Kanonier Training in Grafenwöhr 1932

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

The photograph here shows a group of Reichsheer Kanoniere training in the field with a "Leichtes Jnfanterie-geschütz 18" (L.J.G. 18). The photograph was taken in 1932 in the town of Grafenwöhr, Northern Bavaria. The photograph being taken during the latter stages of The Weimar Republic, the Reichsheer was the army of the Reichswehr.

The Reichsheer Kanoniere can be seen wearing a Reichsheer pattern tunic known as the M22 Tunic which was also known as the Reichswehrrock. They are seem wearing Reichsheer field caps and the overseeing Feldwebel in the background is seen wearing a peaked cap. The Reichheer Kanoniere are seen training on an Infanteriegeschütz 18 (L.J.G. 18), which was an infantry support gun that was also used throughout World War 2. It required towing, as seen in the background the towing ammunition limber can be seen standing upright for ease of access. The support gun was capable of being moved by its 5 man crew but not across large distances or difficult terrain. This due to reliance on wheels, and its weight, of 400kg. It was principally a Quick-Fire Howitzer, employed in indirect fire, with an effective range of 3,550m. It was, however, often used (as seen here) in high angle indirect fire. It took the 75mm x 89mm Fixed Round, Quickfire shell. A well trained detachment could sustain an average firing rate of 8-12 Rounds per minute. The Infanteriegeschütz 18 had the potential to be dug into a defensive position, this proved to be a common strategic use for the gun. You can see (which is a rarity) in this photograph the gun and limber have been painted with the Reichsheer camouflage. This is known as Buntfarbenaufdruck 31 ((colourful print 31) which was based on the earlier M.18 "Mimikry" pattern. Buntfarbenaufdruck 31 is a prototype of the more famous "Splittarnmuster (Splinter Pattern) that was used later in the war by the Wehrmacht. Confusingly Buntfarbenaufdruck 31 (colourful print 31) was enhanced by Splittermuster 31 almost immediately, but the Buntfarbenaufdruck 31 was used for vehicles in a sprayed version between 1935 and 1937, when the GRAY, became standard for a time for Poland and France. Splittermuster 31 was used for fabrics, notably the Zeltbahns & Camouflaged Helmet Covers of the men of the emerging Wehrmacht. Seen here in this photograph in the background standing is a Feldwebel, he is seen with the peak overseeing the training exercise. Seen in the background on the edge of the forest can be seen someone in the Reichsheer on a horse too. The furthest seen on the right kneeling is a Vizefeldwebel, seen with the treße and triangular patch, which is actually a 3 stripe chevron. Seen kneeling to the left of him with a large leather belt, is an Unteroffizier "Laying" the gun. This strap is a "drag strap", used by the crew to pull the guns along easier. It has its origins in the crew equipment for the Machinengewehr. 1908 (MG.08, the German Maxim Gun of WW1).

This is a crisp photograph showing the details of the Reichsheer in a Pre-Third Reich Germany. The photograph showing the short-lived splinter pattern underlay style camouflage, and training on an infantry support gun that would later be used by the Wehrmacht in World War 2.

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