Annaberg 1921

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Peter H
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Annaberg 1921

Post by Peter H » 17 May 2003 13:41

'the first German victory since November 1918'
Part of the folklore of Nazi Germany was the storming of the Annaberg heights,Silesia, in May 1921 by the Freikorps Oberland.Participants included Dietrich,Hoess and Heines.One Freikorps leader,Beppo Roemer,later became a Communist.

An Allied-supervised plebiscite was finally held in March 1921 to decide the future of Silesia. The residents of north and west Silesia, being mostly German, voted to remain as part of Germany. The German electorate represented about 60% of the population of Silesia. The Poles, although with a smaller overall percentage of the vote, carried the southern and eastern parts of Silesia. Silesia was effectively split by the plebiscite. Unhappy with the results, in May 1921 the Poles launched a third revolt which achieved startling success, capturing much of the industrial portion of Silesia in a few days.
Prevented by the Allies from intervening directly, the Reichsheer's response to the Polish revolt consisted mainly of mobilizing various Freikorps formations to battle the Polish insurgents, as well as in supporting a '' Stadtguerilla'' organization that used raids, ambushes and murder to strike back at the enemy. Although we would probably describe the events of 1920-21 as low intensity conflict, the German troops and leaders involved were gaining combat experience. Pitched battles were sometimes fought, such as the storming of the town of Annaberg on 23 May 1921. The Reichsheer itself remained in a state of high readiness to deploy, but Germany was well aware that sending the ''official'' army into Silesia would result in open war with Poland and likely with France as well. Within these limitations, the Reichsheer gave as much covert support as it could to the volunteers in the forms of weapons, combat supplies, training and leadership.
By August 1921 the Polish revolt was over, but Germany continued to harbour anger over the loss of portions of Silesia. During Hitler's propaganda lead-up to the 1939 invasion of Poland, this grudge was exploited through the staging of events that suggested the Poles of Silesia were once again rising up to threaten German territory.


Source: http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/38cbg_hq/H ... _jan03.htm


Annaberg Monastery
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Post by Peter H » 17 May 2003 13:50

The storming of Annaberg was conducted primarily by the Freikorps Oberland.The German Southern Force Commander,Von Hulsen,planned to storm the Polish held hill on the eastern bank of the Oder,which dominated the region.Furthermore the Annaberg monastery on top of the heights was a religious symbol for German Silesians.

Freikorps Oberland in Silesia.
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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 17 May 2003 14:02

The three battalions of the Bavarian Oberland were transported to Krappitz on the 19/20 May 1921.During the night of 20/21 May the attackers crossed the Oder and at 0230 hours the attack began,with the Oberland on the left and a force of other Freikorps battalions on the right.By 0930 hours,having repulsed one Polish counterattack,the Oberland had secured its first objective with 8 killed and 50 wounded.Using a battery of captured Polish guns the Freikorps surrounded Annaberg and then stormed the heights.Within 20 minutes the fight was over,leaving 100 Polish prisoners,and further German casualties of 2 killed and 20 wounded.

On the 23rd May the Poles counterattacked but were repulsed after close quarter combat.The Oberland suffered heavy casualties.On the night of 30/31 May the Poles subjected the heights to intense mortar fire;the Freikorps response was to attack again.12 French 'advisers' with the Poles were captured.The position was held.

Map of Annaberg Attack from Charles Messenger's Hitler's Gladiator
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Post by Peter H » 17 May 2003 14:10

Inter-Allied Military Control Commission

This was a League of Nations force,at the same time in Silesia,meant to enforce the peace.Initially it was under French command and consisted of:

Contingents: France: ten battalions
United Kingdom: four battalions
Italy: two battalions.

The crisis of May/June 1921 lead to a further 4 British battalions being moved from the Ruhr to Silesia to deter hosilities.

German/British co-operation Silesia June 1921.
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Post by Peter H » 17 May 2003 14:14

From Corbis.com

British Cavalry in Silesia 1921.
Image

Italian Commander in Silesia 1921.
Image

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 17 May 2003 14:16

British,Italian officers conducting atrocity investigation Silesia 1921:
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Post by Gwynn Compton » 18 May 2003 11:48

My thanks for this, it's an interesting period of history which is so often forgotten when dealing with the causes of World War II.

Gwynn

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Post by Durand » 19 May 2003 18:06

Hallo,

Moulded, the pictures and map are great. Thank you for posting them. Here are some more details regarding the events of May 21:

Between 12:00 and 1:30 on the morning of May 21, 1921, the German force began marching out of Krappitz, crossed the bridge over the Oder, and took up positions on the previously established bridgehead along the line of Gogolin and Oberwitz. The bridgehead was held by the independent company Selbstschutzes Oberschlesien under the command of Eicken (also spelled Eicke). The attack plan called for two columns to form the left and right wings. One column under the command of Chappuis consisted of the battalions Winckler, Lensch, and Bergerhoff. Battalion Watzdorf was left in reserve at Ottmuth. The objective of Column Chappuis was to form the right wing and attack along a line Krempa-Jeschona. Parts of a regiment were left on the road between Krappitz and Gogolin to protect the river crossing. The other column under the command of Horadam consisted of Freikorps Oberland (1. Battalion [Oestreicher], 2. Battalion [Finsterlin], and 3. Battalion [Siebringhaus]), Battalion Heintz (the 1. Kp was under the command of Lt. Schlageter) and the SSOS. This column was to form the left wing.

