German Stormtrooper From World War I!
The German infantry, like other nations’ armies, relied on waves of riflemen in the opening months of the First World War. With this style of attack failed under entrenched fire from machine guns. Therefore, German officers and NCOs would start to experiment with new assault tactics. This will lead to the creation of elite Stormtroopers or Sturmtruppen, who would spearhead the German offensive of March 1918 known as Kaiserschlacht. As the war progressed, it was a clear difference in the battle-hardened troops who had survived the carnage and the fresh conscripts were required to make up the numbers lost on the front. The best soldiers were grouped into elite formations of Stormtroopers and used to launch counter-attacks and defenses. The concept of the Stormtrooper goes back to an assault unit created in March 1915, by Captain Willy Rohr. From 1916, storm battalions became common, along with smaller Stormtrooper detachments mixed in a standard infantry regiment. They were either created by converting units of riflemen or handpicking the best soldiers from conventional infantry. Stormtroopers received intense training and were encouraged to think of themselves as ‘the Princes of The Trenches’. Storm battalions could consist of three or four infantry companies armed with rifles and grenades, a machine gun company, a trench mortar company, a battery of light infantry guns and a flamethrower section. The weapons and equipment reflected the close combat and speed of the Stormtroopers. Some of these included the Kar98-AZ which was preferred, as it was shorter than the standard Gewehr 98. The portable MG08/15 or Madsen Light Machine Gun. The Luger P08 or Mauser C96. The innovative MP- 18 submachine gun, grenades, wire cutters a fighting knife, a shovel, and a camouflage helmet. The Stormtroopers were expected to punch holes through the enemy’s trench and create shock and fear in the enemy soldiers, making way for the regular German infantry. The Kaiserschlacht Offensive of 1918 will see British frontline troops overrun by German Stormtroopers as they emerged from the morning fog on March 21st. Once they were at close quarters, the Stormtroopers unleash their flamethrowers, grenades, and machine guns, sometimes advancing many miles in the day. The Kaiserschlacht gained the Germans territory but not an overall victory and it completely exhausted the army. The memory of the Stormtroopers would later be exploited by the Nazi Party as a modern warrior myth to justify a militaristic society.