Tony Neal supplied the following information about his wifes grandfather, Adolf Döring (Marked with a cross in the picture above).
Adolf Döring was a Musketier and
Unteroffizier in the Reserve Infanterie Regiment 96 and 94.
Shortly after reaching the age of 19 at the
end of July 1915, Adolf was called to the colours, by 9.10.15 he was a member
of 1st Ersatz Battalion Inf. Regt. 96, II Recruit Depot. At the end of 1915 he had been transferred
to RIR 94 (25.12.15) and sent to France.
He spent the first 5 months at Caisnes in the Aisne area before arriving at Verdun on 17.5.16.
1.7.16 was a bad day for anyone on the
western front whether on the Somme, at Verdun
or elsewhere. It’s unknown why Adolf wasn’t already on the Somme with his unit
which had been sent there only days before, but on this day, he was to take
part in yet another Verdun
attack on Hill 304. Although I don’t have details of the attack, I do know that
Adolf was wounded in no man’s land by a gunshot to the left shoulder while
His wound was quite bad, after some
treatment behind the front, he was to be sent back to Germany to recover and convalesce
at a base hospital in Schleusingen, Thüringen. He was still a long way from his
hometown but at least he wouldn’t be back near Verdun again until 1918.
By 8th September 1916 he was
well enough to be transferred to 1 Ers. Battalion Inf. Regt. 94, 2nd
Company, where he stayed until the end of October. He now returned to the front
as a member of III Battalion RIR 94 (one of a 600 man draft to cover very heavy
losses on the Somme) and would stay there
throughout the rest of his war.
Adolf now proudly wore the ribbon of Iron
Cross II class through his tunic button hole, it had been awarded on 28.9.16
for his action near Verdun.
The next 3 weeks were spent behind the
lines at Attigny training and practicing hard learned battle experiences from
the Somme before returning, this time they
went in the line at St. Pierre Vaast Woods and stayed in the general area until
the end of the year.
It wasn’t until November that a delivery of the new steel
helmet arrived, now there were enough (according to the regimental history) for
each member of the regiment to have his own steel helmet. While here, their
losses amounted to 1 officer and 39 men killed, 5 officers and 140 men wounded.
This may have been around the time that
Adolf gained promotion to Unteroffizier and was given his MG section. (Far left in photo above)
RIR 94 saw in Christmas and New Year 1917
at rest north of St. Quentin, 4000 presents from the Apolda (local red cross in
Thüringen) Red Cross arrived, more than enough for each member of the regiment.
On 3rd February 1917 the
regiment was back on the Somme, this time at Sailly Saillisel which is just a
couple of km south of Le Transloy and east of Morval. Only hours after their
arrival in the front line, they were attacked by Engländer (British/Commonwealth
troops). By the end of February the regiment had 4 officers and 93 men killed,
18 officers and 304 men wounded. 5 officers and 186 men were listed as missing.
On 13th March 1917, the Reserve
94 left the area without any losses and without making a sound to alert the
vigilant and ever feisty Tommy.
In Adolf’s busy war, he also managed to fit
in a stint on the Messine Ridge when the mines were blown in June 1917. His
battalion was in what they called the Wytschaetebogen (whitesheet salient).
(Flandernschlacht/Passchendaele/3rd Ypres) the regiment took another
pounding, by 11th October, Adolf’s battalion only had a strength of
160 men. During these weeks, the regiment had 8 officers and 115 men killed, 13
officers including III battalion’s Feldhilfsarzt
and 338 men were wounded and 16 men missing.
After one day’s rest, the I and III
battalions were sent from Roubaix
to the southern part of Lothringen, while here in the trenches on 8.12.17,
Adolf was wounded in the left hand (in his words - by an aeroplane while
watching a dogfight from the trenches). From December to April, they spent the
war in Oberelsaß before being sent back to the carnage in Flanders.
Adolf somehow came through another stint of
heavy fighting in Flanders without a scratch,
this time at Kemmel in April 1918. His battalion had 3 officers and 41 men
killed, 7 officers and 181 men wounded.
It was then back to Verdun but going by the losses, things must
have quietened down considerably since his last visit. After as little as 8
weeks, and only 4 killed and 25 wounded, they left for the fighting in the
north of France.
This day, 29th July 1918, happened to be Adolf’s 22nd
The months leading up to the armistice were
spent in the Champagne,
Adolf’s Company was mainly in reserve throughout August. In September, RIR 94
started their fighting retreat.
