Help with interpreting WWI military doc.

First World War 1914-1918 from the German perspective.

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Help with interpreting WWI military doc.

Post by cassarnold » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:09 pm

I managed to find documentation of my grandfather's activity in WWI. He lived from 1897 to 1940, originally from East Prussia. I am able to decipher much of it, such as he was an Air Force Observer, received 2 Iron Crosses, and was wounded. Would greatly appreciate any information this forum may have, or maybe a good reference to particular battles, which seem to be mentioned in the document.

Having a hard time with some of the abbreviations in the document.

Thanks much,
Horst Military 2144.jpg
Horst Military 2144.jpg (62.7 KiB) Viewed 4868 times
Horst Military 1143.jpg
Horst Military 1143.jpg (83.53 KiB) Viewed 4868 times

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Re: Help with interpreting WWI military doc.

Post by HG43 » Mon May 02, 2011 6:08 pm

Hi Cassandra,
Let me know which abbreviations you're having problems with. I'll be glad to help.

Kind regards,

Quax der Bruchpilot
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Re: Help with interpreting WWI military doc.

Post by Quax der Bruchpilot » Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:33 pm

27.3.1915 als Kriegsfreiwilliger zum 1. Rekruten Departement Feldartillerie Regiment 97
as war volunteer to the 1. recruit department field artillery regiment 97
5.8.1915 zur 5. Batterie II. Ersatzabteilung Feldartillerie Regiment 37
to the 5. battery reserve department FA Reg 37
7.9.1915 zur 1. Batterie 1. mobile Ersatz Abteilung Feldartillerie Regiment 37 ins Feld
to the first mobile reserve dept; FA Reg. 37 into combat
30.10/1915 zur ersten Batterie Feldartillerie Regiment 97
3.3.16 - 20.4.16 Feldartillerie Schiessschule Jüterborg
FA shooting academy Jüterborg
21.11.16 zur 3. Batterie...
30.4.17 z. Armee Flugpark 14 zwecks Prüfung auf Geeignetheit als Flugbeobachter kommandiert
commanded to army aircraft reserve 14 for testing of feasibility as flight observer
1.6.17 zur Offiziers F.T. (Flugtauglichkeit?) Lehr Ateilung Warschau kommandiert
commanded to officer flight feasibility testing in Lehr, Dept. Warsaw
10.9.17 zum Kampfgeschwader Oberste Heeresleitung 3. Staffel 18 versetzt
transferred to combat wing army high command 3. wing 18
9.5.18 verwundet und ins Lazarett
wounded, in field hospital


Why does the stamp have a swastika? Isn't it from WWI? Or did he have to show to the Wehrmacht that he was active in WWI?


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Re: Help with interpreting WWI military doc.

Post by cassarnold » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:47 am

Thank you both. Marty, my apologies for not getting back to you, haven't had time to work on this project lately, but will get back to it. (wish I could work on it full-time!!)

I'm guessing that the swastika in the stamp is because the document was obtained during WWII. My grandfather Horst was killed in 1940 (at age 42 or so) under questionable circumstances. He was a physician and also apparently politically vocal against Hitler. After his death, I am assuming that my grandmother got these documents, hence the WWII marks.

again, I appreciate your help. When I have more time to delve back in, I will be back with more specific questions---but one in particular I cannot seem to find a good answer: what exactly is an observer? Was he a pilot or did he sit in the back of the plane with a weapon? I am trying to figure out what his role was.


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Re: Help with interpreting WWI military doc.

Post by fridgeman » Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:48 pm

This document was probably a confirmation/verification paper for your grandmother, to be able to get a widow's pension.

An observer sat in the plane mostly to spot. The pilot had to focus on flying and shooting, and depending on the mission
the observer spotted enemy airplanes, even more important enemy fortifications or movements and ground targets to direct artillery fire.
The observer was equipped with a camera often, and armed with handguns/rifles, and later in war with rear mounted machine guns.

The paper also says your grandfather was awarded with the observers medal. To recieve the medal an observer had to
-fly at least 1000km in combat missions
-had to have a successful test in technical maintenance of airplanes
-had to have several reconnaissance missions behind the frontlines


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