My friend Gábor Vásárhelyi sent me some of his great-grandfather’s memorabilia to help me find out where he was in duty. Two of the three documents are from 1917, bearing the stamp of the 38th Honvéd Field Howitzer Regiment. The third document is an acknowledgment of receipt of the equipment, on which we see the stamp of the cadre of the 5th Honvéd Field Cannon Regiment from October 1916.
The point, of course, is how the same artillery corporal could have been assigned to two different units, essentially half a year apart. Knowledge of how artillery troops were organized can answer this question. The organization of Honvéd artillery began shortly before the Great War. In 1914, the artillery brigades of the honvéd infantry divisions consisted of a honvéd cannon regiment and a “common” cannon regiment. In the case of the 38th Division, these were the 5th Honvéd Field Cannon Regiment and the 34th “common” Field Cannon Regiment organized into the 38th Artillery Brigade. A howitzer division or regiment was not in the order of the honvéd divisions at that time.
From September 1915, the addition of howitzer divisions to the artillery brigades of the honvéd divisions began. These were set up with redirections, and consisted of two batteries. In March 1916, these divisions were supplemented by two more batteries, each organized by the cadre of the artillery brigades. Thus, the howitzer regiments of the honvéd artillery brigades were formed from the four batteries.
In October 1916, the great-grandfather of Gábor Vásárhelyi mounted at the cadre of the 5th (38th) Honvéd Field Cannon Regiment that serviced both the Field Cannon and the Field Howitzer Regiments of the 38th Artillery Brigade. The first document is an acknowledgment of this. After having been mounted, the great-grandfather was assigned to the personnel of the howitzer regiment. This is evidenced by the two award documents dated 1917.
I can supplement the written documents with the beautiful insignia of both the cannon and the howitzer regiments. The 5th Honvéd Cannon Regiment’s badge is particularly rare and has a uniquely beautiful tulip-shaping design. The insignia of the 38th Howitzer Regiment have a more traditional design. There is no inscription on the oblong badge. The 15 cm howitzer depicted on it was used by the heavy artillery regiments in addition to the howitzer regiments. By the end of the war, the heavy artillery units were also formed in the honvéd divisions. Thus, it is also possible that this badge was worn by soldiers of the heavy artillery regiment of the division.