The attack began at 2:30 am. The Germans were pummeled by a Polish barrage all along the line of attack. The Germans had no heavy weapons or artillery. Column Chappuis was stopped before the Wygoda heights and outside Oberwitz. Battalion Oestreicher moved to successfully take Strebinow, which fell in 15 minutes. In a combined attack from the south and the west, Battalion Finsterlin and Battalion Siebringhaus successfully took the Kalköfen east of Gogolin. Battalion Heintz took the Sprentschützer Heights, and moved towards Dombrowka. Near Dombrowka Battalion Heintz linked up with elements of Battalion Oestreicher, which had in the meantime taken Neuhof, Height 209, and Sakrau.

The Polish forces attempted a counterattack against FK Oberland. It was unsuccessful and the Poles began to retreat. The impetus to retreat also took hold on the Polish left wing. Battalion Bergerhoff took the Wygoda Heights and Column Chappuis moved on to take Oberwitz, Krempa, Krempaer Wald, Roswadze, Deschowitz, Solownia, Bahnhof Leschnitz, and finally Leschnitz.

In the wake of the fleeing Poles to the north, Battalion Oestreich took Dombrowka and Jeschona. It should be pointed out that accounts vary as to whether Battalion Oestreich or Battalion Finsterlin took Jeschona. Battalion Finsterlin moved on Oleschka and the SSOS took Dallnie. Battalion Siebringhaus captured Ober and Nieder Ellguth, and Battalion Heintz moved on Niewke. In the course of it's drive on Sakrau, Battalion Oestreich captured two Polish artillery pieces (of German manufacture). Gun crews were later scratched together and the pieces put into action on the Ellguther Steinberg. They brought a Polish battery under fire and forced it to retire.

By 11:00 am the forces were in place to begin the attack against the Annaberg. Battalion Finsterlin attacked from the southwest, Battalion Oestreich with the captured guns from the west, Battalion Siebringhaus and the SSOS from the northwest and Battalion Heintz from the northeast. By noon the attackers had reached the final slope leading to the monastery and the final assault began. It was over by 12:10.

The following members of Freikorps Oberland died on May 21, 1921:

Appel, Max on the Annaberg;
Bleimeir, Karl at Sakrau;
Kraus, Ferdinand on the Annaberg;
Kreitner, Georg at Jeschona;
Müller, Andreas at Sakrau;
Peucher, Max at Oleschka;
Schmid, Hans at Sakrau;
Seegers, Heinrich at Sakrau;
Störmer, Waldemar on the Annaberg;
Thomass, Günther at Sakrau;


The sources for the foregoing are:

Der Strum auf den Annaberg 1921 in historischen Dokumenten by Robert Thoms;

Für das stolze Edelweiß: Bild- und Textband zur Geschichte von Freikorps Oberland und Bund Oberland compiled by Kameradschaft Freikorps und Bund Oberland.

Regards,

Durand

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Post by stuntman » 19 May 2003 19:30

My Great-grandmother's brother was killed at Annaberg. (She wasn't very lucky, my Great-grandfather was killed at the Marne in 1914 and her second husband was murdered by the Russians in 1945). My family originate from this area and I assume he belonged to one of the Silesian Freikorps. Apparently his name was on the monument that was later erected on the Annaberg heights. I believe his surname was Reinert.

Fascinating post on a subject that is difficult to find info on. Thankyou!

Best regards,

Stuntman

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Post by Peter H » 19 May 2003 23:18

stuntman,
If your interested in a first hand account of life in Silesia between 1926-45 this new autobiography has just been published:

http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=21792
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Post by Peter H » 19 May 2003 23:22

Durand,
Thanks for the great details on the Annaberg battle.
Did Freikorps Rossbach also participate?

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Post by Durand » 20 May 2003 01:21

Hallo,

Stuntman, you have an interesting family story. If you can, you should certainly do as much research as you can. The results would be fascinating. The Freikorps-Ehrenmal on the Annaberg was dedicated to all the fallen Freikorps Kämpfer. The mortal remains of 51 FK Kämpfer who were said to have fallen on the Annaberg were recovered and interred in the FK-Ehrenmal. There names were listed on a tile mosaic inside the memorial. From what you have written, one of them was your great uncle. The name Reinert does not ring a bell with me. I have been looking for the list of 51 without success for several months. Does anyone out there have a list?

After World War II, the Polish government destroyed the FK-Ehrenmal. As I understand it, there is no official documentation regarding the final disposition of the remains of the 51 FK Kämpfer. It is thought that they are still somewhere in the mountain under the rubble of the memorial.

Moulded: Sturmabteilung Roßbach was active in Oberschlesien during the Third Silesian Uprising. However, I have seen nothing to indicate that he or his unit participated in the events around or on the Annaberg on May 21. The German forces in Oberschlesien were deployed into two task forces along a north-south axis. The northern group was under the command of an Oberstleutnant Grüntzen and the southern group was under the command of Von Hülsen. As you noted in one of your posts on thread, the Annaberg battle(s) occurred in Von Hülsen's sector. I believe that Roßbach was assigned to the northern sector.

Hope this helps.

Best Regards,

Durand

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Post by stuntman » 20 May 2003 19:05

Moulded and Durand,
Thank you both for the information, this is certainly an area that I intend to research further.
Durand- the details you supplied about the 51 fallen are very interesting, if you ever do manage to find a list of names then please post it.

Cheers and best regards,
Stuntman

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Post by Benoit Douville » 11 Jan 2005 04:26

I am looking for info and picture concerning the Freikorps Commander Von Hülsen who was one of the leader of the Battle of Annaberg, a short biography.

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Other Participants?

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 16 Feb 2005 22:43

Gentlemen!

I wonder if some of the air units and the small navy of the Freikorps had participated in that important battle? It was quite evident that the German troops would need small vessels to go across the Oder River to their designation. Prehaps the Freikorps had managed to get plenty of these vessels. Just a thought.

Sincerely,

Edward :wink:

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