Remembering – Michael Maier. German Counter-Attack on Montauban 2nd July 1916

This blog tells the story of a German Reservist from 5th company of Königlich Bayerisches 16. Infanterie-Regiment “Großherzog Ferdinand von Toskana” . Michael Maier and the 16th Bavarian Infantry Regiment took part in the counter-attack on Montauban on 2nd July.

“On the 2nd of July 1916 Michael’s company (1st and 2nd Battalion) took part in the assault on Montauban which was being held by the English. The attack was repelled with heavy losses (72 killed).”
It seems remarkable to have a record of one of the men attacking the 16th & 17th Manchesters when Arthur Bell was at Triangle Point. It may have been Michael Maier or one of his Pals that bombed out the detachment at Triangle Point; or shot the hole through Arthur’s helmet.

German Counter attack 2nd July 1916.  Courtesy 1914-1918.net

German Counter attack 2nd July 1916. Courtesy 1914-1918.net

This plan shows the movement in the failed German counter-attack in the early morning of 2nd July,  The 16th Bavarian Infantry Regiment of the the 28th Division is shown as assaulting from (Gr.) Bazentin La Grand towards the British Positions immediately north of Montauban.  Michael Maier took part in this attack.

Montauban 1st & 2nd July 1916.  Arthur Bell's detachment of 17th Battn. defended Triangle Point at the northern extreme of the British positions in Montauban Alley

Montauban 1st & 2nd July 1916. Arthur Bell’s detachment of 17th Battn. defended Triangle Point at the northern extreme of the British positions in Montauban Alley

This plan shows the British defensive positions that faced the Germans.  The 16th Manchesters held out and repelled the assault to the north east of Montauban.  The 17th Manchesters successfully defended the northern and eastern approaches to the village.

Arthur Bell’s detachment ran out of bombs and were forced to withdraw to an isolated shell hole between Triangle Point and the 17th’s main defensive line.  Michael Maier’s Regiment temporarily occupied Triangle Point and part of Montauban Alley leading towards the 16th Manchester positions.   They were then repelled and withdrew as shown on the German plan.

Arthur’s group in the shell hole then waited for nightfall before considering withdrawal. “In the shell-hole when it became dark on the night of the 2nd we were not absolutely sure whether the portion of main trench nearest to us was occupied by our troops or not, so it was arranged that one of us, a volunteer, should go along and, if all was well, to ask the machine gunner to give the signal “Rat-ta-ta-tat-tat – tat tat”.  A volunteer was found and we trooped across to find our battalion had been relieved and we were eventually conducted some miles to our own positions.”

For the full story of the 17th Manchester Regiment on 1st / 2nd July 1916 https://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/the-big-push/

View from the position of Triangle Point facing north down Caterpillar Valley and the road to Bazentin Le Grand.  The children are

View from the position of Triangle Point facing north down Caterpillar Valley and the road to Bazentin Le Grand. The children are approaching from the same direction as Michael Maier advanced with the 16th Bavarian Infantry 90 years earlier.

Gott mit uns! German Military History 1848-1945

What you see here is a “Death Card” – Death cards are “Death messages” which were distributed in a village, to friends and family to inform people about the death of a loved one and to invite them to pray for the deceased. 

Contrary to the information found on many “non-German” websites the use of death cards was, and is, by no means limited to commemorate deceased military personnel, they are a common part of the catholic funerary culture and tradition of Germany.  Assistance in choosing the design and text of a death card and ordering the required quantities from print businesses on behalf of the deceased’s family is a standard part of the services rendered by German funeral parlors even today (in catholic families)
For this post I have chosen the Death Card of  a Bavarian soldier named “Michael Maier”.  A bit of genealogical research and a close look at his regiment’s muster rolls brought up the following…

View original post 826 more words

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3 thoughts on “Remembering – Michael Maier. German Counter-Attack on Montauban 2nd July 1916

  1. Pingback: Triangle Point Montauban 2006 | 17th Manchester Regiment on the Somme

  2. Pingback: Montauban Panoramic Photographs | 17th Manchester Regiment on the Somme

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