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The Lockstedt Training Corps
Document date: Aug. 26, 1915.

M.J.13630/15 A.I. Confidential.

Major Bayer 1916
Battalion commander
Major Maximilian
Bayer (1872-1917) in 1916

1. An immobilized formation will be raised in Lockstedt Camp, which will be known as "The Lockstedt Training Corps". It will consist of several companies, which will be gradually brought up to the strength of a battalion of D. II. 3 type, with a machine-gun company and a pioneer company.

2. Enrolment in this company is open to foreigners who enlist voluntarily. Foreigners accepted for service in it will not acquire German nationality. The army administration will undertake no liability to endorse applications for naturalization. The army administration will also undertake no responsibility for the financial support of any such foreigners disabled by wounds received on active service with the German Army. Furthermore, the relatives of such persons will have no claim on the German Government for compensation in the event of the death or total disability of the persons concerned. This must be confirmed in writing by every individual serving in this formation.

Foreigners must be warned before enlistment that it will be their duty to support the German Reich to the best of their ability, to serve wherever they may be sent, to obey all orders given them by their superiors and to obey the German civil and military laws and whatever regulations may have been issued for the duration of the war.

3. In all service, administrative and legal matters the formation will be under the direct orders of the general commanding the 9th Army Corps. The High Command will decide the nature of its future employment.

The formation will be commanded by Major Bayer, of the 27th Infantry Regiment, who will receive the authority of an independent battalion commander. He will apply to the general commanding the 9th Army Corps for the appointment of any further subordinate officers or instructors he may require. The War Office will supply the necessary material resources. Major Bayer will be responsible for the supply of new recruits, and for this purpose the War Office will place at his disposition three officers and three N.C.O.s in addition to those on the regular strength of the formation.

4. The War Office will supply rifles, ammunition and machine-guns (exclusively captured Russian material) and all other training material which the commander may deem necessary. Furthermore, twelve bicycles will be supplied for the use of every company, including the pioneer company. The material for four field telephone sections will also be supplied by the War Office. The 9th Army Corps will supply any horses deemed necessary.

5. The formation will be trained on German principles. Words of command will be given in German. Clothing and equipment of a German Jaeger Regiment (shoulder straps without regimental number) will be supplied by the 9th Army Corps.

Pay and rations on the scale in force for immobilized troops. Foreigners may be promoted to N.C.O. ranks to bring them up to strength. They will then receive the pay carried by the rank in question, but will not wear the distinguishing marks of such ranks. They will not be deemed superiors of German N.C.O.s of lower rank or German privates. For this purpose they will be given the ranks of section-leader, group-leader and assistant-group-leader instead of the German ranks of staff sergeant, corporal and lance-corporal, and shall be superior officers over all foreigners in the formation who hold no rank.

6. The Lockstedt Camp unit formed by the order of February 23rd, 1915, is merged into the new formation.

7. The commanding officer will make monthly reports to the 9th Army Corps and the War Office on the strength of the formation, the progress of its training and any other matters which may arise. The first report is due on October 1st.

8. The existence of this formation is to be kept as secret as possible. The contents of this document will therefore be imparted only to those authorities immediately concerned with the work of the formation and only in an epitomized form. No mention of the formation must appear in the Press.

Signed: Wild von Hohenborn.*)

From the book: "Finland Breaks the Russian Chains" by Heinz Halter. Translated from the German by Claud W. Sykes. John Hamilton Ltd., London, 1940. Major Bayer's picture is from the book "Jääkärit maailmansodassa" (The Jägers in the World War), ed. E. Jernström, Helsinki 1933.

*) von Hohenborn was the Prussian Minister of War.

Background: The oppressive measures in Finland were constantly intensified from 1910. These were met with passive resistance. The outbreak of WWI with the massive pouring of Russian troops into Finland and later in 1914 leaked information about plans to annihilate the Finnish autonomy completely led to a new thinking in the resistance movement among university students. The first activist meeting was secretly held in late November, 1914, at the house of Ostrobothnian student fraternity in Helsinki. A few days later a committee was founded. It aimed to separate Finland from Russia by using the new situation created by the Great War. The establishment of a military leadership was seen as a prerequisite for this.

The only possible assistance in making these plans come true was thought to come from Germany. This also suited their political interests and on January 29, 1915 the Germans made it possible for 200 Finnish students to receive military training in Germany with courses lasting 4-6 weeks. Offices were created for practical arrangements in Stockholm and Berlin, and the students started recruiting in Finland.

The first training course began on February 25, 1915 at Lockstedt camp (now, Hohenlockstedt) in Holstein near Hamburg, with a total of 189 students. To hide the real nature of the course it was called a Pfadfinder (Scout) course. The leader was Major Maximilian Bayer and the trainers were German officers and non-commissioned officers. Jägers, as they later were called, wanted more and wished to prolong the course widening its scope. On August 26, 1915 a decision (see above) was made to raise the number of the trainees to 2,000 men and to make this a strengthened battalion called Lockstedt Training Corps. The battalion was later given the name of the 27th Royal Prussian Jäger Battalion.

At home, a new country-wide recruiting intensified. At this stage senior influential patriots, who previously had doubts about the potential of the Jäger movement, also joined the activity.

An old watertower (built 1900-01) marks the old Lockstedt camp at Hohenlockstedt. Next to the tower is a museum and some ten meters away, along the Finnische Allee (Finnish Alley) is a memorial site with a monument erected by the Finnish League of Independence (sculptor Lauri Leppänen 1939).

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