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The 1. Garde Regiment zu Fuß was part of the elite 1. Garde Division. Grenadier Janssen joined the Regiment in September 1916 as one of the replacements to make up for the divisions heavy losses on the Somme (5000 men). After another spell on the Somme the Division was part of the Mobile reserve that counter attacked during the Nivelle offensive where it once again suffered heavy losses. The division then served in Russia before returning to France in October 1917. It fought tenaciously in the Kaiserschlacht suffering heavy losses but losing proportionally few prisoners. In October 1918 it was in the Champagne contesting the French advance.

On the 10th-11th of November 1918 the 1. Garde Regiment zu Fuß fought their last battle in the small Ardennes village of Vrigne-Meuse. It was a needless action and in it the French lost their last casualty of the war.  

The 163rd French Infantry Division under General Boichet attacked the German forces at Vrigne-Meuse on the 10th of November. The 1. Garde Regiment zu Fuß was rushed in to throw them back. On the 11th the French attacked again, the news of the Armistice not having reached the command of the 163rd Division yet.  

August Trébuchon, an Officer of the Division  was underway with messages concerning ration supplies for the troop when he was killed by a bullet. Barely 10 minutes later Bugler Delaluque, the divisions bugler sounded the ceasefire.  

Trébuchon was buried at Vrigne-Meuse.

  On the 13th of November 1918 Major Graf zu Eulenburg, officer commanding the 1. G.R.z.F.wrote the following about the Regiments last battle of the war.  

10th of November 1918, 8.30 a.m. I had not had enough sleep and already the alarm had sounded. The "Franzmann" had broken into the sector we had just vacated, just as I had warned. I had made this warning in writing with exact suggestions on how to avoid it, but in vain. Partly because of careless leadership, partly because of the exhausted state of our once good troops the French succeeded in breaking through across the Maas, probably to their own surprise. Now the 1st Garde Regiment was ordered to retake the positions! For the men it was an extraordinarily difficult order. After seven weeks of unspeakable suffering and murderous fighting they were expecting a well deserved rest. They were to be disappointed. After a few hours sleep in cold, uncomfortable quarters we were forced out into the mess (Schweinerei) again, to fix the mistakes of others.


Above: An unknown Garde officer in the typical uniform worn by assault troops in the latter stages of the war.

I was proud and thankful, that the regiment would go out on the last day of the war (as this was, we did not yet know it) and would attack with its old spirit intact.  

The first Battalion under the command of Arnim took the lost positions effortlessly and continued on into the neighbouring sector. The 10th of November, the day of "Vrigne-Meuse" had become an action to add to the regiments glory, just as the day of Kolin had added a glorious page to the history many years before.

There the Leibgarde Bataillion had, as rearguard, beaten off all of the attacks launched by the Austrians and assured the pullback of the army of "Alte Fritz", and here (on the 10th November 1918) the Regiment beat the overconfident Frenchmen back to their starting blocks on the last day of the war.


Above: The Iron Cross 2nd class document to Grenadier Janßen awarded for the defensive fighting in the Champagne in 1918

This proud action means much to me as it strengthens the spirit of the regiment for the coming hard times. For the attack I had taken command of the sector again and with that the remains of four different Regiments. Afterwards a fifth, Landwehr, relieved us and a sixth took over from the Leibkompagnie in the next sector. It was no small task to clear up the mess and give over a defendable sector to the new Regiment. At last everything was settled and we wanted to pull back at last. At that moment Hindenburgs "Staatsumwälzenden Ereignissfe" at home message arrived. The talk of forming soldiers committees had already started. It was clear it meant Republic and more... Bolshevism ! The wildest talk of rebellion followed. I had already seen the future pessimistically, but this turn of events I had not expected. Germany, Prussia without Hohenzollern! I could not believe it. It was to me like the death of a dear friend. The thought of what was lost, the terrible reality had trouble sinking in.  

The next night we rode on the muddy roads past the historical battlefields of Sedan, straight through the Ardennes and into Belgium. It was bitterly cold. The region must be beautiful during the day. For probably the last time in my life I crossed the French border...

 
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