A Soldier Killed at the Battle of Kemmelberg

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Franz Kantz was killed at the Battle of Mont Kemmel 25 April 1918

21 year-old Franz Kantz took part in the Battle of Merckem (see below) and was killed before noon of the first day of the Second Battle of Mount Kemmel/Kemmelberg/Mont Kemmel: Thursday 25 April 1918.

The ossuary/L'ossuaire du mont Kemmel on the summit contains the remains of more than 5000 unidentifiable soldiers of at least six nationalities and attests to the ferocity of the German bombardment.

He was a Jäger (Jg.) "Rifleman" or "Private". When he was killed he was deployed to the Königlich Bayerische Reserve-Jäger-Bataillon Nr. 2/2nd Bavarian Reserve Jäger Battalion, 4. Kompanie (4 Kp.)/4th Company. After 1915 it was subordinated to the XVII. Armee-Korps/17th Army Corps.
NOTE: European TO&E* numbers companies while US TO&E* assigns letters.

[NOTE: It is likely Franz was related to the Alzey Kantzes since Pforzheim and Alzey are about 65 miles apart. Several Alzey Kantzes moved to Pforzheim in the 19th Cent.]

He is interred in the Cimetière Allemand 14-18 de Wambrechies or Cimetière Militaire Allemand de Wambrechies, 2970 Rue de Quesnoy, 59118 Wambrechies, France.

Wambrechies = Dutch: Wemmersijs.
Its political subordination is:
Région Hauts-de-France
Département Nord
Arrondissement Lille
Canton Lille-1
Intercommunality/Intercommunalité Métropole européenne de Lille.

Mount Kemmel (about 1km from the village of Kemmel, Heuvilland Municipality, province of West Flanders/West-Vlaanderen/Province de Flandre-Occidentale/Westflandern, Flemish Region/Vlaams Gewest/Région flamande, Flemish Community/Vlaamse Gemeenschap/Communauté flamande/Flämische Gemeinschaft, KIngdom of Belgium/Koninkrijk België/Royaume de Belgique /Königreich Belgien) was the scene of two battles within the larger set of the Battle of the Lys or The Spring Offensive or Operation George or Operation Georgette/French: La Bataille de la Lys and La quatrième bataille d'Ypres/German: Vierte Flandernschlacht/Portuguese: Batalha de La Lys 7-29 April 1918.

a) Battle of Estaires/La bataille d'Estaires (7–11 April 1918): German Empire 6th Army/6. Armee; Portuguese 2nd Division of the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps/2ª divisão do Corpo Expedicionário Português (CEP), UKGB&I** 1st King Edward's Horse Regiment; UKGB&I** 11th Cyclist Battalion; UKGB&I** 40th Division; UKGB&I** 55th Division.

b) Battle of Messines (10–11 April 1918): German Empire 4th Army/4. Armee; UKGB&I** 19th Division; UKGB&I** 25th Division. Germans won.

NOTE: It was during this battle that Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, KT, GCB, OM, GCVO, KCIE (1861-1928) issued his famous 11 April 1918 Special Order of the Day:

"There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end. The safety of our homes and the freedom of mankind alike depend upon the conduct of each one of us at this critical moment."

c) Battle of Hazebrouck (12–15 April 1918) Australian 1st Division; German Empire 6th Army; UKGB&I** 4th, 5th, 33rd Divisions. German attacks blunted.

d) Battle of Bailleul (13–15 April 1918) German Empire various units; Belgian various units which eventually folded into UKGB&I** forces; UKGB&I** 2nd Army. Germans won.

e) Retreat from Passchendaele Ridge (11- 16 April 1918: numerous skirmishes as UKGB&I** forces retreated aided by German blunders.

f) Battle of Merckem (17 April 1918): Belgian 3rd and 10th Divisions; German 58th Division/58. Division, 2nd Naval Division and the 6th Royal Bavarian Division or 6th Royal Bavarian Infantry Division/6. Königlich Bayerische Division or 6. Bayerische Infanterie-Division. Germans pushed back.

g) First Battle of Kemmel (17–19 April 1918): Mont Kemmel/Kemmelberg is a height between Armentières and Ypres. On 17–19 April, the German 4th Army/4. Armee attacked and was repulsed by UKGB&I** forces with allied assistance.

h) Battle of Béthune (18 April 1918): German 6th Army/6. Armee attacked south; inconclusive.

i) Second Battle of Kemmel (25–26 April 1918). Costly stalemate.

j) Battle of Scherpenberg (29 April 1918): Germans captured this height W of the Kemmelberg.

*Table of Organization and Equipment
**United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Kemmelberg: 156m/512'
Scherpenberg: 125m/410'

Submitted: April 09, 2019

© Copyright 2022 Ralph Monclar. All rights reserved.

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