Two Years in the Trenches
What we know...
00.00.1916-00.11.1918 Entered service as Kriegsfreiwilliger, assigned successively to 2.Garde-Infanterie-Regiment zu Fuss; 3.Ersatz-MG-Kompanie / Gardekorps; and 2.MG-Kompanie / II.MG-Abteilung / 7.Garde-Infanterie-Regiment (service on the Eastern and Western Fronts, including Verdun).
15.10.1917-14.02.1918 Attended an officer training course in Döberitz.
00.04.1918-ca. 10.1918 Severely wounded in the head and shoulder, then hospitalized in Frankfurt am Oder.
HISTORIES OF TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY-ONE DIVISIONS OF THE GERMAN ARMY WHICH PARTICIPATED IN THE WAR (1914-1918)
A COMPILED FROM RECORDS OF INTELLIGENCE SECTION OF THE GENERAL STAFF, AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES, AT GENERAL HEAD- QUARTERS : : CHAUMONT, FRANCE : : 1919
Guard Ersatz Battalions
Formed in August, 1914, by grouping the Guard Ersatz Battalions and the Ersatz Battalions of the 2d Corps District, the division detrained at Saverne August 19. In reserve during the battle on the 20th, it crossed the frontier on the 23d with the 6th Army, fought southeast of Luneville the first days of September, and toward the end of the same month it went to Haye (Woevre).
1. There it formed part of the Ersatz Corps and held various sectors of the region until March, 1916 (St. Baussant, Flirey, Bois de Mort-Mare, etc.). 1916.
1. In March,1916, the 1st Guard Ersatz Mixed Bde. (6th and 7th Guard Regiments) left the Apremont region to go to the north of Combres and to the south of Fresnes-en-Woevre.
2. After a rest of 10 days at St. Marieaux Chenes (Apr. 24 - May 3) it went to the front north of Verdun.
May11- 12 it entered line in the Bois - Nawé (west of Douaumont), where it took part in several attacks (notably that of May 25). It rested in June, and fought again, beginning July 1, to the southeast of the Thiaumont works.
3. The 5th Guard Ersatz Mixed Bde. which had remained in the Montsec region, entrained at Vigneulles-St. Benoit (July 23-26), detrained at Spincourt, and during the night of August 3 - 4 entered line to east of Fleury. Together with the 1st Bde., it took part in the attack of August 5, and both suffered heavy losses.
4. The Guard Ersatz Division was withdrawn from line the end of August, after having lost 50 per cent of its infantry before Verdun.
5. After a rest in the region west of Spincourt it went back in to line to north of Flirey en Haye; it remained there until about the 5th of November.
In September the 357th and the 358th Infantry Regiments were attached to the Bavarian Ersatz Division and 214th Division, respectively. The Guard Ersatz Division received in exchange a regiment newly formed from companies taken from the 6th and 7th Guard and the 357th Infantry Regiments.
CÔTE DU POIVRE
6. The division rested in November, leaving December 18 to go the the region north of Côte du Poivre, following the French attack of December 15.
1. About January 15, 1917, the Guard Ersatz Division was withdrawn from the Verdun front and sent to Champagne (St. Hilaire sector).
2. Believed toward the the end of March, the division was sent sent to reserve in the Chateau - Porcien region, which it quitted April 12.
3. April 16 and the days following elements of the division counter attacked toward Berméricourt; then relieving (Apr. 18) the remnants of the 21st Division, the Guard Ersatz Division went through the French attack of May 4. It left this front soon after
4. May; rest in rear of the Champagne front.
5. After a stay in a sectors in Haye to the north of Flirey (from the beginning of June to the middle of July), the division was carried to the eastern front (July 23-27)).
(Itinerary: Sarrebrucken, Kreuziiach, Frankfort, Leipsic, Cottbus, Glogau, Warsaw,
6. The Kaiser reviewed the division July 29. From the 1st to the 17th of August it was trained in open warfare near Vilna.
7. Taken to Chavli (Aug. 28), then to the Gross-Ekkau region, the division entered line in the Uxkuell region and participated in the Riga offensive, entering Riga September 3—4.
8. September 8 the division entrained for the western front. (Itinerary: Chavli, Kovno, Eydtkuhnen, Insterberg, Posen, Oottbus, Leipsic, Frankfort, Thionville, Briey.) It encamped near Spincourt, and then, about October, entered line to the north of Bezonvaux.
The Garde Ersatz Division was recruited all over Prussia just as all the other Guard divisions.
' Good division. The 6th and 7th Guard Regiments are not to be considered as tried troops. The 399th Infantry Regiment seems to have but a slight combative value.
The men are said to have shown dissatisfaction when they left Russia for the western front. Desertions are said to have taken place en route. (Inter, pris. Dec. 15-17.)
1. The division remained north of Verdun until February 20, when it was relieved, and went to Damvillers, entrained, and went to the Arlon area and was trained until March 15.
2. It entrained at Arlon on that date and traveled via Charleroi to Mons, where it arrived the following day. By night marches the division passed through Maubeuge - Bavai - Englefontaine - Fontaine au Bois-Bazuel-Le Cateau-Busigny-Bohain-Fresnoy- Péronne, without taking part in any fighting. It came into line March 25-26, and was heavily engaged at Proyart the 27th.
3. The division was withdrawn about April 6, after having large casualties, and
reinforced the front near Hangard the night of April 9-10, not being relieved until about May 4. Flanking divisions extended their fronts.
4. It rested north west of Mons until the end of June.
5. It then went to reserve in Champagne, and entered line west of Auberive July 15. It was withdrawn on the 21st.
OULCHY LE CHATEAU
6. The division was identified in the line north of Oulchy le Chateau July 29, where it fought until withdrawn, about August 9. Alsace.
7. It went into rest cantonments at Helfrantzkirch
(northeast of Basle), and re- mained there until September 25.
8. Prisoners of the division were captured southwest of Boulers, and they stated that it entered line October 5-6. The division remained in line fighting stubbornly, but to no purpose, until withdrawn, November 7.
Reliable information is to the effect that the Guard Ersatz, the Guard Cavalry and the Jaeger Divisions bore the title “Oberste Heeresleitungs Angriffsdivisionen” and that they were held under the direct control of the Supreme Command.
Never-the-less the Guard Ersatz has always been considered as being in the second of four Classes.