by Peter Meinlschmidt
When examining the “owner’s designation” on a great number of regimental steins, one will discover a variety of different designations — apart from the universal term Reservist — followed by the owner’s name and/or obvious cases where just the owner’s first and last names were inscribed on the stein. One category of these designations is unit and/or service branch related and applies to the lowest enlisted ranks only. In this article, we will focus on just that category, excluding any designation related to a higher military rank, special status and/or special function.
Many collectors may have been puzzled by seeing designations such as Grenadier, Füsilier, Musketier, Soldat, and Infanterist, for example, on infantry regimentals. While some of these designations are rather obvious, others are less obvious and all of them were subject to certain rules, as we will see below.
The term Grenadier was used for personnel assigned to:
• the 1st through 8th companies of Garde-Regiments zu Fuß, Nos. 1-5, and Garde Grenadier Regiments Nos. 1-5; and
• all companies (i.e., 1st – 12th companies) of Grenadier Regiments Nos. 1 - 12 as well as Nos. 89, 100, 101, 109, 110, 119 and 123.
Füsilier was used for personnel assigned to:
• the 9th through 12th companies of Garde-Regiments zu Fuß Nos. 1-5, Garde-Grenadier Regiments Nos. 1-5 and Lelbgarde-Infanterie Regiment No. 115;
• all companies (i.e., 1st – 12th companies) of the Füsilier Regiments Nos. 33-40, 73, 80, 86, 90 and 122; and
• Prussian and Wurttemberg NCO Schools.
Gardefüsilier was exclusively reserved for members of the Garde-Füsilier-Regiment (all companies).
Gardist was used for personnel assigned to:
• the lst through 8th companies of Leibgarde-Infanterie-Regiment No. 115; and
• the Saxon Garde-Reiter-Regiment (all squadrons).
Musketier was used as a generic term for the members of all companies of the remaining Prussian and Wurttemberg infantry regiments.
Infanterist, same as above, but for Bavarian infantry regiments.
Soldat, same as above, but for Saxon infantry regiments.
Schütze was used for:
• the Garde Schützen-Batallion;
• the Saxon Schützen-(Füsilier-) Regiment No. 108;
• the enlisted ranks of the Machine Gun Companies may also have been referred to as Grenadier and/or Füsilier, if applicable to their parent unit as described above; and
• foot soldiers of Maschinengewehr-Abteilungen (machine gun detachments).
Jäger was used for:
• personnel of Jäger Batallions; and
• may also refer to Jäger zu Pferde (Mounted Rifleman).
Fahrer (driver) was used for:
Kanonier was used for foot soldiers assigned to:
• mounted personnel of Artillery Regiments; and
• members of draft-horse detachments (Bespannungs-Abteilung) attached to Foot Artillery Regiments.
• Field Artillery Regiments; and
• Foot Artillery Regiments.
Garde du Corps was exclusively reserved for members of the Garde-du-Corps Regiment.
Kürassier was used for personnel assigned to other Kürassier Regiments.
Reiter was used for personnel assigned to the Bavarian Schwere Reiter Regiments.
Karabinier was used for members of the Saxon Karabinier Regiment.
Grenadier zu Pferde was exclusively reserved for members of Grenadier-Regiment zu Pferde (the former Dragoon Regiment) No. 3.
Dragoner was used for personnel assigned to the remaining Dragoon Regiments.
Husar was used for members of all Husar Regiments.
Ulan was used for members of all Lancer Regiments.
Jäger zu Pferde (Mounted Rifleman) was used for personnel assigned to Mounted Rifle Regiments (except for Regiment No. 1).
Königsjäger was exclusively used for members assigned to Mounted Rifle Regiment No. 1 (as of August 26, 1905).
Chevauleger was exclusively used for all personnel assigned to the Bavarian Chevauleger (Dragoon) Regiments.
Pionier was used for personnel assigned to:
• Engineer battalions; and
• Units of Technical Troops.
Note: However, eventually special designations evolved for personnel assigned to these latter Troops depending on their special branch, such as Eisenbahnpionier, Lüftschiffer, Telegraphist, Funker and/or Flieger.
Personnel assigned to Train Battalions were referred to by different designations depending on whether they were serving for one or two years, respectively. Thus,
Trainsoldat was used for:
• members of Prussian, Wurttemberg and Saxon Train Battalions, serving for one year; and
• members of Bavarian Train Battalions (regardless of their service time).
Gemeiner was used for members of Prussian and Wurttemberg Train Battalions on 2-year service.
Traingemeiner was used for members of Saxon Train Battalions on 2-year service.
Personnel assigned to ship-borne units of the Imperial Navy were referred to as Matrose, while those who were assigned to the Naval Infantry (Seebattalion) were called Seesoldat.
Many regimental steins do not have an owner’s designation, but rather have only the owner’s name. Some steins will also have a specific title or job description, such as Tambour (Drummer), Hornist (Bugler), and Sanitätsgefreiter (Medic).
*Reprinted from The Beer Stein Journal, August 1995, by permission from Gary Kirsner Auctions.