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23 DIVISION: 1914 and

Das deutsche Westheer beim Beginn des Vormarsches 18.August 1914 ...

46.Inf.Brig. (Generalmajor v.Watzdorff)

Königlich sächsisches (Füs.)Reg.Prinz Georg Nr.108
Königlich sächsisches 16.Inf.Reg. Nr.182

On mobilization for World War I in August 1914 it again became the 1st Infantry Division No. 23, although it was for convenience referred to outside of Saxony as the 23rd Infantry Division or the 23rd (1st Royal Saxon) Infantry Division. The division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I.

The division was recruited in eastern Saxony, especially around Dresden ...

On mobilization in August 1914 at the beginning of World War I, most divisional cavalry, including brigade headquarters, was withdrawn to form cavalry divisions or split up among divisions as reconnaissance units. Divisions received engineer companies and other support units from their higher headquarters. The division was again redesignated an infantry division. Its initial wartime organization was as follows: ...

Divisions underwent many changes during the war, with regiments moving from division to division, and some being destroyed and rebuilt. During the war, most divisions became triangular - one infantry brigade with three infantry regiments rather than two infantry brigades of two regiments (a "square division"). An artillery commander replaced the artillery brigade headquarters, the cavalry was further reduced, the engineer contingent was increased, and a divisional signals command was created ...

Hans Reinhard trat am 30. März 1908 als Fahnenjunker in die Kaiserliche Armee ein. Er kam dabei zum Königlich Sächsisches 8. Infanterie-Regiment "Prinz Johann Georg" Nr. 107. In diesem wurde er am 19. August 1909 zum Leutnant befördert. Das Patent wurde dabei auf den 20. August 1907 datiert. Vor dem 1. Weltkrieg war er als Oberleutnant beim 16. Königlich Sächsisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 182 im Einsatz. Im 1. Weltkrieg wurde er dann am 27. Januar 1917 zum Hauptmann befördert. Im Ersten Weltkrieg wurde er mit beiden Eisernen Kreuzen und anderen Orden ausgezeichnet.

[Royal Saxon 16th Infantry Regiment No. 182 (46.Inf.-Brig./23.Inf.-Div./XII Armeek./3.Armee.) (Location: Freiberg) Commander: Colonel Francke ]

Example from -

1914-18.Info -


1914 - 1918



Histories of Two-Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which participated in the War (1914-1918), pp. 333-336 -


(2) 123 DIVISION: 1915-1916

The 123rd Infantry Division (123. Infanterie-Division) was a unit of the Imperial German Army in World War I. The division was formed on April 1, 1915 and organized over the next several weeks ... It was part of a wave of new infantry divisions formed in the spring of 1915. The division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I. The division was a Royal Saxon division, made up of troops from that kingdom. It was formed primarily from the excess infantry regiments of regular infantry divisions which were being triangularized. The division's 245th Infantry Brigade was the former 64th Infantry Brigade of the 32nd (3rd Royal Saxon) Infantry Division, and came to the division with the 182nd Infantry Regiment. The 106th Reserve Infantry Regiment came from the 24th (Royal Saxon) Reserve Division and the 178th Infantry Regiment came from the 23rd (1st Royal Saxon) Infantry Division. The division's 193rd Infantry Platoon came from Yugoslavia ...

The 123rd Infantry Division initially fought on the Western Front in World War I, entering the line in the Aisne region in mid-April 1915. Later in 1915, it fought in the Battle of Loos. It remained on the front in the Flanders and Artois regions into 1916, and in July entered the Battle of the Somme, where it reportedly lost 6,000 men. It was transferred to the Eastern Front at the end of the month [1916], where it went into the line near Lake Narač until November 1917, when it returned to the Western Front. It went into the line near Verdun until May 1918. It later fought in the Second Battle of the Marne and then returned to the line near Verdun. Late in 1918, it faced the Allied Meuse-Argonne Offensive. It remained in the line until the end of the war. Allied intelligence rated the division as third class and of mediocre combat value.

Order of battle on formation

The 123rd Infantry Division was formed as a triangular division. The order of battle of the division on April 1, 1915 was as follows ...

