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Destruction of Kalisz 1914


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#51 bob lembke

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 07:14 PM

Bob when I good remember there was german chilvalry too. I think 6.Ulans. You know from Cassimir Hermann Baer: Der Völkerkrieg? Its 28 volumes. You saw there?

With regard Ladislav


Not familiar with Hermann Baer. The war was a hard one on chilvalry, I am afraid. (example: my father tried to save a French officer's life on Hill 304 at Verdun, on a pre-dawn raid, he responded by shooting my father at a distance of 5 cm.)

I have heard of Der Voelkerkrieg, but not seen it, I generally avoid using secondary sources, especially from the period.

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#52 egbert

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 02:43 PM

Just received this picture of a IR 155 member from my friend in Kalisch (via Afghanistan)

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#53 egbert

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 02:48 PM

155's setting up a registration point in Kalisch

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#54 egbert

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 02:51 PM

Exhausted soldier after the battle in Kalisch

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#55 egbert

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 02:55 PM

And Bob -this picture seems to verify that soldiers from IR 155 in Kalisch indeed fraternized with beautiful Polish Red Cross women

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#56 egbert

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 03:00 PM

Although this picture....shows a 155 victim of Freischärler activity in town.

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#57 egbert

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 03:03 PM

May that be a reason why the men from IR 155 forced the locals to work hard labor?

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#58 bob lembke

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 03:13 PM

Egbert;

Post #57 seems to suggest that this is in Poland. Are these Polish or German re-enactors?

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#59 egbert

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 03:33 PM

Re-enactors? Bob IR 155 comprised of Germans and ethnic Poles. Take your pick :closedeyes:

P.S. They are all Polish. Want to see more?

#60 mconrad

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 12:57 PM


In the Russian ranks: a soldier's account of fighting in Poland By John Morse

http://books.google.com/books?id=pN8LAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=morse+russian+ranks&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

The above, available for free on Google Books, has the first couple of chapters devoted to Mr Morse's wandering through Kalisz at just this time. It is a remarkable account, and to my mind very believable. Mr Morse witnessed a summary group execution and numerous cases of breakdown of discipline. He was hampered by his complete lack of knowledge of German, Polish, and Russian, and had his own priorities (get the heck out of the war zone), but is quite clear in reporting only what he himself saw.

The book is a remarkable and quick read. Morse is very much the gentleman and condemns equally a uhlan tugging on a young Polish woman's braids and the bayoneting of a shop owner.

Later on in the book Morse is also critical of the lack of professionalism and tactical ability in the Russian army. He notes that the Russian army also engaged in atrocities, as a response to German actions.



#61 bob lembke

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 03:28 PM

In the Russian ranks: a soldier's account of fighting in Poland By John Morse

http://books.google.com/books?id=pN8LAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=morse+russian+ranks&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

The above, available for free on Google Books, has the first couple of chapters devoted to Mr Morse's wandering through Kalisz at just this time. It is a remarkable account, and to my mind very believable.

He notes that the Russian army also engaged in atrocities, as a response to German actions.


I read the front material and a few pages of the text. The book was published in 1916 in England, in the midst of what was probably the greatest organized propaganda campaign in history. A British historian has led me to a UK document that details, book by book, the commissioning, subsidization (100%), publishing, and distribution of over a thousand books by prominent publishers, in an organized effort by the UK government. They were even commissioning propaganda Hollywood movies. Probably the greatest star of this effort ("Private Peat"), who toured on endless lecture tours in the US and Canada, and who starred in his commissioned Hollywood movie of the same name, and who turned out to be a Canadian actor, and who, and whose wife, authored (or did not) several war-time books, in 1923 wrote a book bitterly denouncing war-time propaganda engaged in the promotion of the deaths of more and more young men.

Reading such a book, published at this time, supposedly written by a shadowy person with an entirely implausable story as to why he was, supposedly with no German, French or Russian, at such a remote corner of Germany at the Russian border exactly when the war kicked off.

