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First World War Service
of Adolf Hitler

20 April 1889 - 30 April 1945


Feb 14

Screened for Austrian Military Service; Found Unfit

Aug 14

Hitler petitions to serve in Bavarian forces despite Austrian Citizenship

16 Aug 14

Hitler volunteers for 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment, also known as the List Regiment after its commander

8 Oct 14

Hitler takes oath to King Ludwig III of Bavaria

29 Oct 14

Sees first action 5 miles east of Ypres

Nov 14

Unit near Messines; Assigned war-long role as headquarters messenger

Dec 14

Awarded Iron Cross 2nd Class; Refuses to participate in Christmas Truce


Hitler promoted to Lance Corporal; participates in several actions in Artois Sector

7 Oct 16

Wounded in leg at the Somme; Hitler then spends two months at military hospital in Beelitz near Berlin

Early 17

On light duty after being wounded

1 Mar 17

Returns to Regiment at Front in Picardy

Summer 17

List Regiment returns to Ypres Salient

31 July 17

Battle of Passchendaele begins

Fall 17

Regiment rested in Alsace

Late 17/Early 18

Regiment sent to Oise/Aisne Sector

Mar 18

Operating near Montdidier

Aug 18

Awarded Iron Cross 1st Class for service since 1914 as messenger

28 Sep 18

Incident involving Henry Tandy, VC

Oct 18

Regiment back in Ypres Sector

13 Oct 18

Gassed and temporarily blinded near Wervicq

Oct 18

Recovering his sight at Pasewalk, Germany, Hitler witnesses naval mutineers

11 Nov 18

At news of armistice; Hitler reacts bitterly

Miscellaneous Comments

  • Hitler passed up promotion to full corporal because it would result in his being reassigned from the messenger group.
  • Besides two Iron Crosses, Hitler was awarded the Bavarian Military Medal 3rd class with bar, and later received, as did all wounded soldiers, the Cross of Military Merit.
  • He never faced American forces during the war.
  • The List Regiment and the headquarters messenger group suffered tremendous casualties during the war, but Hitler avoided many close calls and regularly indicated he expected to survive the war.


Tandey was mentioned five times in dispatches and certainly earned his VC during the capture of the French village and crossing at Marcoing, his regiment held down by heavy machine gun fire Tandey crawled forward, located the machine gun nest and took it out. Arriving at the crossing he braved heavy fire to place wooden planks over a gaping hole enabling troops to roll across and take the battle to the Germans, the day still not over he successfully led a bayonet charge against outnumbering enemy troops which helped bring hostilities to an end.

As the ferocious battle wound down and enemy troops surrendered or retreated a wounded German soldier limped out of the maelstrom and into Private Tandey's line of fire, the battle weary man never raised his rifle and just stared at Tandey resigned to the inevitable. "I took aim but couldn't shoot a wounded man," said Tandey, "so I let him go."

The young German soldier nodded in thanks and the two men took diverging paths, that day and in history. Hitler retreated with the remnants of German troops and ended up in Germany, where he languished in the humiliation of defeat at wars end. Tandey put that encounter out of his mind and rejoined his regiment, discovering soon after he had won the Victoria Cross.

It was announced in the London Gazette on 14th December 1918 and he was personally decorated by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 17th December 1919, in newspaper reports a picture of him carrying a wounded soldier after the Battle of Ypres was published, a dramatic image which symbolized a war which was supposed to have put an end to all wars and immortalized on canvas by Italian artist Fortunino Matania.





Guest publication by Neil Rolph Dickinson





Copyright  H.E.A.R.T 2007



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