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The Elite 2. Bayerische Jäger Battalion marched into France at the beginning of the war and ended up as one of the most travelled units in the German army. Latzer joining the Deutsche AlpenKorps, a highly rated assault division, the Jägers would fight on all fronts, from the mud of Flanders to some of the highest peaks in the Alps, from Verdun to Transylvania and a number of places in between.  

Starting in Lorraine, the Jägers had fought at Lagarde (where they lost more men in their baptism of fire than they had lost in the whole 1870/71 war), Nancy-Epinal and at the time of the action mentioned below were on the Somme. Later that year they would be engaged in some early war trench warfare at Mametz, the battle at Ypres, the Battle at Flanders and the Fight at La Bassee on the 24th to 27th of December 1914, a time where on some parts of the front the Germans and British were fraternising between the lines.

Oberjäger Richard Wagner was awarded a very early Iron Cross 2nd class, especially so for someone of such a relatively  low rank.  


Wagner was awarded his Iron Cross 2nd class on the 4th of November 1914. The document pictured was signed in 1917 when Wagner was a Vizefeldwebel in the M.G.K.

Wagner is mentioned in passing once in the History of the Jägers, where he led a patrol on the 26th of September. An officer of the Battalion writes....  

"On the 26th of September 1914 we were marching towards Sailly-Saillisel. On the road to Les Boeufs we received the message that French territorial troops were approaching us from Bapaume in the North. We swung northwards and took up position in the heights to the west of Sailly-Saillisel.
A patrol under the command of Oberjäger Wagner was sent forward to Gueudecourt while the sounds of battle reached us from the West. Wagner returned and reported approaching enemy columns. At first it was not clear if the troops were indeed enemy as our 14. Res. A.K. was supposed to be in that area, but it soon became clear that the isolated horsemen out ahead on the Le Transloy- Saillifel road were French and the red trousers of the approaching infantry became clearer in our binoculars."

The salvoes of the German artillery scattered the territorials, who took cover in the woods to the east of Le Transloy and in the village itself. The Jägers  followed them into the village but were repulsed with a number of losses. Then it was the turn of the French to attack, streaming out of the forest across open fields the "Redpants" suffered terrible losses as they approached the Jägers who were able to engage in a "Rabbit shoot" with no losses of their own. 

The 2. Bay. Feldartillerie Regt. was on hand to help the Jägers and by the time Darkness fell the Aschaffenburgers were able to march into Le Transloy...  

"We marched in to the village, ghostly in the light of  the burning buildings. The streets are filled with the dead, the houses with the wounded. The Frenchmen are all older territorials, in their 40s, they had fought bravely and had had a good commander"


To return to Actions of the Alpenkorps click HERE

To Return to an Alpenkorps overview, click HERE

 
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