The German Conquest of the Baltic Islands
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: Indiana University Press
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List of Maps
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Dates, Times, and Names
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In 1917, the Russians still used a Julian calendar, placing them thirteen days behind the remainder of Europe. In Russian documents, the German invasion of the Baltic Islands began on 29 September 1917 rather than 12 October 1917. ...
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In most instances, a single author receives credit for writing a work of history. The reality is that many people contribute to the final product, and I would like to express my gratitude, only hoping I do not leave out anyone. ...
One Submarine UC-58, Tagga Bay, 28 September 1917
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Once he was certain the smudge on the horizon was actually land, Lieutenant Karl Vesper ordered his boat to dive. The UC-58, a new minelaying submarine commissioned only a few months before, submerged and remained on its southerly course. The 400-ton U-boat glided noiselessly under the surface as its engines switched from diesel to electric. ...
Two The Strategic Importance of the Baltic Islands
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When the war broke out in 1914, neither Germany nor Russia felt the Baltic Islands had any significance. France remained the center of interest for the German army. The Imperial Fleet looked to the North Sea and the Royal Navy. The ground forces of Russia did focus on Germany. ...
Three The Decision to Mount Operation Albion
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On the 18th of September, 1917, at 10 PM, ten military officers boarded the train from Berlin to K�nigsberg. No one looked twice. In the third year of the war, uniforms were ubiquitous, especially on the trains heading east to K�nigsberg, one of the major transfer points to the front lines, hundreds of kilometers further east. ...
Four The Islands and Their Defenses
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The last ice age was not kind to the Baltic islands. Glaciers scoured the terrain, leaving it flat and largely featureless. The land was low, with the few higher elevations usually located on the north part of the islands and facing west, subsiding gently to the south and east. ...
Five The Invasion
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At four in the morning on the 11th of October, Lieutenant General Hugo von Kathen, the commander of the XXIII Reserve Corps, ate breakfast. Of medium build and height, von Kathen was clean-shaven except for a full “handlebar” moustache. Popular before the war, especially since the kaiser sported one, ...
Six Ösel, 12–13 October 1917: The Central Island
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Artur Toom was the first to hear the German guns firing the morning of the 12th of October. He was the lighthouse watchman at Filzand (Vilsandi) Island, on the west coast of �sel at the mouth of Kielkond Bay. When he heard the shooting, just before 6 am, he raced up the 120 feet to the deck at the top of his lighthouse to see the cannonade. ...
Seven Ösel, 12–16 October 1917: The Island’s Ends
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“Keep in mind,” said Lieutenant Colonel Kurt Fischer, commander of Infantry Regiment 131, “this is an effort to save German lives.” With those words, First Lieutenant von Oppen, accompanied by several soldiers and a translator, headed south at 8 AM on the 14th from the village of Tehomarti toward the Russian lines. ...
Eight The Capture of Moon and Dag� Islands
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The Russians understood the importance of Moon Island. Moon formed the midway point between �sel Island and the Estonian mainland. If they lost control of the causeway bridging the two islands, they could neither withdraw any of their forces nor bring in reinforcements. ...
Nine The Naval Battle for the Baltic Islands
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The most important mission the German navy faced during the campaign for the Baltic Islands was the safe transport of the landing force to the islands and its successful lodgment ashore. With that done, the navy then had to provide artillery support to the army’s operations. ...
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At dawn on the 20th of October, Bakhirev and his collection of ships steamed into the Russian naval facility at Lapvik, Finland, having made good their escape from the Moon Sound. The crews had no time to celebrate their good fortune. Skippers quickly moved the vessels to repair facilities in order to get them back to combat-ready status ...
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For the German soldiers of the landing corps and sailors of the Naval Task Force, successful in battle, came a flurry of congratulatory messages. The kaiser, Field Marshal von Hindenburg, and General von Hutier all penned notes of praise. The services expressed their gratitude through awards and promotions. ...
Appendix: A Word on Sources
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Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 28 b&w photos, 9 maps
Publication Year: 2008
Series Title: Twentieth-Century Battles