The Prussian Hero Carl Klinke

At the Dybböl redoubt II, a somewhat pompous memorial has been erected, where the Pioneer Klinke is celebrated on behalf of all the Prussian pioneers.

Pionier Klinke Strasse in Rendsburg

In many other places, where the roads and the square are named after him, you can see memories of Pioneer Carl Klinke’s heroic efforts at Dybbøl’s Skanse II during the attack on the ybböl stronghold on April 18 1864. For many years, the story about Pioneer Klinke was almost mandatory reading in German schools schools.

The well-known story today is that Klinke blew himself up in the air with the palisade for hedge II. Just before this, he should have, standing with the gunpowder at the palisade, shouted “Ick bin Klinke – Ick offne dat Tor”. The pun / knock is obvious. In other words, he deliberately sacrificed himself to give the comrades access to the hedge.

The grave of Klinke with others

When you think of Klinkes heroic status and then see his original modest grave at Broager Cemetery, where he, along with 8 others, are buried in a grave immediately similar to all other Prussian soldier’s graves of the period, one can wonder.
However, there is an explanation. Klinke was buried at Broager immediately after the storm on April 18, but it is not until 1866 that he attains hero status.
The large memorial stone at Broager is set later, as is the monument at Dybbøl Skanse II and the memorial stone at Broager cemetery.
A legend arises:

Memorial mounted some years later

When exactly the legend of Klinke’s self-sacrificing death occurred cannot be precisely determined. In any case, Theodor Fontane, with his poem “Der Tag von Düppel”, written on May 5, 1864 and published in 1866, has a very large part of the credit for the image that has been drawn in public for the next several years. and the Battle of Dybbøl.

Fontane’s last verse states. (whole poem at bottom of page)

Palisaden starren die Stürmenden an,

Sie stutzen; wer ist der rechte Mann?
Da springt von achten einer vor:
»Ich heiße Klinke, ich öffne das Tor!« –
Und er reißt von der Schulter den Pulversack,
Schwamm drauf, als wär’s eine Pfeif’ Tabak.
Ein Blitz, ein Krach – der Weg ist frei –
Gott seiner Seele gnädig sei!
Solchen Klinken für und für
Öffnet Gott selber die Himmelstür.

This is, after all, a fine heroic quadrant, with disagreement with Fontane’s other presentation of the events of the year 1864. That the poem was supposedly written on May 5, 1864 but first published in 1866, might indicate that subsequent romanticization may have occurred. Klinke is not named anywhere else as in 1864.

Theodor Fontane

Fontaine 1860

Fontane, who was a war correspondent at the scene of the war in May and September, describes in his book “Der Schleswig-Holsteinsche Krieg im Jahre 1864” that first appeared in 1866 at the publishing house of the Königlichen Geheimen Ober-Hofbuchdruckerei, the events of the scandal II somewhat subdued and not particularly glorifying:
“When the company and the two storm columns arrived, they found that the defenses had resumed defense and received the attackers with a raging fire. The front of our people threw down and opened rapid-fire fire on the defenders. Under cover of that fire Lieutenant Diener ran on some pioneers in the trench, laid a gunpowder at the palisade wall that obstructed access to the rampart and burst a hole in it. Pioneer Klinke who placed the charge was so incinerated that he soon after exhaled, lying in the ruptured hole in the palisade. “
One page later, in which Fontane describes the capture of Lieutenant Ancker, the speech suddenly falls on Klinke’s victim’s death (Opfertodt).
Now Fontane writes:
“In relation to the capture of Ancker, Klinke’s sacrificial death differs. In the run-up to the scandal, according to a longer report, the pioneers came close together. This praised Lieutenant Diener’s crew as the parts of the crew charged with tools to remove obstructed with, avoided falling behind compared to the others while at the same time some of the front ones were rendered incompetent. gunpowder and pioneer clink with a feather available.