245. Infanterie-Brigade

Late-war order of battle ...

The order of battle on June 3, 1918 was as follows: ... [Not included in the Division after it transferred in 1918 to the western front: Kgl. Sächsisches 16. Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 182; 1.Eskadron/Kgl. Sächsisches 1. Husaren-Regiment "König Albert" Nr. 18; Fußartillerie-Batterie Nr. 123]


1915 - 1918


Histories of Two-Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which participated in the War (1914-1918), pp. 620-622 -


The German Forces in the Field, 6th Revision, April 1918, Independent Divisions -p. 183 -


XII CORPS -     1914

The organization of the XII (1st Royal Saxon) Corps in 1914, shortly before the outbreak of World War I, was as follows:

23rd Division (1st Royal Saxon)
32nd Division (3rd Royal Saxon)
2nd Royal Saxon Foot Artillery Regiment No. 19
1st Royal Saxon Pioneer Battalion No. 12
1st Royal Saxon Train Battalion No. 12
Telegraph Battalion No. 7


XII CORPS -     1918


46th Infantry Brigade (as well as its 16. Royal Saxon Infantry Regiment 182) of the 23 Division (1st Royal Saxon)  Not Included





August 21-24, 1914



Military Bureau for the Investigation of Offenses Against the Laws of War.

Fight of the Belgian People

at Dinant

from August 21-24, 1914.

[p. 61]


Immediately after crossing the Belgian frontier the Twelfth Army Corps had difficulties with the civilian population of Belgium, which reached their height in and around Dinant.

For the advance Dinant was of especial importance, in so far as the corps was to cross the river Meuse there.

The town with its suburbs of Leffe and Les Rivages on the right bank, and of Neffe, St. Médard and Bouvignes on the left bank of the Meuse lies along the river in a deep-cut valley. Both banks are steep and in many places rocky and rise up in terraces to a height of about 70 meters, the right side being a little higher than the left. Above the center of the town, on the right bank towers the fort, about one hundred meters high. Close near it, to the north, ends the main road which runs from Sorinnes. There are two further accesses from the East in the deep side valleys which end at Leffe and Les Rivages.

On August 15, 1914, a venture of German cavalry, in which among others the sharpshooters' battalion No. 12 took part, had resulted in a temporary occupation of the right Meuse bank. It was given up again before superior numbers of the enemy on the same day, numerous dead and a few wounded being left behind.

On August 17 the enemy's troops withdrew to the left Meuse bank. From that time Dinant, Leffe and Les Rivages were free from the regular troops of the enemy.

On August 21st, the Twelfth Army Corps (1st Royal Saxon Corps) became active outside Dinant. On the evening of that day the 2nd battalion of the sharpshooters, Fusilier-Regiment No. 108 went on a reconnaissance in force to Dinant accompanied by a detachment of pioneers. When they reached the first houses on the road that leads from Sorinnes, a signal shot was suddenly fired. At the next moment shots cracked on all sides. They were fired from all the houses, and blazed from the hill sides. The houses were stoutly barricaded so that clubs, axes and hand-grenades had to enforce access. Wires had been stretched across the street to cause the soldiers to stumble. Many of our men were wounded with small shot. Also stones were thrown at them.

The battalion penetrated as far as the bridge, where it ascertained that the bridge was occupied by the enemy's troops, and then returned, all the while being shot at from the houses. A thorough clearing of [p. 62] the place from franctireurs was not possible owing to the necessary haste. It was tried to overpower part of them by setting fire to those houses from which shots came.

It was evident that the populace made this assault on the reconnoitering detachment in accordance with a preconceived plan. It was also evident that Dinant had known of the impending venture and had turned to use measures which had been prepared long beforehand for that purpose. That preparation had been made was proved, among other things, by the loopholes with which numerous houses and walls had been provided.

After that experience it was to be expected that in future operations too, the civilian population would take part in the fight, but the fears entertained in that respect were far surpassed by the extent and the stubbornness that participation actually assumed.

