I am trying to research my German grandfather's military unit and likely locations during the war.
From stories he told, we believe he was a Pionier and served exclusively in France for the entire war. We have a tape recorded interview with him in which he mentions some place names--Fresnes, Saulx, Ville ("a Moselle town," "down there near Verdun, at the foot of the fortifications")... He also brought home postcards of Fresnes-en-Woevre and Saulx.
We found one 1915 Verlustlisten entry for a Gustav Landahl of Hamburg who was with the
Landwehr-Pionier-Kompanie/XVI. Armeekorps (There were also a few other entries that seemed not to correspond with our grandfather--one fellow who went missing mid-way through the war, and another who was an infantryman and may have gone to the eastern front, etc).
According to Wikipedia, this pionier unit was part of the 5th Landwehr Division which saw action in the vicinity SE of Verdun. I also found the page about the 5th Landwehr at http://www.militaerpass.net/5ldwd.htm
that mentions engagements at Fresnes, Champlon (near Saulx), Marcheville, and later the St. Mihiel/Mont Sec sector. This was an exciting find, as it seems to correspond well with some of the place names and postcards we have from grandpa.
Some of my remaining questions, though:
Does anyone know if there is a full regimental history of this Division in print or online somewhere?
Also, how would a 17-year-old living in Hamburg (in 1914) end up in the XVI Armeekorps (and a Landwehr unit) based in Metz? Wouldn't he have normally been inducted into the IX Armeekorps? And aren't the Landwehr Divisions comprised of older men?
Also, grandpa mentioned a few other place names that don't quite match places the 5th Landwehr saw action. One of these sounds like "Talure", but I am wondering if it might have been Tahure (or Talou?) Yet the 5th Landwehr division did not fight at Tahure or Talou Hill as far as I can tell? Also, he said that place was "near the Rhine," which doesn't sound right at all, though perhaps near the Rhine-Marne canal? And it was a terrible fight there, "too much artillery," he said. He said that was where he lost his hearing, and many of his comrades were killed.
Grandpa also mentioned "Cambria" as a place they were sent, up "in them mountains." Could this be Cambrai? Or perhaps more likely Combres (Heights)?
I am also trying to understand what a pioneer in this unit would likely have been doing at the various places and points in time. He clearly mentioned being involved in nasty battles at these last two places, though we also got the impression that mainly he was well behind the front lines. He also mentioned being off the "com lines" for a time getting training, possibly in sharpshooting.
Thanks in advance for any insight or resources anyone might have!