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Identifying this uniform - Believed to be pre WW1 Russian.

Article about: Greetings, I am having trouble identifying the uniforms in the picture below. The man on the left is my grandfather. He was a Polish farmer from Suwalki, Poland. The story goes that he was c

  1. #1

    Default Identifying this uniform - Believed to be pre WW1 Russian.

    Greetings,

    I am having trouble identifying the uniforms in the picture below. The man on the left is my grandfather. He was a Polish farmer from Suwalki, Poland. The story goes that he was conscripted by the Russians during the partition of Poland. He later fled to the United States and joined the US Army to fight in the Great War.

    I don't recognize these uniforms as American at all. It would mean a lot to my family if anybody could help by pointing me in the right direction on how to identify this.

    Thank you.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Identifying this uniform - Believed to be pre WW1 Russian.

    Interesting, but definitely not American. I believe the uniforms are
    WWI German - especially with an Iron Cross 2nd Class, and the
    one visible 'Got Mit Uns' type belt buckle.........
    Regards,


    Steve.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Identifying this uniform - Believed to be pre WW1 Russian.

    Hi and welcome to the forum!

    The uniform are, as Steve correctly says, WW1 German. I am moving this thread to the Imperial German section of the forum where you will get more info.

    Maybe the family story got corrupted and the word "Prussian" got changed to "Russian"? This is perhaps the case.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Identifying this uniform - Believed to be pre WW1 Russian.

    That clears a lot up. Could they be PRE-WW1 uniforms? My grandfather fled to the States before WW1 and enlisted in the US Army. Here is his US Army photo. On the one on the right, you can very clearly see US on his collar.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Identifying this uniform - Believed to be pre WW1 Russian.

    Seattle, your Grandfather was in the Kaisers Imperial Army, the Prussian Army at that....he wears a pre-war Dunkel blau Waffen rock (a dark blue tunic) probably an M1895 model. He is a “Einjährig-Freiwilliger” (a one year volunteer), identifiable by the black and white twist piping on his shoulder boards, probably a man of means, as a “Einjährig-Freiwilliger” had to pay his unit for his own uniform, food and lodgings ! The “Einjährig-Freiwilliger” is a complicated subject, but to cut to the chase it basically meant, he only had to do one year of active service before being transferred to the reserve instead of the two to three year active service requirement of normal conscripts.
    Being from Suwalki he would probably fall into the recruitment catchment area of XX Army Korps, with its HQ at Allenstein. We also see the tunic has "White" Brandenburg style cuffs, unusual as only eleven Regiments out of the one hundred and eighty two pre-war Regiments of the Imperial German Army had this feature, of the eleven, only one is in Army Korps XX, the "Deutsch Ordens-Infanterie-Regt. (1.Elsässisches) Nr.152" garrisoned at Marienburg , the III Bn at Stuhm.
    However that is my opinion. He could of been within the recruitment area of Army Korps XVII as Suwalki is right on the border of these two Army Korps, if so then his Regiment could well be the "8.Westpreußisches Infanterie-Regt. Nr.175" garrisoned at Graudenz, II Bn at Schwetz......as they also had "White" cuffs......If some one can blow up the photo clear enough to make out any numbers on the straps that could clinch it ! Hope this has helped..
    Prost ! Steve.
    "The German Army is the perfectly adapted, perfectly running Machine. The difference is that the Germans are organised with a view to War...with the cold, hard, practical and business-like purpose of winning victories."
    G.W. Steevens - The Daily Mail (1897)

  6. #6
    ?

    Default Re: Identifying this uniform - Believed to be pre WW1 Russian.

    Steve, not sure what you meant by the "straps" but I've enlarged the cuffs with Photoshop if that helps. Maybe point me to the area you need enlarging if I can help.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Identifying this uniform - Believed to be pre WW1 Russian.

    Sorry Nick, I should of stated "Shoulder straps" as there are numbers on them....
    Prost ! Steve.
    "The German Army is the perfectly adapted, perfectly running Machine. The difference is that the Germans are organised with a view to War...with the cold, hard, practical and business-like purpose of winning victories."
    G.W. Steevens - The Daily Mail (1897)

  8. #8
    ?

    Default Re: Identifying this uniform - Believed to be pre WW1 Russian.

    Sorry Steve, crossed post. Uploaded enlarged shoulder straps, not that it's of much help.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Identifying this uniform - Believed to be pre WW1 Russian.

    Thanks for the enlargements Nick, but I still can not make out the numbers......
    Prost ! Steve.
    "The German Army is the perfectly adapted, perfectly running Machine. The difference is that the Germans are organised with a view to War...with the cold, hard, practical and business-like purpose of winning victories."
    G.W. Steevens - The Daily Mail (1897)

  10. #10
    ?

    Default Re: Identifying this uniform - Believed to be pre WW1 Russian.

    I've doubled the size of the image above, but the image quality isn't great. I thought I could make out something-3-4 but I could be wrong.

    Click image for larger version. 

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