German Officer Grade US. Officer Grade
Oberleutnant First Lieutenant
Hauptmann, Rittmeister Captain
Oberstleutnant Lieutenant Colonel
Generalmajor Brigadier General
Generalleutnant Major General
General Lieutenant General
In the German Army until the end of the war 1918, those at the rank of Major General and higher were addressed as "Exzellenz".
Aerial photo of the remaining positions at Lingekopf Photo: Memorial du Linge
This original document was written in German by Gerhard Friedrich Dose, Goethestraße 47, D 69514 Laudenbach, Germany. His father, Leutnant (Lieutenant) Dose, was transferred from 85.I.R.to the 187 Infantry Regiment, 2 Company, and served as an Adjutant of the I. Bataillon. (bataillion). As Oberleutnant (Ist Lieutenant) he was Adjutant of the Regiment. At the end of the war he has been Hauptmann (Captain) and Commander of the III. Bataillon.
Gerhard Friedrich Dose compiled this document from his father’s book “187th in The Field“ and added many pictures from the six war albums of his father. I obtained this documentation from Gerh. Friedr. Dose, and with his permission had it translated into English by Glen Grady (USA) and Gerben Van Vlimmeren (Netherlands).
My Grandfathers brother, Jan Egbers served in the 5th Company of the 187 I.R. My original interest was to learn of the details of his death on November 4, 1916. My intent now is to preserve this history for future generation so that sacrifices all men who fought in the “Great War” will not be forgotten.
James Egbers, January 2004
Our oldest son passed his driver's exam and needed some driving practice. This was the reason we planned a trip to Elsace over the Easter weekend 1975. So we reached the Lingekopf accidental We were surprised to find there trench fortifications in good condition with well cared for pathways and plaques The "Memorial du Linge 1915" was not yet there. We looked and while in the trenches our both sons came to us and said:" Dad, we have found a memorial shield, that shows the unit of your father". I was curious, I knew about my father's regiment history from "The 187th in the Field" and the six photo albums about the First World War and his experiences in the Vogesen. My wife and I let us lead from our sons.
Entrance to the Fort Lingekopf (1975) Fort Lingekopf (1975) Trench shield of the 187 IR (2001)
We visited the Lingekopf several times. After an extended absence we came again in July 1982. Then we found the memorial and I spoke with Monsieur Fernard Bosshard (died 3. Jan 1989) and since then I've been in contact with other members of the memorial. I also spoke in the autumn 1989 at the telephone with Monsieur Norbert Fleckinger of Colmar., that I as a man from Hamburg should talk the text for the recording for the DIA show because the Infantry Regiment 187 was made up mostly of North Germans.
Monsieur Fleckinger made after the DIA Show a video, later reworked it again for a film, and used the spoken script from 1989.
On our subsequent visits (at least once a year) we discovered that different times of the year provided interesting visitors and that the museum was becoming an attractive visitors center.
The Memorial (2001) Main area of the Memorial (2001)
Assisted by the excellent homepage of Alexander Kallis the thought was planted to put together the history of "The King's Prussian Infantry Regiment 187" from its establishment in 1915, the combats in the Vogesen to the movement to Romania. I took the notes from Rittmeister (Captain) d. Res. Barandon and Hauptmann (Captain) Dose in the book "Die 187er im Felde" (187th in the Field) and added the pictures of the albums of my father.
Gerhard Friedrich Dose, November 2001
The 187 Infantry Regiment was formed using companies from several regiments. During the war in May 1915, 187 IR was active at several locations in the Vogesen until the end of August, 1916.
At the beginning of September, 1916, when Rumenia entered the war, the 187 IR was sent to that new conflict zone. Here, in mountainous terrain, covered in deep snow the 187 IR fought many, bloody conflicts, most of them successfully. Fighting lasted until the 22nd February, 1917.
After a recovery period in Lothringen the regiment was shipped to the Rheims area where it saw action at “Hill 100” and the “Hochberg”. After a large number of bloody conflicts at these locations, the regiment again was given a recovery period, after which the regiment was forced to withstand the heavy battles in Flanders and Northern France at Arras and Cambrai till the end of the war.
The personal notes of Hauptmann Dose, Leutnants d. Res. Specht, Witte and Leutnant Borchert and other members of the regiment as named in the book „Die 187er im Felde“ were used. Partly copied and illustrated with scanned images from war time photographs from my father’s photo album. The copied texts have been displayed in cursive. All sketches are from the hand of Hauptmann Dose, 187th IR.
The Infanterie Regiment 187
Into Vogesen 1915/16
Gerhard Friedrich Dose
The Beginning of The War
When the war on 3 August 1914 broke out between Germany and France, in the first days of war a French cavalry patrol pushed all the way to Colmar. The following photos show the patrol on the Rufacher Str., the name it was called in 1914. (Photos were taken by Severin Schoy in 1914)
The patrol as far as is known, moved unmolested back to the border.
The following troop movements of the French army and the opposing German actions are in the Chronology of the "Vogesen Battles1914-1918" from the homepage of Alexander Kallis.
