Captain Willy Rohr and his Stormtroopers

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Captain Willy Rohr revamped a special project which had false-started in 1914, stormtroops, elite units of carefully selected, specially trained men. Physically fit weapons specialists with tactical mobility, these units were designed to literally storm the enemy lines with concentrated fire power, creating a breach which could then be exploited by massed assault waves. Trial combat engagements in May of 1916, though too limited to bring victory, were promising. Training schools for new strategies and special weaponry sprung up behind the lines.

    Squads of men from 10 to 100 strong spearheaded German assault waves, probing enemy lines and skirting strong points. Sectors with weaker defenses were stormed with grenade attacks, and held only briefly before moving off to the next line of trenches. Units were not to await reinforcement, orders to attack, or artillery support, but were to advance until exhaustion or the complete penetration of enemy artillery emplacements. Disrupting enemy communications, opening the flanks on strongly held redoubts, and destabilizing lines of support, stormtroopers are often credited with the German successes in 1918 As success mythified their reputation, the stormtroopers grew in distinctiveness.

    Always unmarried, under 25 and physically fit, these soldiers fought, appeared, and thought of themselves as superior. Many units shed the traditional Reichswehr accouterments for a kit specially adapted for mobility and firepower. These alterations, including the donning of a "death’s head" collar insignia, set them apart physically and psychologically from the mass of soldiers, contributing to the ethos of elitism earned in battle. Additionally, officer/men ratios dipped as low as 1-to-4, and soldiers were issued officers’ pistols. Discipline was relaxed and cohesive relations encouraged within units. Men conversed with officers using the familiar "du" form, unheard of in the history of the Prussian army. Stormtroops received better rations, longer periods in rest billets, and extended leave. In action, companies were trucked to the front lines for a mission and returned upon completion, never obliged to simply hold a position.
  2. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    The Stormtroopers "SturmAbteilung" were certainly elite troops whose greatest achievement was the breaking of the British lines at during Operation Micheal, aka the Kaiserschlact, on March 21st 1918. The tactic was to penetrate the lines at the weak points and circle round the strong points, isolating them. In fact they were so successful that they sowed the seeds of the German failure - they allowed the main Army to advance so far that it outstretched its own resources.

    In photos they can often be recognised by wearing lightweight shoes and socks, not boots.

    Its a shame that the name is forever associated with the original Nazi streetfighting thugs, the SA - nothing to do with the WW1 units but the Nazis exploited the name.
  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    I found this picture Adrian .... can't see his shoes though !! :)

    Seriously ... is this the way they looked ??

    Attached Files:

  4. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    I'm not an expert on uniforms but it does look like other photos I've seen of them.

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