Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Sonderborg, Denmark

Army information

German Empire
Imperial German Army

Information about death

Date of death:
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)

Cemetery or memorial

There is no known cemetery or memorial for this soldier.

Points of interest 1

#1 Place of birth

My story

Hans Peter Conrad was born on 22 March 1898 in Sønderborg , a municipality in southern Denmark on the border with Germany. He was the son of transporter Hans Iver Conrad and his wife Catharine Marie F. Petersen. When he joined the German army, he was assigned to Reserve Infantry Regiment No 212, 11th Company. There he attained the rank of Leutnant Fähnrich.

The Allies are convinced that the capture of the ridge at Broodseinde will be decisive for their Flemish offensive. The capture is initially scheduled for 6 October. But with autumn weather approaching and a higher risk of bad weather, the attack is brought forward two days. At Zonnebeke, the Flandern I-Stellung is in full view of the opponent. This makes supplying troops and equipment extremely difficult. The German army command is forced to take drastic measures: a major counterattack at Zonnebeke christened Unternehmung Höhensturm. The operation turns into a catastrophe. Hundreds of Germans are killed and a multitude are taken prisoner of war or wounded.

As early as 30 September, officers from RIR212 scouted the lines near Zonnebeke and made observations in preparation for Höhensturm. The attack itself was planned a few days later, on what would turn out to be the same day as the offensive planned by the Allies. In the early hours of 4 October, RIR212, the first piece brought in partly by trucks and then on foot, reached its Bereitschaftsstellung on the Broodseinde Heights without shelling or losses. The regiment then advanced to the positions it was assigned. South of the castle pond, the 4. Kompagnie has to advance. To II./RIR212 the 11. and 12. Company are assigned as reserve troops. Hans was thus part of the supporting troops during the battle.

The attack should take place after preparatory artillery shelling. Hans and his battalion capitalised on the surprise effect. Three battalions of RIR212 advanced from an attack position. By placing RIR212 in a forward attack position, it should be able to stay ahead of the enemy barrage in dense attack lines. Once the attack gets underway, it is crucial that the assault troops connect well.

Although the area had been in German hands since the Second Battle of Ypres, at this point it would fall into Allied hands. The German defence was solid, but the huge losses of men and material would be disruptive. The German defences were broken, but not without a struggle. The battle would take a heavy toll along both sides. Estimates as high as 600 000 casualties were no exception. Countless young men lost their lives for what would eventually result in barely 8 km of 'gains'.

According to the Prussian Loss List published in newspapers in late November 1917, Peter was reported missing along with eight others from Denmark. Hans Conrad was said to be one of the men who lost their lives during the Höhensturm. He died on 4 October 1917.

Sources 2

Sources used
Von Stosch A., Das Königl. Preuß. 5. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß 1897-1918, Berlin, Verlag von Klasing & Co., 1930, p349.
Sources used