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Gildwiller1918

Soldatenfibel

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I just recently got this Soldatenfibel, which I believe to be pre-WW2, judging by the individual equipment pictured and the weapons used. I has 120 pages and is in excellent condition with no separation of the spine or missing pages. Nice images of the Mg08/15 in use as well, which is referred to as a "light" machine gun. Not so much in reality as it weighed in at 40 pounds, minus the water and ammo. The manual was sold as a WW1 item, however it shows on 4th image the Polish Corridor which was established in 1920, so it is a Reichswehr period manual. 

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The most up to date uniform pictures could be 1934/35 at the latest, all the rest are older. The gasmask and bag are of the Weimar period. Certainly after 1919 when looking at the map of central Europe: Reichswehr = 100.000 Mann. Poland, Czechoslowakia and Litauen did not exist before November 1918. Interesting to note that Poland could mobilise three and a quarter million men. almost the size of the French army.

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It is a nice manual, would be nicer if it was dated, but I am happy with it. It is interesting examining the pictures of the gear and weapons. I cannot find any figures that would represent the Polish numbers. In 1939 they had roughly 1.7 million troops.

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The Polish army was much stronger in 1939. The brochure states three and a quarter million men in time of war!  I saw more information somewhere, can't remember where. They were a force to be reckoned with, and they had a lot of tanks and also aircraft, despite what propaganda preached about having only cavalry and being antiquated, that is not quite true. Their leadership was not too good. Poland after it's formation after 1918 became rather corrupt and inefficient, until Josef Pilsudski took over for a few years. With French assistance he managed to repel a Bolschewik invasion, although in earlier times, he had been a socialist revolutionary, who had associations with Lenin's brother, and was involved in an assasination attempt against the Tsar of Russia. After stepping down from state leadership, he was Minister of War till his death. Poland did also provoke Germany for several years and persecuted many ethnic Germans still living within it's boundaries since 1918, which was another reason for the German invasion.

The date would be definitely 1934/35 - see introduction of the brochure - "Die Wehrmacht ist mit Volk und Staat unlöslich verbunden..."
and refering to how the future emblems would look!

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