Anything written during the war about the war has to be treated with considerable caution. But I have to say that I recently tallied and in my current work on the history of WW I I have used 11 languages in reading the literature of probably 16-20 countries, and there is nothing comparable in any of those literatures to the product of the UK at this time. (You find, for example, books published by the French in English, presumably aimed at the US and Canadian markets, that are propagandistic, but their books published in French are often quite candid and non-propagandistic.)Presently I have been studying the fighting in Belgium and France in 1914, and I am reading French, German and Flemish about 4-5 hours a day for a year. Perhaps 2% of my reading there is in English, and the one English book that I can recall was a Belgian professor from Luxembourg who fled the fighting to the UK and published a book there on his experiences in English.

I have handled dozens of these books, and investigated a number in depth. They were written by people who do not seem to exist, sometimes are translations of German books that did not exist, etc., etc.

Reading a bit, the author scores multiple propaganda points on every page. I have one foot in the grave, I do not have time to poke thru the whole book and uncover 900 items suggesting fabrication. If I find 11 on the first four pages, statistically that is enough.

However, "mconrad", I thank you for bringing this to our attention, and if I were actually working on this corner of the war I would read it.

A couple of years ago a Texan suddenly popped up on this Forum. I have to say he sounded like a crazy person. In a few posts, he mentioned that he had been sitting in Texas reading a steady diet of these propaganda books for 25 years. His opinions on the war were just nuts. After a few posts he seemed to disappear from the Forum.

At the very outbreak of the war the Russian Army with their delightful Cossacks (I used to have a Cossack drinking parner, a US Army officer, champion sabre-fencer, seriously multi-lingual; also knew the son of a great Cossack chieftain, went to a major Russian event with him at a Russian village in New Jersey, USA.) penetrated into East Prussia and performed major atrocities without the stimulus of reading the newspapers about Kalisz.

Bob

#62 mconrad

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 09:36 PM

I would encourage people to read the book. I kept trying to sniff propaganda while I was reading it and caught nary a whiff. Most of the book has no propaganda value at all. The details and concerns related by the author seem to support just what he said he was - a rather clueless Englishman caught on the German-Russian border in August 1914. He even passes over things that might have served as propaganda - for example, when he describes what news was available on whether England was in the war or not, he mentions that he never heard anything about Belgium being an issue until long afterwards. His account also remarkably agrees with what was posted regarding the 155th Regiment being already active on maneuvers at the outbreak of the war. That is exactly the situation he describes when he was in Ostrow, although he states that at the time he suspiciously thought that if these were autumn maneuvers, they were rather early.

The whole tenor and thread of narration is consistent with someone whose prime concern is his own well-being in unpredictable circumstances. He never claims to be a fly on the wall at any important events, and much of what he describes is typically mundane, with an expected emphasis on getting something to eat.

Mr Morse's actually rather brief relation of what he saw in Kalisz sounds to me like an accurate description of inexperienced soldiers with loaded weapons aggressively wandering around a town without much supervision or direction.

Can anyone else take a look at this book and post what they think?

#63 TRAJAN

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 09:19 AM

Haven't read the book, In the Russian ranks: a soldier's account of fighting in Poland, but the New York Times Review of it (May 21 1916 - http://query.nytimes...4DD405B868DF1D3) does allude to how a reading of the book will confirm the truth of contemporary newpaper stories about the 'wanton cruelty, barbarity and bestial ruthlessness' of the German army. So, in that sense at least there may well be an essence of this being a propagandistic work.

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#64 bob lembke

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 01:16 PM

Haven't read the book, In the Russian ranks: a soldier's account of fighting in Poland, but the New York Times Review of it (May 21 1916 - http://query.nytimes...4DD405B868DF1D3) does allude to how a reading of the book will confirm the truth of contemporary newpaper stories about the 'wanton cruelty, barbarity and bestial ruthlessness' of the German army. So, in that sense at least there may well be an essence of this being a propagandistic work.