When Lieutenant Diener found the tomb palace almost completely intact and that it could not be destroyed by the ax as quickly as necessary, he, in the absence of any other means, immediately decided to use a gunpowder to produce the desired result.
Pioneer Kitto, at the command of the officer, put the sack close to the edge of the grave, grasped it with both hands, and threw it as soon as the grenade set with Klinkes’s cap was lit in the grave at the foot of it, close to the cortrescarp, standing pallisade wall.
But before those involved were given time to follow the given instructions to lie flat on the ground, the explosion occurred. This released 4 pallisade beams and Pioneer Klinke was thrown to the left and Lieutenant Diener to the right into the moat. The latter, with burnt hands but otherwise unscathed, immediately ascended the nipple through the opening created, which was easily made wider by the subsequent teams.
After taking the shot, Lieutenant Diener returned to Contrescarpen and found Pioneer Klinke, who was severely burned in the face and had a gunshot wound through the arm and chest, but was still alive. He had the gunshot wound when he tried to climb up the rampart, which he himself told the Lieutenant.
He died during transport to the field hospital.

So far Theodor Fontane.

Prussian General Staff:
Unterofficier Lademann of the Pioneers lit the 30-pound pomegranate grenade and Pionier Kitto threw from the glacier the powder charge down to the foot of the palisade. In the ensuing explosion, two palisades toppled over.
Pioneer Klinke, who was already in the trench, was severely burned and, while trying to climb up the rampart, was fatally struck by a bullet.

The work of the Prussian General Staff 1887:
In the work “Der Deutsch-Dänische Krieg 1864” published by the Großen Generalstab in Berlin in 1887, it reads about the battle for hedge II:
“In the shelter of the fire from the Füsilians, the Pioneers blasted an opening in the palisade.
Through this opening, Premier Lieutenant Saß-Jaworski, with his (Zug) division of the shooting company, penetrated the southern part of the work. “
In the first sentence of the report, there is a star reference to a footnote which states: “Unterofficier Lademann of the Pioneers lit a grenade bag with 30 pound of gunpowder. Pioneer Kitto threw it from the glacier down to the foot of the palisade, toppling two palisade beams.
At the subsequent rapid blast, two palisades were overturned. Pioneer Klinke, who was already down in the moat at the palisades, was severely burned and then fatally struck by a bullet while trying to climb the rampart.
This, the most famous act of the attack, is only referred to with a footnote without honorable mention.

Regiment History:
Brandenburg Pioneer Battalion No. 3’s history from 1888 is appended to Klinke, but the description is more accidental:
“Pioneer Klinke, who lit his gunpowder with a match when the gunfire had fallen off the charge during the fast run, was so badly burned that afterwards, even after being hit by a bullet, he exhaled lying in the burst hole (in palisade) “.
Thus, official reports do not tell anything about Carl Klinke’s sacrificial death, and they are only mentioned in Fontane’s poem and in the numerous later newspaper articles, according to which he sacrificed himself to enable his comrades’ attacks.
The newspaper articles probably only came about because of Fontane.

Meyers Lexicon 1888:
Pioneer Carl Klinke’s effort was remarkable as he threw himself into the mantle with a gunpowder to blast a breach.
Then he should have shouted: “Ick bin Klinke. Ick öffne dat Tor.” (Platt German. The name Klinke gives a double meaning with the word’s actual meaning of door latch = lock).
Carl Klinke fell by his heroic efforts for his German fatherland’s freedom for the Danish occupiers.
Meyer’s Lexicon has only reproduced the myth and probably not fact-checked with neither the history of the regiment nor the work of the Prussian General Staff published the year before.

The person Carl Klinke:
Carl Klinke died distant from his pregnant wife and 4-year-old daughter without knowing he was complete. The youngest, a daughter, was born 3 months after Klinke died.