The dates & locations of the Royal Prussian Infantry Regiment 187
The dates of the single occupations and regroupment areas are as follows:
Forming of Regiment 23 May 1915 at Blerancourt
Equipped in Appilly 27 May 1915
Rappolsweiler June 1915
To Arras End of June to 6 July 1915
At Krähenberg 7-17 July 1915
In Munzenheim 17 & 18 July 1915
At Stossweiler 21 July to 1 Aug 1915
Krähenberg-Pavillionberg Aug-Sept 1915
Schratzmänelle-Lingekopf Oct 1915
Ostheim Nov 1915
Hausen Christmas 1915
Krähenberg-Pavillionberg 3 Jan - 18 April 1916
Hohrod Mid April - mid July 1916
Hilsenfirst Mid July - mid August 1916
Colmar Mid to end of August 1916
Stand down movement to Siebenbürgen Sep 1916 - Feb1917
Establishment of the Regiment
The German and the Austrian -Hungarian Armies in the east made new field movements because of the Western Army's spread out defensive battle s against Joffres's breakthrough attempts. This is why the units of the west front were moved around and new formations created.
During the actions of the Field Units in infantry Regiments 31,85,86,89,90 (IX AK) and 162,163, Reserve 76 (IX Reserve Corps) The thirteenth and Fourteenth companies were trained and became part of the new formations. These attached Companies were stationed around Noyon and Blerancourt until the end of May to three Battalions located there. On 23 May 1915, the day that the declaration of war was made by Italy on the middle powers, the regimental staff met in Noyon and received Oberstleutnant Olfinius (wounded at Tannenberg while serving as battalion commander) as the commander of the new "Royal Prussian Infantry Regiment 187". This chance of command was at first unknown to the Army leadership.
Photo: half hospital Nr.5 at Blerancourt Sept 1914 Fountain at Courthouse Sept 1914.
The sign at the well says :“Use of the basin for washing and rinsing forbiden “
Same Photo 11 May 2002 Same fountain 11 May 2002
The master companies, of which the new regiment consisted, are as follows:
1. Company in former times 6/31
2. Company in former times 14/85 (My father)
3. Company in former times 13/86
4. Company in former times 14/89
5. Company in former times 13/90 (Jan Egbers)
6. Company in former times 14/90
7. Company in former times 2/Res. 76
8. Company in former times 6/Res. 76
9. Company in former times 13/162
10. Company in former times 14/162
11. Company in former times 13/163
12. Company in former times 14/163
M.G. Company in former times field machine gun courses 200 and 201
1. to 6. Company became from the IX A. K. and the companies 7 to 12 from the IX. Res. A. K. extracted. The troops came primarily from Schleswig-Holstein, Hanseaten, and Mecklenburgern.
The companies that formed the new Regiment had been together in most cases from the war's beginning and had been in front line units. This was the first time most had enjoyed an extended well deserved rest. From this point on their organization was to be a decisive fighting apparatus. However, they were lacking equipment consisting of field gear, transportation, horses, and communications gear. They also were lacking complete Machine Gun Companies. At its inception the Regiment had only four weeks remaining to become battle ready.
While in the sunny positions of the Picardie the Regiment now had only a few days remaining, exactly the time needed to receive its transportation and the remaining field equipment for is horse train and preparations for march. The Regiment began its first train transport. The loading began on 27 at the Appilly train station.
Loading of the regiment on 27 May 1915 at the Train station Appilly
They went approximately 20km north/northeast from Laon to Marle. The troops were able to rest during the transport. The formerly positioned Machine Gun Company located in Döberitz had already been moved to Dercy.
In Laon Chain of Command was established for the Regiment. The 187th Inf. Bde was to be commended by Oberst von Heydebreck. The newly formed brigade consisted of the Infantry Regiments 187,188, & 189. The high command placed the Regiment under the control of the Bayern Division, which up until 1916 exchanged its Regiments within the Brigade, the only Prussian Inf. unit with which the Bayern Division did so.
At the staging area at Marle there were wagons, ammunition, and needed equipment stores available. Maps of the new Italian Theater of Operations were not available and because of this the upcoming area of operation was completely unknown to the Regiment.
The operations of train transportation was prepared at Brigade with completely detailed orders.
Action would begin by use of the poetic code word "summer night's dream". This secret code word was put into operation the night of 2-3 July. The Regiment was loaded and experienced a peaceful second trip into the scenery of the Vogesen. Here the troops had experienced two good weeks of constant preparation and peaceful times. In the night and early morning of 4 June the sections of the Battalions joined together at the Rappoltsweiler train station. They were deployed as follows: Regiment staff, I & II Battalions in Rappoltsweiler, III Battalion at Bergheim, and Machine Gun Company at Rohrschweier.
In the grape loaded valleys and the wood covered mountains the field exercises for mountain warfare started. For these war observers only the thunder of cannons was heard. Only once they were involved in the action of the Vogesen battles, when the French under General Mand Huy lost the Reichsackerkopf and the Hartmannweilerkopf. In the valley of the creak Fecht and at the hill Sattel the French attacked Steinabrück and Metzeral with success but they got not the Reichsackerkopf and the hill Sattel. The regiment was put on alert the night of 5-16 June but not into action. During that time the leaders and troops learned about themselves, sorted the problems out, and enjoyed the sunny summer days of the beautiful land.
