Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 208
September 1, 1914 |
to January 11, 1919
|Armed forces||Prussian Army|
|Branch of service||Infantry|
|Origin of the soldiers||Braunschweig, Celle, Hildesheim later also other areas|
|Battles and skirmishes||See mission history|
The Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 208 was an infantry regiment in existence from September 1, 1914 to January 11, 1919 , which played a special role in the capture of the city of Belgrade on October 11, 1915 during World War I.
The 1st Battalion in Braunschweig was replaced by the replacement battalion of the Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 78 and the II. Replacement Battalion of the Braunschweig Infantry Regiment No. 92 ; the II. battalion in Celle by the replacement battalion of the infantry regiments No. 77 and 78. , as well as the III. Battalion in Hildesheim formed by the replacement battalion of infantry regiments No. 78 and 79 . 
The association belonged to the newly formed 44th Reserve Infantry Division , the XXII. Reserve Corps under General of the Cavalry Eugen von Falkenhayn was subordinate. The regiment initially consisted of about 60 officers , 250 non-commissioned officers and 2500 men in three battalions , but they initially had to deal with supply bottlenecks in equipment; so there was a lack of field kitchens and other equipment.
After the regiment was mobilized on September 10, 1914, it was moved to the Zossen military training area nine days later for training purposes . From October 20, 1914, combat operations began on the Western Front in Flanders , in which around 1750 soldiers were killed. Further loss-making fights were recorded on July 29, 1915 when the so-called "Höhe 212" was stormed near the Polish village of Wólka Kańska ; furthermore about 1700 fallen on June 4, 1916 in the Battle of Verdun  and in May 1917 at the Chemin des Damesin northern France, with over 2,000 soldiers killed or missing. In November 1917 the regiment was relocated to Flanders, where the 208 regiment made a decisive contribution in the heavy defensive battle that raged north of Passchendaele on November 10th.   The total number of fallen soldiers was given at the end of the war with 2391 soldiers, the number of missing persons amounted to 3664 men. [8th]
Serbian campaign 1915
After numerous missions on the western front in Flanders, in the east and especially in Serbia , his greatest military success was the loss-making crossing over the Sava on the morning of October 7, 1915, the storming of the Banovo mountain on the afternoon of October 8, and the following Capture of Belgrade.  The operation was launched with artillery fire on the opposite eastern bank of the Sava. Early in the morning, the infantrymen set out to cross the river near two islands that provided cover.  During the crossing with the help of pontoonsand Booten began to resist Serbian troops, claiming 330 victims on the German side. On October 11, the future district of Banovo brdo , in the south of Belgrade, was occupied. 
The save transition
In the early morning of October 7, 1915, the XXII. Reserve corps with the crossing over the Sava . The regiments of the 43rd Reserve Division were involved in heavy fighting after the start of the attack on the Great and Small Gypsy Islands. The "Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 208" fighting in the association of the 44th Reserve Division landed on the same morning with parts of the 1st Battalion, past the Great Gypsy Island, on the southern bank of the Sava, which was occupied by Serbian troops.  The Serbs were surprised, but they were able to organize their defense quickly and then opened fire on the German infantry fighting their way up the bank. The parts of the 1st Battalion were now in a dangerous position, further advance was not possible, only the embankment offered some protection. For the time being, the supply of reinforcements was out of the question, the continuous defensive fire from the Serbs made this impossible. However, the supply of ammunition was successful, so the infantrymen could at least hold or defend their position. The following night it was possible to move the remains of the 1st Battalion and the 2nd Battalion across the river. The III. Battalion and an Austrian mountain battery had provided the necessary fire protection. Finally it succeeded secure the landing site and storm the Serbian position. The remaining Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 208 was then able to translate.
After the successful crossing of the Sava on October 8, 1915, the order to storm Banovo Mountain was given that afternoon on the same day. The order should be from I. and III. The 2nd Battalion of the Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 208, while the 2nd Battalion was held as a reserve. So the attack began at 4 p.m., followed by a swamp valley that had to be crossed. At 6 p.m. the storming of the hill finally began. The Serbian units could not withstand the energetic attack of the two battalions, and so the Banovo mountain fell into the hands of the Braunschweig battalions. The infantrymen immediately occupied the mountain on all sides and took up positions here. A subsequent counterattack by the Serbs on October 9 at around 2 p.m. was successfully repulsed. The 1st and 2nd Battalions immediately counterattacked, in the course of which Zarkovo was taken.
