Karl August Weber (Known as August), was born on the
26th of January 1890 in Grumbach, close to Trier. He died in a field hospital on the 4th
of August 1915 of a chest wound he had received the day before.
After school he studied, intending to become a civil servant.
Although a Rheinlander, he joined the 2. Nass. Infanterie Regiment 88 as a one
year volunteer on the 1st of October 1912.
August Weber was out of uniform for less than a year
when the war broke out. He started a diary a couple of days before mobilisation.
It may be hard to understand today, but he was ecstatic when the war began, in
fact, he mobilised himself before the orders for mobilisation were given.
August Weber marched off to war with the 69. Infanterie
Regiment of the 16. Infanterie Division.
On the 8th of September 1914 during the battle of the Marne he was wounded in the shoulder by shrapnel at Vitry
For his Diary covering the period from the outbreak of the war to his return to Germany after his wound please goHERE
Two of August Weber's Tunics are shown
1) He prewar blue tunic when he served with the 88th Infantry Regiment HERE
2) A field grey tunic probably issued to him at mobilization HERE
On the 11th of September he crossed the border back
on his way to hospital.
Fit for duty in mid December he was posted to the
Feld-Infanterie-Bataillon 42 which later became part of the 258. Reserve
As part of the 78. Reserve Division Weber and his
Regiment were sent to the Eastern front.
August Weber's diary on the Eastern front can be found in four sections :
The battle calendar for the Division during August
Weber's time in the regiment was as follows.
4th - 22nd Feb. Winter battle in the Masuren.
23rd Feb. to 6th Mar. Fighting on the Bobr.
9th - 12th Mar. Fighting at Sejny
18th Mar to 7th Apr. Positional warfare between Orzyc
26th Apr to 7th May Push into Litauen and Kurland
28th Apr. Kielmy
30th Apr. Schaulen
7th May to 13th Jul. Fighting on the lower Dubissa
(river) and upper Windau (river)
9th to 15th May Schaulen
19th to 26th May Koffienie
27th to 29th May Girtakol
4th to 7th Jun. Fighting at Cytowiany
8th to 9th Jun. Fighting at Ilgize
14th to 25th Jul. Battle at Schaulen
30th Jul. to 7th Aug. Battle at Kupischki
1st Aug. on the Oszaka
2nd Aug. on the Wieszynta
Below is a brief description of the major battles
August Weber took part in on the eastern Front.
The Battle for Schaulen
battle of Gorlice-Tarnow the Russian front line was shaky and disorganized. General
Otto v. Below’s Njemen-Armee on the Northern flank of the German line made the
most of the chaos and launched an offensive that swept across the hot summer
landscape like a tornado.
cavalry divisions, reinforced by flying columns, threw off the chains of trench
warfare and burst through the weakly defended Russian lines. The spirit of the
cavalry was taken up by the accompanying infantry who could not be held back as
they stormed forward in the direction of Schaulen where the mass of the Russian
5th army was to be found.
the war of movement that the Generals had dreamed of. Through forests, around
lakes, across meadows, through the wheat fields the cavalry galloped.
Accompanying them were the Reitenden Abteilungen of the Feldartillerie and the
infantry on wagons and automobiles.
series of head on attacks and encirclements they drove the shocked enemy from
the battlefield, either in confusion to towards the east or captivity in the
West. The Russian high command had lost its head. The simple soldiers and
Cossacks fought bravely, defending their ground, but they were left to their
the Northern flank they faced the full force of the offensive. The Germans
pushed past their flanks and caught them from behind. The attackers covered up
to 52km a day held up only by fighting in the forests, the villages and at
time the advance approached Schaulen the Russians had begun to prepare their
counter attack. They massed their forces to hit the wheeling German left flank
at its pivot. Von Below was faster. He threw his regiments of Bavarian and
Prussian infantry in a right hook that closed around the Southern Flank of the
Russian units at Schaulen while the Brigade under Homeyer (Which had been in
reserve) attacked Schaulen itself.
Russians fought a fighting retreat, a counter attack was no longer possible. As
always they showed themselves to be the masters of the fighting retreat and von
Below was not able to fully encircle the 5th Army, a portion of
which escaped to the East. Only the northern extremity of the front saw the
Russian troops crushed on the battlefield, here they pulled back to form a new
defensive line which stretched from Mitau to Poniewiez. The German troops
followed with the intention of taking Mitau but the front hardened and the
offensive came to a halt.
writer described the offensive as “… a whirlwind that swept the leaves from the
against Mitau and the battle at Kupischki
of July-7th of August
von Below’s offensive had failed to fully encircle the 5th Army at
Schaulen it had struck a very heavy blow and the Germans assumed the Russians
would need some time to recover from it. Just how fast the Russians were able
to recover was to be shown a week later when they poured across the Lithuanian
fields at Kupischki in a counter attack.
victory at Schaulen the Njemen Armee was given a new mission. It was to split
up, the right wing was to move against Kowno engaging the fortress area from
the North and North West.
The Left wing turned to Mitau in the North. In the middle the Kavellerie Korps
under Richthofen and Egon Schmettow were to collect at Poniewiez and from there
move South East against Wilna and Eastwards to Duenaburg.
attack on Mittau succeeded. The 6. Reserve Division and the Brigade Homeyer
pushed their way over the Aa river and (along with the 8. Kavallerie Division)
marched on the city. On the 1st of August the 41. Infanterie
Division took the lead and fought its way into the city.
seemed to be going well, but then the Russians made a surprise move.
the danger in the North the Russian High Command rushed troops into sector and
massed for a counter attack. They hit at the right time and in the right place,
right in the centre of the Njeman army. On the morning of the 30th
of July Russian infantry drove a wedge into the gap between the two Kavallerie
clear to von Below that his Cavalry (which he could not afford to waste) would
not be able to contain the advancing Russians. Infantry would need to be thrown
into battle and enough of them to sweep the Russians from the battlefield.
forced marches von Morgen’s I. Reserve Korps and the Korps “Lauenstein” were
hurried forward and prepared to counter attack. They knew what was at stake and
attacked with great energy on the 2nd of August when, 30km to the
East of Poniewiez a bloody slogging match took place. The fight continued into
the night and on the morning of the 3rd of August the Russian lines
broke. They moved back slowly, fighting all the way. On the 5th of
August the advance stopped at the level of Onikschty and Kwietki.
the Russians had successfully interrupted the offensive of the Njemen Armee
with their attack at Kupischki the German high command had reacted rapidly and
was able to reestablish its front and avoid a potentially dangerous situation.
Above: August Weber's diary, carried with him on the day of his death