Although the main theatres for Sturmbataillon Nr. 5 (Rohr) were Verdun and the 1918 offensives they were involved in the fighting in the Champagne in 1917. The time spent by two Companies under the command of the Sturm-Bataillon Nr. 7 is often overlooked.
The history of the Battalion has a short reference to this period.
Above: The N.C.O.s of the 4th Stum-Kompagnie in Bosmont, the training base of S.B. Nr. 7 in June 1917. Abolf Breuer in the back row with the pipe.
After the Germans had beaten off the initial French attacks on the Chemin des Dames they spent the weeks that followed launching local actions aimed at regaining the positions they had lost. As the Verdun Front was relatively quiet during this period, Rohr was asked to send troops to reinforce Major Friedrich’s Sturmbataillon Nr. 7.
The first company sent was the 4. Sturm-Kompagnie under the command of Oberleutnant Schildknecht. The task was difficult, the men were representing the Sturmbataillon Rohr under a “foreign” command. The Battalion was keen to have its men participate in the action and gain experience in the A.O.K. 7 sector.
The men of Rohr were treated fairly by Major Friedrich. Detached units often ran the risk of being “used up” by the units they were attached to, the men being of less value to the commander than his own. This did not take place to the men under the command of Major Friedrich. The 4. Sturm-Kompagnie (later replaced by the 3. Sturm.Kompagnie under Leutnant Schneider) were also treated fairly when it came to distributing medals, recieving them just as often as the men of the S.B. Nr. 7.
That the achievements of the men of the men of the 4th and 3rd Companies were chalked up to the S.B. Nr. 7 was not the fault of Major Friedrich.
(To go to the article about the Attack on Craonne for which Adolf Breuer recieved the Iron Cross 1st Class go HERE)
The time spent under Major Friedrich on the Chemin des Dames and in the Training depot of the S.B. Nr. 7 at Bosmont were difficult, especially for the officers. Major Friedrich had a very different approach to leadership than Major Rohr.
In the Sturmbataillon Nr. 5 (Rohr) the Company commanders and their lieutenants had great freedom of action and decision. Major Friedrich tended to micro-manage and wanted a say in the planning of operations. He also personally liaised with the infantry commanders, working out operational details with the staffs in great detail.
The junior officers of S.B. Nr. 5 were used to self determination and using their own initiative in planning and executing attacks. While under the colors of the S.B. Nr. 7 they were forced to give up this freedom and become a simply executive arm of Major Friedrich’s planning. It was not a situation they appreciated.
In spite of this, the time spent with the S.B. Nr. 7 was exciting. The Companies took part in a large number of actions, especially in the area of the Winterberg. In June Major Rohr inspected the 4th Company at Bosmont, then on the 29th of June the 3rd Company entered the sector to replace the 4th.
The 4th Company had left Verdun on the 13th of May to join the Battle on the Aisne and Champagne. The battle officially ended on the 27th of May and from that point the unit was involved in positional warfare on the Chemin des Dames. It left the sector on the 2nd of July to return to it’s home ground at Verdun.
Above: The Militärpass of Adolf Breuer. A member of the 4th Sturm-Kompanie Breuer fought in the Champagne and on the Chemain de Dames while detached to the 7th Sturmbataillon
To go to the Page about Adolf Breuer including his Militärpass with battle entries click HERE