Verdun stands for one of the greatest material battles of the First World War. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers lost their lives in this cruel and inhuman battle. One of the most contested points was the height of the "dead man" , where the Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 208 should also be deployed.
Height "dead man"
After moving to the Verdun battlefield, the regiment initially took up positions in the "Raven Forest". On May 20, 1916, the attack on the French positions at the "Toten Mann" was to follow.   After taking the starting positions, the preparatory fire of the German artillery began on May 20 at 1.30 am . This was answered by the enemy with barrage , which should hinder the expected advance of the German infantry. The German preparatory fire continued into the early afternoon, and the attack began at 4 p.m. The III. The battalion was supported by engineers and flamethrowersabout to attack. The enemy trenches could then be taken. However, the attack movement ended in front of Chattancourt, there the own artillery put an end to the further advance. The conquered positions were from III. and I. Battalion occupied, the II. Battalion was to ensure the establishment of communication routes. In the following hours, however, the occupied position was covered by French artillery fire. So the entire III. Battalion to retreat to its starting position, only parts of the 1st Battalion remained in the positions previously conquered. Another attack on May 23rd had to be broken off as a result of the opposing defensive fire. An attack scheduled for May 24th could not be carried out either, the enemy fire made a previous deployment impossible. Due to the losses previously suffered, the regiment was replaced on May 25 by Reserve Jäger Battalion No. 16. In the following days the regiment was replaced with a replacement to make up for the previous losses. Subsequently, a storm battalion was formed from levies from other associations, which successfully carried out the attack on May 23rd on May 29th.
In early November 1917, the 44th Reserve Infantry Division positioned itself as the right wing division of Group Ypres . On the morning of November 10, 1917, the Canadian and English units launched a major attack on the right wing of the Ypres group.  At 2:00 p.m., the northern part of Passendale also came under heavy artillery fire, where the Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 208 was in position at that time.  The English then stormed the positions of Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 208 in several waves of attack. The German machine gun and artillery fire was able to repel this attack and the waves that followed. However, to the left of the Braunschweig regiment, the German security was pushed back into the main battle line. The standby battalion of the 208s was now destined to carry out the counter-attack, which was to drive the enemy back over the old line. The venture was crowned with success, but the battle was not over. Canadians and British repeatedly attacked the regiment's positions. At 4 p.m. the fourth, deeply structured attack, which had previously been initiated by extensive artillery fire, took place.  This attack also collapsed in the German defensive fire. The warring parties suffered numerous losses in this battle.
Course of deployment 1914–1918
- October 10th - departure from Zossen.
- October 20th - Fights off Dixmuiden .
- October 25th - Storming of Stuyvekenskerke.
- November 3 - attack on Streenstrate.
- May 9 - Unsuccessful attack on Nieuport.
- June 8th - Relocation to the Eastern Front.
- June 25th - Storming of Woydra.
- June 26th - Storming of the Kardinalski Heights.
- July 2nd - taking Wilkie-Chomenciska and Stary-Zamose.
- July 29th - Storming the height 212 and taking Olesniki.
- August 2 - capture of the Russian positions north of Majdan-Stare.
- August 18th - Storming of Lipnica.
- August 19 - Michalki was stormed.
- August 25th - crossing over the bow .
- August 27th - enforcement of the crossing over the Shabinka.
- August 29th - Ingestion of Legathy.
- Warsaw . September 5 - start of the retreat to
- September 15th - arrival in Warsaw.
October 7th to 8th - Sava crossing
- October 8th - Storming of the Banovoberges.
- October 20 - occupation of the Podvishöhe.
- October 25th - Battle on Sutica.
- October 28th - Battle of Rudnik.
- November 3 - Occupation of the Kaminka-Kosa Heights.
- February 1 - relocated to the Western Front.
April 17th to June 4th - Deployment in the Battle of Verdun.
- May 20 - Assault on the dead man.
- summer battle near Estrées. July 2 to 11 - deployment in the
- September 25-29 - Deployment in the summer battle near Peronne .
