8th Foot Artillery Fahnrich, Metz

SkipperJohn

Well-known member
This helmet belonged to Artillerie Offizier Jos Kuiffer, 8th Foot Artillery (Rheinisches), XVI Armee Korps, Metz. He was a Fahnrich:

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The spike is excessively tall for a Kugelhelm and it has sustained a slight rearward tilt:

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The Wappen is held on with screw fasteners and retains almost all of it's original gilt:

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The liner is intact:

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There are several markings on the inside of the helmet shell including the size, 56 1/2, and a note: "Fur Artillerie Offizier Jos Kuiffer". I am not the best when it comes to German script but the writing is fairly simple to make out, except for the Jos part, so I had a friend of mine in Munich help me with the script issue to make sure it said what I thought it did:

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There is also a mark "FR" next to the note:

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There is another scribble on the other side of the helmet that my friend said was another "FR":

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The script is in pencil and done in very poor handwriting. It may just be a note to the maker of who the helmet was going to and what type of Wappen to put on it, "FR". I doubt that the "FR" stood for Fahnrich since that is only one word in German.

I also have Herr Kuiffer's sword. It's a standard Heer, dove head sword with officer's portapee:

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The Fahnrich's pipe is also included:

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The pipe is very unusual since it has a Kugelhelm cover, like one would find on a regimental pipe, but the bowl has a picture of the Metz Catherdral, written in French "Cathedrale Metz". Fahnrich Kuiffer must have had an affinity for Elsass Lothringen.

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The Troddeln on the pipe is "blue - red - blue" indicating the 8th Company. This seems odd since a foot artillery battalion had four howitzer batteries and two heavy mortar batteries. There was no 8th batterie, or company. Perhaps he just used these colors to represent "8th Regt". There is always something to research. The sword is pictured below with the incorrect Portapee:

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John :)
 

Glennj

Active member
John,

an interesting conundrum. With regards to the number of companies in a Foot Artillery Regiment, I can confirm as at 1914 there were in fact eight in peacetime. Please see the extract for Fuß-Artillerie-Regiment Nr. 8 for 1914 which shows the officers assigned to that company.

The Portepee is something of a mismatch. It has the colours of a soldiers' Troddel with the closed silver tassels of the officers' portepee. In fact I would say that is a Wehrmacht (Heer) pattern knot. As a Fähnrich, he would have been entitled to the silver portepee with silver and black strap.

I can find no officer with name Kuiffer. Is it possibly Küpper? A Leutnant der Reserve of the name was serving in the regiment in 1914.

Regards
Glenn

fussar8.jpg
 

SkipperJohn

Well-known member
Glennj said:
John,

an interesting conundrum. With regards to the number of companies in a Foot Artillery Regiment, I can confirm as at 1914 there were in fact eight in peacetime. Please see the extract for Fuß-Artillerie-Regiment Nr. 8 for 1914 which shows the officers assigned to that company.

The Portepee is something of a mismatch. It has the colours of a soldiers' Troddel with the closed silver tassels of the officers' portepee. In fact I would say that is a Wehrmacht (Heer) pattern knot. As a Fähnrich, he would have been entitled to the silver portepee with silver and black strap.

I can find no officer with name Kuiffer. Is it possibly Küpper? A Leutnant der Reserve of the name was serving in the regiment in 1914.

Regards
Glenn

Glenn,
His name could have been Kuiffer, Kuffer, Kuisser, Kusser, Kuipper, Kupper, etc. My friend and I did the best we could and we both decided that it mostly resembled Kuiffer. The writing is obviously rapidly done and scribbled. My friend in Munich is much more adept at reading German script so I trusted his word.
A Fahnrich is entitled to wear an officer's knot and the strap is the same color as the knot. I'm not sure what you are saying in regards to the Portapee. It may be a replacement. I got it with the sword when I got the set. Please explain, I am interested to know.
It is interesting to find out that there were 8 Batteries in a Fussartillerie battalion in 1914. I, however, have absolutely no idea when this officer served. There are two Kokarden on his Pickelhaube, so, at least, he became a Fahnrich after 1897. I'm sure the 8th artillery regiment rotated officers, as did we.

John :)
 

Glennj

Active member
John,

Please find below from left to right illustrations of:

Prussian officers' portepee.
Imperial troddel for an 8th company.
Later Reichswehr (post 1928)/Wehrmacht pattern troddel for an 8th company.

The Fähnrich as well as senior non-commissioned officers (Feldwebel/Vizefeldwebel etc.) wore the officers' portepee.

I have checked every edition of the Prussian army list from 1897 to 1914 plus the Ehrenrangliste which further shows wartime commissions; No Kuiffer. Küpper is therefore a possibility. If it is indeed the helmet of Herr Küpper, then this was the helmet of a Vizefeldwebel der Reserve upgraded with the officers' Perlring.

Regards
Glenn

unit8.jpg
 

SkipperJohn

Well-known member
Glennj said:
John,

Please find below from left to right illustrations of:

Prussian officers' portepee.
Imperial troddel for an 8th company.
Later Reichswehr (post 1928)/Wehrmacht pattern troddel for an 8th company.

The Fähnrich as well as senior non-commissioned officers (Feldwebel/Vizefeldwebel etc.) wore the officers' portepee.