On August 23rd the left Meuse bank was to be taken by the Twelfth Corps. After preparatory artillery fire the infantry advanced in the direction of Dinant, the 32nd infantry division northward, and the 23rd infantry division southward. The left wing of the enemy was attacked by Grenadier-Regiment No. 100 (Body Guards), and Infantry Regiment No. 132 and, next to that, the Sharpshooters' Regiment No. 108, whilst Infantry Regiment No. 178 reached Leffe through the Leffe valley.

The enemy was expelled from the heights of the left Meuse bank on the same day. August 23rd, with comparatively small losses to our side. The losses, on the other hand, which the hostile civilian population of Dinant and the neighboring places inflicted on the Twelfth Corps on August 23rd were very considerable; so were the exertions needed to break down the resistance, completely organized as it was, of the civilian population on August 23rd and the subsequent days.

Again, as on August 21st, the people of Dinant and its surroundings seemed to be informed that the advance of the Corps was imminent, and they were prepared in proportion.

The 1st battalion of the Regiment of Body Guards came from Herbuchenne and marched down a steep slope. During their descent they were taken under a brisk fire from houses and passages. In part it was necessary to fight for each house separately and to make use of hand grenades in order to drive the occupants out of their hiding places, from where they used all sorts of weapons, being concealed from the cellar to the attic. Those who were caught with arms in hand were shot on the spot, while suspects were first of all taken to the city jail as hostages. In spite of these measures the populace continued to shoot at the Body Guard grenadiers who suffered considerable losses, especially in officers. Amongst others Lieutenant Treusch von Buttlar fell here, while Captain Legler was seriously wounded.

[p. 63] In the meantime a large portion of the place was in flames partly owing to the use of hand-grenades, partly to French and German artillery fire. But all this had not been enough to convince the population that their participation in the fight was both useless and dangerous. Until evening, even when on the march to the crossing point which had been prepared at Les Rivages, the regiment was shot at from the houses.

Regiments No. 108 and 182 made the same experiences when they reached Dinant north of the regiment of Body Guards. Even from the easternmost houses they were shot at. The Ferme Malais was stormed by the 1st battalion of Regiment No. 108 of the sharpshooter-fusiliers. All franctireurs who offered resistance there were killed. In a fierce fight for every house an advance was made in the direction of the market place, the men expecting all the time to be shot at by invisible enemies from cellars, caves and slopes. Amongst others Major Lommatzsch of Infantry Regiment No. 182 was mortally wounded here by shots fired by two civilians from the windows of a house. Shots were even fired from the Cathedral. As early as in the course of the morning the commander of the 46th Brigade recognized that it was impossible to subdue the fanatical population without a bombardment of the place by artillery. But the troops were too far engaged in the house-to-house fighting to be withdrawn immediately. Only after 3 P. M. the regiments could be withdrawn to the heights north of Dinant so that now the artillery, particularly, parts of field artillery regiment No. 12 and a battery of heavy artillery could more effectively take Dinant under fire from Leffe.

Early in the morning, Infantry Regiment No. 178 had begun its march from Thynes to Leffe, using the low road along the Leffe valley. Even before reaching Leffe, the company marching at the head was shot at from isolated lots and from steep slopes that lay along both sides of the road and were partly wounded. Particularly brisk was the fire from the paper factory on the left of the road and the adjacent houses pertaining thereto. Therefore the slopes were searched for franctireurs, later with the help of the 11th Sharpshooters. The barricaded houses were forcibly opened and cleared of their inhabitants. All who were caught with arms in hand were shot. The trouble caused to the advancing regiment by the people hidden in the houses grew ever more violent. Shots came out of every house, although in many houses no one could be found, the snipers retreating into their hiding places, only to leave them later and shoot again at the German troops. Thus it became imperative to set fire to a number of houses in order to force the snipers out of their coverts. A number of inhabitant's were taken to the convent yard as hostages.

The 9th Company of Regiment No. 178, making front against the enemy on the left Meuse bank, occupied a garden lot along the river which belonged to a villa and a factory. Here too the soldiers were [p. 64] shot at. The villa and the factory were consequently cleared of their occupants. The owner and a number of his workmen were fetched from the cellar of the factory and shot. The women and children found with them were accommodated in the convent yard.

