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Post Info TOPIC: Charles Henkart


Brigadier

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Charles Henkart
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I'd like to know more about this brave man.

As probably most of us know he was a Belgian officer who ordered to armour his two private cars after the war broke out. For many years it seemed like those were Minervas, but now it looks like those were Opel and Pipe, however later most ofBelgian armoured cars in campaign of 1914 were indeed Minervas.Henkart and his men were a great trouble to Germans. Theymade ambushes and surprise attacks on German infantry and cavalry. However on early September 1914(5th or 6th) Henkart and his menwere all killed, but during this battle they inflicted heavy losses on the enemy.

My questions are:

- who ambushed whom before Henkart's last fight? Looks like some sources state it was German ambush on Henkart, some state it was quite the contrary;

-is there any photo showing Henkart for sure? I know there are some photos ofBelgian officerswith armoured cars, but I also know that experts sometimes deny they show Henkart;

- does anyone know anything on Henkart's diary? In Wargames Illustrated no. 251 there is an article on Belgian armoured cars in 1914 and there is some excerpt of Henkart's diary. I have never heard of it from other source and I'm not sure whether this excerpt is original or the author of the article just showed howHenkart's diarymight have looked like.

If anyone knows anything about this man, please share smile



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Pat


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Result of an image search for the man:

http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?t=7628 (scroll down to middle of the page; seems quite trustworthy as it is a period article including dates of birth and death)



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Commander in Chief

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Period article - and trustworthy? What are you smoking? Heaping tons and more tons of lies upon the enemy, that's what period articles are.



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MZ


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That may often be the case MZ but the period references in Pat's link appear to be factual and (to my eye) almost dispassionate, given the subject matter.

Not directly related but there is a fine old picture postcard of a Belgian armoured column in later times in the group at:

http://www.greatwardifferent.com/Great_War/80_Postcards/80_Postcards_08.htm

(We've probably seen it before but with greatwardifferent.com having lost its index it is a little difficult for most to find.)



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Brigadier

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Pat wrote:

Result of an image search for the man:

http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?t=7628 (scroll down to middle of the page; seems quite trustworthy as it is a period article including dates of birth and death)


Thank you, Pat! Now I wonder if there are more photos of Henkart, maybe some with him, his soldiers and armoured cars. There are some group photos of this kind, butit is hard to tell if he's there somewhere, even after we know the photo you mentioned.



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Lieutenant-Colonel

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I am quite sure that in these photos below there is 2nd Lt Charles Henkart, behind the Lewis mg and in the middle between Opel (left) and Pipe (right).

If you compare the man shown on those photos to that one which Pat showed, he looks same.

Other persons on these photos I don't know. But here are some suggestions. I know that with him were fighting Prince Henri Louis Baudouin de Ligne, Count Henri de Villermont, Baron Philippe Henri Leon de Zualart, Sergeant Misson, Alfred Croisiere, Gendarme Otte and Strauss - an American volunteer. There is also an old newspaper interview of Baron Ciergleys, an Englishman from Ashford and distant relative to Henkart. He said that he was with Henkart, but so far I have found no evidence of this Baron from other sources, so I assume this might be war propaganda or name changed.

I have studied this subject quite a lot. Here is attached a map sketch of his patrols, drawn by myself as you can see when looking the extraordinary quality...

Sketch is based on a copy of an article which made him world famous. This "Ironclad Hero" article was published in several newspapers all over the English speaking world in September and October 1914.

I found this article at least 50 % truthful. I think in autumn 1914 newspapers were not so much sensored yet. Never heard about Henkart's diary.



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Brigadier

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MTorrent - thank you for this great post.

From the people you mentioned I read only about Prince Henri Louis Baudouin de Ligne - I know he was killed in action, but I'm not sure if in the same action as Henkart.Here: http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?p=161784#161784Ifound that he died on 8th September, so that would be 2 or 3 days later than Henkart.

But in "Early Armoured Cars" by E. Bartholomew there is information that they both died on 6th September.

Here: http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?p=140962#140962it is written that Henkart died on 5th September.

Do you know what are true dates of their deaths?

