As part of the 217 I.D. the 1. bay. Res Jäger
Btln had spent Christmas of 1916 in Romania.
On the 2nd January 1917 the Battalion relieved an
Austrian unit a couple of Kilometres to the north of Gemenile. In front of them
the Russian trenches ran from the village
of Gurgueti in the North West to Romanul in the South East.
The attack was to take place on a narrow front, the
objective being a farmhouse forming part of the Russian line of defence. The
2nd and 4th company were to attack as the first wave; to the right of the
battalion was the Res.-Jäger-Batl. 7 and to the left a 3km gap. There the 11th
Bavarian Division was attacking along the Bazaul river. To the rear the
Res.-Jäger-Batl. 9 was kept in reserve.
The attack was to take place across a valley crossed
by a number of gullies, a number of which had hidden barbed wire obstacles.
On the night of the 3rd of January the two
point companies took up position, joined by pioneers who were to cut the wire
and machine gunners who would cover the advance.
At 08:00 the artillery bombardment started cloaking
the Russian lines and farmhouse in a cloud of dust. The Russian artillery
responded but the firing went over the heads of the Jägers and caused no
At 10:15 the bombardment moved to the left of the
Jäger’s sector, the 3km gap in the German front was caused by a lack of troops
and the Russians in these positions would pose a danger to the left flank of
the attacking Jägers. around the farmhouse the Russians quickly took up
positions, their machine guns sending bullets whistling through the barbed
wire. The Jäger machine gunners answered and managed to silence the Russian
guns while the Pioneers started cutting their way through the wire. Before they
had finished the 4th Company was already pushing their way through sending the
Russians fleeing and taking the rest prisoner. The 3rd Company joined with the
4th to add to the momentum of their advance. To the left the 1st and 2nd
companies were held up by the flanking fire from the Russians in the 3km gap,
two companies of the Res.-Jäger-Batl. 9 entered the line to their left and
lengthened the attack front freeing the 1st and 2nd companies who were able to
push forward at last.
The rush forward by the 3rd and 4th came to a halt as
they reached a second farmhouse and were met with heavy Russian fire, but the
arrival of the 1st and 2nd companies on the left and the Res.-Jäger-Batl. 7 on
the right forced the Russian defenders to retreat and the Jägers advance continued
to Hill 12, 4km North West of Romanul. Here they stopped and took up defensive
positions, the attack to their right was not keeping up and they dared not risk
getting to far ahead as a counter attack could cut them off from their own
lines. The Russians retreated to the north east leaving isolated machine guns
in position to bother the Jägers.
Right: the Iron Cross Award certificate to Vizefeldwebel der Reserve Hillenbrand, the award made for the attack described in the article.
Res.-Jäger-Batl. 9 took up position to the left of the
Bavarians and at 14:00 on the next day the Russians counter attacked. The
position was precarious, to the left and the right the Res.-Jäger-Batl. 7 and
Res.-Jäger-Batl. 9 were slightly to the rear of the Bavarians, whose positions
jutted forward in a wedge shape. Swarms of Russians advanced, driven on by
mounted officers with whips. The day was saved by a heavy artillery bombardment
that swept through the Russian ranks bringing the attack to a halt.
The losses of the bayerische Reserve-Jäger-Bataillon 1
had been relatively light, 2 dead and 22 wounded.
Above: A map drawn by Hillerbrand on the back of his award document.