By Andrew Lucas and Jürgen Schmieschek
Pen & Sword 30th May 2020, 256pp, hardback
For King and Kaiser - front cover

Our second book in English, entitled For King and Kaiser, is now up for pre-order from Pen & Sword with an official publication date of 30th September 2020! [delayed due to COVID] This revised and expanded English hardback edition of von Armentières nach Langemarck features a beautiful new cover designed to visually complement Fighting the Kaiser's War. Our cover artist at P&S chose to colourise of the many amazing shots taken in the trenches of Jäger-Bataillon 13 in late 1914 which form the basis of the first chapter. I'm delighted with the result, which strikingly illustrates both the Saxon uniform tradition at its most distinctive and the motley appearance of trenches and their garrisons during that first winter in Flanders!

For King and Kaiser expands on many subjects which could not be covered in detail in Fighting the Kaiser's War due to pressure of space. It includes a wealth of private photos and personal accounts newly discovered since the appearance of our first book, in some cases thanks to our erudite readers! While working on the English translation we made further discoveries which made their way into the text and the selection of illustrations. There are therefore photos in the English edition which do not appear in the German edition and vice versa - so our most enthusiastic fans will surely wish to own both... As ever, For King and Kaiser is a maximal 256 pages in length and contains over 300 illustrations (including fully indexed maps). The overwhelming majority of the pictures are unpublished private photographs, and the personal accounts have appeared only in pre-WW2 Saxon veterans' newsletters.

Fighting the Kaiser's War is (in part) a reasonably comprehensive history of the Saxon war effort in Flanders, including all divisions / corps and as many smaller units as we could track. For King and Kaiser makes no attempt to rehash this, but rather adds considerable colour and detail on a selection of significant Saxon units and the sectors in which they served.

The following subjects are covered at chapter length:

  • Jäger-Bataillon 13 (XIX.AK) in the earliest phase of trench warfare on the Armentières front in 1914
  • Saxons (variously from 24.ID and 40.ID of XIX.AK) and attached Prussian units at the Frelinghien breweries 1914-1916
  • Saxon 40.ID (XIX.AK) at Ploegsteert Wood 1914-1916, including the Christmas Truce, mining warfare and major trench raids
  • RIR 245 (54.RD / XXVII.RK) - 1st Ypres as described in the personal diary of the regimental commander (who was sent to take over this unit at the height of the fighting)
  • RIR 245 (54.RD / XXVII.RK) - 2nd Ypres as described in the personal diaries of the regimental commander and a battalion commander
  • XXVII.RK - 2nd Ypres as experienced by the Saxon / Württemberg corps (53.RD and 54.RD); this is a corrected and slightly expanded version of our booklet The Saxons at Zonnebeke, which greatly enlarges on the brief account in Fighting the Kaiser's War and provides much needed context to the previous chapter.
  • XXVII.RK - the units, facilities and populace of the corps rear area, 1914-1916. The chapter draws on archived corps orders of the day, unit histories and veterans' accounts to introduce the reader to the underappreciated rear area units of the corps, the life led by its combat units when out of the line, and the Flemish population which was obliged to host them.
  • IR 182 (123.ID) at Wytschaete 1915-1916 - the (witty and erudite) letters of a company commander, accompanied by some very rare images of this sector including the famous Bayernwald trench system. This includes the site of the recent Wytschaete archaelogical investigation.
  • 23.RD at 3rd Ypres - this chapter focuses more on the gradual devastation of the landscape and the progressively worsening conditions, as seen by this Saxon division at Bixschoote, Pilckem, Langemarck and Passchendaele.
  • IR 133 (24.ID) at 3rd Ypres - this chapter (especially the photographic selection) focuses mainly on the fighting in the foul mire south of the Menin Road that autumn, where the Saxons repelled the assault of British 7th Division on 26th October.
  • 58.ID at Houthulst Forest, Poelkapelle and Langemarck in the autumn fighting of 1917, the following winter and the spring advance.
  • Those who remained in Flanders - the cemeteries and monuments of the Saxon Army in Flanders, including a personal account from a wartime graves registration officer (plus his dismayed post-war report on its condition).
Von Armentières Nach Langemarck - sample pages

NB: these sample pages are from the German edition.

Von Armentières Nach Langemarck - sample pages