A Russian attack in mid August had captured some of
the bayerische Kavallerie Division positions. Prinz Adalbert’s unit had been in
reserve but on the 1st of September 1916 they took over a sector in the new
line of defence.
"Our positions were visible from the Russian
lines, so much so that the resupply was only possible at night. The dead
Russians in front of the our positions stank so much that I ordered them to be
covered with quicklime until they could be buried.
No sooner had we settled in when the front line
livened up again. the 9th - 10th of September were to be the worst days of the
war for me.
Left: A black wound badge attributed to Prinz Adalbert.
At 6:30 am the Russian artillery (including heavy
artillery) started firing on our positions. The fire increased steadily and it
was clear than an attack was coming soon, As the shelter of my reserve was
rather perilous I ordered them forward into my position. The brigade sent Dr.
Hudler forward to prepare an aid station. The Aid station was to become a
central point of the line of defence. There was no easier target for the enemy,
messengers and wounded coming constantly in and out. The station rocked under a
few near misses of lighter calibres, thank god there were so many duds amongst
the shells! I was worried about the wooden bunker supports, they on their own
could kill a man if they fell down.
I freely admit I had to summon the courage to exit the
bunker to go check the men in the front line guard positions, although these
were only a few meters away. At 10:00 am I was walking forwards when an
explosion threw the through the air, blowing my cap off. I must have been right
next to the explosion, I had not heard it coming when suddenly it exploded like
a little tornado.
Above: The award document for the black wound badge given to Prinz Adalbert. It was awarded once he had returned to his parent unit on the western front. To see his Iron Cross award document click HERE
My limbs were intact so I made my way back to the
shelter. Heffels lay on a stretcher with a shrapnel wound in his shin. He had
seem me blown through the air and thought I had been killed. By rights I should
have died from head and stomach wounds. My cap and pockets had shrapnel holes
in them. My notice book had a splinter in it that would have entered my stomach.
I had only a flesh wound the size of a coin in my thigh. My guardian angel was
looking after me. I needed nothing but a bandage and disinfectant. I later discovered
I had already been reported dead!
... at 5:30 pm the call came "The Russians are
My batman gave me my pistol and I went into the
trench. The men stood calmly firing as fast as they could load. They were disappointed
that the Russians were off to our left flank and not coming directly towards
us. I felt sorry for them, forced forward into our fire, again and again their
attacks were shot to pieces. Such is war. Luckily there is little time to
reflect during the fighting. They did not get through. At 11:00 pm things
quietened down and we were able to evacuate our wounded. In the early morning
of the 10th of September there was another futile attack, and then it was over.
Later, when the morning fog had lifted I was able to see the terrible condition
of my positions...."
To see a description of the battlefields by another
Bavarian officer see HERE.