Nearly all day Regiment No. 178 fought fiercely with the Leffe population suffering many losses.

Infantry Regiment No. 103 which arrived at Leffe towards evening was also shot at by franctireurs from the slopes of the Leffe-ravine and from houses. The same measures of defense had to be taken: men caught with arms were disarmed and shot, and fire was set to such houses as could not otherwise be cleared. In the evening it became quiet at Leffe. But the assumption that no more was to be feared from the populace proved erroneous. After dusk the pickets on the left wing, which the 2nd battalion of Infantry Regiment No. 178 had placed towards the Meuse as a safeguard, were attacked by a large number of inhabitants south of the barracks of the 12th Belgian Infantry Regiment. A reinforcement of troops cleared that region and the adjacent part of the town, being all the while kept under fire from the houses by franctireurs. A considerable number of persons who were caught with arms in hand were shot.

About midnight the von Zeschau detachment coming from Houx arrived at the northern entrance of Leffe. Barely were the first houses reached when a brisk gun fire was poured from them on the foremost companies. The doors of the houses had been barred and the windows barricaded with bedsteads and other furniture. Those houses were stormed and set on fire as a protection against franctireurs who could not otherwise be caught. The men who were found in those houses with arms were shot. Also from the above mentioned factory was a brisk and constant fire poured on the detachment, especially on the machine gun Company of Infantry Regiment No. 177, and the fire of the franctireurs only ceased when the factory was set on fire.

Whilst these events happened in the North of Dinant, sanguinary battles with the civilian population also ensued in the South, at Les Rivages and Anseremme.

Late in the afternoon Grenadier Regiment No. 101 together with the third company of field-pioneers arrived at Les Rivages on the road which terminates there, in order to cross the river Meuse. Already in the morning the pioneers, with pontoon wagons to bridge the river, had reached that section of Dinant which the regiment of body guards had occupied. But they had been obliged to retreat to the height because they had been fired at from the houses, and could not check the shooting in spite of their efforts to clear them, in which efforts they were supported by the infantry.

[p. 65] First of all, the village of Les Rivages appeared as dead. On the opposite bank the houses of Neffe were ablaze, from hits of our artillery fire.

The crossing began at once. First the 2nd and then the 11th Company of Grenadier Regiment No. 101 gained the left bank and started a large frontal attack against the enemy's infantry on the western river heights. The 11th Company in passing the narrow lane at Neffe were fired at, in quick succession, with five loads of small-shot. The barricaded house was forced open, the snipers, one man and two women, were shot.

Immediately afterwards the company, led by the captain, reached the railway dam. At that place, an outlet for water traversed that embankment. In front of it lay a civilian, shot, with a carbine-like weapon in his possession. In the dark tunnel people could be seen. The Captain called out loud: "Sortez, on ne vous fera rien." (Come out, no harm will be done to you.) Neither an answer came back from the dark passage nor did the people hidden there leave it. The consequence was that a number of gunshots were fired into the passage. The grenadiers rushed across the railway embankment further up the height. The detachment which had been left behind to secure and clear the passage hunted from 35 to 40 civilians out of it, men, half-grown boys, women and children, also found 8 to 10 rifles, not hunting rifles, but apparently military guns. A part of the civilians were killed or wounded by the fire of the grenadiers.

In the meantime everything kept quiet at Les Rivages. The first person who made his appearance was a lame man. He said that he was the Mayor, and that the people of Les Rivages were peaceful in contrast to those of Neffe. He was, therefore, sent over to Neffe with orders to admonish the Neffe people to keep quiet; if they did, no harm would come to them.

The commander of the Grenadier Regiment No. 101 secured from the nearest houses a number of persons to avail himself of them as hostages in case of hostile actions on the part of the population. It was explained to them that their lives were pledged for the safety of the troops. That measure was caused by the revolt of the native population of Dinant, which had become known, and by the report, made at that very moment by an officer, that he had been fired at out of the houses close to Les Rivages, south of that place in the direction of Anseremme. The men were placed along a garden wall to the left of the crossing point, the women and children, who had come out of the houses with them, a little lower down the stream.

