Going Home General Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg was the man who had won the war, at least in the mind of most Germans. Only few insiders really knew how things had happened and that Hindenburg’s fame really was based on the performance of Generals Erich Ludendorff and Max Hoffmann and the initiative of men like Colonel Max Bauer. For the broad public, Hindenburg was the saviour of East Prussia and the victor over Russia, England and France. Having received a considerable estate in East Prussia and a huge monetary dotation, the old man now went back into retirement, from which he had appeared in 1914. On August 7th, in Berlin there was a huge parade and an immense cheering crowd when he left, and in Hanover a huge parade and an immense cheering crowd when he arrived. He was a living legend, a man as least as big as Otto von Bismarck – if not the greatest German that ever lived… Compared to Hindenburg, Kaiser Wilhelm II. had become a trivial and marginal figure. No crowd had cheered when he had arrived in Berlin. If anything, the war had shown the Germans how redundant their princes and princelings were – and how little they were able or willing to influence things. In Berlin, in the red brick building at the Königsplatz that traditionally housed the German Great General Staff, General Erich Ludendorff now worked in the room, which before him had served as study for the brilliant elder Moltke, the genial Count Schlieffen and the unlucky younger Moltke. Demobilisation was almost complete now, but this was the responsibility of the war minister, General Hermann von Stein, not that of the Chief of the GGS. Ludendorff’s interest was turned on the east, where things still were in abeyance. Neither the Polish question had yet been resolved, nor the issues about Lithuania, the Baltic territories and Finland. The Ukraine had developed into a true witch’s cauldron. At Kiev, Field Marshal Hermann von Eichhorn and his chief of staff, General Wilhelm Groener, were doing everything to control the situation. They had replaced the unreliable Central Rada by a government led by Ataman Pavlo Skoropadsky and were fighting the Machno bandits with their volunteer units that had replaced the demobilised Army Group Eichhorn. Further east, the counter revolutionary forces – now openly supported by a Germany that had severed all ties with the Bolsheviks – made slow progress. But that did not worry Ludendorff, a long civil war would further weaken Russia… To the south east, things were not going well either. The double monarchy was on the verge of breaking up. Kaiser Karl I. proved unable to achieve cooperation of the nationalities in Cisleithania and the Hungarians were now distinctly manoeuvring for an independent Hungarian Empire. – The Hungarian Empire didn’t bother Ludendorff, he always had favoured the stout Hungarians over the floppy Austrians, but the expected turmoil in Cisleithania did. Plans for an intervention had to be developed. At Wünsdorf, to the south of Berlin, Vizefeldwebel der Reserve Hermann Schultz handed over the battle proven Kanobil “Dagmar” to a young Unteroffizier who yearningly looked at Schultz’ Iron Crosses 1st and 2nd class. Schultz was the last of the “Dagmar” crew to leave service. The others had already gone home, and now it was his time. He looked forward to return to his home town of Thorn and to resume his business as carpenter. It was also time to find a decent wife and found a family. There was a pretty Polish girl in the neighbourhood that already had caught his eyes during the last home leave… Wünsdorf had been chosen as home of the 7th Kanobils, the 8th were also here, together forming the 4th Kanobil Regiment now. New barracks for them were already under construction. Until their completion, the regiment was housed in the old PoW camp. Just another reason why Schultz was glad to go home. At Posen, Colonel Max Bauer, decorated with the coveted Pour-le-Merit, was taking over command of the 5th Heavy Artillery Regiment, as the old foot artillery was called now. He regretted to be unable to provide further counsel to General Ludendorff, but becoming a regimental commander was an important step in one’s career. And in one or two years he would return to the GGS… At Friedrichsfeld near Wesel, Major Willy Rohr watched his men pass the obstacle course. He was glad that the assault battalions finally had been incorporated into the budget. Initially, the idea had been to dissolve them on demobilisation. But that would have meant that all the experience and expertise would be lost. With considerable help from Colonel Bauer and General Ludendorff, Rohr had managed to get one assault battalion per army into the budget. They had 45 former Naschobils turned into mechanised assault infantry carriers and were experimenting in armoured assault together with the 7th Kanobil Regiment. His war time soldiers had now all gone home, except the career NCOs and some officers. The new recruits were in no good shape, two years of hunger and depletion had left their mark. It would take some time to cocker them up and form them into an efficient force.