Trajan


2-3 years ago I was approached OL by a Brit GWF Pal who wanted my help in basically verifying one of these works. Interested, I dove into the question, and as I remember it I showed to both of our satisfactions that the work was invented. In the course of the study I looked at a number of other books that seemed to fit in this category, and found interesting patterns.

One interesting feature is that some of these books can be found to be, simultaniously, published in the UK by a reputable publisher, but also published at the same time in say three US cities, by three different (competing?) US reputable publishers, with some of that small print revealing that the pages for the several American editions having been conveniently printed at the presses used by the first UK publisher. How does this happen? How does this reflect the usual extreme competiveness of independent publishers, their fighting over successful authors, etc.?

In fact, the UK document I cited describes how the UK got these books published; book in hand, an official would approach a reputable publishing house, and state that the HM Government wanted the book published, and offered to pay for every possible cost of printing and distribution, 100%, the printing, printer's ink, paper, binding, transportation. Instead of worrying if a new book would sell, if they would make a profit at the margin, or if the publisher would suffer a loss, by this scheme every cent of sales would magically appear at the bottom line of the profit and loss accounting. Besides, they would have the satisfaction of knowing that they were assisting the war effort.

Having examined dozens of these books, including copies of the same book from multiple publishers, owning a number of volumes, including several from the notorious "Private Peat" and his wife (who wrote an absolutely insane volume published in 1918; I wonder how their marraige survived his 1923 mea culpa), I can almost smell one of these volumes upon opening the covers.

I will return to this book in a few days and read a bit of it, and jot down things that seem very wrong. (I can't start any big project for a few days, I have lawyers in California clamoring for a few hundred pages of material to be culled from about 6000 old e-mails. ASAP.) Or maybe I may come to a conclusion that it seems believable. But I have found that very little published during the war, after 1914, is not loaded with war spin, and that goes treble for material published in the UK, due to the vast organized campaign of disinformation, which was vital at the time, but which has poisoned the history of WW I for nearly a hundred years since.

If anyone is interested, I could probably, from memory, cite 20 or 50 pages of absolutely nuts assertions from these works.

Evidentially the Allies used the events at Kalisz as a big talking point in the propaganda war, even inside of Russia.

Bob

#65 TRAJAN

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 02:07 PM

One interesting feature is that some of these books can be found to be, simultaniously, published in the UK by a reputable publisher, but also published at the same time in say three US cities, by three different (competing?) US reputable publishers, with some of that small print revealing that the pages for the several American editions having been conveniently printed at the presses used by the first UK publisher. ... In fact, the UK document I cited describes how the UK got these books published; book in hand, an official would approach a reputable publishing house, and state that the HM Government wanted the book published, and offered to pay for every possible cost of printing and distribution, 100%, the printing, printer's ink, paper, binding, transportation. Bob


Now, that is interesting! Talk about 'black' propaganda! I guess the fact is that now, more than 90 years later, we will never know the 'truth' of what happened at Kalisz in1914.

We also have to face the other unavoidable 'fact' that in war and other armed interventions, s**t happens to civilians. Alexander the Great (and others of all ethnic backgrounds before him) habitually massacred and/or brutalised the civilians of an opposing city en masse when necessary, and since then we have had so many other examples of the same callous behaviour - e.g., from the Russians in Germany in WWII, to the infamous body count system (and My Lai) in Vietnam, to Israel's 'Cast Lead' in Gaza, and never mind what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan today. With regard to the Wikki on Kalisz, It strikes me that some people simply want to promote a nationalistic point of view (and in my opinion, appeals to nationalism are, to misquote Dr.Johnson, the 'last refuge of the scoundrel'!). Something nasty happend at Kalisz in 1914. What exactly happened there is now (a Rumsfeldism!) a unknown known. But it is time to 'let sleeping dogs lie'.

