Train (military)

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German replenishment warehouse with train vehicles in the stage in Belgium (probably autumn 1914)

Train (pronounced [ˈtʀɛ̃ː]; from French train "Wagenzug, Tross , Fuhrwesen") was in the German and French military language between the 18th and the early 20th century the name for the military transport system. The word “train” refers to a column of vehicles or pack animals that transport material for the troops, or a military unit that is engaged in the transport of certain military goods such as military vehicles. B. provisions, ammunition, bridge equipment, medical supplies or siege equipment. A distinction was also made between the train of tactical units such as regiments, brigades or divisions and the army administration, which were differently equipped and organized. The various tasks of the train took over from 1920 in the Reichswehr or Wehrmacht and initially also in the Bundeswehr the supply troops . They will be taken care of by the logistics troops today .

Mule or train column of the Swiss Army in the First World War

Units called “trains” can still be found in the Swiss and Austrian armies . Today, this is understood to mean exclusively units that provide transport services with pack animals, especially horses and mules . In the mountain troops of the German Armed Forces , this is done by the action and training center for pack animals 230 in the Hochstaufen barracks in Bad Reichenhall . In the French Army , the supply troops are still called Train.

To the development of the train

Kurhannoverscher Trainknecht around 1760

Even the armies of antiquity and the Middle Ages were accompanied by wagons of the entourage during the wars , which had to supply the soldiers with all the goods they needed for battle and for life. At that time, the vehicles and the carters were usually provided by the rural population of the region through which the army was just moving. This procedure only changed gradually with the rise of standing armies , when the military organization of the entourage and camp life began, at least to some extent. Nevertheless, even after the Thirty Years' War, the entourage was still completely disbanded after each war, which not only prevented the establishment of an internal organization, but also prevented the passing on of experience.

It was not until the end of the 18th century that carts were organized in the larger armies of that time and specialized transport units were set up for the first time. At the time of King Friedrich II of Prussia , the word “train” was also adopted in the German military language. In Austria then - and for a long time afterwards - people spoke of the “Roßpartei” when they talked about the artillery's supply vehicles and ammunition wagons. During the war with Prussia between 1746 and 1749, the catering of the army was regulated by several new laws. The requisitions of food in the country should be alleviated by the increased installation of magazines and the requirement to buy the provisions at market prices. The "tension obligation" for the rural population, ie the compulsory placement of draft animals, was weakened by the fact that the army administration had its own clothing departments set up for wagons during the war. However, until the middle of the 18th century the horse party was dissolved again after each campaign. It was not until 1782 that Emperor Joseph II created a permanent supply organization with the “Military Catering Corps” and was thus far ahead of all other armies of his time. In peacetime, the “military catering corps” initially comprised 18 “divisions”, each around 150 men strong and with 25 four-horse transport wagons and 320 horses. The "division" thus corresponded to a company or squadron of the 19th century. In the event of mobilization, these divisions should be strengthened and increased in number. At the beginning of the coalition wars in 1792 the number of divisions was increased to 96 and their strength increased to more than 200 men.

However, the development to better supply the troops with the conversion of the train into regular military units was interrupted again when the French Revolutionary Army abolished the train and the supply magazines without further ado. The soldiers were again dependent on requisitioning their livelihoods, which in practice degenerated into uncontrollable looting. The other Central European armies also imitated this method at that time and, at least for a time, also abolished the entourage and storage facilities in order to improve the mobility of the troops. Since this was ultimately only beneficial for a short time, the French Emperor Napoleon reorganized the supply system in his Grande Armée again after 1805 and created 26 equipage battalions (i.e. train battalions) as a permanent organization until 1812, i.e. until the beginning of the campaign against Russia ) with over 6,000 horse and ox wagons, which was insufficient for an army of around 600,000 men. During the Wars of Liberation , each Prussian brigade was assigned a train company.

In general, even after 1815 in times of peace, the trains of most European armies only consisted of small units that served as so-called "train cadres". They were called "Trainbataillon" in Prussia, "Trainregiment" in Austria and "Trainescadron" in France. These "train cadres" were at peace when the armies only needed a small train, and were primarily responsible for the uniform training of conscripts for service with the trains in the event of war. During the 19th century, the train also included field post , the transport of war chests and, especially in France, the "Army Park" or "Great Park", which succeeded the army and which, among other things, carried the reserve artillery and various columns of craftsmen with their mobile workshops led.

Haulage in Austria during the 19th century

Originally noted by Emperor Joseph II. Under the name Militärverpflegsfuhrwesenkorps built military Fuhrwesen Corps had a role model for the construction of Prussian and French Train system, even if it then took its own development.