The crossing and the bridging of the river continued. When the bridge had advanced about forty meters, franctireurs suddenly began a brisk gun fire out of the houses of Les Rivages and from the rocky [p. 66] slopes south of the "Rocker Bayard" and its proximity. The shots were fired on the close formation of the grenadiers who were waiting for passage and on the working pioneers. The greatest consternation and confusion ensued. In consequence, the male hostages who were gathered at the garden wall were shot.

The shooting of the hostages which was evidently noticed by the unseen franctireurs had the result that the firing ceased, and the bridge building continued.

On August 24th and partly in the previous night the troops of the corps managed to cross the Meuse at Les Rivages and Leffe. On August 25th the hindmost formations of the corps also crossed the river.

But the stringent measures taken on August 23rd had by no means finally checked the franctireurs. Also on the two following days, passing columns and single individuals were shot at from the slopes and out of houses though not to such an extent as on August 23rd. Those actions had again to lead to reprisals. Some civilians caught in the act were shot, and the artillery bombarded the buildings which were occupied by franctireurs. The latter happened at Neffe and St. Médard on August 24th, the former in all parts of the town on August 24th and 25th.

If one surveys the entire resistance offered to the German troops by the people of Dinant and its suburbs, the plan and method of that resistance is the most striking feature.

Even before August 23rd those who lived in the surroundings of Dinant knew that an organization existed at that place for the purpose of treacherously attacking the German troops. It was known that the assaults made by native civilians on German troops at Sorinnes and other places east of the Meuse were partly due to emissaries from Dinant.

That organization was remarkable for its careful preparation and its wide extent.

The houses had been put in a state of defense, doors being barred and windows barricaded, loopholes being cut and large supplies of fire arms and ammunitions stored up. That there was a large supply of ammunition is evident, among other things, from the fact that projectiles would constantly explode in the burning houses. At the time of the venture in the night of August 21st wires were strung across the street to make the soldiers stumble over them.

The firearms were only partly sporting guns; there were also machine guns and Belgian military rifles. That permits of the conclusion that the Belgian Government gave its support to the organization. The whole of Dinant with all its suburbs on the right and left of the Meuse river was equally well prepared. At Leffe, at Les Rivages, at Neffe, everywhere we found barricaded houses, loopholes and firearms. Moreover, the fighting reports emphasize that the Belgian civilians wore no [p. 67] military emblems. The entire population was agreed to check the German advance. They have only themselves to blame if they partly perished in the dangers to which they exposed themselves of their own will.

The resistance offered was most stubborn. It was carried on with all kinds of weapons, with military and sporting guns, with bullet and shot, with revolvers, knives and stones. All callings, even the clergy, took part in it, all joined—men and women, old people and children. Firing would continue from the cellars of burning houses, and one franctireur even fired at the firing squad with a revolver at the very moment when he was to be summarily shot.

With malice and treachery people fired, invisible themselves to those outside, out of loophole from behind at passing divisions or at individual officers. When the Germans entered the snipers would escape through back doors into the numerous caves and subterranean passages to continue their assassins' work in other places.

Some male franctireurs had donned woman's dress.

The Geneva emblem was misused by individual persons and for buildings in order to harm the Germans under its protection.

Even wounded soldiers who were being retransported as well as the sanitary staff were shot at from the houses.

But the climax in the revolting outrages to which their fanaticism drove the population was reached in such acts as cruelly assassinating the sleeping, outraging the dead, burning the wounded soldiers who for the purpose were tied down with wire.

In viewing the attitude taken by the troops of the Twelfth Corps with regard to the extremely hostile proceeding of the civilian population who employed all and any means, however reprehensible, the tactical aim of that Corps must not be lost sight of, which was speedily to cross the Meuse and drive the enemy from the left bank of the river. It was a military necessity quickly to overcome the resistance of the inhabitants who opposed that aim: an aim which had to be attained by every means. From that point of view it was certainly justified to bombard with artillery the town which had taken active part in the fight, to burn the houses which were occupied by franctireurs, and to shoot the inhabitants who were caught with arms in hand.