Trajan

PS: Perhaps it is of interest to note that my like-aged (60+) Polish neighbours have never heard of the 'Kalisz event' - even more proof to me that the Wikki article is a 'stirrer'.

#66 mconrad

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 05:07 PM

If the book is propaganda, I am surprised at the fair amount of criticism of the Russian army, a British ally. Also, Mr Morse praises individual Germans, for example his personal aquaintences (German officers) who personaly escorted him out of Germany into Russian Poland just before things would have gotten too unpleasant for an English national.





#67 mconrad

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 05:35 PM

Not exactly a German source, but here's a Polish language quote of what is identified as Maj Preusker's ultimatum to the town . It's from a site run by Kalisz local historians. My Polish is barely existant, but it pretty much says that Maj Preusker is angry that shots are being fired around his hotel, and he threatens taking hostages, levying a 50,000 rouble indemnity, and shooting every tenth citizen. All in all, standard German army procedure. Actually, allowed procedure for the British, French, and American armies, too, except that they liked to reserve such methods for colonial natives and were a bit disturbed by the ease with which the Germans applied them to Europeans.



:Do magistratu miasta Kalisza!

Ponieważ nocy bieżącej dano z domów kilka wystrzałów do załogi miasta Kalisza, ustają wszystkie względy wobec ludności. Zakazuję wszelkiej komunikacji z prowincją i znoszę wszystkie listy żelazne. Wszystkie restauracje mają być zamknięte, z wyjątkiem hotelu Europejskiego, który uważać należy za moją kwaterę. Wzbrania się zatrzymywania się na ulicach i placach. Nieprzestrzeganie rozkazów
wojskowych karze się śmiercią. Aresztowanych dzisiejszej nocy 6 obywateli zostaje pod moją władzą. Przy najmniejszym oporze będą rozstrzelani. Jako karę za zajścia dzisiejszej nocy zapłaci miasto do godziny 5 po południu 50.000 rubli. Na wypadek powtórzenia się nowych rozruchów ze strony mieszkańców, każdy dziesiąty obywatel zostanie rozstrzelanym. Od godziny 8. dzisiaj wieczorem muszą wszystkie domy być zamknięte i wszystkie okna oświetlone. Magistrat ma - natychmiast postarać się o opublikowanie tego obwieszczenia. Zabraniam wydawania gazet.

Preusker,
major i komendant II/155,
komendant m. Kalisza.



#68 mconrad

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 06:08 PM

Here's a link to a dozen or more photos of the wreckage. http://www.stary.kal...wa-kalisza.html (Click on "staryi foto" ) Obvious fire damage, might be artillery damage too. No proof the Germans did it, though, given that the Russian set some buildings alight before leaving.

#69 bob lembke

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 07:56 PM

Here's a link to a dozen or more photos of the wreckage. http://www.stary.kal...wa-kalisza.html (Click on "staryi foto" ) Obvious fire damage, might be artillery damage too. No proof the Germans did it, though, given that the Russian set some buildings alight before leaving.


If you poke thru the thread, we have established that the Germans stated that during the fighting, at one point, they shelled some parts of the town with one or more batteries from a field artillery unit; and that some two weeks later, they determined to take down some portion of the town in reprisal for what they felt was an illegal uprising.

There seems to be some agreement on what eventually happened in the town. The great question is why this serious fighting lit off. The 155. Infanterie=Regiment was a first-rate active duty regiment. It's latest recruits had been inducted about 10 months before and were already well-trained. Besides, the unit was in fair proportion partially manned by ethnic Poles. (My father fought with them at Verdun.) The Germans occupied hundreds of towns and cities in Polish Russia in this period, and such events did not occur, and from much evidence much of the remaining population, Poles and Polish Jews, in balance preferred the Germans to the Russians and their friendly Cossacks.