After the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Austrian Military Vehicle Corps was basically divided into a clothing division for the draft animals, the carters, the dishes, the auxiliary vehicles and all the necessary facilities, such as the forge and a transport division , at least in each of the crown lands each a clothing division and a transport division were stationed. The entire haulage was subordinate to a haulage corps command in Vienna . In 1850, however, the clothing divisions were again separated from the military vehicle corps and the clothing was assigned to the individual branches of service.

After the defeat in the German War in 1866 and the Austro-Hungarian Compromise in 1867, the military vehicle corps comprised a peace budget around 1878: 36 wagon field squadrons, 6 wagon supplementary squadrons, 6 wagon material depots and 7 wagon detachments. In the event of war, these should be expanded to include an Army Corps Fighting Command for each Army Corps. In addition, every troop division, every army corps, every army high command and every army directorate should be assigned a wagon field squadron. In addition, each army corps was to receive a war bridge equipage squadron and clothing. The wagon field squadron was roughly equivalent to a company of the infantry.

With the formation of one train battalion per (peace) army corps, Austria-Hungary finally organized its training in 1910 in a similar way to the German army .

Further development of military haulage in Austria-Hungary in the early 20th century:

Prussia and the German Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries

Baggage and train

The army's baggage , derived from the French word bagage for baggage, was originally the baggage car with the personal belongings of the soldiers. Later, the baggage also included all of the equipment for the craftsmen such as saddlers, blacksmiths, tailors and shoemakers, the company's office as well as food and fodder for immediate needs.

Even in the army of the German Empire after 1871, a fundamental distinction was still made between baggage and train . According to the instructions from 1908, the baggage served " the closer economic operation of the troops ". The baggage wagons then had to transport everything that the troops needed for their first needs in the resting phases or during a battle, such as personal luggage, equipment, tools, food, feed for the horses and ammunition. They also carried the necessary resources for first aid for the wounded and sick with them. The baggage that accompanied the troops made them independent of supplies for a short time, usually three days. For this purpose in 1914, for example, each infantry battalion owned 19 wagons and for this reason the ammunition columns of the artillery, which carried ammunition for immediate use in larger combat, including the mobile field kitchens, did not belong to the train, but to the corresponding units.

In contrast to baggage, the train brought everything the army needed for long-term supply and maintenance. Therefore, the wagons of the baggage had to accompany the troops to the battlefield, while the army train only followed as far as a rear supply point. The baggage consequently served as a means of transport for the troops, while the train was responsible for replenishing and long-term supplies for the army. For self-supply, however, not only the actual field units had infantry, cavalry or artillery, but also the columns or, in peacetime, the companies of the train in addition to four or five baggage wagons to transport their everyday needs.

Peace organization of the train before 1914

Saxon train soldier 1901

In the German Army, which almost completely took over the Prussian army organization after the establishment of the German Reich in 1871, each army corps was subordinate to a train battalion of three companies . Each train battalion had the same number as the army corps to which it was subordinate; the train battalion of the " Guard Corps " was called the " Guard Train Battalion ". In the 1st and 2nd Bavarian train battalions, the 3rd company was a medical company . Each train battalion had a traindepot with two officers. The simple soldiers of the train were called train soldiers or train drivers, called train servants or baggage boys before 1800, and had to complete a shorter military service than the other troops, in the German army before 1914 only one and a half years instead of three or two. The troops of the train also included the medical companies, the field hospitals , the field bakeries , the " balloon train " that transported the material and gas for the airship , and later also the motorized motorized columns organized in special transport units. The medical staff of the medical companies and the field hospitals, especially the doctors and pharmacists, did not belong to the train, but to the " medical corps ".

In peacetime the troops were housed in barracks , where they were fully supplied. Therefore, a train to the same extent as "in the field" was not necessary. The train battalions of the 25 (peace) army corps that existed in 1914 were primarily used as training units for the train units that had to be set up in addition in the event of mobilization. These should consist of reservists from the train battalions and the cavalry and be equipped with the material that was stored in the train depots in case of war. During peacetime, the train battalions were mainly responsible for training and educating the personnel who had to occupy the train of the troops and larger army departments in times of war. They also had to manage and look after the material stored in the traindepots. The traindepots were primarily used to store the material that was intended for equipping the additional train in the event of mobilization; In addition, the pontoons for ship bridges and the heavy siege equipment were also stored there . If around 1860 an army of 100,000 men was still around 2,500 to 3,000 wagons, in 1914 around 7,000 vehicles were expected for 100,000 men, but after the outbreak of war this number had to be increased. Necessary for the covering of the horse-drawn carts at a mobilization had the remounts to provide the cavalry.