Likewise in agreement with the law was the shooting of the hostages which took place in various localities. The troops that were fighting in the town were in dire distress since, under the artillery, machine gun and rifle fire of the regular army of the enemy which was stationed on the left Meuse bank, they were shot at by the inhabitants both in their rear and on their sides. The hostages were secured in order to stop the action of the franctireurs. As nevertheless the people continued to inflict losses on the fighting troops the shooting of the hostages [p. 68] had to be resorted to. Otherwise their seizure would only have meant a vain threat. The shooting of the hostages was all the more justified as their innocence was not likely considering that the population in general took part in the fight, and it was inevitable in regard of the military object in view and of the distress of the troops, who were being treacherously attacked from behind.

The lives of women and children, unless they were caught in the act, or self-defense was necessary against them, have been spared on principle. If, in spite of this, women and children were killed and wounded the existing situation easily explains that. They were partly struck by hostile projectiles which came from the left bank of the Meuse, and partly by shots gone astray during the fight in the houses and streets. At Les Rivages, too, during the shooting of the, hostages, some women and children were hit who, contrary to the direction given, in the general confusion had left their place, which was separate from that of the male hostages, and had crowded together with these.

That the conduct of the. troops of the Twelfth Corps was not ruthless or cruel, is proved by numerous cases where they made provision for women, old men and children, acts which were most creditable under the obtaining circumstances. A number of confined women were carried from endangered houses to a place of safety and bedded on mattresses near our wounded soldiers. Wounded inhabitants-the wounds were generally the result of the enemy's fire-were bandaged and received conscientious medical treatment. Little children who were found alone were assigned to the care of women. The large number of women and children who had come from the burning town of Dinant, and were at Les Rivages in the night from the 23rd to the 24th of August, were sheltered in a house and provided with food and drink. In the morning they all got hot coffee from a field kitchen of the regiment of body guards.

The statements made by the surviving inhabitants of Dinant concerning the fights about their town, and the reports, based on those statements, of the Belgian Investigation Commission and of the hostile press are all characterized by ignoring the part taken by the population in the fight against our troops and by reporting merely and with intentional exaggeration what our troops have done to ward off that participation in the fight. In view of the established facts it is a malicious distortion of actual conditions to state that civilian inhabitants had fired no shots since they were ordered to deliver all arms.

Without doubt it is a matter of profound regret that in consequence of the occurrences on August 23rd and 24th the prosperous town of Dinant with its suburbs was burned and ruined to a large extent, and numerous human lives lost. Not the German army, however, but exclusively the inhabitants of Dinant bear the responsibility for it. The [p. 69] whole population of Dinant, contrary to international law, fought against the German troops fanatically and treacherously, and compelled them to take such reprisals as the military aims required.

If the population had kept aloot from armed resistance and open participation in the fights they would hardly have been injured in life and property, however much the military operations might have endangered their condition.

Berlin, April 11th, 1915.

Military Commission for the Investigation of offenses against the laws of war.

(Signed) Major Bauer. (Signed) Dr. Wagner, District Court Councillor.


La Malmaison, December 9, 1914.

Present: Military Court Councillor Näumann.

Military Court Clerk Schwarzbach.

In matters of the investigation into the violations of international law perpetrated against the German troops, first class private Säring, appeared as witness and after having been impressed with the significance of the oath, testified as follows:

My name is Johann Georg Säring, I am 22 years old, a Lutheran, locksmith by trade, and a first class private in the twelfth company of Infantry Regiment No. 182.

On Sunday, August 23, 1914, at Dinant I observed during the forenoon the arm of a man protruding out of a first story window of the pharmacy. The hand held a revolver, with which we soldiers were shot upon. I distinctly saw the Red Cross band on the arm. I smashed the locked door with an axe, and children, women, an elderly man, and at last the man with the Red Cross band on his arm came out. This man was taken before Colonel Franke, while the other civilians were held in a corner.

We then hurried toward the church in which civilians had been gathered. I am absolutely certain that we were fired upon from the church steeple. This could have been done only by inhabitants, as hostile soldiers were not seen all day.

Read, approved, signed.

(Signed) Johann Georg Säring.