Here in the last post our Belgian expert gemsco denied that the photo shows Henkart: http://landships.activeboard.com/t33822577/total-number-of-armoured-cars-usedproduced-per-nation/

I know gemsco is working on a book on Belgian WW1 armoured cars, but we'll have to wait a year or more. I hope he'll add something to this thread. I'm especially curious if Henkart's diary exists.



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Lieutenant-Colonel

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Albert, you are welcome.

Prince Baudouin de Ligne was wounded in the same action, which I believe was in 5th September. He was evacuated to Herentals like other wounded, but died on his wounds three days later.

Bartholomew is the only one who says this happened on 6th Sept. I believe more that newspaper clip of Henkart's death which says 5th Sept.

gemsco's argument is that the officer on the photo is using cavalry headgear and Henkart belonged before the war to the grenadiers. However, armoured cars were attached to 1. Cavalry Division.

The excact date of this is unknown for me, but I can tell that for example when Lt Henkart was shot, new commander of armoured cars was Lt Thiery, an officer from 1. Guides cavalry regiment.

Who else could be photographed with these Opel and Pipe, which disappeared soon after Minervas were ready? Would it be rather logical to think that in the middle of these cars was a man who was already world famous war hero? Henkart was interviewed on 23rd August in Antwerp and article of his adventures began to spread all over the English speaking world on next day.

If I would take a photo of Max Immelmann's Fokker, I would put Max on the front of it, not his comrade officer...



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Brigadier

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Thanks again smile

Looks like you researched this subject really well smileDid youfind some interestingbooks and articles on Belgian armoured cars or you just found most of the information in the Internet? For example where did you find information on Prince Baudouin's wound and death 3 days later? It's very interesting and new to me.



-- Edited by Albert on Sunday 28th of October 2012 12:01:34 PM

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Lieutenant-Colonel

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Actually I have used internet well... I found some newspaper articles about this subject and also some Belgian websites.

Prince Baudouin's faith was found after putting few pieces together: an newspaper interview of Baron Ciergleys where he told that he was wounded and transferred behind. Then I found some Belgian family history sites where Prince Baudouin and his death date was mentioned.

This is interesting, I agree. I would be very happy to know much more about this subject. If I would win in a lottery, I would travel to Belgium and England too to study archives...

Here is an interview of this mystical Baron Ciergleys:

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C0CE4D7153FE233A25751C2A9679D946596D6CF



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Brigadier

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Thanks again smile

Yes, looks like newspaper archives on the Internet can be really helpful in researches smile

I hope that in the near future someone will publish a book in English on Belgian armoured cars, it would be great. There are some books and articles, but:

1)they are in French (some memoirs, I think I know of 3 such books), Dutch ("Reizigers door de grote oorlog"), and Ukrainian (translation of "Reizigers door de grote oorlog");

2) looks like they concentrate on Belgian armoured cars in Russia (1915-1918) andcampaign of 1914 is not described at all is or described shortly.



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cdr


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There is of course a major problem with the New York interview. The geographical location is totally wrong. The Henkart skirmish was near the Zandberg in Westerlo (Flanders) while the text talks of the road to Lille (France) which is a toatally different direction

Carl

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Legend

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Just doing a bit of further digging into Henkart, and I noticed this comment from MTorrent here: "gemsco's argument is that the officer on the photo is using cavalry headgear and Henkart belonged before the war to the grenadiers. However, armoured cars were attached to 1. Cavalry Division."

Henkart was indeed a Grenadier, but the headgear is perfectly possible. The wedge-shaped bonnet de police, with a tassel at the front, was an option for many branches of the Belgian Army in 1914: certainly all ranks in the cavalry - Lancers, Guides, Chasseurs à Cheval - horse artillery and garrison artillery, and for officers in foot regiments: Line Infantry, Carabiniers, Chasseurs à Pied, and Grenadiers. (In fact officers also had a third option of a French-style kepi.) The background colour of the bonnet was either dark blue or dark green, and the band, piping, and tassel indicated the regiment and rank. Officers' piping and tassel were gold.

So for Henkart, a lieutenant of Grenadiers, a bonnet de police would be quite correct.

If Henkart's vehicles were attached to a cavalry regiment, that would also make sense, since the other crewmen would be wearing the cavalry version. Looking at the photos, it does seem that some of the men are wearing the short cavalry tunic along with the bonnet. If we had a way of seeing the colours, I'm sure that would clear things up entirely, but there isn't an authentic colour image.