The Torgau Barracks 1914

He was born in Bohsdorf-Vorwerk (Lausitz) as the son of the widow Marie Klinke.
His name was “Carl”, which is later spelled “K”. Carl grew up in poor condition at their husband’s place.
In 1914, at the 50th anniversary of the storm at Dybbøl, Carl is characterized by his schoolmates as diligent, willing and hardworking. When the family’s land could not only feed the family, after school, Carl began working in the nearby “Felix” lignite mine. Lignite was then mined in underground mines, and according to the old people of the area, Carl lacked courage and was always among the first in rescue work without thought at his own risk,
At the age of twenty-one, Carl married the peer Marie Britze, just weeks before Marie gave birth to their daughter, Johanne Christiane.
Carl was told at the session in Spremberg in 1861 to measure 173 cm. He was, possibly because he was a single parent and ancestor, sent to Ersatzreserve (a reserve unit). The session chairman, however, sought a miner among the reservists, thereby appointing Klink as Pioneer.
On October 27, 1861, the “An Leib und Seele”  healthy” Carl Klinke was summoned to the 4th Company of Pioneer Battalions No. 3 von Rauch (1st Brandenburgisches) in Torgau. However, he was granted leave to return to his daughter’s baptism in Christmas 1861.
On October 4, 1863, Klinke was sent home after two years of service, but had to meet again immediately on December 21 when Prussia mobilized.
Klinkes Pioneer Battalion was at this time in Spandau and Klinke’s wife was pregnant with their second child at this time. When her daughter was born on July 29, 1864, Carl was killed in Prophet II.
In several German cities there are still streets and places named after Klinke and in some places there are monuments that pay homage to the brave and self-sacrificing pioneer.
He was immortalized in full figure at the Prussian Victory Monument on the 4th floor, and a hotel built in 1907 on the corner of Dybbølgade and Birke Alle on the Sundevedsiden of Sønderborg was named after him.
It was renamed Hotel Dybbøl in 1920 and demolished in 1960.
It is probably Klinke seen on the first floor to the left of the “tower”. History will know that the figure today is stuffed under a garage floor.
Also in Berlin, Spandau a statue of Klinke has been erected. On the base is written:
Our in the field trains of 1864, 1866 and 1870/71 for king and fatherland as well as in China and southwest Africa for emperor and rich fallen and dead comrades without the pioneer Karl Klinke of the 4th Comp. welsch on the storm on the Düppeler Schantzen on April 18, 1864, his sacrificial heroic death found in his memory.
The Batallion is faithfully assigned to April 18, 1908, by some of the comrades of Pioneer Batallion von Rauch (BRDBG) No. 3 in Berlin. (BRDBG = Brandenburgische).