On 18 June the serene time came to an end. Operation "Summer Night's Dream" came into play. The Regiment was loaded in the early morning at the train station at Rappoltsweiler. The long transport rolled toward the cannon's thunder. On 19 June the train rolled through Cambrai and Douai, and was unloaded southwest of Douai at the small train station at Corbehem. There the troop transports immediately were bombed by enemy planes. The units were distributed as follows: The staff of the regiment, first Battalion and ½ III Battery in Sailly-en-Ostrevent, MGK (Machine Gun Company) also was stationed there, 2nd Battalion and other ½ III Battalion in Hamblain-les Près. The regiment commander and the Battalion Commanders got informations of the combat line between Thules and Neville, but it did not affect realignment of the Regiment. Early in the night of "Summer night Dream Reverse" the Regiment Staff, Machine Gun Company II, and III Battalion were loaded at the train station at Vitry and departed. In the early morning dawn the roar of cannons increased as before. Only the First Battalion stayed to assist the First Bayern Reserve Division. However due to the reestablishment of the second defense line they joined the regiment gain on the 7 of July even though this hard involved in defensive fights.
Transport of the First Battalion of Arras into the Vogesen. 6. July 1915, at the Train Station Cambrai
"Summer night's Dream Reverse" was the code word for the main transport. The Battalion rolled again in the same direction from which they had come. Strassburg came up, and upon entering there at train station at Rappoltsweiler the soldiers broke out in a happy song. It died slowly as the train did not stop. On the morning of the 23rd the Regiment Staff and Machine Gun Company were unloaded at Colmar. The III Battalion followed, then The II Battalion were also brought up and unloaded at Weier im Tal. There the reality of war began
In The Vogesen
The heavy battles developed on the Vogesen front west of Munster. The exhausted troops from the 39th Reserve Brigade, (19th Reserve Army sector Gaede) had to be relieved. The Regiment’s commander was picked up at the railway station by an car and drove through Colmar in the valley of the Fecht, driving through Hammerschmeide (Division Staff Headquarters) to Munster (Brigade Staff Headquarters). On the road were refugees from Münster, Tiefenbach, and Breitenbach.
The 39th Reserve Infantry Brigade in Muenster was stationed in the northern villa Hartmann. Here the Regiment commanders enacted General v. Barfuss ‘s instructions: Regiment Staff, II & III Battalions, and Machine Gun Company Infantry Regiment 187 were attached to the 39th Reserve Brigade and units of the Regiment Reserve 74 and 72 were replaced. Oberstleutnant Olfenius relieves the command of the Reserve Regiment 74. The III Battalion and a platoon of Machine Guns relieves in the neighbourhood a part of the Reserve Regiment 92 (located at Reichsackerkopf main position).
Drawing of the main battle lines: from the north of Lingekopf thru listed towns to southern part of Hilsenfirst.
The Regiment Commander’s section of operation reached from the Line Klängle–Kiltzerstein in the north over the so called Obereck – and the well fortified (later on very important defensive position) Mulbach to the line Engleberg–height 664.6 m in the south, to include Pavillionberg, a place that in the next weeks that would play a very important role. With his own troops the commander tactically placed only his II Battalion because the I Battalion, as already reported, had been previously positioned at Arras and remained there, and the III Battalion on the Reichsackerkopf tactically belonged under the command of the neighboring brigade to his right that eventually took over the 187th Infantry Brigade.
For the 187th, the troops who came from the low country of North Germany, who still lacked mountain equipment and laced boots, and in spite of the preparations at the Rappoltsweiler which was not was not an easy task, the sudden reality of the mountain warfare was not easy to get used to. The opponents on the other side of the Mühlbach position had the advantage of being able to observe from a higher position the carefully prepared German positions. It wasn’t only difficult up front but also at the side and rear positions. In most cases the troops learned amazingly fast the new methods of fighting.
The next two weeks were filled with tough and bitter encirclements of the occupiers of the Pavillionberg. Visible from a distance, pointed roofed mountain hut crowned heights lay between the positions. On the eastern side ran the German advanced line, on the west side was the French. The French began to fortify the mountain top, their small Pavillion one morning had disappeared. In spite of this event hurried fortifications were placed in the saddle between Pavillionberg and height 664.6. In order to throw the enemy from this position on the morning of 28 June an attack was begun that Oberstleutnant Olfenius led. The 9th company 187th belonged to the assault and was the first company of the Regiment to come under fire. The battle report of the leader, Leutnant d. Res. Buchenau, a gentleman in older years who had voluntarily reported to the front and since the beginning of the war and also in the following years with the younger men shared all the hardships, reported the following:
“On 27 June 1915, 11pm, at Oberbreitenbach the 9th company of the 187th received the honorable orders to make an attack on Height 664.4, the Sattel, and the Pavillionsberg, which the enemy had in the night before previously occupied. We were to clean it of the enemy, occupy the Pavillionberg position with a unit, and hold and fortify it. On the command of the leader of our endeavor, Major Huber, the attack would take place between one and two in the morning by darkness. For this purpose available was the 9th company, (led by Hauptmann v. Kalteborn who had taken over command of the troops) who at approximately 0245 hrs on the edge of the woods by the left flank would pass through the small wooded area where two companies of Regt 189 were positioned. While at this position the 9th company had to stop its march because the neighboring company on the left were attacked and prisoners of a French observation post were brought in and were themselves pushed back.
