In additional to our primary WWII German impression, our group portrays the German 353rd Inf. Regiment for World War I (Great War) events. We portray elements of infantry, pioneer and Uhlan cavalry. The units helps sponsor the large public WWI event at Midway Village Museum in Rockford, IL in April and supports the public WWI event in November at the Illinois National Guard Museum in Springfield, IL. The 353rd led the effort to construct a permanent 100 foot long trench with bunkers as part of a permanent exhibit at Midway Village for the city of Rockford's contribution to WWI as the host city to Camp Grant.


WWI HISTORY


The 353rd Inf. Regt. was a part of the German 88th Infantry Division. The division was formed in November 1914 as the Menges Division, named after its commander, and made up primarily of Landwehr troops. It became the 88th Infantry Division in August 1915. The division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I.



The division initially served on the Eastern Front, receiving its baptism of fire in the Battle of Łódź. In 1915, it participated in the Gorlice-Tarnów Offensive, breaking through at Przaznysz and fighting in the battle on the Narew. On Aug. 2, 1915, it became the 88th Infantry Division. From November 1915 to December 1917, the division occupied the line near Daugavpils. In December 1917, after the armistice on the Eastern Front, the division was transferred to the Western Front, where it entered the line in positions near St. Quentin and on the Oise. It participated in the 1918 German Spring Offensive, fighting in the First Battle of the Somme (1918), also known as the Battle of St. Quentin or the Second Battle of the Somme (to distinguish it from the 1916 battle). From April to July 1918, it was in the line in the Champagne region, and then fought in the Second Battle of the Marne. Except for minor periods, it remained in the Champagne region until the end of the war, and faced the Allied Meuse-Argonne Offensive in October and November 1918. Allied intelligence rated the division as fourth class.


Order of Battle 1915

The 88th Infantry Division was formed as an overstrength square division, with three infantry brigades. The order of battle of the division on Aug. 2, 1915 was as follows:

  • 175. Landwehr-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 349
    • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 350
  • 176. Landwehr-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 351
    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 352
  • 177.Infanterie-Brigade
    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 353
    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 354
  • Kavallerie-Regiment Nr. 88
  • Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 88
  • Landwehr-Fußartillerie-Bataillon Nr. 6
  • Landwehr-Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 6


Late-War Order of Battle 1916-1918

The division underwent a number of organizational changes over the course of the war. It was triangularized in the summer of 1916. Cavalry was reduced, artillery and signals commands were formed, and combat engineer support was expanded to a full pioneer battalion. The order of battle on Oct. 21, 1918 was as follows:

  • 176.Infanterie-Brigade
    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 352
    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 353
    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 426
  • 1.Eskadron/Jäger-Regiment zu Pferde Nr. 10
  • Artillerie-Kommandeur 59
    • Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 88
    • Fußartillerie-Bataillon Nr. 123
  • Stab Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 88
    • 3. Reserve-Kompanie/Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 33
    • Pionier-Kompanie Nr. 249
    • Minenwerfer-Kompanie Nr. 88
  • Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 88


References

  • Division Menges (Chronik 1914/1915) - Der erste Weltkrieg
  • 88. Infanterie-Division (Chronik 1915/1918) - Der erste Weltkrieg
  • Hermann Cron et al., Ruhmeshalle unserer alten Armee (Berlin, 1935)
  • Hermann Cron, Geschichte des deutschen Heeres im Weltkriege 1914-1918 (Berlin, 1937)
  • Günter Wegner, Stellenbesetzung der deutschen Heere 1825-1939. (Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, 1993), Bd. 1
  • Histories of Two Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which Participated in the War (1914-1918), compiled from records of Intelligence section of the General Staff, American Expeditionary Forces, at General Headquarters, Chaumont, France 1919 (1920)





UNIFORM REQUIREMENTS:


The requirements for a basic impression of the 353. Inf. Regt is as follows:


  • Field cap (Feldmütze with red band prefered)


  • Tunic — we allow the M1914, M1915 and M1907 or 07/10 modified versions. The M1915 can be used for all impressions in the unit, except for early war scenerios.
  • Trousers — WWI German wool pants allowed as a stop-gap


  • Belt — Brown rough side out belt for Mid-1915 and earlier, Black rough side out belts after Mid-1915 to end of war (We allow WWII German black belts for later war impressions)


  • Belt buckle —The unit is Prussian, so the proper buckle has the crown in the center of of a circular emblem and has "Gott mit Uns" at the top (looks similar to WWII buckles, but has a crown instead of an eagle)


  • Boots — We allow Jack boots or ankle boots with leg wraps. WWII boots allowed as a stopgap. Main difference between WWI and WWII boots is seam is on the side for WWI, instead of the back of the boot.
  • Shirt — We prefer the collarless, button front white shirts, but will allow other styles of home-sent collarless shirts.

Equipment:

  • Steel helmet (Stahlhelm) — We require the steel helmet as our primary impression (M1916 and M1917 allowed). We allow the leather picklehalbe only for early war impressions.
  • Weapon — Model 1888 Commission Rifle (all versions allowed) is our standard weapon. Others allowed include the Gewehr 98 (Gew 98) and the Model AZ Mauser carbines.
  • Bayonet and bayonet frog — Model appropriate for the rifle you carry. We prefer the Model 1905 Butcher or all metal Ersatz bayonets.


  • Cartridge pouches — 3 pouch type, brown for impressions up until mid-1915, black afterward. The WWI pouches look similar to WWII, but have larger compartments to hold 4 instead of 2 stripper clips.


  • Spade with carrier — Same as WWII straight handle German spades and covers
  • Gas mask and carrying can — Atlanta Cuttlery has the best repros of the gas mask canister we have seen and they are the cheapest, around $35. Gas masks optional, but you will be a casualty in gas attacks. The unit produces its own reproductions, otherwise commercially made repros start at $120.
  • Bread bag — Ochre brown/khaki used early war, light gray for rest of war. We build these within the unit.
  • Canteen — The M1907 (with metal screw cap) or the M1915 (has arrow head shaped spout and uses a cork) are both allowed. We convert WWII covers for use with WWII metal cap canteens. The unit also converts Czech surplus canteens into the M1915 pattern.