Adolf's last battle
The following passages from das Reserve Infanterie Regiment 94 im
Weltkriege 1914/18 had been marked in pencil by Adolf Döring who, although
taken prisoner, had played a significant roll in the fire fight.
Reserve Infantry Regiment 94 were in the Hermannstellung
(Siegfried Line?) near Bernoville-Aisonville – Petit Thiolet 10-18 Oct. 1918
The two days before capture on Hill 180 and
Petit Thiolet by the French regiment 411.
The day started with a heavy artillery
barrage on the villages of Bernoville, Aisonville and the area in front of
Grand Verly at 6am.
The enemy on the right flank of the 18th
Infantry Division in the area of Marchavenne managed to break through the front
line and had pushed the 85th and 86th Fusilier Regiments back to the road leading
from Grougis to Wassigny. Our 1st and 3rd battalions were
made ready. The latter received orders from Obstlt. Diekmann to counterattack
the enemy which had broken through and repel him back across the road. The
battalion’s attack was a success and the retreating enemy was chased back to
the road where our attack was stopped by overpowering artillery fire. Evasive
action was taken and the battalion took cover in the farm at Grand Thiolet. The
commander of 9th Company was missing.
The 1st Battalion followed the 3rd
and were put into action by Fusilier Regt. 86 to close a gap in the front line
opposite Marchavenne. Battalion commander Oblt. Wagner was killed and Lt. d. R.
Wiedemann, commander of the 3rd Company was wounded in this action.
The Adjutant Lt. d. R. Eichenauer took command of the Battalion and Vizefeldw.
Ebert the 3rd Company.
French Report for the capture of Petit
Thiolet by Infantry Regiment 411
As soon as General de Saint Just (Commander
123 Div.) heard of the unsuccessful attack on the morning of the 18th,
he gave the order to prepare for the conquest of Petit Thiolet through
artillery fire again.
Tanks as well as Regiments 6 and 12 were thrown in to
support the 411th Regiment. The battle was to start at 1pm.
Petit Thiolet is a rather meaningless farm built
almost at the peak of considerable hill which has the villages of Marchavenne
and Grand Thiolet on its western slopes. The peak of this hill, known as Hill
180, is the highest point of Vermandois. To the north near the farm are small
groups of trees. These groups of trees, the peak and farm were occupied by a
German rearguard belonging to Res. Inf. Regt. 94 (22 Div.). They had the order
to hold this position at all costs to allow the retreat of the bulk of the
enemy behind the Sambre-Oise
Based on the directives of General de Saint
Just, Lt. Col. Chaillot gave the following orders:
The 3rd Batl.
of Regt 411 is to attack the Saniere Farm. The 1st and 2nd
Battalions are to target Petit Thiolet and the groups of trees north of Petit
Thiolet. The 1st Batl. (under Maj. Ollet) is to take the farm from
the north flank, the 2nd Batl. (under Capt. Bernard) the south
flank. The main attack and breakthrough is to take place on the flanks. The
light tank company
will support Ollet’s battalion on the northern perimeter. The 1st
Battalion from 12 Regt. and the 3rd Battalion from 6 Regt. received
orders to support the operation after taking Grand Thiolet.
The attack began, as planned, at 1pm. 4 tanks
supported the attack on the right flank. The 6th Company, which had
orders to take Petit Thiolet and occupy the peak, stormed the farm within 20
minutes and then with support from a tank, took an MG position whose fire was
holding up the whole attack. By 1.30pm they had taken the peak. Altogether the
Battalion Bernard had taken about 40 prisoners, 2 minenwerfer and 5 MGs within
half an hour.
After capture, Adolf remained a prisoner
near Reims in PGK 966 until the beginning of
1920. One full year after his return to Germany, he was awarded the Iron
Cross 1st class for his part in the rearguard action on 18th
October 1918. He donned a tunic of the 96th (his original unit and
sister regiment of RIR 94) and had his photo taken.
Born July 1896
Called up Oct. 1915
25.8.18 – wound badge in black (25.8.17 according to his Militärpaß)
18.10.18 – taken prisoner by French
Infantry Regt. 411
anuary 1920 – released from French POW
camp (PGK 966) in January 1921
1.2.20 – sent from Durchgangslager Mannheim to Gütersloh. Demobilised at Versorgungsstelle
Bielefeld, given money for 8 weeks holiday and a demob suit.
20.1.21 – received the Iron Cross 1st
class for bravery in the face of the enemy on 18.10.18 at Petit Thiolet