After getting prepared, the 9th Company attacked (0320hrs without support from the left and right flanks). The leader of the right flank (1st Platoon under Leutnant Knopges) whose goal was the most distant, it was the furthest (600 meters) Pavillion height they were to attack and occupy. Meanwhile the daylight had arrived which helped the attackers who had been in what before was unknown positions, but also caused losses because the French, alerted by the noise of the early ensuing attack in the fog, had become prepared. As soon as the 9th company broke out of the edge of the wood fell at first Unteroffizier Schramm and shortly thereafter the Company Commander’s runner Tambour Pöpplow. In spite of the deadly enemy infantry and machine gun fire and the resulting casualties caused by it, the company because of the speed of its attack, reached in two leaps the enemy position at the Pavillion height, after which a short pause was taken behind a stone wall at the Mulde. A return fire was opened up at the enemy position. The result was that the company, because of the lay of the land at the front, was exposed to enemy fire without being able to cross the openings in the enemy line. The break through of the enemy position, which was made up of several rear and flanking trenches, was cleared by hand grenade attacks.
After occupying the first trenches the enemy (Alpenjager) who still occupied the nearby trenches towards Metzeral began to retreat. The Company commanders ordered fire on the fleeing enemy. At this time the company received rifle from the right from a machine gun which they had not noticed before. Because of this fire the company commanders second runner Musketir Rumspies was wounded, also was the company commander (severely, two shots in the upper thigh, one in the foot).
The currently occupied position was now cleaned out, now the order given that sections of the Second Platoon move to the right, this was ordered by the company commander. The deserted three machine guns, the captured Alpenjager, and the company wounded were sent to the rear. At this time enemy artillery opened a significant fire at the captured heights.
The mission of the company was accomplished. The strengthened First Platoon remained in the position, the Second and Third Platoons moved as ordered back to the Regiment 189 position. The Company Commander moved to the rear (with the assistance of Unteroffizier Storr and Musketir Nittscher) from the approximately 700m high position, he turned over thecommand of the company to Leutnant Jäger..
The day cost the company three officers: Company Commander Buchenau, Leutnant Knöpges, Leutnant Ostendorf (also severely wounded), and 70 other personnel of which 18 were killed. The First Platoon under Leutnant Knöpges distinguished itself, they had the most difficult task which was the storming of the Pavillion height. The conduct of the men was without reproach.
signed Buchenau, Leutnant and Company Commander 9/187
In the process of the battle Oberstleutnant Olffenius was shot through the thigh by a rifle and had to turn command of the fight over to the already designated Major Huber, commander of the II Reserve 74th.
The battle on the 28th received from the 19th Division the following order:
The well planned and determinedly executed attack on the Pavillion heights in the night of 27 & 28 June shows the advantage of fresh endeavors. I give the leaders and troops my highest recognition
Signed: v. Bahrfeld
The wounding of the Regiment commander and his resulting absence was made worse because the parts of his Regiment were spread over different areas. The command over the : “separated sections Olfenius” was taken over by the already selected Major Huber, who still however remained with his Battalion. The internal leadership of the Battalion was taken over by Major Blanck, commander of the III/187, who also stayed with his Battalion in the section next to it at Reichsackerkopf. On 5 July 1915 Major Scheuermann took over the deserted Regiments battle position in Tiefenbach. Major, later Oberstleutnant Scheuermann led the regiment until the end of the war.
In the night of 7 to 8 July the Ist Battalion of the Regiment was moved from Arras and placed so that now at least two Battalions tactically were under the control of the Regiment Commander.
After a few days, on the night of the 17th July, the Regiment was replaced by units of the 8th Bayern Reserve Division and after a short rest were reloaded at Colmar and brought by train to Mühlhausen. But in the night of 21 Juli the Regiment rolled again back to Colmar under the command of Section Gaede.
