Walter Kappel joined the Army in March 1915 and on the 15th of August found himself on the Russian front with the Reserve Infanterie Regiment 11. From the 1-10th of September 1916 they were fighting in the Karpathen mountains under the command of the 7th K.u.K. Armee (Austrian). From the 10th of September the 117th Infanterie Division was on the Smotrec and Kukul rivers. While here Kappel participated in a patrol that got him recommended for the Iron Cross.
Above: A Sturmtrupp on the Karpathan front.
The Regimental orders and Divisional orders were copied on a sheet of paper and signed by the Regimental commander. On Kappel's copy his name is separate from the rest, it can be assumed that each member of the patrol had a document typed in a manner that their name was at the forefront.
The text of the regimental order is as follows...
A patrol of the 4th company led by Gefreiter Streibel and consisting of the Ersatz Reservist Reichelt, Landsturm Men Zuschke and KAPPEL and Erstaz Reservist Hunder attacked a larger Russian Patrol with eight men. They managed to capture three of the Russians. I commend the patrol for their brave and dashing act and thank them for the service they did to their unit in helping to gather important information about the enemy. It was of great importance to the Generalkommando to find out that the Russian 127th Infantry Regiment was on the Mariezewska-Mala.
I have recommended the members of the patrol for the Iron Cross 2nd class or Austrian bravery medal.
Signed by, Regiments commander , 15th of October 1916.
The award of the Iron Cross followed on the 20th of November 1916
On the 21st of November the Regiment was fighting in the Karpathen forests again.
During this time Kappel was trained as an Assault Trooper.
On the 19th of January to the 28th of February Kappel attended the Sturmausbildungskurses of the 7th K.u.K. Armee.
This was followed on the 2nd of March until the 3rd of April with a Sturm-Kurses at the Sturmabteilung of the 117. Infanterie Division.
On the 19th of September 1917 he was wounded with hand grenade splinters to the temple.
From October 1917 until February 1918 the Regiment fought in Italy before moving to the Western front to prepare for the coming offensive.
Operation Georgette: The battle on the Lys, between Armentiers and La Bassee started on the 9th of April 1918. The 117. Infanterie Division arrived in the 6. Armee zone on the 11th of April and fought to the South of Armentiers trying to keep the momentum in the advance. It fought here until the 14th of April when the Division was then rushed to the North to 4th Army zone to help continue the push towards Kemmel.
The much weakened Division was pulled from the line in mid May 1918 and the R.I.R.11 was disbanded, its men going to the other regiments in the Division. Gefreiter Kappel however had been wounded in the left leg by a rifle bullet at Nieppe on the 11th of April thus ending his active service.