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New Member in Ohio, help identifying my set?

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Post  storypod Thu Mar 31, 2022 1:07 pm

Hi all, brand new member here. I inherited a beautiful old German kriegsspiegel set in it's original wooden case (blue and red blocks in 8 illustrated tins each). Would anyone there be interested in having a look at some pictures? I'd love to identify this a little better, and would certainly appreciate the help! In the meantime, let me sort out how to post a few pictures here.

Thanks much, Tim

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Post  Martin Thu Mar 31, 2022 1:54 pm

Welcome Tim

Lucky you! Yes, please do post some photos.

Looking at the style of pieces and containers might give a hint as to the date of your set.

Martin J

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Post  storypod Thu Mar 31, 2022 2:17 pm

Hope I did this right, let me know if it worked. I'd be happy to post more (or send by email, etc)...


New Member in Ohio, help identifying my set? Img_4511
New Member in Ohio, help identifying my set? Img_4512
New Member in Ohio, help identifying my set? Img_4510

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Post  storypod Thu Mar 31, 2022 2:19 pm

The box seems to be from a stationery, drafting supplies-type shop in Berlin, not super old, maybe between the wars?

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Post  storypod Thu Mar 31, 2022 2:41 pm

and a few more.

New Member in Ohio, help identifying my set? Img_4513
New Member in Ohio, help identifying my set? Img_4514

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Post  Martin Thu Mar 31, 2022 2:52 pm

I believe the firm is much older than that, Tim.  But my knowledge of Berlin stationery firms is not up to much, and it could still have been in existence in the 20th C.

And the M. Gew pieces are presumably abbreviations for maschinengewehr = machine-guns, which would certainly indicate a later date.

Could you photo some more of the pieces please?

Also, are any maps, charts & tables included?

Martin J

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Post  Martin Thu Mar 31, 2022 3:17 pm

Googling indicates the firm was founded in 1832 and still existed in 1914. Have found nothing more recent, but perhaps someone else with greater expertise and/or better German can chip-in?

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Post  storypod Thu Mar 31, 2022 4:03 pm

hey Martin, Great that you found a listing for that company, interesting indeed. Wonder if they did continue after 1914. Researching the use of 'maschine' guns in Germany, their use skyrocketed in WW1 from almost nothing to a reported 90% of small-arms ammo used, which would suggest that it would have made it a reasonable addition to the Kriegsspiel games after 1918? I'm totally guessing here, so if anyone has any more input? The appetite for war games after WW2 might have been seriously reduced, suggesting this might have been produced between the wars?

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Post  storypod Thu Mar 31, 2022 4:04 pm

Thanks Martin,
Good call on the 'maschine-gun' observation, one of the tin boxes does indeed spell it out a little more clearly. Here are some more pictures, too. There are no maps or any other info, sadly.

New Member in Ohio, help identifying my set? Img_4515
New Member in Ohio, help identifying my set? Img_4516
New Member in Ohio, help identifying my set? Img_4517

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Post  Martin Thu Mar 31, 2022 4:26 pm

Thanks Tim.  Helpful photos.

The full term Maschinenegewehr Abteilung may help here.  It's my understanding (as of c10 mins ago, and courtesy of google, so caveats apply Shocked ) that the first Prussian MG Abt were only formed in 1901, and that after 1908 the designation of almost all of them was changed to MG Kompanie.  Provided the set dates to before WW1, that might suggest it belongs to the period 1901-8.

Something else might suggest it is pre-WW1.  I think I saw a reference on one of the tins to a 6-gun artillery battery.  I think that most German field batteries were reduced to 4 guns during WW1 to enable the creation of new batteries.  I suppose, the Reischswehr might have reverted to larger batteries after 1918, but my guess is probably not.  That said, I know nothing at all about the Reichswehr!

Are there any troop pieces which might indicate tanks or other vehicles?  If they are present, that would obviously indicate a post WW1 date.

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Post  storypod Thu Mar 31, 2022 4:55 pm

Great info on the Maschinenegewehr Abteilung, Martin, that might narrow it down date-wise, and fits with the company lasting at least until 1914. Here's a couple more pics including the "Artillerie" box which I assume would list the bigger machinery.

New Member in Ohio, help identifying my set? Img_4519
New Member in Ohio, help identifying my set? Img_4520
New Member in Ohio, help identifying my set? Img_4518

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Post  Martin Thu Mar 31, 2022 5:49 pm

Many thanks Tim.

From further googling, looks as if the kompanie designation continued right through to 1945. Abteilungen did exist in WW2, but the term tended to be used for larger formations, typically of a number of companies.

I think you're right that kriegsspiel fell into abeyance after WW2. Indeed Germany was demilitarised until the Bundeswehr was created.

Let's see if anyone else has anything to contribute.

Martin J

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Post  storypod Thu Mar 31, 2022 6:07 pm

Great, yes, let's see if anyone else has any thoughts? Dare I ask if anyone would have any sort of estimate of its value? I simply can't find anything remotely similar on Google, eBay, Worthpoint, etc.

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Post  storypod Thu Mar 31, 2022 6:21 pm

Found another interesting tidbit. From Militär-Wochenblatt 1901 (military weekly)

Appears to be an ad from the company listed on the label of my box, for Kriegspiel 'apparatus'. Not definitive, but does place this potentially in that period you mentioned, Martin, at the turn of the century... Falling down the Google rabbit-hole for sure!

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Post  Martin Fri Apr 01, 2022 10:18 am

Interesting stuff.  In the late 19th C there were occasional articles on kriegsspiel in Militär-Wochenblatt, so I suppose it's not surprising that the apparatus would be advertised there.

You asked about value.  I don't really feel competent to express a view on that.  By c1900 many armies had developed their own versions of the game, and you (very) occasionally find one on sale.  I did find an example of the British version for over £2,000, but I don't think that's a good example, as it appears to be a display copy, produced to an exceptionally high standard.  And of course it's also a British version.

Your version looks to me as if it's probably a working copy, produced in bulk for German army use.  And it looks as if it has indeed had some use.  If we are correct that it was produced in the early 20th C, then it may be less rare than some other versions of the game.  Partly because I would guess that the use was always more widespread in Germany than elsewhere, and also because the army itself had expanded so rapidly in the previous years, so we might think that the number of sets produced increased also.

That said, these things do not come up for sale often, and I could imagine that an enthusiast might pay a few hundred pounds/dollars/euros for such a set.  But again, I'm not really competent to value it.

Martin

PS have I mentioned my incompetence?

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Post  storypod Fri Apr 01, 2022 2:16 pm

Hey Martin, your supposed incompetence is eclipsed completely by my sheer ignorance! Thanks for all the great input, I know a helluva lot more than i did 24 hours ago. I'm going to do a little more exploration, and if anyone else has any insights they'd be willing to share, much appreciated. Only thing I'd add is that this set appears almost completely unused. The bit of wear on the tins is from rubbing corners and nicks on the paint - the wood pieces in the boxes have no general wear whatsoever, and aren't mixed up at all, and seem pretty complete, as if they've never been removed. The outer wood box is pretty spotless too. Not sure how i feel about this - would be more fun to imagine a regimen sitting around this exact box in Berlin a century ago...

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Post  Martin Fri Apr 01, 2022 3:42 pm

Hahaha. Well that should increase the value, I would think.

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