Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Best Unknown General of the War?

General von Bothmer on Right in 1916

One candidate for this honor would certainly be Generaloberst Felix Graf von Bothmer (1852–1937). He was a veteran of the Franco-Prussian war who had served for 40 years with the Bavarian Army before the Great War broke out. Inactive after 1910, von Bothmer was recalled to service when war was declared but did not serve actively until December 1914 due to a leg injury. After a brief tour in Flanders, he was shifted to the Eastern Front where he seems to have defeated numerically superior Russian forces whenever he encountered them. 

His successes included the defense of the Carpathian passes, actions along the Dniester and Gnila-Lipa Rivers, and victories in his zone of responsibility during both the Brusilov and Kerensky offensives. He was awarded the Pour le Mérite for his victories in 1917. At the end of the war he was charged with organizing the defenses of Bavaria against an Allied invasion. He retired soon after the Armistice. Later,  although an anti-Nazi, he was given a state funeral by the German government in 1937 contrary to the family's wishes.

1 comment:

  1. Anyone who served primarily on the Eastern front would be lost to those of us steeped in an Anglo-centric or US-centric view of history.