The Prussian train battalions were tactically subordinate to an army corps, but from 1902 they were also assigned to the train inspection in Berlin, which was subdivided into four train directorates, to standardize and monitor training. As a major general, the train inspector had the rank of brigade commander who, in addition to an adjutant, was assigned a small ( brigade ) staff. The four trainee directorates that were subordinate to him were located in Danzig , Berlin , Kassel and Strasbourg . The trainee directors had the rank of colonel or lieutenant colonel and had the disciplinary authority of a regimental commander in relation to the battalions and the staff of the traindepot . In addition to the director's adjutant, each trainee directorate had a major or captain .

The Bavarian , Saxon and Württemberg Train battalions were tactically also their respective corps, but were professionally for training purposes the field artillery brigades of their respective army in whose area they were stationed assigned. The Bavarian train depots were subordinate to the artillery and train depot management in Munich , the Saxon and Württemberg train depots to the respective train battalion of the two states.

The train between 1914 and 1918

German train column on the Eastern Front of the First World War
Train column on a mountain road at the
Moistroka Pass during the Isonzo battle in October 1917

Although the train was its own branch of service before the war , it was practically dissolved during mobilization . The train squadrons, which initially moved out in closed formations, were distributed in the deployment area on the border to makeshift magazine fleet columns, which were largely composed of requisitioned vehicles. The train soldiers in the columns had no field kitchens of their own in autumn 1914 and had neither tents nor firearms. Only in the course of the war was the train equipped with it.

After the mobilization, around 480 ammunition columns, 150 provision columns, 300 vehicle fleet columns for the feed of the draft animals and riding animals, 60 horse depots, 120 field bakeries, stage bakery columns, auxiliary stage bakery columns, around 110 medical companies and almost 400 field hospitals were added in August 1914 set up. The figures are only approximate, as the number of units rose rapidly in August and September 1914 as a result of further reorganizations. A "column" of the train roughly corresponded to a company of infantry. They had between 20 columns of foot artillery ammunition and 60 columns of two-, four- or six-horse carts for magazine fleet, depending on the type of goods they primarily had to transport. So were z. B. all ammunition wagons heavy six-horse wagons at the beginning of the war. Outside of this organization initially remained the columns of motor vehicles, which at the beginning of the war were directly subordinate to the Army High Command as "army troops" in order to be able to quickly transport heavy strategic goods and soon also troops. Only in the course of the war were all transport and supply units brought together under a single command - apart from the railways, which until 1918 were independently under the command of the "chief of the field railway system".

According to the mobilization plans, each army corps was initially assigned four of the new train divisions, two ammunition column divisions and two train divisions, which together were a little over 6000 men strong. The two ammunition column departments usually comprised 20 ammunition columns, the two train departments six supply columns for the food supply and seven vehicle fleet columns for horse feed, two horse depots and twelve field hospitals. The two field bakery columns, the corps bridge train and the medical companies remained outside the train departments.

The ammunition columns of the artillery were not part of the train, but were an integral part of the artillery units. They also had a different structure than the columns of the train and they also had fewer vehicles. However, the clothing departments of the Prussian telegraph or foot artillery battalions that were set up at the beginning of the war initially belonged to the train, but they too were assigned to the intelligence forces or artillery from 1915 and then no longer belonged to the train. The bridge train was militarily assigned to the pioneers , the medical companies to the divisions .

The columns consisted only to a small extent of active soldiers, but mainly of older reservists, as well as requisitioned horses and carts. By the end of 1918, the number of units on the train increased as a result of numerous new installations. The internal organization of the train had to be fundamentally changed several times during the war, as no one had foreseen the trench warfare and the months of material battles . As early as May 1915, the ammunition columns and the rest of the army corps train were organizationally grouped under a commander of the ammunition columns and the train , and instead of being divided into specialized "departments", they were now divided into mixed "squadrons", with each division usually being assigned one of these squadrons. In November 1916, all transport, replenishment and other supply units were combined at the army level. As a result, the subordination of these units was more and more separated from the divisions and army corps and transformed into army troops.

As early as the second half of 1915, the columns of the train, whose fleet of cars was mostly adapted to the respective purpose, were increasingly equipped with uniform rolling stock. As a result, the previously highly specialized units were gradually converted into "unit columns" that could move goods of any kind as required. The standard columns usually had 48 wagons, usually the light field wagon 95 with a load capacity of 750 kilograms. These replaced the much heavier baggage car 87 with a load of 850 kilograms and the requisitioned farmer's wagons. The "new type of ammunition columns" were increasingly equipped with this vehicle, but kept at least twelve heavy ammunition vehicles in addition to 25 field vehicles. From 1916 the “small field wagon 16” with a load of 450 kilograms or pack animal columns were also used in mountainous regions. Camel columns were even used in Mesopotamia , Syria and the Caucasus . The various columns were now designated with numbers running through the entire army. The economic subordination of the medical companies, the field hospitals and the horse hospitals under the train was not lifted until 1917; since then these units have always been led by a medical officer , i.e. doctors.

