Memorial To Hessian Cavalry Units In Darmstadt

Pictures and text by Mark R. Hatlie

These pictures were taken on 12 February, 2006 in Darmstadt. I did not note the address, but I think it was on the Albert-Schweitzer-Anlage or Hindenburg-Strasse. It is typical in that it was originally created as a World War One memorial, but had references added to include World War Two after 1945.

The memorial is located in a square at one end of a grass field in the middle of a residential area.
On the top in the center of the memorial, there is a holder for a flame supported by three bronze horse skulls. One can easily imagine nighttime memorial ceremonies in the late 1930s.
The main text in the center reads, "To the fallen / of the Grand Duchy of Hessia / Guard Dragoon Regiment Nr. 23 / and the / Grand Duchy of Hessia / Life Guard Dragoon Regiment Nr. 24 / 1914-1918". That was probably how the marker was originally conceived. Later, the reference to the next war was added below: "and to / Cavalry Regiment Nr. 6 / 1939-1945"
The left shows the coat of arms of one of the units with the dates it existed, 1790-1918. The words "To our fallen, 1939-1945" appear to be add-ons because of the way they are placed.
The right side is similar, with a younger unit, 1860-1918, and a repeat of the World War Two reference.
The back of the memorial refers only to World War One.
It lists the names of the units again, the names of subordinate units, the number of fallen (24 officers, 30 non-commissioned officers and 152 dragoons for the 24th; 26 officers, 31 non-coms and 161 dragoons for the 23rd), and the places the units fought. They appear to have fought in the west in 1914, but then to have been deployed to the Eastern front for the remainder of the war. They fought in Lithuania, central Russia, the Ukraine, Galicia, and even fought in the conquest of Romania in the winter of 1916-1917. The reference to the "Siegfried Front" in 1917 may be a western front reference, the "Siegfried line" defensive positions.
The back of the memorial as seen from a greater distance.
This view is looking over one side of the monument onto the small plaza in front of it.

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