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M1895 Tornister ID help please

Article about: Good day to all, In my current Imperial German kick (spurred by the recent posting of my M1915 Feldbluse), I would like to share the latest addition to my developing mannequin setup.. I’m

  1. #1
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    Default M1895 Tornister - Groovy!

    Good day all,
    In my current Imperial German kick (spurred by the recent posting of my M1915 Feldbluse), I would like to share the latest addition to my developing mannequin setup.. I’m aiming for a Verdun-Nivelle Offensive era display, so am concentrating on typically mid- to late-war items.
    My latest piece, in suitably grubby/salty condition (to match the bluse), is this M1895 Tornister. After much gnashing of teeth, I eventually broke the cardinal rule to ‘never buy anything with bits missing’, and grabbed this great example. Some of the leatherwork is a little dry and, unfortunately, the shoulder straps had been cut off at some time, but the timely appearance of a replacement pair finally persuaded me to click ‘Buy’.
    When I say ‘great example’, I refer to the materials used in its construction, rather than its condition! It may not be the prettiest Tornister on the block, and I’m sure I could have found a nicer one for the eventual price (brexit tax, shipping, straps, &c), but its overall ‘look’ and the use of Ersatz materials in this one is greatly indicative of the state of German industry and failing economy at this time. This element alone tells an important story.
    The maker’s mark, too, is interesting - Industriegruppe 1, Stuttgart, 1917 - this (presumably) being that of a manufacturing collective, so often formed in times of economic struggle.

    Of note is the army corps depot marking (I had not been aware of this until opening the package), which appears to be something like *BA XVII* - flanked by unknown (to me) characters. Any help with deciphering this marking will be much appreciated. While disconnecting the remaining stubs of the shoulder straps, I made a further, much welcome discovery - the unit stamp of Infantry Regiment 6.

    I have, however, been unable to find much information or reference to this regiment and, again, welcome any details you can furnish. My research has suggested a Prussian Reserve Regiment, though I would have expected some indication of this reserve status within the abbreviation (R.J.R. 6, for example), or, perhaps, a regiment of the Reichswehr.
    I have been surprised at the apparent paucity of good, online reference in this field - perhaps overshadowed by the glut of Second World War material - but have ordered a copy of the Verlag Militaria book on the Imperial German Army.. and can barely wait to get my mitts on it!
    I hope you like this Tornister as much as I do, and I look forward to any insights you can share, and to showing the whole (well, half-) mannequin sometime soon.
    Cheers,
    Rob
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture M1895 Tornister ID help please   M1895 Tornister ID help please  

    M1895 Tornister ID help please   M1895 Tornister ID help please  

    Last edited by Kohima; 03-26-2022 at 08:18 AM.

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  3. #2

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    Congratulations Rob and apologies for the slow reply. That is indeed a very nice piece. I personally salty used items myself. I would highly recommend any or all of the five volume set from the Feldzug series written by the late Michael Baldwin. These books contain a wealth of information on Imperial German items and are literally dripping with page after page of detailed images and closeups of German uniforms, helmets and equipment. Definitely a worthy investment before they become too hard to obtain.

    I’m also slowly working toward creating an Imperial German soldier mannequin and look forward to seeing yours.

    Andy

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    Lovely Rob mate, bet it smells nice?

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    Ohh, yeahhh! Makes you sneeze..
    I picked up a set of 1915 shoulder straps for it, so can’t wait to put it all together. A nice, enamelled mess tin next, methinks.. Assembling a set of stowage straps for it could be a challenge. I love the grimyness of this one; really looks the part.

    I have taken your wise words, Andy, and am expecting delivery of volume 3 today. I ordered this one as a taster, with a view to growing the set outward! It seems 1914 and 1917 are the pricey ones (there’s always a pricey one), and suspect pointy hats and stahlhelm have something to do with it. Looking forward to seeing your mannequin too, Andy!
    Cheers chaps,
    Rob

  6. #5

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    Sneeze! hmmphh!! not enough agent orange and asbestos in your lot then!!

  7. #6

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    Oh I forgot to mention! Scotland too!

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    Yep, quite a move, eh? South coast to the north coast! (That’s probably like ‘popping next door’ to you).
    I still don’t know where anything is.. boxes everywhere and everything I try to do involves a long and tedious search. Can’t properly unload any of it until I find my new home.. frustrating.

    It was a fairly big sneeze.
    I know.. lightweight.

  9. #8
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    The stamp in the leather would indicate the 6th Bavarian Infantry Regiment, (Kgl. Bayer. 6. Infanterie-Regt. Kaiser Wilhelm, König von Preußen(Amberg), which was in III Bayer. Armee Korps). Marking for 6th Bavarian = 6JR, while the 6th Prussian would be JR6.

    BA XVII was made up mainly of Westpreußisches regiments and I can find none being the 6th. As the 6th Westpreußisches was with BA II.

  10. #9
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    Thank you aicusv!
    I was coming to the conclusion that it was 6. Bavarian, due to the numeric-alpha format (which I read about only yesterday), though your detailed appraisal confirms it.
    So, clearly, the straps were not original to the pack anyway - although they appear to have been present for some time.
    The corps stamp is still a little baffling to me, insofar as the first and last characters; I cannot determine whether the first is a ‘K’ (korps), or an ‘R’ (reserve). It frankly looks like neither.
    The last character, meanwhile, looks more like a squiggle. I cannot even guess what that might be, or if it is merely an accidental mark from the edge of the ink stamp.

    Thank you so much for your very helpful advice.
    All the best,
    Rob

    Oh, and by the way: any idea what the O-ring is for at the bottom of the left side of the pack?
    I have found no reference, or even comment, on this feature. It’s clearly to hang something very specific from, and not a specialist item, since it appears a standard fitting.
    I can only guess that the Pikelhaube, or later stahlhelm, might be suspended by its chinstrap through the ring, when the mütze is worn on the march, though I am sure that it (or anything else) would swing around annoyingly.

  11. #10
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    The K may stand for Kriegs-Bekleidungsämter, which may have repaired the piece. Not all Corps had a repair depot and items would be set to a "general location" for repair. This could explain two different corps markings. The last letter maybe a "f", which means for field use. I'm not sure what the ring is. Does it line up with one of the shoulder straps, as a quick release? I have a pack with a large metal hook on the top center, no idea what that is for. I've seen photos of helmets hung from the bayonet and from the mess kit. but not from any type of ring. If you can post a photo of the ring.

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