Military History/uniform

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uniform
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My GGGF is #2 in picture - he was born in Zeitz, Germany 1856 (just south of Leipzig)and migrated to US in 1880, so I assume this picture was taken between 1876 to 1880.

unfortunately its hard to see the detail of the Pickelhauben. comparing pictures with what I found online I think either Prussia or Württemberg.

I would appreciate as much as you can tell me about the picture. My next task will be tracking military records.....perhaps you have experience in that too?

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I will ask my good friend Lt. Colonel S. Bojerud who knows a lot about old uniforms. If and when I hear from him on this I will tell you all details. I suppose you have your great-great-grandfather's name and perhaps his full birth date . With that, his name and place of birth I think the military attaché of the German Embassy in Washington D.C. (it has its own home page which you can find via Google) should be able to give you more information with regards to the military service of your ancestor. Good luck!


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I have talked to col. Bojerud. He has had some computer problems so it has taken some extra time. Almost all uniforms in the picture are of the model of 1907(!). Their rifles (carbines) are of the model of 1898(!). This locates the time of the picture to a date much later than the departure of your ancestor. The guy with a round cap in the middle of the top row has an earlier uniform model. He is probably an instructor. Since they have carbines they may be cavalry (dragoons?). So the date is a mystery. Either it shows a friend or relative of your ancestor and his comrades at a later date OR your ancestor may have returned to Germany as a volunteer to fight in the First World War (until the USA entered the war when he probably in this case had to drop out). Ordinary helmets were not used in the German Imperial Army until 1916. So in the First World War case it is probably from before that year. Due to age the First World War alternative is not very probable of course! I strongly suggest that you discuss this case with the German military attaché as mentioned above. Your ancestor was probably army registered in Leipzig. Good luck!

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 Col. Bojerud has mailed me. The uniforms have so called Brandenburg cuffs. So Preussen, not Sachsen (= Saxony). Again a not anticipated result. The German Empire had one and only army the Imperial German Army. But the empire was federal with several states (like USA), the largest one being Preussen (= Prussia). The German emperor was also king of Prussia. Saxony was also a kingdom with a king of its own. While the army was one and only - and therefore imperial - the different regiments of it belonged to the states. So a Prussian regiment of the Imperial German Army was a ROYAL Prussian regiment in spite of the fact that the emperor and the king here were one and the same person. The same for a Saxon regiment. It was a royal Saxon regiment. The onli Imperial regiments were those of Elsass-Lothringen (Alsace-Lorraine) on the border to France - if any local regiments in fact were raised there. That province - though to a large part German speaking - had for hundreds of years been a part of France until it in 1871 was conquered by the new German Empire. However its population felt to a large part loyal to France, so any local regiments would be of uncertain value in a war with France. In 1918 the province was returned to France (the German prime minister of 1871, Prince Bismarck, understood the situation and did not want that Germany should conquer the province but was outvoted by the purely military interests of the army and its general staff). The province was therefore also never granted any self rule by Germany. Instead it was ruled directly from Berlin. It is likely that German military forces there were mostly Prussian units. I do not know why the picture shows a Prussian military unit. I think you should let the German military attaché also see the picture.

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Claes-Gustaf Nordquist, M.D.

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I`m a retired Swedish military physician-surgeon with a big interest in military history - mainly European and especially of the Nordic-Scandinavian area. This also includes the history of military medicine.

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A very long and intense personal interest.

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Doctor of Medicine. You can also find me here on AllExperts.com under these categories: I also answer questions in other categories: Oncology (General Cancer), General History, Brain Tumors, Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer

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