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The EK1

After a march through Luxemburg and the Ardennes the 25th Infantry Division (part of the 4th Army) participated in the battle on the Marne. Fighting at Maissin (Northwest of Neufchateu) on the 22nd of August it continued to the sector between Vitry and Sermaize. Here, troops from the division attacked Maurupt-et-le-Montoy before continuing on to the Northwest of Rheims on the Aisne-Marne canal.

The two regiments involved in the attack were from Hessen, the Leibgarde Infanterie Regiment Nr. 115 and the Infanterie Leibregiment Nr. 117 

Unteroffizier Robert Olbrich of the 3rd Kompagnie I./117 took part in the action and was awarded the Iron Cross for his efforts.

A map showing the town and forest of Maurupt. The Hessens attacked from the North driving the defenders into the forest.

Left: The remains of the church at Maurupt

The 117th regimental history has the foollowing account:

On the 9th of September the Regiment remained in its positions near Tuilerie. A number of patrols allowed us to see that the enemy was preparing for some serious resistance. The attempt to take an enemy heavy battery in the Bois Jacquet-Allard about 2 Km in front of our position failed due to lack of communication with our own artillery. That night the order came that in the following night the village of Maurut-et-le-Montoy about 1200m from our position would be attacked. The night assault would be carried out by the I.R.115 and the I./117. The II. and III./117 would be held in reserve.

On the 10th of September at 3:00 am the I./115 and G.f./115 moved off with the II./115 and I./117 followed 75 meters behind them. The burning village of Maurupt acted as a beacon giving the direction. After a few hundred meters were covered the enemy recognised something was happening. A sentry called out… "Qui vive?" Then a shot sounded from the enemy lines. Our men answered with a loud "Hurrah!". With their bayonets on their rifles the assault wave ran forward while rifle and machinegun fire chattered around them. The soldiers had the bolts of their rifles in their breadbags. That way, in the dark, anyone shooting could immediately be recognised as the enemy and no friendlies could be shot. Through hedges, over fences, into the burning houses and to the enemy trenches, the victorious advance continued. The enemy fought desperately. The Bruxenelles stream to the South of Maurupt proved to be no obstacle. Mixed up with the Leibgarderegiment (the 115th) the I./117 continued their assault further than the orders had required. The enemy was in full flight.

At 10:00 am we dug ourselves our foxholes in the planned positions and were soon under lively artillery fire. The enemy infantry had disappeared into the forest to the south of Maurupt. As midday approached it was attempted to bring some order to the disarray of troops in the XVIII Armee Korps. The I./117 returned to Tuilerie. The II. and III. Battalions as well as the machinegun company who had been the reserve for the attack returned later that afternoon.

Right: Part of the ruins of Maurupt

Below: The Iron Cross document awarded to
Unteroffizier Robert Olbrich for the actions at Maurupt and Maissin


Left: The Military Pass of Gefreiter Johann Fleischhacker who fought at Maurupt as part of the 4th Comapny of the Infanterie Leibregiment Nr. 117