Home Forums WWII 7.5cm l.J.G. 18: German abbreviation strangeness

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  • #146135
    John D Salt
    Participant

    During my translation of “Auswertung der taktischen Erfahrungen der Infanterie im Westen”, I was baffled strangely by the abbreviation “A.V.J. 9”, a source document of Wehrmacht infantry doctrine. A.V.J., it turns out, signifies Ausbildungsvorschrift für die Infanterie. Weird.

    I was then further disoriented by reference to an infantry weapon referred to by the initials J.G., which, one could readily glark from context, had to refer to the Infantry Gun (Infanteriegeschütz), which comes in light (7.5cm) and heavy (15cm) flavours. Further engooglement revealed quite a few references, including Allied documents about enemy equipment, referring to e.g. the 7.5cm l.J.G. 18. Perhaps I haven’t been paying proper attention for the last half century of wargaming, but I don’t recall ever seeing this before; I would invariably refer to that gun as the leIG 18.

    Now, I can sort of see, if you are going to use “l” as an abbreviation for “light” (leichte), how you might want to replace capital Is with Js, and wonder if at some time during the war, perhaps around when they re-jigged their tactical symbols, the Germans decreed that “light” should be “le”, and “I” could be used without fear of confusion (and Landsers could stop thinking of themselves as jnfantrymen). But this is pure speculation on my part, and for all I know “J” might be an accepted German way of writing an “I” with a bit of a flourish (although the Wikipedia article on German orthography is silent on the subject).

    So — was everyone else aware of this all along, and didn’t tell me? And can some kind person who knows more about German orthography and Wehrmacht writing conventions illuminate the matter further?

    All the best,

    John (or possibly Iohn).

    #146137
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    Hi John,

    Having translated a lot of Fraktur, I confidently suggest ‘I.J.G.’ is mis-transcription from the Fraktur script that was standard until 1941, I believe. It should be lower-case L, upper-case I.G. In Fraktur, to the untrained eye that could look like I.J.G. And A.V.J. is likewise a mis-transcription of A.V.I., = ‘Ausbildungs’, ‘Vorschrift’, ‘Infanterie’.

    Chris

    Bloody Big BATTLES!

    BBBBlog

    #146138
    Robert Dunlop
    Participant

    Upper-case ‘J’ was a recognised representation for upper-case ‘I’ in Fraktur, though publishers and writers varied in this use. The use of ‘J’ is illustrated in this map, taken from the German official history of the Battle of Mons. The likes of J.D. Nr. 18 is frequently translated as 18th Jaeger Division as another example. The ‘J’ refers to ‘Infanterie’, as in J.D. = Infanterie Division and J.R. = Infanterie Regiment:

    Link to map

    Robert

    #146155
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Having translated a lot of Fraktur, I confidently suggest ‘I.J.G.’ is mis-transcription from the Fraktur script that was standard until 1941, I believe.

    Although it’s very far from clear in the sans serif font this forum uses, that first letter was indeed a lower-case ell in the original typescript. Having struggled mightily with Fraktur in a few key paragraphs of “Die neue Gruppe”, I am hugely envious of anyone who can actually read the stuff.

    Having an indicative date at which things would have changed is also very useful — I suspect that we see a lot more late-war than early-war sources, which would help to explain why I hadn’t met it before.

    Upper-case ‘J’ was a recognised representation for upper-case ‘I’ in Fraktur, though publishers and writers varied in this use. The use of ‘J’ is illustrated in this map, taken from the German official history of the Battle of Mons. The likes of J.D. Nr. 18 is frequently translated as 18th Jaeger Division as another example. The ‘J’ refers to ‘Infanterie’, as in J.D. = Infanterie Division and J.R. = Infanterie Regiment:

    Excellent, that makes perfect sense. I can sympathise with the people who make the “Jäger” mistake, as my first thought was to wonder if “Jägergeschütz” was a tribal alternative to “Infanteriegeschütz” — like British rifle regiments calling their bayonets “swords”.

    Now I know about Js masquerading as Is before 1941, I expect I shall meet half a dozen examples over the next couple of weeks.

    All the best,

    John.

    #146158
    Robert Dunlop
    Participant

    Fraktur becomes easier to decipher if you persevere. The subtle, sometimes indistinguishable, overlap between ‘f’ and ‘s’ can be a bigger issue. The difference between ‘aus’ and ‘auf’ is like night and day.

    Glad to see that you can remain John… and not Iohn.

    Robert

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