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
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
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
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