The first to arrive I and II Battalions were immediately placed under the command of the 8th Bayern Reserve Division (Generalleutnant Freiherr v Stein, 16th Bayern Reserve Infantry Brigade Generalmajor Jehlin), The Ist Battalion was emplaced at Stossweiler while the III Battalion moved to Muenster and using two companies attacked the French at the occupied Sattel position. The attack had luck, the position was taken. There fell the first Officer of the Regiment, Leutnant d. Res. Arthur Meybourg, he received his last resting place at the German soldier’s cemetery at Breitembach, section 3, grave 86. The result of the difficult and bloody assault resulted in the two following battle reports of the 11th and 10th companies:
The 1.Komp. I.R. 187 at the crow mountain from 7 to 16 July 1915. The ready position
Battle report of the 11th company, 21 July 1915:
On the 21st of July 1915 at 6 o’clock received the 11th company/187th, from its replacement commander, Major v Braun, Bayern Reserve Reg. 22, the order to remove the enemy in front of the position of 8/22, to occupy their forward trenches and refortify them. Halfway up the height the company gathered on the departure line of the 8/22,. Here I met the two commanding officers, Hauptmann Schlagenweit and Oberleutnant Linck. At this moment a terrible mortar, machine gun and small arms fire began, it came mostly from the left where the 10/187 under Leutnant Simon was located, powerful mortar explosions. At this time I ordered the company to advance forward and flank to the half left. On the left wing I found Offiziersteelvertreter Kudelko and Leutnant Mayborg, in the middle Feldwebelleutnant Göpfert, I was on the right wing, in order to force the troops more to the left. I encountered on the right wing at first minimal resistance at the connection point and the close by protective trenches. The few Alpenjager, that still resisted were soon shot, the rest fled out of the trench into the reserve trenches. A wounded Alpenjager surrendered. I sent him to the rear. I had no time to take care of him further, because we were receiving significant fire from the reserve trenches accompanied by grenades. All the hand grenades that we could gather together we threw into the reserve trench. Here we had at least 20 Alpenjager trapped. At the trench head there flew at red flag, most likely of the French artillery. This is where we directed out small arms fire. As I gave the order on the right wing the order to clear out the trench and reach the goal of the attack, I hurried to the left, where the attack had stopped and was pulling back. Here came one mortar round after the other. It was a formidable wall of explosions. Every time, when I was able to get the troops moving forward, they were stopped by the air pressure of the explosions. Here we received every type of mortar, shrapnel, hand grenade, machine gun and rifle fire. Too much enemy strength made it impossible to occupy the enemy trench. Suddenly after the third attempt I organized the troops once more, gave three officers the order to take the trenches and let the storm blow. This time the attack succeeded. We took the trenches, the few Alpenjager that still remained ran away at our hurrah. A few we could still reach with a bullet. We barely had occupied the trench when we were hit with a mortar attack. This is when Leutnant Mayborg fell and the most of the other casualties occurred. The trench was taken at 7:15. Later, when I went to the right wing, the French had been cleared out of the trench. They had done as I thought, dug a hole through the trench wall and escaped. In the meanwhile a strong artillery fire occurred, especially on the left flank. We received two heavy hits from a 22cm cannon, also French machine gun fire. This however caused no significant losses. From 12 to 4 o’clock PM the 11/187 suffered under mortar and small arms fire, in the quiet periods still received small arms fire from the enemy trenches. Then at 4 all became quiet. About 9 it all began again, mortar, shrapnel, grenades, all were thrown against the position. The last attack happened at 11. Every type of fire hit, especially infantry weapons, which we returned. Excepting a few mortars the night passed on 22 July quietly
Signed: Schröder, Leutnant d. Res. and Company Commander
Battle Report, 10th company, 187th Regiment, attack on the saddle position of the Reichsackerkopfe on 21 July 1915:
Company Strength: 5 officers, two Vizefeldwebel , 23 Plattoons, moving from Muhlhausen. At approximately 5:00am they arrived about 50m behind the left of the Sattel emplacement and were ordered to make a frontal assault. Three sections of Engineers were added to the assault troops along with a few sections of the Bayern Reserve Regiments 22 & 23.
They were barely placed in their assault positions when a strong French small arms and hand grenade attack took place. On my left flank platoon a strong fire hit. They had expected a strong resistance from the defensive positions which they were about to attack. I asked the assault leader, Hauptmann Utz of the 22nd Regiment, to place a company on the right flank. For this task the 11th company 187th Reg was selected. At about 7 my platoon to the right along with the 11/187 both moved forward. The enemy fire on this platoon was very severe and was also very heavy on the left platoon. I pulled them back to use for my reserve platoon in the second assault wave. After barely 10 minutes, because of attacks from both flanks and heavy enemy casualties my right flank platoon reached the enemy trenches and cleared them out in the direction of the left flank. The reserve platoon soon arrived with six squads (Leutnant Hansen). Three others also arrived and advanced from the left flank.
The French, apparently caught by the assault from both sides, fought hard against the attackers. But the front weakened and Leutnant Humbke with his entire platoon of seven squads attacked and pushed them from the trench. The French resistance, as expected, had been very strong so that the close combat lasted an entire half hour. The enemy suffered heavy losses. The remainder, about 60 enemy, were captured in the trench of 160m. Our own losses were 50.
Signed: Simon, Leutnant d. Res. & Company Commander.
The covered way View: 1: Gr. Hörnleskopf, 2 Combekopf, 3 Barrenkopf, 4 Kleinkopf
Positions of 1st Bn in Stossweiler from 21. July to 1. August 1915.
Because the First Battalion had been placed in the relatively quiet section of the Stossweier and the III Battalion had recently stormed the Sattel position, by orders of AOK Gaede (photo) the II Battalion and machine gun company were attached to the command of the eighth Bavarian Reserve Division. On 22 July they were transported by train in the afternoon to Weilbach, Weier in the valley, and to Günsbach.
At this time the III Bn, due to the placement of the Battalions, had been the major bearer of the combat. After the hard fights in the Reichsackerkopfe it was first replaced by Bavarian troops during the night of the 23rd and pulled back to reserve positions. Here it was exchanged with the II. Battalion which had up to this time remained in the Weier valley. But on the afternoon of the 27th of July the III. Battalion with an attached machine gun platoon were again alerted and moved over to the Gunsbach-Wahlenstall in the direction of Barrenkopf. The enemy had advanced to within a distance of 500m of the German trenches. Here, in the evening at about 7 PM, the III Bn made a counterattack in the night and with relatively light casualties once again occupied the Barrenkopf.
