Posts Tagged ‘Military history’

Just when I thought that these things do not happen anymore a friend of mine found  this medal bar hidden in his father’s cellar. A bar that once belonged to a brave soldier of the prussian army fighting in the wars of 1864, 1866 (Battle of Königgrätz) and 1870/71.  and who later seems to have worked successfully for the prussian government. Today no one seems to know anymore where this did come from and whom it belonged to. A pitty. Its untouched, has original stitching and best of off a rare period example of a Militär-Ehrenzeichen 2. Klasse (First medal on the left, Military Merit). These have become very rare indeed and if you see some any they are mainly much later examples made in the 1880s/1900s (which are of far inferior quality). This medal often gets confused with the Kriegerverdienst Medaille and it’s a beautiful thing.

A wonderful bar (which now has a new good home) and I hope I can find out more about its former owner. Stay tuned for more.

More to come. 


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This Carte de Visite photography is one of my personal favourites. It shows a Jäger (Hunter/Rifleman) serving in one of the elite Jägerbatallions of the Prussian Army, the Westfälisches Jäger-Bataillon Nr. 7 or “Bückeburger Jäger” as it was also known. 

In the peacetime Prussian Army, the main component of the Imperial German Army, there were one Imperial Guard Jäger battalion, the Garde-Jäger-Bataillon, and twelve line Jäger battalions. One Jäger battalion, the Großherzoglich Mecklenburgisches Jäger-Bataillon Nr. 14, was from the grand duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Our soldiers Batallion, the Westfälisches Jäger-Bataillon Nr. 7, was raised in the principality of Schaumburg-Lippe (whose capital was Bückeburg). The other ten were from Prussian lands. In addition, another Prussian Guard unit, the Garde-Schützen-Bataillon, though not designated Jäger, was a in fact a Jäger formation.
The german Jäger units were distinguished by their wear of dark green tunics and shakos (in contrast to the dark blue tunics and spiked helmets of most German infantry) and by using the Zündnadelbüchse instead of the Zündnadelgewehr used by common line infantry.

In the Franco-Prussian War all Jäger units were equipped with the Zündnadelbüchse M65. It featured a shortened breechblock and a Stecher (double set) trigger which gave it much higher accuracy. Jägers were trained marksmen and were used as such.


We can see the Iron Cross so I left this out. On his ribbon bar he has the ribbons for:

Alsen Cross for Reserve Troops 1864

Düppel Cross with ribbon for Reserve Troops (fighting at Düppel but in reserve during the assault on the redoubts) 1864

Königgrätz Cross for Combatants 1866

War Commemoration Medal (Kriegsdenkmünze) Campaign medal for the Franco-Prussian War 1870/71 for Combatants

I have access to the Batallions history published by one of its officers in 1898. In this there is a list of awards given to its soldiers after the wars of 1864, 1866 and 1870/71. The man on the photo is wearing the coveted Iron Cross 2nd Class of 1870. That narrows down the number of possible candidates to about 40 names. His identity will remain unsolved.

But enough of that now..lets look at Jäger Bataillon Nr. 7 and its conduct and experiences in the Franco Prussian-War.

Short unit history:

Formed 3rd of October 1815 as 2. Schützen-Bataillon (Rhein.) using active soldiers from the disbanded volunteer Rifle-detachments of Saxony and Nassau which were now under prussian control, the best marksmen of the reserve battalions of the Rhineland and parts of the disbanded Jäger battalion of the Duchy of Cleve-Berg.
13th of April 1821 Battalion gets split into three independent rifle detachments. 21st of November: 7. Jäger Battalion is formed with three companies. 7th of June 1852: Fourth company is raised. 4th of July 1860: Designated Westfälisches Jäger-Bataillon Nr. 7.

Commanding officers:

1815: von Böhler, 1816: von Tempski, 1817: von Holleben, 1830: von Bursky, 1834: von Frobel, 1848: Graf von Schlieffen, 1849: Meyne, 1851: von Plonski, 1854: v. Stückradt, 1857: von Massow, 1862: von Beckedorff, 1865: von Sell, 1866: Reinike, 1870: Vogel von Falkenstein, 1881: Graf von Carmer, 1883: von Hacke, 1886: von Bojanowski, 1890: Freiherr von Plettenberg, 1894: von Flatow, 1897: Graf von Brünau, 1900: von Laris

Prussian General and Staff. Unidentified location in France, 1870


1848 against Denmark: 17th of April – Süderballig, 7th of May – Alminde and Viuf, 8th of May – Vejle, 31st of May – Arhus

1864 against Denmark: 1st of February – Windeby (1st detachment), 2nd of February – Missunde, 12th of February to 18th of April – Siege of the Düppel (Dybbøl) Redoubts, 18th of April – Assault on the Düppel (Dybbøl)) Redoubts

Slaughterhouse Düppel. One day after the battle (1864)

1866 against Austria: 28th of June – Münchengrätz, 3rd of July- Königgrätz

Prussian Cuirassiers fight austrian Husars at the Battle of Königgrätz (1866)

1870 & 1871 against France: 6th of August – Spichern, 7th of August – Forbach, 13th of August – Ars Laquenexy, 14th of August – Colombey-Nouilly, 18th of August – Gravelotte-St. Privat, 19th of August to 2nd of October -Metz, 22nd of September – Villers l’Orme, Colombey and Mercy le Haut, 27th of September – Colombey, Peltre and Mercy le Haut, 15th of November to 5th of December – Siege of Montmedy and reconaissance around Longwy, 11th of December – Marac and Ormancey, 20th of December – Auxerrem, 17th of January 1871 – Piemont, 21st of January – Ognon, 23rd of January – Quingey, 24th of January – Chatillon sur Lison, 25th of January – Vorges, 26th of January – Busy and Vorges

French cannon with crew, 1870

In the next part I will present you with a translation of the Batallions history in the campaign against France in 1870/1871. Very interesting text and I hope you will enjoy it.

In the meantime you might want to have a look at this to get an idea on the general situation in those years

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