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German 'Tables of Work for Infantry Units

[Translation of] German Brigade and Regimental Orders regarding ‘Tables of Work’ for Infantry Units employed in the trenches. Text in parenthesis appears in the original, transcription of the document that came into the possession of the PPCLI. Text in square brackets is that of the present editor as is the case throughout this site.]

25th Infantry Brigade, 23 February 1915

Sketches on a scale of 1/5000 of the sector held by the regiment are to be forwarded twice a week to ‘Army Corps’ Headquarters; these are to be based on accurate plans, furnished by Companies, of the state of defence of their sectors up to 23 February 1915. Special stress is laid on the concluding sentence No. 2 of the Army Corps Order.

Companies are to draw up tables of work (in accordance with the attached example) which are to be supplemented by the battalions and regiments.

For the present one company of the Corps reserve is placed at the disposal of the 13th Infantry Regiment for this work, and 15 medical privates as before for each battalion, for the 23rd, 24th, and 25th, 2/5 of the Entrenching Company, etc.

Reports are to be rendered in duplicate by noon on 24th February to the Brigade (copy is forwarded thence to the Division, after that date they will be rendered every Sunday and Wednesday at noon.

(signed) v. Götzen
R.I.) J.R. 13 2.-3) etc.

To note copy and take action.

The immediate issue of several copies of the attached example of the “Table of Work” to battalions and companies is recommended.

Obstacles must not be forgotten in sketches.
(Signed) v. Götzen
Herlies, 23/2/15.

13th Inf. Regt.

Very Urgent
Copies to Battalions and Companies

Battalion report to be with the regiment by 10 a.m. 24/2/15, and after that date every Saturday and Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.
(signed) Groos.

Table of Work for the 13th Infantry Regiment

The following work will be carried out:

Item 1 First line trenches

Placing of loopholes and shields.
Increasing the number of firing steps.
Traverses and protection against flaking fire.
Moving footboards, etc.
Removing water from trenches.
Bombproof shelters.
Revetting walls of trenches

Item 2 Detours behind flooded sections of trench

Providing footboards etc.
Bridges over ditches.

Item 3 Second line trenches

(Four additional items follow together with detailed instructions of how the work is to be done.)

Nothing is to be left to chance and all work to be complete by March 1, 1915]

(A general circular ‘Regarding the improvement of first line defence’ over the signature of Lt. Gen. Von Ditfurth Commanding 14th Division follows the ‘The table of work’ instruction. In part, the circular states:)
Arquillies, 27.2.15.

14 I.D.
No. 1.441.

The inspection of the position of the Division (14th) by H. E. the General Commanding VII Corps, the Chief of the Corps Staff, and myself, leads me to make the following remarks:

1. It must be clearly understood by everybody down to the last man in the company that shelter-trenches fully capable of use as fire–trenches must be made 50 to 100 metres behind the front line. Wherever possible the construction of these shelter-trenches should be hand in hand with that of the front line defence. Where this is not possible on account of standing water or the backward condition of the front line defence, the construction of these shelter-trenches should be taken in hand as soon as possible.

Considering my very clear instructions on 5th February, Section 1, No 300 (secret) paragraph 1 of the final remarks, I cannot understand how an officer commanding a battalion section could tell the Corps Commander that he proposed to take up a position behind the front line, giving as a reason that his front line was too weakly held and not sufficiently fortified.

(The circular, quite extensive, deals sharply and at times harshly with obedience to Corps orders by officers.)

(The translation of German documents captured by the PPCLI a typical report of the trench work programme by the 13th Inf. Regt. and the disposition occupation of the Regiment’s sector.)

(Translation of the German Divisional Circular Memorandum (13th Inf. Div. summarizing a Corps conference follows the regimental report noted above. The memo is followed by a German general intelligence summary of information of international operations.)
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