The course of the battle resulted in large gains according to the following reports of battle from the battalion commanders:
III Bn 187 Inf, on the27th of July 1915 at 7:00PM attacked the Barrenkopf position. The attack was against the section of the Barrenkopf (about 500m ) which had been previously lost. The following dispositions were made: The 10th Company on the right flank, the 9th in the middle, the 12th on the left, 11th in reserve. The companies were mixed with units of the 5/188th and 6/188th along with Jaeger Company 14. The attack was put into motion at 8:30pm. The right flank of the 10/187 and a platoon of the 12/187 were in the initial assault. They advanced toward the lost section. The remainder of the battalion moved close to the trenches, but were unable to occupy them due to the flanking machine gun fire and hand grenades. The Battalion remained in this position for the entire night, involved in an exchange of fire with the dug in enemy. The next scheduled attack was postponed until all companies were resupplied with hand grenades. 11th Company provided a platoon to strengthen 10th Company, they also provided a platoon to 12th Company. At 3:00AM the 12th Company received the order to attack from the left flank. The other companies were to join the attack when the enemy machine gun fire had been silenced. After a hand grenade assault by the 12th Company the enemy moved out of the trenches. Because of the accuracy of its small arms attack the 12th Company was able to occupy all the trenches in its sector of attack. The other companies were also able to reach and occupy their objectives. At 4:30 pm the battalion was in complete control of all the sectors which had been previously lost. The casualties of the Battalion consisted of 9 dead – 2 officers- Lt Kluge & Lt. Drewes- 12/187, 30 Unteroffizier and other troops wounded.
Signed: Blank, Major and Battalion Commander
The 12th Company had borne the main load of the attack. The course of this action is detailed in the battle report of the 12/187th regarding the trench line assault on 28 & 29 July 1915:
Battle strength at the time of attack: 3 officers, 154 troops.
In the afternoon of 28 July the Battalion was alerted and formed up at Gunsbach. They marched from there under the command of Oberst Huber toward the Barrenkopf. The 12/187 was the lead company. Near the top (150m) a trench was shown to us where the enemy had been occupied.
About 40 hand grenades were distributed. At 8:30 the three units attacked together, two groups for support of the assaulting unit of the 1. platoon moved in the position of the 3. platoon.
The attacking unit received a very heavy small arms fire. The right flank received an exceptionally heavy machine gun fire.
The 2. platoon acquired with the assistance of the left flank attackers at 8:35 a section of the enemy trench and did keep it. The 3rd platoon received heavy machine gun fire, the losses are 8 death and 16 wounded, including platoon leader an all group leader. The remaining two squads moved with a part to the left toward the 2nd platoon of 12/187 and with the other part to the 10/187 area.
Now the remaining troops of the 1. platoon attacked the enemy held connecting trenches to prevent a rear attack against the newly occupied positions.
At 0200 the company were supplied with 80 fragmentation and concussion grenades. At 0255 the company received the order that the 12/187 at 0300 would attack first. The other companies would follow and go with the attack.
Two squads of the 11/187 and three from the 1st Jaeger 14 were added as reinforcement of the assault troops. The 2nd platoon, which the previous night had forced its way into the trenches, would attack with hand grenades. After the fifth grenade had exploded the other platoons should attack.
At 3:30 the hand grenade attack commenced. When after the third grenade no enemy reply was made, the assault troops destroied the French positions at the stone barricade. More grenades were thrown and the 2ndPlatoon moved in unopposed, linked up with the other assault sections and occupied the entire position. Several wounded and one unwounded of the French 15th Regiment were captured.
At about 4:30 the report was send to the Battalion and attached companies that the enemy position had been occupied without resistance and held by the 12/187.
The French must have deserted the position quickly. There were over 15 abandoned rifles. Counter fire from the enemy positions had ended.
To emphasize are the conduct of the Platoon leader, Leutnant Kluge and Leutnant Drews, both woundet, lead their Platoons to the trench of the enemy, where they got wounddt twice, (Leutnant Kluge by heavy shot into the head.)
Also are remarkable the Group leaders of the 3. Platoon. Three are killed, while the both other havy wounded (both with two shots) lead the group as long as possible.
Losses: 2 officers wounded
1 Unteroffizier killed
4 Unteroffiziere wounded
1 Gefeiter serving as platoon leader dead
5 man killed
16 man wounded
2 lightly wounded, still by the troop
Signed: Bentz, Leutnant and Company Commander
Up until the 14th of August the 16th Bavarian Reserve Brigade's troops reorganized. The three battalions of the regiment along with the battalions attached Machine Gun Company were located in different areas. The regiment's area of operation included the Obereck -, the Mulbach- and the Krahenberg- positions. In the night of 5 August the Regiment Commander assumed control of all the units. For the first time the entire Regiment was under his command. They also assumed command of Regiments 188 & 189. In this action the 187th Brigade finally had operational control of all its elements.