I have checked every edition of the Prussian army list from 1897 to 1914 plus the Ehrenrangliste which further shows wartime commissions; No Kuiffer. Küpper is therefore a possibility. If it is indeed the helmet of Herr Küpper, then this was the helmet of a Vizefeldwebel der Reserve upgraded with the officers' Perlring.

Regards
Glenn

Glenn,
I see what you mean about the Troddel. It is obviously not correct. I'll begin looking for a proper one soon. Is there a difference between a WW1 and a WW2 Officer's Portapee? I have seen these with two silver stripes (in thread) or three silver stripes (also in thread).

Since I bought these items from a family who had long since lost interest, and not a dealer, the Portapee issue was likely not altered by them and it went unnoticed by me.

The helmet is a completely proper Pickelhaube for a Fahnrich. We could have gotten the name wrong when we were studying it. We did seek outside assistance from Herr Spaten and Miss St. Pauli Girl so the possibilities of a mistake are endless. Since a Fahnrich would not enjoy a full commission is it possible that he would not be listed among the regular officers?
Here is the best photo I can get of the name:

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I suppose that it is also possible that the unit, 8th Fussartillerie, was misidentified because of the pipe. I have a beer stein from Berlin, but I never served there. I just couldn't find a good Beer Stein that said Okinawa, Kuwait, or Iraq!

John :)
 

SkipperJohn

Well-known member
I have found a proper Portapee for Fahnrich Kuiffer's sword:

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All I need to find out now is his actual Fussartillerie unit.

John :)
 
Very interesting. The 8/8 Batterie has very uncommon guns, 15 cm Kanone in Schirmlafette, a gun with an armored carriage which looks like naval gun. It can move with special truck on rail or on road with a steaming tractor. I will pu some pictures when I have time
 

Tony without Kaiser

Departed
Staff member
festwagner said:
Very interesting. The 8/8 Batterie has very uncommon guns, 15 cm Kanone in Schirmlafette, a gun with an armored carriage which looks like naval gun. It can move with special truck on rail or on road with a steaming tractor. I will pu some pictures when I have time

That is interesting. I am only familiar with the Krupp 15cm SK L/40 i.R. (SK - Schnellladungskanone = fast-loading cannon / i.R. - in Raderlafette = in wheeled carriage) HERE

Look forward to learning about the Schirmlafette.
 

SkipperJohn

Well-known member
festwagner said:
Very interesting. The 8/8 Batterie has very uncommon guns, 15 cm Kanone in Schirmlafette, a gun with an armored carriage which looks like naval gun. It can move with special truck on rail or on road with a steaming tractor. I will pu some pictures when I have time

I look forward to seeing the photos of the Schirmlafette. I've never heard of it.

John :)
 

SkipperJohn

Well-known member
festwagner said:
Very interesting. The 8/8 Batterie has very uncommon guns, 15 cm Kanone in Schirmlafette, a gun with an armored carriage which looks like naval gun. It can move with special truck on rail or on road with a steaming tractor. I will pu some pictures when I have time

Is this the Kanone in Schirmlafette used by the 8/8 Batterie?




John :)
 
Soory, I have just realized that I forgot to make my post before I went on Holydays.
I will do it the evening and ys it is the famous 15 KiSL. I have lots of pictures, I will put them.
 
As promised, others pictures of this gun

Taken near the "Hauts de Meuse"



This gun was specific for the fortress of Metz. Only 8 exemplars were built by Krupp some years before WWI. At the beginning of WWI, it has two specifities
1° the longest range of all the heavy german guns : 15 km !
2 ° it was very easy to move the gun with special truck which can be moved on rail or road

A road convoy makes a pause in Mars La Tour 1914


A Schirmlaffe on a rail truck. Crew try to make it go down... Argonne 1915


Crew makes a pause in the operation


Gun is in position !


Picture taken in Verdun in Februar 1916. The gun has been hiden because of the planes. In the general bombing before the german assault in Februar 1916, these guns must fire specificly on the bridges in Verdun to cut the roads.


Four guns were in Verdun, one gun was destroyed in october 1916, another heavily damaged, crews have too heavy casualties. The armoured carriage (3 cm) was unable to protect them from the massif french bombing.


Examples of direct hits on the Schirmlafette



These guns went on lots of fronts : siege of Antwerpen in october 1914, on the Belgian coast to help the Marine Division to prevent english raids on U Boat bases (HMS Majestic was heavily damaged by the Schirmlafette), against the french forts of Hauts de Meuse,in Argonne, in Verdun..

THe HMS majestic which was hit par the Schirmlafette in november 1914





and of sevreal pictures of the crew of 5/8 during WWI. I like to be able to put face on these men who fought with these fantastic guns

Picture taken before the war in 1913 in Metz, these men will fight during WWI with their guns but at that time they didn't know it...


Pictures taken in 1915. Some of the men of the first picture must be there. The nice uniformes have disapeared... And I am not sure that the men still have their PIckelhaube !




At the end of the war, 4 guns were taken by US troops near Mars La Tour. One gun was sent to USA to be studied. Unfortunately the gun was destroyed after WWI but the barrel is still existing, in a small city Topton.



But the city never wanted to give answer to my questions... If some one lives not far from this city...
 
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