Monday, December 26, 2011

19th Royal Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment – Pt 1

What follows is a translation of part of the 19th Royal Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment’s unit history found on the ‘Commune de Breitenbach’ website; whilst not a perfect translation it has served to help my research into the conflict in the Vosges during 1915.


Excerpts form official documents edited from the archives of the Bavarian Army. The 19th Imperial Bavarian Infantry Regiment according to the accounts of former soldiers from this regiment, compiled by two former commanders: Brigadier General Karl Jaud (retired) and Lieutenant Friedrich von Weech (retired) with 17 maps and 94 pictures [not included]. Published in Munich 1933.
19th Royal Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment in the Vosges from:
Part 1: 21 Jan to 2 Jun 1915
Part 2: 1 Jul 1915 to 12 Jul 1916

Part 1: 21 Jan to 2 Jun 1915
Translated [from German to French] by Elizabeth Buhl. Translated [from French to English] by Tim Slater.
Neuulm-Augsburg 31 Dec 1914 to 21 Jan 1915
On 28 November 1914 the Bavarian Ministry of War ordered the creation of nine new Infantry Regiments. These Regiments formed from fit volunteers were being raised in case of a protracted conflict against a numerically superior enemy. These Battalions were not intended to be self-contained units but were to be integrated into other Infantry Regiments as a fourth Battalion. Nevertheless on the 22 December 1914 the Ministry of War decided that these Battalions would form Regiments and when combined with other Arms would be the 8th Reserve Bavarian Division. These new Battalions had some advantages. With the exception of the senior commanders the officers and NCO’s were drawn from convalescing soldiers who had the benefit of front line experience. The soldiers were the best available being either battle experienced convalescents or intelligent young men at the end of their education.
Within the framework of the 1st Bavarian Army Corps, an infantry Battalion was created near to each of the four infantry Brigades, two in Munich, a third near the 3rd Brigade at Augsburg and a forth near the 4th Brigade at Neu-Ulm. The two Munich Battalions formed the 18th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment (RIR), whilst the other two Battalions formed the 19th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment (RIR). The Augsburg Battalion became the 1st Bn with the Neu-Ulm Battalion becoming the 2nd Bn. Each Battalion received a Battery of machine guns. Initially each Regiment had only two Battalions.
Before training could begin and the units declared operational there was a lot of work to do. Supplies and services had to be established and regulated, personnel had to be clothed and housed, substandard recruits had to be weeded out and sent to alternative units and the Company Commanders had to receive appropriate mounts. When training began on 3 Jan 1915 wet weather and sodden ploughed up exercise fields increased the difficulties. Further delays were introduced through a lack of experienced Company Commanders. It took 15 days to identify suitable individuals to fill the four Company Commander positions.
By 15 Jan 1915 all the difficulties had been overcome and each unit and individual had been taught the rudimentary skills necessary for combat. On the 14 Jan 1915 the Regiment formed at Augsburg was able to carry out routine manoeuvres with few errors under the eyes of their Brigade Commander Major-General Freiherre von Pechmann and their Divisional Commander Lieutenant-General Freiherr von Stein. The performance of the field artillery batteries and despatch riders was particularly encouraging. On the 20 Jan 1915 the 19th RIR paraded in the courtyard of the Prince Charles barracks and received its colours. The following day they set off to the railway station with an active strength off; 29 Officers, 14 ‘temporary’ Officers and Sergeant-Major’s, 4 Medical Officers, 2 Paymasters, 164 NCO’s, 2 Batteries of Machine Guns and 158 horses.
19th RIR composition 21 January 1915.
Regimental General Staff: Commanding Officer: Lieutenant Colonel Karl JAUD
Adjutant: Lieutenant Karl WAGNER
Equipment Officer: Adjutant Bruno ALBER

1st. Battalion
Commanding Officer: Major Heinrich VEITH
Adjutant: Lt. Wilhelm HAVERKAMP
Equipment Officer: Supply Officer. Joseph EBERT
Doctor: Chief Medical Officer. Wilhelm BRUNS
Medical assistant: Paul EPELER
Pay Officer: Pay NCO Max OBERMEIER

1st Company
2nd Company
Lt. (Reserve) Victor BUHL
Lt. (Reserve) Georg FÜRST .
Temporary Officer. Alois MAHR
Temporary Officer. Otto GAB
Temporary Officer. Eugen EINBERGER
Temporary Officer. Georg SCHUSTER
3rd Company
4th Company
Lt. Col. Wilhelm KOLLMANN
Capt. Karl SEITZ
Lt. Ludwig LINDNER
Lt. Theodor KÜSPERT
Temporary Officer. Xaver HUBER
Lt. (Reserve) Rudolf BERNHEIMER
Temporary Officer. Otto MICHELER
Temporary Officer. Josef MEERWALD

Machine Gun Section : Lt. de Rés. Georg KEIM
Temporary Officer. Florenzio Mac CARTY

2nd. Battalion
Commanding Officer: Major Rupert NEUHIERL
Adjutant: Lt. (Reserve) Karl FUCHS
Equipment Officer: Supply Officer. Michael GRAUVOGEL
Doctor: Medical Officer, Captain. (Dr) Jakob BERKENHEIER
Medical assistant: Siegfried ROUGE
Pay Officer: Pay NCO Philipp LEHNER

5th Company
6th Company
Lt. Col (Reserve) Otto KOLB
Lt. (Reserve) Richard ANGERER
Lt. Richard STIEHLE
Lt. Heinrich HOFMANN
Lt. (Reserve) Karl NONNENMACHER
Temporary Officer. Hans STREHLE
Billeting Officer. Martin LINDNER
7th Company
8th Company
Capt. Albert LEUCHS
Capt. Georg BÄRMANN
Lt. (Reserve) Theodor ENGELHARD
Lt. (Reserve) Martin SPERER
Lt. Leonhard ROSSKOPF
Billeting Officer. Karl GABLER
Temporary Officer. Georg SEUBERLING

Temporary Officer. Eugen WAGENSEIL

Machine Gun Section : Lt. Karl GRAU

On the 21 Jan 1915 at 13.25hrs the heavy rail transport convoys began their journey, initially in the direction of Ulm and from there, after a halt of two hours, they left at night (20.18hrs) towards an unspecified destination. At Sigmaringen it was clear that the route being taken was to the south and at 2pm the sentries wrapped in white fur and large trees loaded with snow proved that we were in the Black Forest. At daybreak we were driving at high speed towards Offenburg and Freiburg, around 11am we had crossed the Rhine canal near Napoleon Island and by midday had reached our objective of Mulhouse.

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