As the summer ended the forests on the Krahenberg and Monchsberg turned colorful, the days and nights passed in unremarkable however tension filled combat operations including the fortification of positions, small patrol actions, rifle and grenade attacks, and regular mortar and artillery attacks. Of special mention is the success of the Adjutant of the 1st battalion Oberleutnant. Dose and his assistants, the combat volunteer Schlichting, 1st Company, who had the fortune to install in the front of the enemy held Pavillion fortification a listening device that made it possible to listen in on the telephone conversations of the enemy. This listening device, technically developed and used by special detachments, was later used by the entire army. This device, made up of many simple parts, was a remarkable invention. They were able to listen in on a fountain of information. The troops used it not only for information about the immediate area but also collected information for nearby units and for the entire theater. Information was gathered about enemy attack plans and artillery operations, especially for later battles on the Schratzmannele and Lingenkopf. Theses reports were of high value for the commanders.
As the autumn fog descended into the Vogesen valley, the Regiment during the time of 27-30 Sept were moved from their present positions north to the combat sector on the hill-rim-line Lingekopf – Schratzmännelle and took positions there. The new positions were once forest but now were only splintered tree stumps and pulverized rock covered heights. The troops were rotated to the front and took positions. For months this location was the main battle area. In the June Battles the attacking troops of General Mand de Huy attacked and destroyed the entire front line. The defensive line was reestablished using sandbags, usually under enemy artillery fire. The refortification attempts were not only done under fire but also dealt with the cold and bad weather. After the regiment had prepared its old positions for over a month now it had to rebuild again under the worst weather conditions.
It was not only the problem with the enemy artillery but always a constant close combat threat of hand and rifle grenades. The daily losses were higher than the previous actions
In one part of the trench action in the area of the Schratzmännele the enemy made constant grenade, mortar, and rifle grenade attacks. The combat was a constant back and forth push without losing contact. The Regiment received the order to clear out an approximate 100m section of these trenches. The attack, supported by an assault section of the III Garde Engeneer Battalion equipped with flamethrowers, was successful.
Schratzmännele und Lingekopf
Conector trench 1 Company IR 187
The main load of these combat actions was carried not by the soldiers of the assault units, as always in these cases, whose actions deserve the highest recognition, but the troops of the 187, who occupied the trenches after the storming. The difficult task was to hold the newly acquired trenches against the counterattack which were never long in coming. During the night of 15-16 October the French attempted to take over the at the 12th October lost sections of the trench line. The attack was stopped completely with hand grenades.
The same fate met a strongly attempted hand grenade attack on the evening of 17 October. On the evening of 18 Oct the enemy made a last attempt, after which he apparently cleared out their forward most trench so that the German trenches could be hit with a storm of artillery. The attack lasted only up to their own barbed wire. The French had no more strength to try again to win the lost sections.
The losses of the Regiment during this period was 17 dead and 73 wounded. Special recognition goes to the 5, 10 and 11th companies.
After the positions were taken repairs had to be completed. They were reinforced with sandbags in the design of those at Fort Lingekopf with a shield at the entrances.
Captured trench on the Schratz Shelter trench of 2nd Company IR 187
Building out trench 1915 Oct Fort Lingekopf under construction A casualty of the fight
(caption reads – a dead French soldier on the shooting parapet)
The foremost ditch of the 2. Company The east slope of the Lingekopfes
Notice: These shown fortified trenches of the 2nd company are still able to be seen as are later unit’s rear bunkers. Those constructed after the attack on Lingekopf on 12. October 1915 are on the following map. The German trenches can be seen there. On the French side there are still approximately 6000 missing French soldiers. There are countless unexploded shells between the main line of trenches so the dead were not able to be recovered.
Combat trench of the 4 Company IR 187
Blue: French, Green: German positions Friends at Fort Lingekopf
Different from the French, who had to bring all supplies through the ravine by foot, the German units on the Barrenkopf, Schratzmannele and Lingenkopf had a military road.
The field road from Drei Ähren going to the Schratzmännele with supplies for the fighting troops
The battles of the Regiment in Pavillionberg, Reichsackerkopf and Schratzmannele were the high points of the combats in the Vogesen. The regiment was placed up until the beginning of July 1916 on the line Barrenkopf - Rebberg – Stossweier.
On October 1915 began the training of the Regiment band. By the beginning of November, after the heavy fighting on the Schratzmannele and Lingekpof, at rest areas the returning battalions were greeted with resounding music. Under the direction of Music Meister Rotermund the Regiment's band developed into a assembly that played march music and other rhythm. They provided the rest areas with joy and recovery.
After the battles had ceased in Nov 1915 the Regiment enjoyed a few days of rest and recovery. The 1st Battalion was in Ostheim. During this time a parade for the Commander General Gaede took place. This was before the Battalion went to Hohrod in December. There was snow present. The French actions in this sector under General de Poudragin were very few, however combat actions consisting of small arms fire and hand grenades did occur.