Bob

#70 bob lembke

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 10:20 PM

Well, I have read the first 40 pages of the book, and it is totally preposterous in every sense, gigantic factual inaccuracies (the word is too weak, I have a turn of phrase, and can't even come up with a proper term). I could come up with a string of errors (no, falsehoods, fabrications), both on the level of the broad affairs of the war, down to small matters such as specific officers and regiments, who either do not exist, or are hundreds of miles out of position, on the wrong front. Can't find a single factual point that he made that is true in any fashion. This is surprising, as these points could have easily fabricated in a believable fashion with access to a single Prussian Rangliste.

The tone is a bit off-putting, if you are looking for a reasoned work of historical merit. Fast-forward to page 4: "Now I know, of course, that the mendacious Hun, with the low cunning of a murderous maniac, was preparing for a blood-feast." Nice, temperate language, suggesting a believable narrative. But the actual narrative of the alleged story. It seems that, long before the first German patrol of 12 men actually reached Kalisz, almost every woman in the city between the age of 9 and 90 had been raped by hoads of maddened drunken German officers and men; that by 5:30 AM, thousands of German officers and men would already be roaring drunk, with a cavalry regiment garrisoned in the town, and a Russian cavalry division HQed to the south. It goes on and on.

The further tale is odd. The "Englishman" escapes the town, walks east, enters Russian lines, is stuffed in a hole in the ground by police, but then is interviewed, and suddenly, without explaination, or description of the process, he is an instant Russian officer (no rank mentioned, although he mentions expecting to have a conversation with a Grand Duke - this latter detail I am not 100% sure of, took no notes of that.), with a horse, a servant, and an orderly, although he cannot speak a single word of Russian, and although he frequently mentions his love of things military, he never mentions a single day of actual military training, experience, service, etc. How can one believe that the Russians would make a foreign national without a word of Russian or any military experience, who was just pleading to be allowed to travel to a Russian port and embark for England, an officer? He describes a fierce artillery duel (describes a man standing near him having his head taken off by a German shell, the head is gone, but the man continues standing there, a fountain of blood spraying up out of his neck, until, finally, to everyone's relief, he finally topples over.), and describes Russian artillery pieces being dismounted by a German shell, the Russian artillerymen simply heave the barrel of the piece onto a limber, and resume firing at the enemy. That would work well!

He gives details of large scale matters, that are astoundingly wrong, and of course matters that a visiting commercial traveler, who had never visited Germany before, could not possibly know. Did you know that, even before mobilization, Germany had 4 million men lined up in East Prussia and Silesia poised to push into Russia? That is off by a factor of 10 or 15.

If anyone wants more specific descriptions of the specific fabrications, I will comply. But I find it astonishing that anyone with an ounce of balanced sense could read more than a few pages of this travesy and not chuck it.

Bob

#71 mconrad

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 12:39 AM

For what it's worth, from http://www.jewishvir...11_0_10638.html

"In 1878 anti-Jewish riots occurred in the town, provoked by religious fanatics in which many peasants took part; 13 Jews were killed and damage caused to Jewish property in the city amounted to 200,000 rubles. From 1881 on, the Russian authorities organized frequent expulsions from Kalisz of Jews who were German or Austrian citizens. By the beginning of the 20th century there was a large stratum of Jewish workers in Kalisz, who in 1909 numbered over 3,000, including apprentices and hired workers employed in workshops. Toward the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century *Ḥasidism gained influence in Orthodox circles in Kalisz, especially the Hasidim of Gur (*Gora Kalwaria), Kotsk (see Menahem Mendel of *Kotsk), and *Warka. Progressive circles established their own synagogue in 1911. Among rabbis of Kalisz in the 19th and 20th centuries were Solomon b. Akiva *Eger (1835–40), Elijah Ragoler (1840–50), Ẓevi Hirsch *Chajes (1851–55), Meir b. Isaac *Auerbach (1855–60), Hayyim Eleazar Waks (1862–81), Samson Ornstein (1881–1902), and Ezekiel Lipschuetz (until 1932). When the German army occupied Kalisz in August 1914, the soldiers — as a result of deliberate incitement without any military justification — set fire to about 150 Jewish houses in the center of the city. Thirty-three Jewish residents of Kalisz lost their lives in this action, and many fled from the city. Later, schools were established, including a Tahkemoni school directed by Jacob Shalom Engel, and a national religious school for girls, Havazelet."

