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|Albert von Berrer|
|Albert von Berrer was born at Unterkochen, Württemberg in 1857. At the start of the World War, he was in command of 31. Infantry Division of General Fritz von Below's XXI. Corps in the Sixth Army. After this, he became head of his own Corps, Army Group Berrer. This group was sent as part of General von Linsingen's force to relieve the Austrians from the Brussilov Offensive of summer 1916. It was stationed in in the Zloczow sector. Berrer was awarded the Pour le Merite for his excellent leadership through these and other difficult struggles.
Berrer's LI. Corps was one of four in Otto von Below's German XIV. Army that scored victory at Caporetto on 24 October 1917. Freiherr von Stein and his Corps was on Berrer's right and General Karl Scotti was on his left. During his advance, huge numbers of Italian prisoners from the broken II. Army fell into Berrer's and Scotti's hands. By 27 October, Berrer's Corps was faring better than any other, pushing far ahead and deep into the anarchic, crumbling Italian front. Berrer thrust his No. 26 and No. 200 divisions against the Cividale sector, and they succeeded in fording the Torrente Torre without serious opposition. The way to Udine was open, and Berrer received a false report that this majour town was occupied.
What effectively happened was that Berrer's car drove well beyond his troops and right into the enemy. His corpse was found in a small village, and the Germans and Austrians were at a loss as to how this commander met his end--or more importantly, how it came to be that he outraced his own troops and ended up in hostile territory. General Enrico Caviglia, then commander of the Italian XXIV. Corps, gave the official story of Berrer's death as reported to newspapers around the world: Berrer's car lost touch with troops, he accidently drove into a village occupied by a squadron of Bersagliari cyclist troops, and they immediately shot him. Thus, von Berrer's career ended on 28 October 1917 at St Gottardo, Italy.
GWS, 11/01 [rev. 10/03]
|Orders of Battle: Isonzo Front, October 1917
Immediately preceding the Battle of Caporetto
XIV. German Army, Gen. d. Inf. Otto von Below
Group Berrer, Genlt. von Berrer
XXVI. Württembergisch inf. div., Genlt. von Hofacker
CC. inf. div., Genmj. Hans von Below