- October 10th to 29th - used in the summer battle at Ablaincourt.
- March 16 - Beginning of the retreat on the Siegfried Front.
- March 23rd - Attack on Montescourt-Lizerolles .
- March 28th - Relief from the fighting on the Siegfried Front .
- April 19 to May 10 - use at the Chemin des Dames .
- October 26th to November 3rd - Battle of Flanders . Use at Becleare.
-  
November 8-26 - Battle of Flanders. Use at Paschendale.
- November 10th - Major attack by British units.
- 9. April – Offensive bei Bethune.
- May 8th - detachment from the position at Lacture.
May 25th to June 29th - trench warfare at Vieux Berquin.
- June 15th - "Panther jump" company.
August 24th to September 4th - Battle of Monchy- Bapaume .
- August 28 - Withdrawal of positions at Beauloncourt.
- Hermann position .
October 9 to November 4 - Fights in front of and in the
- October 11-22 - deployment north of Le Cateau.
- November 5-11 - fighting in retreat in front of the Antwerp-Meuse position.
With the Armistice of Compiègne , the regiment began to march back home on November 11, 1918. After crossing the Rhine , all those on the left bank of the Rhine and those born between 1896 and 1899 were released from the troops. On November 23, the remnants of the regiment reached Magdeburg , where the men were deloused and horses, wagons and other equipment were handed in. Under the leadership of Lieutenant Leimann, the regiment then moved to Landsberg an der Warthe , where the remainder of the regiment arrived on November 25, 1918.  In Landsberg, the regiment was replaced by the infantry regiment "von Stülpnagel" (5th Brandenburg) No. 48initially demobilized and dissolved on January 11, 1919. 
Parts of the regiment joined the II and VI in December 1918. Department of the Voluntary State Hunter Corps. The Landesjägerkorps was formed on December 14, 1918 from parts of the 214th Infantry Division .  In January 1919, the Freikorps was used in Berlin to hold down unrest. 
Subordination and structure
- During the deployment in Verdun, the regiment was subordinated to the 43rd Reserve Infantry Division from April 23 to 27, 1916.  On April 27, the regiment resigned to the division of the 44th Reserve Infantry Division.
- In early February 1917, the 88th Reserve Infantry Brigade was disbanded, and the regiment subsequently joined the 87th Reserve Infantry Brigade. 
- 44. Reserve-Infanterie-Division
- 88. Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
- Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 207
- Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 208
- 88. Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
- 44. Reserve-Infanterie-Division
- 87. Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
- Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 205
- Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 206
- Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 208
- 87. Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
The company had a military strength of about 250 men and was commanded by a captain. A battalion was formed from four companies with a military strength of approx. 1000 men; a major as battalion commander. From the three battalions the regiment with a military strength of approx. 3000 men was formed, commanded by a colonel and a lieutenant colonel as deputy.
|1||Regimental staff with message train||–––––|
|9||Infanteriekompanien||each with 6 light 08/15 machine guns and 2 grenade launchers|
|3||Machine gun companies||with 12 heavy machine guns each|
|1||Mine thrower company||with 3 medium and 9 light mortars each|
- On September 16, 1916, the association was increased by two machine gun companies. 
The machine gun companies were equipped with the 08/15 machine gun introduced in the summer of 1916 .  It was lighter and therefore more agile than its predecessor models, but at the expense of accuracy.
Immediately after the capture of Belgrade, the construction of a "German Heroes Cemetery" on Banovo brdo began for the fallen soldiers . Around 2,600 fallen German soldiers from the First World War and some Serbs were buried there. 
Furthermore, the use of the regiment in the fighting during the transition over the Sava and the capture of Belgrade in 1915 was artistically represented in a three-part oil painting in the style of an altarpiece, a triptych , by the painter Elmar von Eschwege (1856-1935). The large-format commissioned work shows on the left panel a dramatic night scene during the river crossing, in which not only the soldiers fighting in boats are shown, but also corpses floating in the water in the foreground. The middle panel shows soldiers fighting on the riverbank in front of a landscape illuminated by firelight and the right panel shows a night view of the city of Belgrade, which is burning in places.