#72 mconrad

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 01:05 AM

When Mr Morse writes, "One of our batteries had all its guns dismounted, or put of action, and many other guns were destroyed, though in some cases the gunners got them on fresh wheels, or even limbers."

Mr Lembke rephrases as, "describes Russian artillery pieces being dismounted by a German shell, the Russian artillerymen simply heave the barrel of the piece onto a limber, and resume firing at the enemy. That would work well!"

Sir, I begin to fear for your objectivity!

#73 bob lembke

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 03:33 AM

When Mr Morse writes, "One of our batteries had all its guns dismounted, or put of action, and many other guns were destroyed, though in some cases the gunners got them on fresh wheels, or even limbers."

Mr Lembke rephrases as, "describes Russian artillery pieces being dismounted by a German shell, the Russian artillerymen simply heave the barrel of the piece onto a limber, and resume firing at the enemy. That would work well!"

Sir, I begin to fear for your objectivity!


I am afraid that I am going to be a bit rough on our new Forumite, and I appologize in advance.

It is true that I did not cite his absurd passage ver batum, but I accurately paraphrased the most rediculous part of his assertion; I was writing from memory. I will pass on "fresh wheels", as somewhat more vague, but equally silly. The barrel assembly of even a smaller field-piece will weigh several thousand pounds, the idea of an artillery piece being dismounted, which almost always would involve serious damage, and then getting it back up on a limber (which almost certainly would collapse under the weight), and then aiming and elevating it (how?), and then firing it (certainly collapsing the limber, and probably throwing the gun 100 feet, probably killing some men and horses, etc.) To get the barrel up onto a limber or "fresh wheels" you would have to improvise a small crane; only the very heaviest batteries would have a crane on the site. (My grand-father was involved with a battery in action in which the gun weighed 175 tons, they had a crane at hand, hardly a surprise. Field-guns? No.)

It is impolite to challange you in such a blunt fashion, but I cannot understand how you could know anything about the start of WW I, or equally of military matters of the period, and seriously put this book forward as a sensible historical source. I am tempted to sharpen that point (pardon the pun!), but I will pass. But I hardly get the sense that your motivation is not military history, or, alternatively, you know nothing of it.

If anyone is interested, I will waste a half-hour of my life and I will construct a "Guide to the Absurd" and go thru some of this book and note down page numbers, and the absurdities found on those pages. In spending a half hour on reading 40 pages, and consulting a few references, I could find nothing that could be factually checked that was actually true, or made sense. Specifics on request.

Bob

#74 Jan Szkudlinski

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 07:04 AM

Dear All,

when it comes to Kalisz/Kalisch one has to remember that the initial, mysterious event involving the II/155 was only the beginning of the entire sad story. The problem is that after Preusker had pulled out, 3rd Landwehr Division entered (II/7th Landwehr, for that matter, on August 7th). Having been forewarned about perceived francs-tirreurs operating within the town, they were in their inexperience seeing them everywhere. The result - a perceived "ambush", firefight, taking and shooting hostages and so on and so forth. After that, the town centre was set alight.

Moreover - if we are to believe the history of the 133rd Landwehr Regiment, the III/137Ldw which crossed the town on August 14th, it has been "attacked by fanatical civilians or hidden Russian soldiers" and suffered 3 dead and 14 wounded in the firefight (p. 3). On that day the 37th Landwehr Regiment, also crossing the town, was ordered again to burn some buildings (regimental history, p. 17).

The Polish civilian witnesses questioned after the war uniformly claim that they all the Russian forces had pulled out after having burned the railway station, that they have not seen any armed civilian nor Russian soldier within the town, and, most importantly, Polish doctors from the local hospital claimed that all the wounded German soldiers treated were shot by German rifle bullets, not by shotgun pellets, as the German officers claimed.