The witness was thereupon sworn.

(Signed) Näumann. (Signed) Schwarzbach.

Wood south-west of La Ville aux Bois,

February 5th, 1915.


By order of the Rifle (Fusilier) Regiment " Prince George " No. 108 there appeared as witness Corporal Schmieder of the loth Company.

Warned to speak the whole truth, he made the following deposition :

As to Person : My name is Hermann Walter Schmieder. I am 20 years of age ; of the Evangelical-Lutheran faith ; gardener by calling ; now corporal in the 10th Company.

As to Case : On the Sorinnes-Dinant road the following occurrence took place in the part of the town of Dinant which hes on both sides of the road. I witnessed how two male civilians discharged pistol-shots at Major Lommatsch, Battalion Commander, 16th Infantry Regiment No. 182, from the first storey of a house standing directly on the road. Major Lommatsch immediately collapsed,

Read over, approved,

signed. Signed : Schmieder.

The witness was sworn in accordance with regulations.

Signed : Lassow, Lieutenant and Ofiicer of the Court.

Signed : Schubert, Acting-Sergeant-Major

Present :

1st Lieutenant Grau, as Officer of the Court.
Acting-Sergeant-Major Limbacker, as Clerk of the Court.

"The Front," February 28th, 1915.

There appeared as witness Major-General Francke, who, after reference to the significance of the oath, was examined as follows :

As to Person : My name is Franz Samuel Ludwig Francke. I am 51 years old; Protestant; Major-General and Regimental Commander, Infantry Regiment No. 182.

As to Case : I confirm that in Dinant a civilian who wore a white band with the Geneva Cross was brought to me by a corporal and two men of the 12th Company. The party assured me that they had seen an arm with a Geneva brassard project from between the shutters of a window on the first floor of a house distant about thirty paces from where I was, and that it had discharged a pistol into the street which was thronged with soldiers. Several dead and wounded soldiers were lying in the street who could only have been hit from the houses or straight through from the houses on the riverside. The soldiers stated that they had broken into the house and had fetched out the occupants, among whom was this man.

The civilian explained to me, without being asked, at first in hardly intelligible German, and then in French when I addressed him in French, that he was a doctor, and that he had protected the women who were in the houses, and had not fired on the soldiers. I thereupon ordered him to immediately bandage one of the wounded lying there. On his assertion that he had no bandages, I told him to fetch some bandages from the pharmacy which was situated directly behind me. I had already wondered that he had not taken this simple step if he was really a doctor. As I was very much occupied I could not watch him further myself, but ordered a corporal and one man to accompany and keep watch on the supposed doctor. Some time after, the corporal came to me and reported that, as they entered the ground floor of the pharmacy, the doctor had suddenly run into the rear part of the house and not into the room used for the pharmacy on the street front, whereupon they had brought him out and shot him.

Read over, approved, signed.

Signed : Franz Francke.

The witness was thereupon sworn.

Signed : Grau, 1st Lieutenant and Officer of the Court.

Signed : Limbäcker, Acting-Sergeant-Major, as Clerk of the Military Court.





1914 - 1915







The Germans had held the line from Auberive to the Forest of the Argonne since the battle of the Marne ...



German soldiers in the trenches near Roclincourt (Arras, 1915)



Souchez Front - May - July, 1915

Battle of Artois, May - July, 1915


(8) LOOS

Map as at 13th October 1915. Hohenzollern Redoubt is slightly left of centre; British trenches at lower left in blue; German at upper right in red


1915 - 1916






(iii) ELOI


Holding The Salient, 1916 - The Fighting At St. Eloi -


(10) SOMME


"Monday, 31.8.14. At 7 marched with nothing to eat. We passed through the town of Rethel, where we halted for two hours. Wine and champagne in abundance; we looted with a will.

"Friday, 4.9. 14. Noon. We cooked, boiling and roasting; wine and champagne in abundance."

Germany's violations of the laws of war, 1914-15 - No. 43. Extract from the note-book of Baum, a soldier of the 182nd Regiment of Infantry, concerning looting at at Novion, Rethel, etc. , pp. 122-123.