Wehrmacht from 1935 to 1945

The train in Switzerland

Mule column of the Swiss Army at a depot during the First World War

The train units of the Swiss Army are mostly used to transport materials by horse and are divided into four active and two inactive train columns (abbreviation: Tr Kol, inactive: so-called reserve). The term column is roughly equivalent to the term company or battery .

Freiberg horses are almost exclusively used as training horses in Switzerland , the only exception being the mules. The riding horses of the train officers are mostly Swiss warmblood horses . As an additional option, specially trained mounted patrol soldiers can be deployed by trainee units. For example, border patrols can be carried out in difficult terrain.

Either the bast saddle is used for hemming or the infantry cart, a small single-axle wagon with rigid scissors .

The train in the army 61

In the structure of Army 61 from 1961 to 1994, the Swiss train had around 10,000 horses and mules in addition to the three cavalry regiments that were initially still in existence. These were divided into 54 companies (51 training columns, plus 3 medical training columns in the three mountain divisions).

Areas of application of the train today

The train can be used in all areas that are difficult or impossible to reach with motorized means of transport. This is especially the case in the mountains . It can also be used to support civil organizations in emergencies, for example when disasters have made transport routes impassable. The train is independent of the weather and the time of day, which is its advantage over the helicopter . A frequent task of the train is also in the so-called wood back in mountain forests, that is, the hauling of felled wood in steep terrain to drivable roads.

Equipment of the training horse

The normal equipment for a training horse consists of either:

  • Bast saddle with three load frames, a top load and two side loads for hemming or
  • Harness with breastplate and tension cords and
  • Train bridle with olive bit and
  • Infantry carts or
  • English kumet or Bündner dishes for backing wood or
  • Ordinance saddle for NCOs and officers as well as patrol riders with rifle holsters.

Train soldier

The train soldier is the horse handler and in this capacity is responsible for the horse. One of the principles of training is the motto “first the horse, then the soldier”.

In Army XXI, the recruiting school lasts 18 weeks. The school is located in the sand in Schönbühl near Bern. This is the Veterinary Service and Army Animals Competence Center and reports to the Logistics Teaching Association . Until 2003, the train, based on the Army 95 concept, still belonged to the mountain troops of the infantry and the training took place in the barracks Luzisteig near Maienfeld .

Web links

Commons : Military Transport on Horseback  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files
Wiktionary: Train  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations

References and comments

  1. ^ Meyer's Large Conversational Lexicon. 6th edition, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1905-1909. 1909, Retrieved October 18, 2017 .
  2. ^ Military History Institute of the GDR (ed.): Dictionary of German military history. 1985, p. v. Military transportation
  3. ^ A b c Bernhard von Poten : Concise dictionary of the entire military sciences. 1879, p. v. Train
  4. ^ Hermann Meynert : History of the war system and the army constitution. 1869, vol. 3, p. 41ff
  5. ^ Hermann Meynert: History of the war system and the army constitution. 1869, Vol. 3, pp. 177-182.
  6. ^ History of the Austrian train in the 18th century in: kuk Kriegsarchiv (ed.): War against the French Revolution 1792–1797. Vol. 1, 1906, pp. 248-252.
  7. ^ A b Wilhelm Rustow: Military hand dictionary. 1859, p. v. Train
  8. ^ Bernhard von Poten: Concise dictionary of the entire military sciences. 1879, p. v. Carriage, s. v. Austria-Hungary, s. v. Train
  9. ^ Hermann Cron: History of the German Army in the World War 1914-1918. Berlin 1937, passim .
  10. Instructions for baggage, ammunition columns and trains. Berlin 1908, pp. 1-20.
  11. ^ Georg Ortenburg: Weapons and the use of weapons in the age of armies of millions. 1992, p. 169.
  12. Hermann von François : Marne Battle and Tannenberg. 1920, appendix bagages and train
  13. Instructions for baggage, ammunition columns and trains. Berlin 1908.
  14. ^ A b Hermann Cron: History of the German Army in the World Wars 1914–1918. Berlin 1937, p. 250ff.
  15. ^ Hermann Cron: History of the German Army in World Wars 1914-1918. Berlin 1937, pp. 248-262
  16. a b Föst: Fahrwesen (columns and trains). In: Max Schwarte: The military lessons of the great war. 1923, pp. 260ff
  17. a b Reichsarchiv : The World War 1914–1916. Vol. 1, Appendix 1, Kriegsgliederungen, 1925, pp. 663–687.
  18. ^ Föst: Fahrwesen (columns and trains). In: Max Schwarte: The military lessons of the great war. 1923, pp. 259-269.
  19. ^ Föst: Fahrwesen (columns and trains). In: Max Schwarte: The military lessons of the great war. 1923, p. 265.
  20. The horse in the army. In: Der Fourier , Volume (1969), Issue 9, pp. 327-332.