an early term for an assault unit. It's unlikely that men from different companies would pose together, patrol together, or all wear mourning brassards at the same time. I think the sleeve brassards are green or red, the colors used to identify assault troops according to Anleitung für Kompagnieführer (K.F.U.). Berlin: Reichsdruckerei, 1917.

Keep in mind that many of the "assault" units of the Landsturm never saw action. They formed the units because it was the trendy thing to do, and Sturmtrupps had a lot of prestige.

Edited by Thomas W
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