Two new sections join the my Early WW1 German collection.
Minis from the new Mutton Chop Early WW1 German infantry blisters.
This week I’ve been adding two new infantry Sections (Korporalschafts) to my Early War German army, using new additions to the Mutton Chop WW1 German range, released at Salute. I couldn’t attend this year, so a big THANK YOU to Jesper for carrying home these minis from the Excel event, where Michael and he hosted a Medieval-themed participation game.
Attacking with colors flying was not uncommon in 1914.
Source: Preussischer Kulturbesitz.
Besides loving to paint greatly sculpted and cast miniatures (like these - Paul Hicks rarely lets one down!), one of my other big passions is German history from 1864 – 1945 and how it impacts European and World history.
The section with Ensign.
The flag is from GMB's Franco Prussian range.
European history is a complex and bloody affair, and while much can, and have been said, about the atrocities of WW2, I feel it is equally important to highlight and separate the positive dynamics of German Unification in 1871, from what was a tragedy in the 30ies and 40ies.
Searching a German antique bookshop site,
I found the actual Exerzier-Reglement in its 1906 edition.
With that said, I look back at one of the things most fascinating to me from the period. The quality and independent ability of the German officers, and how they were supported by a doctrine granting them higher independence and on the ground flexibility – naturally with an imbedded German DNA to attack. Something that I my opinion sets apart the German army from all its adversaries in the wars of this era.
The section with bugler and officer.
The German Advance Guard doctrine fully accepted and integrated two mayor focal points: That wars were wages on the move, and the fact that Post-Napoleonic battles, with their enormous masses of troops, could not be directed centrally. The realization of these two important factors is best shown in the German Officer’s tactical doctrine Handbook – the Exerzier-Reglement.
Naturally the Exerzier-Reglement kicks off with a little greeting
from Kaiser Willy.
In the Exerzier-Reglement, officers are urged to take initiative and exercise independent judgment of the situation, often most crucial to a battle, namely the initial engagement between the Advance Guard of two forces. The priorities for the officer were to attack, defend or withdraw, and how best to deploy his troops to meet the required action.
Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Based on the limited information at hand, the Advance Guard commander would be expected to either a) brush aside smaller enemy contingents and allow the advance to continue, or b) when encountering larger enemy contingents, to act as a screen while the main German force formed up behind him, and finally c) while pursuing any of the objectives a or b, to collect as much information on enemy position and strength while securing key strategic points in the surrounding terrain, ensuring that the German army would have the best outset and initiative in the case of a ensuing engagement.
The composition of the German Advance Guard Regiment.
1: Cavalry reconnaissance screen.
2: A point company as spearhead
3: Advance battalion
4: 1st Battalion of the Regiment
5: Artillery Section
6: Rest of the Regiment
Here we must keep in mind that reconnaissance information, even in 1914, often travelled by horseback to the central high command, which had little chance of an overview, and even less time to act on the received intelligence.
Early WW1 Germans on the march.
In many battles, like Königgrätz (1866), Mars-la-Tour (1870) and the early campaigns of 194, this gave the German doctrine some decisive advantages over their adversaries, who’s doctrines favored the Napoleonic approach.
Thank you very much for stopping by for a read.
Any comments are welcome!