The names of all fallen soldiers of Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 208 were later recorded in three splendidly designed books of the dead, which visually remind of evangelists . These were kept in a specially made drawer (similar to a guild chest ). This chest is decorated with images from Germanic mythology . The inside of the lid shows a scene with a Valkyrie accompanying the dead to Valhalla , and the lower flap shows the three Norns Urd , Verdandi and Skuld. The marble monument in the memorial cemetery in Banovo Brdo is dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the Battle of Belgrade. This is in the form of a replica model together with the chest of the dead of the regiment in the possession of the Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum , where it is exhibited in the exhibition 1914 ... terribly warlike times , on the occasion of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
In the 1920s, former members of the regiment founded several veterans' associations and joined an association of the “Associations of former 208ers e. V. “together.
Gravestone of a fallen man in the cemetery of honor for German warriors in Braunschweig
Known members of the regiment
- Willi Clahes (1895–1948), lawyer, politician (DVP, DNVP, NSDAP), Vice-President of the agency for the redesign of the Reich capital , as the latter responsible for the “dementing” of Berlin's Jews  . With the rank of lieutenant Clahes took over the leadership of the 2nd battalion from May 5th to 16th, 1916, he subsequently resigned to the 6th company. 
- Carl Heimbs (1878–1972), businessman, politician (DVP), jointly responsible for the naturalization of Adolf Hitler . Heimbs held the rank of deputy officer , he served in the 1st company and was seriously wounded in November 1914. 
- Duke Heinrich Borwin zu Mecklenburg , as first lieutenant he led the III. Battalion of Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 208. 
- Ernst Zörner (1895–1945 missing and declared dead), politician (NSDAP), Lord Mayor of Dresden, President of the agency for the redesign of the Reich capital , accomplice of the Holocaust in the General Government . Zörner served in the 2nd Company of Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 208, and was lightly wounded twice in 1915. 
|Oberst||from Linstow||September 1 to October 24, 1914|
|Lieutenant colonel||from Cettritz||October 25-30, 1914|
|Lieutenant colonel||from Quast||November 1 to 14, 1914|
|Oberst||from Normann||November 15-29, 1914|
|Oberst||Bock||November 30, 1914 to May 24, 1915|
|Lieutenant colonel||Bloch von Blottnitz||May 25, 1915 to June 3, 1916|
|Captain||Wiegand||June 4-9, 1916|
|Lieutenant colonel||Bretano||June 10 to October 2, 1916|
|Major||Bensberg||October 3 to 5, 1916|
|Major||from king||October 7, 1916 to May 6, 1917|
|Captain||from Detten||May 7-16, 1917|
|Captain||Wiegand||May 17-23, 1917|
|Major||from Wedelstädt||May 24-27, 1917|
|Oberst||Stakhov||May 28, 1917 to November 2, 1918|
|Captain||Lauterbach||November 2-13, 1918|
|Lieutenant colonel||Meyer||November 14th to December 11th, 1918|
|Captain||Guthknecht||December 12-23, 1918|
|lieutenant||Leimann||December 24, 1918 to January 11, 1919|
- Reinhard Cunze: The first days of fighting of the 208s. in: The Brunswick in the World War 1914–1918. Fatherland war memorial book on behalf of the State Association for Homeland Security in the Duchy of Braunschweig. Volume 2. E. Appelhans, Braunschweig 1920, OCLC 493276727 , p. 100 f. (Entries from the diary).
- Richard L. DiNardo: Invasion: The Conquest of Serbia, 1915. Preager, Santa Barbara 2015, S. 65, S. 97, S. 119, ISBN 978-1-440800-92-4.
- Fritz Haleck: The Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 208. Processed according to the official war diaries ... With 10 cards. (= Memorial sheets of German regiments. Formerly Prussian troops. Issue. 59.) Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg i. O./Berlin 1922 OCLC 559706119
- Jürgen Kraus : Handbook of the associations and troops of the German army 1914-1918. Part VI: Infantry. Volume 2: Reserve and Landwehr Regiments. Verlag Militaria, Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-902526-52-6 , p. 146.
- History 1914–1918 - Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 208. on weltkriegsopfer.de
- Belgrade / Beograd on volksbund.de (war cemetery with memorial)
- Food supply from October 1, 1914. cf. Fritz Haleck: The Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 208. Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Berlin 1922, p. 110.
