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"Kinder der Truppe Bataillon" Landsturm 1871?

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  • "Kinder der Truppe Bataillon" Landsturm 1871?


    this French teenager living in Montbéliard described the following German youth unit after the Siege of Belfort, from recruits of same rank age than him, using a traditional french military word for regimental children

    Dimanche 26 Février 1871
    arrivée de Belfort d'un bataillon d'enfants de troupe de 15 à 18 ans, parmi lesquels se trouvent quelques vieux soldats de la landwehr.
    ils se dirigent du côté de Besançon

    Sunday, February 26, 1871
    arrival from Belfort of a battalion of "enfants de troupe" (sic) aged from 15 to 18 years old, among whom are some old soldiers of the Landwehr.
    they are heading towards Besançon
    as such battalion is certainly not few regimental "Enfants de Troupe" nor Cadets from Military Schools sent to the frontline but a whole youth unit,

    Could it be a Landsturm Battalion given that the mobilization concerned not only the older men but also the youngs over 17 to not say 16 (to 20) and might explain these youngs mixed with "few old soldiers of the Landwehr"??

    There were this kind of Landsturm units around the Siege of Belfort or Lines of Communications?

    Found only Landwehr regiments and battalions in the ORBAT facing Belfort...
    Zuletzt geändert von Loïc; 13.05.2023, 14:32.

  • #2
    Hi Loic,

    a difficult question, but I don't think that the guys were from a "Landsturm" unit, as the law of 9.11.1867 regulating the "Verpflichtung zum Kriegsdienste":

    Der Landsturm besteht aus allen Wehrpflichtigen vom vollendeten 17. bis zum vollendeten 42. Lebensjahr, welche weder dem Heere noch der Marine angehören.
    So, only men having reached the 18th year were generally included into the Landsturm. The law also regulates the obligation to serve in the army / marine from the age of 20 onwards for three years, afterwards 4 more years in the Reserve. After these 7 years a five year long service in the Landwehr followed. But healthy men may voluntary serve from the age of 18.

    The law also give some information about the duty of the Landsturm:

    Der Landsturm tritt nur auf Befehlt des Bundes-Feldherrn zusammen, wenn ein feindlicher Einfall Theile des Bundes-Gebietes bedroht oder überzieht.
    So, generally the Landsturm should only serve as a defensive force on "home ground".

    As you states the OOB only list Landwehr-units, but nor Landsturm ... I checked the larger work of Wolf about the siege of Belfort which has a detailed OOB. If you don't have it, I may add the PDF here.

    So, I just think the guys looked younger and were supposed to be "Enfants de troupe".

    Kind regards
    Markus Stein

    "Wenn wir geboren werden, weinen wir, weil wir diese große Narrenbühne betreten" (King Lear) ... jedem also sein ganz persönliches (Hof-) Narrenleben


    • #3
      Thank you Markus glad to have a German point of view about this mysterious German Youth Battalion

      indeed I found a German ORBAT who seems detailed about Tresckow's Corps including troops under "Etapes" on google books coming from
      La guerre franco-allemande de 1870-71
      Rédigée par la section historique du grand état-major prussien

      translatation of Der deutsch-französische Krieg, 1870-71: th. Geschichte des Krieges gegen die Republik
      Armee. Grosser Generalstab. Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II :

      -first, indeed definitively clearly there wasn't even one little "Landsturm" Battalion facing and/or the vicinity of Belfort and in whole France...
      (an other source gives in Germany "52 dismounted landsturm cavalry squadrons of 250 volunteers for the French POW's camps" and others units for coastal defence in Pomerania...quite far from the Youth Battalion near Belfort Montbéliard Besançon...)

      -second the question of the quality of the testimony
      this teenager confined often by war in his house is a true little spy-observer and very aware of military notions (he became artillery captain), his diary is quite detailed, he is able to distinguish Prussian units from others States, Infanterie from Kavallerie Pioneers and even Sanitary companies and Subsistances, the size of units (regiment, battalion, company) and each time he can even the regimental number of the units (unfortunately not in this case who would avoid a brainstorming) and all the numbered battalions/regiments mentionned from his diary can be found in the Ordre de Bataille for the Siege of Belfort (nr 25, 67 active; Landwehr nr 1 3 7 4 5 43 45 47 50 21 54 14 61...)
      At 6.15 am, arrival of two infantry companies; they are nurses and men of the subsistence service. Nurses stand guard with their sabers in front of the
      ambulances (...)

      At 8.30 a.m., the 2 battalions of the 67th regiment of active passed through, leaving yesterday at 1 a.m.;
      At 2.45 am, arrival of a company of the active army, four companies of the 4th Landwehr regiment and four companies of the 5th Landwehr regiment; These eight companies of the 4th and 5th Landwehr come directly from Germany; the soldiers have brand new clothes, the rifles and the mess tins are also mints

      At 9 am, the 2 battalions of the 67th regiment with about 30 hulans go to communion at the Church; they are all in full dress.
      At 3 o'clock, passage of 2 active infantry battalions, 3 battalions of the 21st Landwehr, a six-piece artillery battery, a squadron of hulans and about 60 hussars

      Company of Württemberg Pioneers fully equipped. They are very well dressed: a large grey greatcoat, black trousers with red piping, large boots, and a small black cap edged with red; armed with a small percussion carbine, a saber-bayonet and finally a skin bag slung over the shoulder
      arrival of a battalion of the 50th regiment of Landwehr; the men, about 600 in number, have mint uniforms and wear orange-yellow shoulder tabs.
      At 10:30 a.m., arrival via Besançon of 200 Baden dragoons dressed in blue and wearing spiked helmets. Shortly after arrive a hundred gendarmes wearing spiked helmets, and armed with French Chassepots (...) three squadrons of dragoons almost all armed with Chassepots.
      Arrival of about 500 infantrymen wearing the armband of the Cross of Geneva; several cars and vans driven by soldiers of the Train.
      arrival of the 6th active infantry regiment, and the 5th active infantry regiment; A general commands both regiments. They are all from Baden
      At 2 o'clock, departure of the 500 nurse soldiers who arrived recently, with the ambulance cars, these nurses wear the spiked helmet, they are dressed like the landwehr, but the trimmings are blue

      so given his knowledge in military observations, if he saw a bataillon d'enfants de troupe its means that it was nothing other than a true whole Youth Battalion-size-unit, it can't be a mistake about the size of the unit nor some younger recruits of the same age than him following a battalion of older Landwehr soldiers ("some/a small number of old Landwehr soldiers among them")

      reading more his diary, maybe the beginning of explanation : he saw "Landsturm" renforcing a Landwehr regiment two months early before the Youth Battalion of the 26th february

      Tuesday, December 27, 1870
      At 3 o'clock, departure for Désandans of 2 companies of Landwehr, about 20 hulans (sic) and three food wagons;
      these 2 companies which reinforced the 54th Landwehr regiment last saturday, are formed from the first ban of the Landsturm

      Friday, December 30, 1870
      At 11:15 am, arrival of 2 Landsturm companies; they have about the same costume as the Landwehr. These landsturm come from Dampierre-les-Bois
      at least it can't be the battalions of the Landwehr Regiment nr 54 and 21 [2tes kombinirtes Pommersches Landwehr-Regiment (nr 21/54)] because it left the city of Montbéliard the 24th february two days before the arrival of the Youth Battalion