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The EK1

An account by Hans Rogall, 3rd Company, 2nd Bavarian Reserve Jäger Battalion

27 – 30th October 1916

After the memorable push at Salatrucal (Here) and avoiding an enemy effort to surround us, the 2. bay. Res. Bat. was tasked, along with the I./ Inf. Leib Regt. with an advance on the railway station Cumpana. The battalion of the Leib Regiment arrived at the objective during the afternoon, we, the Jägers, had difficult terrain to cross and we arrived in the evening.

Above: Fresh Recruits/Replacements of the 2nd bavarian Jäger Ersatz Bataillon in early 1916

Cumpana was a railhead at the source of the Argesul. It consisted of a nice Villa, a number of Lumberjack huts and a lumber yard. On the night of the 29th “Ersatz” (Replacements) arrived. A number of old friends who had been wounded at Verdun returned but the majority had never had been under fire. These new replacements had been marching to the rear with the “Rekrutendepot” and had not yet experienced the earnestness of war. That very night the new arrivals were allocated to the companies and entered in the Kriegsstamrollen. Nobody could foresee that in a few hours a number of them would have a Blue Cross added to their entry with the notation “Gefallen bei Cumpana” (Killed at Cumpana).

In the early morning on the 29th of October the attack was to continue. The 3rd company was to advance through the valley along the railway and river while the other companies were to advance and push the enemy back along the high ground.

It was a bitterly cold morning! Shortly after our depart the railway line traversed the river. To the left of the tracks were large stacks of wood, waiting to be loaded for the journey to the Walachei. Here the company came under fire from the Romanians and suffered quite a number of casualties. The remainder took cover behind the woodpiles and gathered their wits then scanned the terrain searching for the enemy. They were well positioned on the slope. Any attempt to move forward was met with heavy fire.

Our company commander, Oblt. Otto Kühn, showed what he was made of. Calmly smoking his cigar, pistol in his right hand, riding crop in the left and still hindered by a wound he had suffered in 1914, he charged across the freezing river. The rest of the company followed him up the slope. There was to be no close combat, the Romanians broke, a few of them made it back into the forest, the majority were captured.

It was soon apparent that we had overrun a forward position and during the next two days we battled forward, the fighting in the difficult terrain costing us many casualties. In the end 3rd Company had 11 men killed and 60 wounded. The Battalion would leave almost 30 men behind in the quiet, isolated Argusaltal (Argusal valley).

(Hans Rogali, 3./ b. Res. Jg. Btl. Nr. 2.)

Above: The Bavarian Jäger Tschako worn by Karl Hesselbach in Romania. He was wounded at Cumpana on the 30th of October 1916.

Karl Hesselbach was born in Kitzingen (Bavaria) on the 19th of May 1896. On the 14th of October 1915 he joined the Rekruten Depot of the 1st Ersatz Bataillon of the 9th Bavarian Infantry Regiment (Würzburg). On the 2nd of March 1916 he transferred to the 1st Company of the Ersatz Battalion. On the 1st of August 1916 He transferred to the 2nd Company. On the 24th of August 1916 he joined the 3rd Company, Ersatz Bataillon of the 2nd Bavarian Jäger Battalion (Aschaffenburg) and two days later to the Rekruten Depot of the Bavarian Jäger Regiment 1 in the Argonne forest. The Regiment, as part of the Alpenkorps had left Verdun to take up a section of the line in the Argonne in the third week of August were it received replacments and was reequipped after the murderous fighting at Verdun. In September the Alpenkorps was sent East to join the German forces on the new Romanian front. On the 9th of October he joined the 3rd Company of the 2nd Bavarian Reserve Jäger Battalion. On the 30th of October he was hit by a bullet in the thigh at Cumpana and was delivered into the Kriegslazarett 58 A.

On the 24th of November 1916 he joined the Recovery Company for wounded in Hermannstadt. On the 28th of February 1917 he received “Working Vacation”, passed through the 2nd Jäger battalion in March 1917 then on the 3rd Of April 1917 he rejoined the Ersatz battalion of the 9th Infantry Regiment again. It seems that his wound had long term effects that allowed him to be used “if extremely necessary” on the homefront or a unit behind the lines. At the end of September 1917 he was released from military service, seemingly to do labor service related to the war effort.