Rubber unit stamps were an important part of the German military. They assured that all documents prepared for distribution were properly associated with the unit from which they came. As with most modern armies, paperwork was all-important. The job simply was NOT done until the proper paperwork was prepared! Generally speaking, one finds the unit stamp’s circular imprint, along with an authorized officer’s (or his adjutant’s) signature, at the document’s bottom. These stamps typically came from Regimental, Brigade, Division, Armeekorps, Armee, and Armeegruppe levels for documents involving field orders, the award of decorations, etc.
In the past we offered these stamps from a variety of units, the rarest coming from a Garde-Division. Today, however, we have a much rarer bird to share with you. It is for office of the Oberkommando der Flieger 2. Armee, which was the 2. Armee’s aviation office. This office was responsible for all aviation units: jastas or observation and bombing squadrons, as well as zeppelin and balloon abteilungen. The office reported to the 2. Armee’s commander, as well as the Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches, which was renamed Die Luftstreitkräfte im Kaiserreich from October 1916 until WW I’s end.
The commander of the Imperial German Air Service was Ernst von Hoeppner, known as the Kommandierender General der Luftstreitkräfte. The position was created by von Hindenburg’s Chief of Staff, Erich Ludendorff, in order to unify all aviation functions within the German Army. Von Hoeppner reported directly to von Hindenburg, who by this time was the Chief of the General Staff and overall Commander of the German Army.
[It is interesting to note that von Hoeppner served as the 2. Armee’s Chief of Staff in 1915. The 2. Armee was created in August 1914 as a central part of the Schlieffen Plan, Imperial Germany’s original strategy quickly win WW I via a lightning strike through Belgium and Germany in a pincer movement to quickly invade Paris and force the French out of the war. The 2. Armee was commanded by Generalfeldmarschall Karl von Bülow from August 1914 to April 1915, by General der Infanterie Fritz von Below from April1915 to July 1916, by General der Artillerie Max von Gallwitz from July 1916 to December 1916, by General der Kavallerie Georg von der Marwitz from December 1916 to September 1918, and finally by General der Infanterie Adolphe von Carlowitz from September 1918 to the war’s end in November 1918].
The stamp has a wooden handle, and measures 1 ¼” x 3.” The stamp’s upper grip reveals signs of aging where it was grasped many times to imprint the thousands of documents that passed through the 2. Armee Kommandeur der Flieger’s office. The stamp’s circular bottom reveals its unit’s name cut into its rubber surface. This is a rare find for you aviation collectors!