Trench at Hohrod (sentries in snow overcoats) The battalion staff Hohrod in Winter
At Christmas the units were pulled back and enjoyed a peaceful season in Ostheim, Hausen, Holzweier, Ingersheim, Niedermorschweier, Sigolsheim, Mittelweier, and Bennweiler. The French attack on the Hartmansweilerkopf on 22 December 1915, barely affected the regiment. It did not have to take part because the immediate counterattack on 23 December was successful.
View from Pavillionberg
However, immediately into the new year on 3 January 1916 the units reoccupied their former positions on the Krahenberg – Pavillonberg line. There remained there until April 1916. The First Battalion was now stationed for the third time in this well built position. It released the Garde-Schutzen Battalion and came under the command of the Bavarian Reserve 22nf Infantry Regiment. The Bavarians at first did not trust the "Prussian Pigs" but learned better shortly. Hesitantly the recognition was granted from the mouths of the Bavarian Regiment, Brigade, and Division Commander.
In order to resupply the troops with ammunition and building materials and also to provide good Bavarian beer from the cantine, the Battalion joiner Buchheister and the black smith Tomasczewski installed a cable driven tram. The canteen Keeper Christiansen understood well how to satisfy the needs of his customers. The canteen had a very good reputation so that even the Brigade and Division Commanders received their schnapps, at that time 2.50 Mark for a whole bottle, from his canteen.
Christmas in Hausen, Hauptmann Beil was visited by his wife
Positions at Pavillionberg
The position was so well placed, at the Krähen- and Engelberg were located at the woodseam, the Pavillionberg on a cliff, that the French could have very little opportunity for action against the Germans. The First Battalion while in this position began training with the Mortar Section. They became familiar with ally types of mortars from the heavy to the rifle grenades. Battery Wessig ( Lt. Wessig, after the war he was lawer in Hamburg) was well known throughout the area. Between the companies stood a bet, as far as possible, with the assistance of local observers and the information obtained form the listening device, to match the number of French casualties each month. The listened to reports provided the French had the following losses :
January 2 Dead 12 Wounded
February 0 Dead 18 Wounded
March 11 Dead 57 Wounded
April 1-18 5 Dead 38 Wounded
In September Oberleutnant Dose's listening device had received an improvement since its initial installation. There was a so called "Arendt-Station" constructed which increased the volume. Before only the conversations of the immediate front line positions could be heard, and theses were often broken, now the conversations were completely understandable from both front and rear positions.
Lanz-Mortar Rifle Grenades
In addition to the already listed casualty reports other important items were learned. In this manner solution were already prepared so they could be enacted and interrupt the French actions. They also knew immediately the designations of the French units. The phone operators on the German side were amused when they heard the French complain about bad communications equipment and destroyed lines. For example, came from one position to Comrade Nikola " If your equipment does not work better soon I'm going to strangle you" Another time they thought it very humorous when Jaeger Remand from the 2nd Patoon 3rd Company, 23 Jägerbataillon. got three days arrest because he returned a day late from his leave. At other times there were complaints about the food and again about the poor performance or complete lack of the French artillery, and so on. In the town of Metzeral there was obviously an attractive sales girl named Ninie. Overheard on the phone on 1 Sept 1916 at 1730 was heard the longing sigh " Oh, the Ninie", as if he were planning on going to Metzeral that evening. The suffering, complaining, and joys of the French were exactly the same as of the Germans.
The regiment commander Major Scheuermann Regiment music, from left: General Gaede, music master Rotermund
at its birthday on 24 June 1916 War Minister: Wild Von Hohenborn in Winzenheim, June 1916
Before too long a time had passed the Battalions learned in which periods occurred the most casualties. "August" was the name of a French 24cm battery located at CAMP ROMAIN, which fired in repayment for the 3rd Company's ongoing mortar barrages. Quickly the decision was made that 3rd Company would evacuate is position at night. The 3rd Company could then observe in soulful peacefulness observe the bombardment and resulting damage to their position from the cellars of Sendenbach. At 18. April, after a little over four months the Battalion left Krahenberg - Pavillion positions and after some days rest in Colmar the regiment came to the position Eichwald – Rebberg (Hohrod). From April till middle of July the First Battalion has been in well known positions. From there they were moved to Hilsenfirst located in the Hochvogesen. On 10 June 1916 Oberleutnant Wolf Dose was sent to the Regiment Staff in the position of Regiment Adjutant. Even though the First Battalion, as was later the entire Regiment, transferred to Rossmart, they remained in this sector until the middle of August.
When the golden Ginster began to bloom on the mountain sides of the Vogesen and the anniversary of the founding of the Regiment arrived, the Theater of operations in the Alsace became quiet. The bloody summer battles of "The second battle of Muenster" did not repeat themselves in 1916, because the difficulties of the then war deciding battle was at Verdun and on the Somme. The Brigade itself including the attached artillery units were reformed to the Prussian 187th infantry Division in the summer of 1916. At the same period the relocating of other sections occurred. In middle August the troops were pulled form the main line of battle and sent to Colmar for rest till the end of the month.
Exploded ammo depo of the intermediate batteries Cemetery at Hilsenfirst
Because of the entry of Rumania into the war a new phase of the war began. This meant for the 187th in September 1916 to be loaded and transported toward the east to a new war theater, where they remained until February 1917, then later sent to the heavy fighting at Flanders.