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The EK1

Prinze Adalbert von Bayern was serving in a cavalry regiment on the Eastern Front during the Brussilow offensive.

To get an overview of the situation click HERE  

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 coming!"

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.