- Food supply from August 1, 1916
- The regimental history of Fritz Haleck: . The Reserve Infantry Regiment 208th publisher Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg i. O./Berlin 1922 gives the start of the installation on September 10, 1914.
- Jürgen Kraus : Handbook of the associations and troops of the German army 1914-1918. Part VI: Infantry. Volume 2: Reserve and Landwehr Regiments. Publishing house Militaria. Vienna 2012. ISBN 978-3-902526-52-6 . P. 146.
- Markus Klauer: The "Höhe Toter Mann" during the fighting for Verdun in 1916/17. Society for Printing and Publishing Velbert, Osnabrück 2001, pp. 76–117, ISBN 978-3-980764-80-3 .
- Jack Sheldon: The German Army at Passchendaele. Pen & Sword Books Ltd., South Yorkshire 2007, S. 303, S. 305, S. 307, S. 319, S. 332, ISBN 978-1-844155-64-4.
- Werner Beumelburg: Battles of the World War: Flanders 1917. Verlag Gerhard Stalling (reprint Melchior Verlag), Wolfenbüttel 2006, p. 154 ff, p. 167, ISBN 978-3-939102-55-7 .
- Fritz Haleck: . The Reserve Infantry Regiment 208th publisher Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Berlin 1922, p.109.
- Franz Zach: History of the World War. War year 1915. Volume 2, Verlag der St.Josef-Bücherbruderschaft, pp. 148–155.
- Leutnant Tolle: From the theater of war in Serbia. in: The Brunswick in the World War 1914–1918. Patriotic war memorial book on behalf of the Landesverein für Heimatschutz in the Duchy of Braunschweig. Booklet 11. E. Appelhans, Braunschweig 1920, OCLC 493276727 , p. 412.
- Fritz Haleck: The Reserve Infantry Regiment 208. Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Berlin 1922, p 34f.
- Fritz Haleck: The Reserve Infantry Regiment 208. Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Berlin 1922, p 34ff.
- Richard L. DiNardo: Invasion: The Conquest of Serbia, 1915. Preager, Santa Barbara 2015, S. 59–78.
- Fritz Haleck: The Reserve Infantry Regiment 208. Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Berlin 1922, p 36f.
- Markus Klauer: The height of the "dead man" during the fighting for Verdun in 1916/17. Society for Printing and Publishing Velbert, Osnabrück 2001, pp. 83-88.
- Fritz Haleck: The Reserve Infantry Regiment 208. Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Berlin 1922, pp 44-48.
- Fritz Haleck: The Reserve Infantry Regiment 208. Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Berlin 1922, p.106.
- Georg Ludwig Rudolf Maercker: From the Imperial Army to the Reichswehr: History of the voluntary Landesjägerkorps: a contribution to the history of the German revolution. KF Koehler, Leipzig 1921, p. 45 ff, p. 55.
- Georg Ludwig Rudolf Maercker: From the Imperial Army to the Reichswehr: History of the voluntary Landesjägerkorps: a contribution to the history of the German revolution. KF Koehler, Leipzig 1921, pp. 60–87.
- Fritz Haleck: The Reserve Infantry Regiment 208th . Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Berlin 1922, p. 44f.
- Fritz Haleck: The Reserve Infantry Regiment 208th . Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Berlin 1922, p. 62.
- Fritz Haleck: The Reserve Infantry Regiment 208th . Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Berlin 1922, p. 54.
- The World War 1914 to 1918, Military Operations on Land . Volume XII. (edited in the Reichsarchiv), ES Mittler & Sohn Berlin 1939, p. 13.
- Belgrade / Beograd on volksbund.de (war cemetery with memorial)
- Jörg-Michael Schiefer: Speers executor - Willy Clahes. MatrixMedia, Göttingen 2015, ISBN 978-393231366-0 .
- Fritz Haleck: The Reserve Infantry Regiment 208. Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Berlin 1922, p.46, p.112.
- Prussian loss list: No. 86.
- Fritz Haleck: The Reserve Infantry Regiment 208. Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Berlin 1922, p.113.
- losses in Prussia: No. 119, No. 245 and No. 281.
- Fritz Haleck: The Reserve Infantry Regiment 208. Verlag Gerhard Stalling, Oldenburg / Berlin 1922, p.111.