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Adolf Hitler
(20.4.1889 - 30.4.1945)
place of birth:  Braunau-am-Inn,  (Austria)


I
n 1913, Hitler
moved to Munich in hopes of evading Austrian military service and of finding a better life in the Germany. Upon learning of Germany's entry into the war, he volunteered for service with Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16.  

He was in the army from age 25 to 30, spending most of the war as a headquarters runner near behind the front lines near Fromelles and Fournes (Ypres area). He was allegedly always eager for action and ready to volunteer for the most dangerous assignments, even after many narrow escapes from death. Hitler was wounded in the leg in 1916 and gassed in 1918. Significantly, he never was promoted past the rank of lance corporal (Gefreiter), despite receiving several decorations for bravery in action. After the war, he joined Freikorps Epp. The war had a profound influence on him, impressing upon him much about violence and its potential use, and also prompting his metamorphosis from aspiring artist to politician.



"I was overcome with impetuous enthusiasm, and falling on my knees, wholeheartedly thanked Heaven that I had been granted the good fortune to live at this time."

                                                A. Hitler - upon learning that Germany was mobilizing for war

 

 
Hitler's Great War Chronology
 
1914
12 Jan:  Hitler ordered to report for compulsory military service in the Austrian army.
05 Feb:  Rejected by Austria's military as "unfit for duty".
03 Aug:  Germany declares war on France; 25-year old Hitler petitions King Ludwig III of Bavaria for permission to enlist in Bavarian Army.
05 Aug:  Hitler reports to 1st Bavarian Infantry Regiment (Rudolf Hess served in this unit) but is immediately transferred to 2nd Bavarian Infantry Regiment (6th Battalion) in Munich.
 
16 Aug:  He transfers to 1st Company of the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment (Bav. RIR.16), also known as the "List Regiment" after its commander, colonel Julius List. This was one of the first volunteer units to reach the battlefield, and Hitler remains with this regiment for war's duration, serving chiefly as a regimental dispatch runner and orderly at regimental HQ. This regiment was part of the 12th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Brigade of the 6th Bavarian Reserve Division. Divisional commander was General of Cavalry Maximilian Freiherr von Speidel.

Max von Speidel

 
09 Oct:  Completes basic training in Munich area.
17 Oct:  Completes supplementary military training at Lager Lechfeld, Bavaria.
20 Oct:  As Germany launches Battle of First Ypres, Bav.RIR.16 entrains for the Flanders coastal area.
29 Oct:  Bav.RIR.16 fights in its initial engagement - against BEF forces at Ypres.
 

Julius  List

31 Oct:  Commander of Bav.RIR.16, Colonel List is killed in action (replaced by Lt. Colonel Engelhardt, who is likewise dead before Christmas).

06-22 Nov:  Bav.RIR.16 in action at Messines and Wytschaete; almost 1/3 of the 3600-man strong regiment is already killed in action.

01 Nov:  Hitler is promoted to lance corporal (Gefreiter - U.S. "private"), the only promotion he will receive.

 
16 Nov:  Lt. General Johann Streck replaces von Speidel as 6th Bavarian Reserve Division commander.
02 Dec:  Hitler receives Iron Cross 2nd Class at Bezaillere, near Ypres, for helping pull Lt. Col. Engelhardt to safety while under heavy fire. General of Infantry Felix Graf von Bothmer temporarily replaces Streck (KIA) as 6th Bavarian Reserve Division commander.
26 Dec:  Lt. General Gustav Scanzoni von Lichtenfels replaces Bothmer as 6th Bavarian Reserve Division commander.
 
1915
10 Mar:  Bav.RIR.16 sees action during unsuccessful BEF offensive at Neuve-Chapelle.
22 Apr:  Bav.RIR.16 takes part in Second Battle of Ypres.
May-Oct:  Bav.RIR.16 in action at La Bassee and Arras.
 
1916
Jan-Feb:  Bav.RIR.16 carries out feint attacks to distract from Verdun Offensive.
1 July - 18 Nov:  Bav.RIR.16 engaged in Battle of the Somme. Hitler's company involved in reconnaissance missions; the regiment sees heavy action at Fromelles and Bapaume.
7 Oct:  Hitler wounded in the thigh by shell splinter during the Battle of the Somme (at La Barque); he spends two months convalescing at military hospital in Beelitz, near Berlin.
3 Dec:  He is transferred out of the hospital back to a reserve battalion of the 2nd Bavarian Infantry Regiment in Munich.
 
1917
12 Jan:  Major General Paul Ritter von Koeberle replaces Scanzoni von Lichtenfels.
05 Mar:  Preferring life at the front, Hitler requests and receives a transfer back to Bav.RIR.16, still located near Ypres.
09 Apr:  Bav.RIR.16 takes part in Battle of Arras.  Richthofen and his Flying Circus have an impression on A.H. as they maintain air superiority in this sector.
31 July - 10 Nov:  Bav.RIR.16 participates in Third Battle of Ypres.
Aug:  Bav.RIR.16 sent to Alsace for R&R.
17 Sep:  Hitler receives Military Service Cross Third Class with Swords, for having been wounded in combat.
Oct - Nov:  Bav.RIR.16 involved in defensive actions against French at Chemin des Dames and Vimy Ridge.
 
1918
26 Mar - 6 Apr:  Bav.RIR.16 participates in Ludendorff's great spring offensive, near Fontaine.
07 - 27 Apr:  Bav.RIR.16 engaged at Avre and Montdidier.
28 Apr - 26 May:  Bav.RIR.16 in action north of the river Ailette  (Hitler receives regimental citation for bravery on 9 May).
16 May:  Hitler receives Medal for Wounded, Category Black  (denoting twice wounded).
27 May-13 June: Bav.RIR.16 engaged at Soissons and Reims; in June, Hitler is alleged to have captured four French soldiers single-handedly.
29 May:  Major General Georg Meyer replaces von Koeberle as 6th Bavarian Reserve Division commander.
15 July:  Bav.RIR.16 participates in Germany's final attack on the Marne.
04 Aug:  He receives Iron Cross 1st Class, for bravery and merit (delivered a message under extremely dangerous circumstances). This medal was rarely awarded to enlisted personnel, and a Jewish officer actually recommended him for the medal.
09 Aug:  During Germany's "Black Day," Bav.RIR.16 in action at Arras.
25 Aug:  He receives Bavarian Military Service Medal 3rd Class, for outstanding service.
 
14 Oct:  While fighting BEF forces near Wervick, Belgium (Ypres salient), Hitler receives a dosage of chlorine gas; temporarily blinded by the chlorine gas, he is sent to the military hospital at Pasewalk for convalescence. While biding his time there, Germany surrenders.

at the front

 
 
Dec:  Hitler is transferred back to 2nd Bavarian Infantry Regiment in Munich. He remains in the army until April 1920, but in the meantime he has already launched his political career with the German Worker's Party (DAP). He has likewise made contact with several influential political personalities, including Hess and Ludendorff.
 
 


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