Oskar Körner

Albert Oskar Körner, who went by the name of Oskar, was born in Tanna near Schleiz in the Principality of Reuss jüngerer Linie on 19 January 1888. He was single and working as a plumber's assistant when he was called up as a replacement recruit and assigned to the recruit depot of the 1st replacement battalion of Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 31 in the north of Germany on 18 December 1914. After completing his basic training in early March 1915, he was transferred to the 2nd replacement battalion of Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 85. Two weeks later, he joined the 7th company of Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 98 in the field.

Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 98 was assigned to a number of divisions throughout the war. While Körner was serving with the regiment, it was part of 9. Reserve-Division and was in the lines on the Verdun front from the beginning of December 1915. He was closely involved in the vicious fighting that took place when the Germans launched their assault against Verdun in February 1916. His company was assigned to 10. Reserve-Division for the attack on the eastern edge of Caurières Wood on 25 February 1916, which resulted in the capture of Bezonvaux together with 243 prisoners and 8 machine-guns of French Infantry Regiment 44.

Following initial successes, the German attack started to slow down and by early March, the battle had turned into a war of attrition. 9. Reserve-Division was involved in several attacks between 8 and 10 March to take Fort Vaux which, according to confusing reports, was captured by the Germans and then apparently retaken by the French. By the morning of 10 March, his battalion was so exhausted that it was relieved by elements of Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 37. On 11 March, the division was withdrawn from the fighting. The respite was only short as, on 23 March, Oskar Körner was badly injured as the result of being buried, probably in a trench that collapsed when bombarded by the French artillery.

He was evacuated to a dressing station at Jouvaincourt, where he remained for five days before being transported to a hospital in Germany. His injuries were so severe that he did not leave convalescent care until December 1916, when he was assigned to a replacement unit. He was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class on 22 July 1916, almost certainly for the fighting at Verdun.

By January 1917 he was fit enough to return to active service and joined the newly raised Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 458, which was part of 236. Infanterie-Division, and deployed to the new Siegfriedfront. He took part in the fighting at Arras in May 1917 and all seemed to be going well for him until he was wounded in the left hand by shell splinters on 22 June 1917. After spending a month at Field Hospital 112, he returned to 12. Kompagnie in late July 1917. He spent the rest of 1917 in action in French Flanders and Artois until the Spring Offensive in 1918, when he was involved in open warfare in Cambrai and on the Scarpe. From April until September 1918 he was either fighting in the Ypres salient or resting in the rear sector held by the 4th Army. In late October 1918 he was promoted to Gefreiter for bravery in the face of the enemy. He spent the last months of the war fighting on the Woevre Plain and in fighting retreats in Champagne and on the Maas. His war ended when he was discharged and returned to Reuss in early December 1918. He received the wound badge in black for two wounds on 18 May 1918 and was awarded the Reuss silver merit medal with swords on 25 May 1918.


Copyright © 2006-2008 David Gregory