Who's Who - Gustav Bachmann

Admiral Gustav Bachmann (1860-1943) was, as Chief of the Admiralty Staff from February-September 1915, firmly convinced of the necessity of a resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, and worked with Naval Minister Alfred von Tirpitz to sponsor its adoption.

Having entered the German navy in 1877 Bachmann served as Chief of Staff to the East Asian Cruiser Squadron from 1901-03 following postings to Africa and Australia.  From 1907-10 he was placed in command of the Central Division of the Navy Office.

Three years later, as Vice-Admiral, he was appointed to command of the High Seas Fleet's scouting forces and then, from 1913-15 headed up the naval station at Kiel in the Baltic.

As an ally of Tirpitz Bachmann was appointed Hugo von Pohl's successor as Chief of the Admiralty Staff in February 1915, where he laboured unsuccessfully to secure greater room for operational freedom from the Kaiser.

He quickly became convinced that the only sure way of defeating Britain was to crush its naval commerce - which in turn required the adoption of a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, regardless of the political storm it would inevitably generate.  He also supported the aerial bombing of civilian targets.

With Kaiser Wilhelm II's decision however to abandon unrestricted submarine warfare both Bachmann and Tirpitz tendered their resignation in June 1915.  While the Kaiser declined to accept Tirpitz's he did allow Bachmann to return to his post as commander at Kiel.

Remaining at Kiel for much of the remainder of the war, Bachmann continued to offer advice, advocating strong action be taken against fleet mutinies in 1917-18.  With Reinhardt Scheer's appointment as head of the Naval Supreme Command he was retired in October 1918.

He died in 1943.

Stormtroopers comprised specially trained German assault troops used in 1918.

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