Exceptional combination of objects of great historical and military interest: a “Eiserne Kreuz 2.Klasse”(Iron Cross of 2.Class) World War I, marked “K.O.” in exceptional conditions of preservation, and especially the rare certificate of award of the decoration issued on August 16, 1916 and signed in pen commander of the 7.Komp. Res. Infanterie Regiment No. 251 (7. company of 251. Infantry Reserve Regiment).
The certificate also bears the original buffer stamp of the regiment and was issued Im Felde (O.U.), that is, on the battlefield in unknown location. regiment’s command. Recipient of the decoration was theUnteruffizier Albert Karl Schubries 7th Company of the Reserve Infanterie Regiment No. 251 which was part of the 75.Infanterie Division of the Generalleutnant Ernst von Hoeppner. The commander of the Regiment was Major von Thadden.
Ernst Wilhelm Arnold von Hoeppner was born on January 14, 1860 in Tonnin, on the Polish island of Wollin, which divides the Stettino lagoon from the Baltic Sea along with the nearby island of Usedom.
After attending Potsdam Cadet School, in 1879 he joined magdeburgische Dragoner-Regiment No. 6 in Stendal with the rank of Second Lieutenant. After attending the Hanover Riding School and the Military Academy he became a staff officer as captain of a dragon squadron. Promoted major in 1903 and Oberstleutnant in 1906, he assumed command of 1. Kurhesische Husaren-Regiment “Konig Humbert von Italien” No. 13.
Promoted to Oberst in 1909, he became Generalmajor in September 1912 and commander of the 4. Kavallerie-Brigade.
In August 1914 he became Chief of Staff of the 3rd Army under General Max von Hausen, later under General Karl von Einem. On 14 February 1915, he was appointed commander of the 17.Reserve Division. Promoted to Generalleutnant, Hoeppner was in July chief of staff of the 2.Armee In April 1916 he was transferred to the leadership of the 75.Infanterie Reserve Division.
On 12 November 1916, on the assignment of Kaiser Guglelmo II, he became “Kommandierenden Generals der Luftstreitkr-fte” (Commander General ofthe Air Forces). For his services he was decoded with the Order Pour le Merit.
After the November Revolution, Hoeppner was, from April 1919, commander-in-chief of the 18th. Army Corps. With his dissolution on 30 September 1919, Hoeppner retired from active military service and was appointed General der Kavallerie of the Reserve. Hoeppner returned to his estate at Gross-Mokratz on the island of Wollin, where he wrote his memoirs and died there three years later (September 26, 1922) of Spanish flu.
The 75.Infanterie Division was part of the 10.Armee at the time of the outbreak of World War I with which it was deployed on the Eastern Front on 3 February 1915 participating in the winter offensive in Masuren. The winter offensive was a German victory, and was also used propagandistically in the German Reich. But, as measured by Ludendorff’s expectations, it was only a partial success. The Chief of Staff of the Eastern Front had planned to completely destroy the Russian 10th Army in a second Tannenberg, then advance through enemy space to Bialystok. Although the 10th Russian Army had been defeated, it was able to avoid complete encirclement. The Germans had advanced up to 150 km and therefore had expelled the last Russian troops from German territory, but the offensive capability of the Russian forces remained substantial.
Throughout 1915 the division continued to fight on the Eastern Front at Narew-Bobr, Grodno, and Wilna. In 1916, from August 4 to October 31, she was engaged in the Battle of Kovel. Russia opened the so-called Brusilow offensive against the Eastern Front of the Central Powers in June 1916. One of their goals was to conquer the important railway hub of Kovel. However, this attack was repelled with heavy losses. It was during these fights thatUnteroffizier Albert Karl Schubries received his Iron Cross of 2.Class. On 12 November 1916, Generalleutnant von Hoeppner left the division command to generalleutnant Arthur von Eisenhart-Rothe.
By the end of June 1917, Russian War Minister Alfred Kerensky had convinced most Russian soldiers of the need for a new offensive. The offensive he planned was to begin against the southwest of the Eastern Front, where the Brussilow offensive had not been successful a year earlier. Since the Germans had also withdrawn troops from their southern wing for the planned capture of Riga, a Russian offensive seemed to have many chances of success. The objective of the offensive was the capture of Lemberg, who had already been the target of the Brussilow offensive of the previous year.
The failure of this plan was the prerequisite for the start of the Brest-Litovsk peace negotiations and the premise for the October Revolution.
On 1 September 1917, the division was impeached in the conquest of Riga and soon after transferred to the Western Front as a reserve of the 7.Armee. From 21 March to 9 April 1918 he participated in the great offensive in France and participated in the battles of the Somme and Oise, along the Sugfrido line, in Champagne and Maas and finally returned to his homeland on 12 November.
The Iron Cross is perhaps the best known and historically rich in German decorations. Its tradition began when, in 1813, King Frederick William III of Prussia established it during the Liberation War against Napoleon. Although it was a military campaign decoration, it was again established in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War and again in 1914 for the First World War.
On the forehand is reproduced the crown of Prussia, a large central W and the year 1914 at the bottom. On the reverse still the crown with the initials of the King, the oak leaves and the indication of the year of creation of the honor, 1813, on the lower arm. It is constructed in three pieces: the central iron and two “German Silver” (a copper, zinc and nickel alloy) welded together so as to leave visible only a very thin line of conjunction that, today, attests to its originality along with the number of beads present on each sharp edge of the cross. This specimen, magnetic and absolutely original, is in exceptional storage condition as well as the piece of the suspension tape that accompanies it, being both dated to the war period. It is marked on the ring with the acronym “K.O.” which stands for the manufacturer “Kénigliches M’nzamt Abteilung Orden” in Stuttgart.