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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 le Francois.

For his Diary covering the period from the outbreak of the war to his return to Germany after his wound please go HERE

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 into Germany 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 Infanterie Regiment.  

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 :

One
Two
Three
Four



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 and Szkwa

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)

including:

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
14.-27. July 1915  



After the 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.  

Three 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.  

It was 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.  

In a 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 own defenses.  

Out on 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 river crossings.  

By the 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.  

Now the 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.  

A German writer described the offensive as “… a whirlwind that swept the leaves from the trees”.    

The push against Mitau and the battle at Kupischki 19th of July-7th of August

Although 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.  

After the 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.  

The 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.  

All seemed to be going well, but then the Russians made a surprise move.  

Seeing 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 Korps.  

It was 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.  

With 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.  

Although 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
 
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