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Brigadier

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James, I’m very happy you revived this thread. I also dug into Henkart and generally Belgian armored cars of WW1 and this fascinating subject is full of myths in books, articles and Internet.

Great research on Henkart’s headgear, now there is absolutely no doubt it’s him on these few known photos.

Georges E. Mazy’s (gemsco’s) knowledge of WW1 Belgian armored cars was second to none and his doubts regarding Henkart’s headgear don’t change anything in this matter. He published many great articles. Unfortunately he hasn’t completed his book he has worked on from at least 1980s... I tried but failed to establish whether there is any chance that someone will complete it and publish it some day.

My main problem with Henkart is that I don’t know what he did during the war before August 15, 1914 and between August 23 and the evening of September 4, 1914... Do you know anything about it, James?
Also there is doubt whether his two improvised armored cars were his or were captured from Germans. Probably the latter.

Cheers,
Albert



-- Edited by Albert on Wednesday 24th of July 2019 09:01:26 PM

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Legend

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You're welcome. This is a Grenadier uniform from 1914:

Gren.jpg

The grenades on the greatcoat collar distinguish it from the Line version. The round cap on the shoulder is the Other Ranks bonnet, similar to the German Feldmütze and also worn by Line Infantry. The cap on the dummy's head is the Officers' bonnet de police.

I've found some French material on Henkart, and am wading through it. I'll let you know if I find anything new.

I'm a little surprised that you think the vehicles were captured from the Germans. As I understand it, he was a wealthy man and lived in the chateau of Cherimont:

Image from object titled Sclayn (Namur) château de chérimont à M. Jules de Faestraets

The story goes that the car and lorry were his property, and he offered them to the Belgian government when he was recalled to the Army.

They certainly weren't Minervas . . .



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Brigadier

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Yes, these were Opel and Pipe. And according to one of Georges Mazy’s articles they were captured at Boneffe on August 13, 1914... Also in one issue od „The Autocar” there are photos of these vehicles and they are described as being of German origin! We will probably never be absolutely sure.

James, could you reveal what is your French source on Henkart? I wonder if I know it.

Together we can achieve something smile I never thought about looking for a postcard with a photo of Henkarts chateau, that’s new to me, thanks again!



-- Edited by Albert on Wednesday 24th of July 2019 10:34:20 PM

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Legend

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Try this:

1914 La première et la seule, la Belgique fait usage d'autos blindées: Tome 1, by Françoise Arnaud

Chérimont is still a going concern: https://www.cherimont.com/



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Brigadier

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James H wrote:

Try this:

1914 La première et la seule, la Belgique fait usage d'autos blindées: Tome 1, by Françoise Arnaud

Chérimont is still a going concern: https://www.cherimont.com/


 

Thanks James! I have this book. It's a little strange. First 200 pages tell the story of Belgium and Europe before the war - unnecessary! Later there is some info on Belgian armored cars of 1914. I don't mean this book is useless regarding this subject (thanks to it I became aware of existence of three books which mention actions of Belgian armored cars in 1914), but this part is not very well researched and regarding Henkart the author repeats old myths (wrong date of Henkart's last battle - 6th September, should be 5th; 450 Germans - also not true). However this book (and its less known 2nd tome and there will also probably be 3rd!) shines when it comes to history of ACM - this is its main subject and the story is described at great length.

 



-- Edited by Albert on Thursday 25th of July 2019 11:31:49 AM

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Legend

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That's the best I can do at the moment. This photo shows Henkart & crew with cavalry etc.

La chasse aux Uhlans APGM100_HetLevengell_13101914_016.jpg



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Brigadier

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Yes, a known photo, but usually it’s of worse quality, you found a nice copy. Henkart (first from the right, we can see his back) is in his Opel armored car, a Lewis machine gun is clearly seen. This Lewis is surely Belgian, no doubt about that, no matter if we believe this Opel was Henkart’s private car or it was captured from the Germans. I’ve seen two contrary captions regarding what units are these cyclists and cavalrymen from.



-- Edited by Albert on Friday 26th of July 2019 04:22:19 PM

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Brigadier

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On this day 105 years ago Lt. Charles Henkart was killed in action. Rest in peace, brave warrior!

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