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Mon, April 22 2019, 3:55:04Login ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 1[2] ]
Subject: Re: Kontreadmiral Ehler Behring

Gary Staff
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Date Posted: 22:19:28 02/17/02 Sun
In reply to: Johan R 's message, "Konteradmiral Ehler Behring" on 15:38:15 02/14/02 Thu

Here is some more information on Kontreadmiral Ehler Behring, which hopefully shows some of his character.
On August 21st K.Adm. Ehler Behring was appointed to kommand special operations in the eastern Baltic. K.Adm. Behring was 49 years of age and had entered the Imperial Navy in 1883. He had kommanded the battleships ,Deutschland’ and ,Wittelsbach’ between 1909 and 1914 before being placed on the inactive list on June 22nd 1914. He was reactivated on the outbreak of war and his previous appointment had been as 2nd Admiral of the IV Battlesquadron. K.Adm. Behring received the designation ,Detached Admiral’ and he was directly responsible to Prinz Heinrich. The appointment of a ,Detached Admiral’ stemmed from the desire to have a leader in eastern Baltic free of the responsibility and attendant worries of office and paper work so he could concentrate on military activity against the Russians. Admiral Behring was a man of bold daring, great seamanship and military experience , and was universally liked and respected by his offiziers and men alike. The Admiralstaff Offizier chosen for him was Kptlt. Gercke , from the Staff of the O.d.Ost. It was thought the choice of Kptlt. Gercke perfectly complemented the ,Detached Admiral’. Kptlt. Gercke had excellent military attributes , a comprehensive theoretical knowledge of the Russian navy , was an authority on the conduct of war in the Baltic and spoke Russian, French and English. It was said later that the dynamic personalities of these two Offiziers was primarily responsible for the successful conduct of offensive operations against the Russians. Later , Kptlt. Grassman , Artillerie Offizier on S.M.S. ,Augsburg’ , was to write of these two men: ”Both men were held in high esteem by all aboard ,Augsburg’ and the men had taken them to their hearts. Until only recently they had been guests aboard as ,Augsburg’ served as the Admirals Flagship. Behring was a born natural leader , a fresh , enthusiastic daredevil. During our baptism of fire on August 27th in battle against two Russian armoured cruisers he had paced up and down the kommand bridge with regular steps and as the first heavy shells exploded close off our bow he greeted them with a friendly swing of his cap. Similar to him was his faithful Gercke , a man of unsurpassed intelligence , energetic and enthusiastic with an untamed passion for action and a lust for the offensive. Luckily chance brought these two men together and all had unswerving confidence in their leadership”.

On November 17th 1914 the Armoured Kreuzer ,Friedrich Carl’ struck two Russian mines and began to sink. The following gives an insight into Kontreadmiral Behring’s character.
At 0500hrs ,Friedrich Carl’ lay with a 14o list to starboard with 2300 tonnes of water in the ship. It was still dark as in winter dawn is around 0700hrs and there was no sign of ,Augsburg’. On the bridge the strain was apparent when suddenly Admiral Behring’s fresh bass voice sounded a remark for all to hear :,, Well my friend Gercke , when we now drown , it is my comfort to know that the English torpedoes are good for nothing.” He was referring to the fact that the Flagship had suffered two underwater hits yet still remained afloat several hours later and his laconic remark in the face of almost certain death shows well his strength of character , if not his sense of humour. Although Admiral Behring still thought his Flagship had been torpedoed by the submarine reported by ,Augsburg’ earlier in the day the criticism of the effectiveness of the enemy underwater weapons holds true for mines also, although nothing should be taken from the performance of ,Friedrich Carl’s’ damage control party.
However, in May 1915 there was a reorganization of the German Baltic forces. The position of ,Detached Admiral’ was superseded by the new position of Leader of Reconnaissance Forces of the Baltic (F.d.A.d.O), and he would have a 2nd Admiral and an increased staff to help cope with the extra workload created by the increase in the size of his unit.
Grossadmiral Prinz Heinrich recommended a combat experienced flagoffizier for the position of F.d.A.d.O., however the Naval Kabinett did not accept his proposal. Instead, with Prinz Heinrich’s consent ,they appointed Kontreadmiral Hopman to the posting, and Intended Kontreadmiral z. D.Behring to act as 2nd Admiral. K.Adm. Hopman entered the Imperial Navy in 1884 and had previously kommanded ,Bremen’ and ,Rheinland’, before serving in the Reiches Marine Amt from 1911 to 1914.With the outbreak of war he accompanied the State Secretary, Grossadmiral von Tirpitz , to the Grand Headquarters. He was promoted to Kontreadmiral in March 1915 and was an excellent choice to kommand in the Baltic theatre as he had served with the Russian Fleet and during the Russo-Japanese war had action at Port Arthur. He spoke Russian and knew many of the officers serving in the Baltic Fleet personally. For K.Adm. Behring, however ,this turn of events was greatly disappointing. He had entered the Navy in 1883 and had kommanded ,Deutschland’ and ,Wittelsbach’ before being placed on the inactive list in May 1914 due to illness. After the outbreak of war he returned to active service in the comparatively independent position of ,Detached Admiral’ but unfortunately he took the view that the offer of the position of 2nd Admiral meant that he had lost Prinz Heinrich’s confidence. K.Adm. Behring was a very independent, strong willed leader and he declined the appointment of serving under a more junior offizier. Many believed that the conservative Russian approach was due to K.Adm. Behring’s aggressive conduct of the naval war and it is true that the aggressive nature of the German operations had caused the Russians to be more cautious than their defensive strategy envisaged. The ,Detached Admiral’ was a popular figure amongst his own forces , despite suffering some losses, and it was with sincere regret that his Offiziers and men said farewell. From May 1915 to May 1918 K.Adm. Behring was again on the inactive list and then he took kommand of the I Naval Brigade of the Naval Korps in Flanders. On July 7th he died of injuries suffered in an auto accident.
I hope this is of interest to you. Regards,

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Re: Kontreadmiral Ehler BehringJohan R01:03:25 02/18/02 Mon

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