The German official history only mentions the affair, saying that it is "possible" that Russian agents were involved (Bd. 2, p. 49) and that the there is no clear explanation of the event (Bd. 5, p. 421)

There are two interesting sidenotes to the Kalisz incident, but it is hard to tell if these are in any way connected.

on August 8th two civilians were shot in Czestochowa (Germ. Tschenstochau) by the troops of 55th Landwehr Regiment for alleged attakcs on German soldiers the day before.

On August 22nd Russian General Martos orered to shell Neidenburg for alleged attack of the civilian population on a Cossack patrol.

The whole Kalisz affair is but a sidenote in my forthcoming PhD about the German operation in the Vistula Curve, yet I have used the following mateiral:

- H. Reichert, Der Schwarze Lord. Unter Woyrsch durch Polen und Galizien, Zeulenroda 1929.
- Wynik dochodzen urzedowych w sprawie zburzenia miasta Kalisza przez Niemcow w roku 1914 (The results of the Official Enquiry to the destruction of the city of Kalisz by the Germans in 1914)
- J. Dabrowski, Katastrofa Kaliska (a testimony of a Polish historian who was present in Kalisz in August 1914)
- W. Heye, Geschichte des Landwehrkorps im Weltkriege 1914-1918, Breslau 1935.
- Der Weltkrieg 1914-1918, Vols. 2 and 5.
- M. Romsdtedt, Das Kgl. Sachs. Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 133, Dresden 1924
- F. Pfister, Geschichte des Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiemtns Nr. 37, Oldenburg-Berlin 1928.
- J. Pilsudski, Moje pierwsze boje, Warszawa 1925.
- W. Bortnowski, Ziemia lodzka w ogniu. 1 VIIII - 6 XII 1914, Lodz 1969. (somewhat biased)
- D. Showalter, Tannenberg. The Clash of Empires.

Since I have not obtaned the history of the 155th Infantry Regiment, as it did not take part in the fighting on the Eastern Front in 1914 (save Kalisz, if we might call it fighting), I would be very obliged if one could send me a copy of the relevant pages of the regimental history.

For me it is very probable that green (without combat experience, that is) soldiers led by officers taught to expect "francs-tirreurs" in captured areas have overreacted to a minor incident (like accidental weapon discharge or the like). See Thomas Weber's "Hitler's First War" for a description of the mechanism, which must have worked similarly in the West and in the East.

We need to bear in mind that after this initial incident nothing similar has occured - both during the operation of the Landwehrkorps in the Vistula Curve and during the offensives in October and November.

EDIT:

Perhaps it is of interest to note that my like-aged (60+) Polish neighbours have never heard of the 'Kalisz event' - even more proof to me that the Wikki article is a 'stirrer'.


That does not prove anything. Most Poles do not know about the Kalisz incident, because compared to the atrocities committed in Poland in 1939-1945 Kalisz pales into insignificance.

#75 bob lembke

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 04:01 PM

Dear Jan;

First of all, welcome to the Forum.

Your post was very interesting, informative, and very useful to the unraveling of this story and puzzle. I have to run, so I cannot comment in any detail now, but will want to.

There is a young German university student (perhaps he has graduated; he was still in school a few years ago) who sells many regimental histories on CDs or DVDs for 5 Euros, generally, and I have bought a copy of IR 155 from him several years ago, for 5 Euros and modest postage. At the time he could send three for the postage of a single. These histories are scarce and expensive so this is a great service to the student of WK I. (I am not sure if I should mention his name, as it might seem commercial.)

IR 155 was a first-rate unit and included many ethnic Poles, as you can see from the death roll of the regiment. The other German units involved were inferior in several senses.

If you don't or can't get the CD I can probably transfer the relevant pages to you, but I will have to experiment a bit with the technology.

My Forum mailbox is probably full, but I could PM you my e-address.

Bob



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