The living, and celebrated, hero Pioneer Kitto:
Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Kitto (born 14 May 1842 in Cantdorf (Kreis Spremberg) and died 12 September 1903 (Berlin) was Prussian pioneer.
He served in the 4th Company, Pioneer Battalion Nr. 3 von Rauch (1st Brandenburgisches) and fought with pioneers sound during the storm at Dybbøl.
According to some documents and his own production, it was he who threw the gunpowder that burst a hole in the pallisade at the barrier II and by which Carl Klinke was so badly injured that he later died. “
Kitto thus told former pastor Mörbe of Spremberg:
“I was with Pionier Klinke in Spremberg. He belonged to the 4th Company of the 3rd Brandenburg Engineer Battalion. We had each had a coup breaking through the Palisades.
Lieutenant Diener said, “Those who want to come voluntarily and blow up the palisade with a powder charge must step forward!” I stepped forward and said, Mr. Lieutenant, I’m joining “
I took the powder charge which contained 30 to 35 pounds of powder and followed Lieutenant Diener, Sub-Officer Lademann Sergeant and Sergeant Klucko. Ca. 18 to 19 steps in front of the palisades at barrier II, I put the charge on the ground. Now it was with God for the king and fatherland to win or die. When the luncheon did not work, the powder charge was lit with a burning cigar by Sub-Officer Lademann.
I quickly grabbed the sack and hurried towards the palisade at Eight II and threw the sack. It exploded immediately.
I myself stood completely still I had no harm, except that the powder had sweated my pack …. “
Kinkke is mentioned here only in passing, and although Kitto’s preparation of the quick selection of volunteers while the storm was playing out seems questionable, it does align with the official production and significantly reinforces the likelihood of an accident triggered by the ignition of the powder charge without a time delay. fuse”.
Kitto further explains:
“Even the fact that I voluntarily took the powder charge, turned it on and threw it down at the palisade, and having done nothing but my duty, I was shown the royal honor that His Royal Highness Prince Friedrich Carl, our heroic leader, pressed my hand and loudly praised my daring and my sacrifice in front of many comrades who, without the opening of the palisade, had fallen during the storm.
His deputy handed me the ribbon for the military grade badge of I class and the silver cross in a red case.
At home in the district, I receive an honorable reception from my County Council (Landrat) Mr Poncet and the Municipality of Cantdorfer.
Along with the military mark, Kitto received from the king another 300 marks. Later, Kitto received another very high honor, the Austrian Tapper Medal.
The 300 marks came from a Hamburg merchant who had handed over a larger sum to Prince Friedrich Karl with the wish that it be distributed among the “brave soldiers of the Army Corps”.
The prince, without further consideration, gave this to Wilhelm Kitto. Below, he was asked by the prince if he had a further wish, which he would seek to fulfill. Our hero only replied “I want to go home”
The disappointment on the faces of the surrounding officers should have been great. Many probably expected that he would continue in the army and wanted to become an officer. But the officers also did not know about the bad conditions in the home and the sick mother waiting for her only son.

Kitto turned 61 and lived his last years in Berlin. He was buried in the Georgen cemetery in Berlin.
The then Commander of Pioneer Battalions No. 3 von Rauch, Major Rüdiger, published on September 20, 1903 in the Military Weekly Journal (Militär-Wochenblatt) the following obituary of Kitto:
“On the 12th of this month, former Brandenburg pioneer William Kitto died in Berlin, the holder of the first-class military merit and the Austrian bravery medal.
In conjunction with the pioneer Klinke known in our country, the deceased ignited on the memorable Dybbøl storm day, the powder sack that opened the hostile palisade.
Kinkke thereby died heroically. The now deceased was given the honor, by the former High Field Lord His Royal Highness Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia, to be honored as the bravest soldier of the Army Corps.
The name of the deceased will live on in the history of the battalion. “
There are no immediate pictures or anything left by the surviving hero.

Klinkes and Kittos road to Dybbøl:
In 1863/64 the Prussian troops were transported to the march areas by train. Klinke’s unit was misplaced to Holsten. Klinkes battalion belonged to the 1st Army Corps under the command of General der Kavallerie Friedrich Karl Nikolaus von Preußen.
On 1 February at 7 am, the 1st Army Corps began its advance against Mysunde in an attempt to bypass the Danish troops on Dannevirke’s left wing and, together with the Rendsborg advancing Austrians, bypass the entire Danish army in a pinch maneuver.
Here, the Pioneer Battalion’s 4th Company was deployed for the first time, as the 11th Brigade that had fought its way to Ornum Mill found the rocking bridge broken.
Under the command of Lieutenant Seling, it was restored in half an hour.
It is very likely that Klinke participated in this, as some of his direct superior Feldwebel Fischer, Sergeant Mendel and Unteroffizier Lademann were decorated for this afterwards.
Lieutenant Seling received the Order of the Red Eagle IV. Class with swords and the other military honors of II. Class.
Only on February 6, the Prussians succeeded in crossing the Slien at Arnis.
At the construction of this 250 meter long pontoon bridge, Pioneer Battalion Nr. 3 von Rauch heavily involved.

At Dybbøl:
In week-long sconces, mostly at night and most standing in mud to the knees, the Prussian pioneers and soldiers had dug attack parlors from Avnbjerg and up to 200 meters from the Danish barges.
The work began on March 29 with the construction of the 1st parallel followed by a wider so-called semi-parallel
night between April 7 and April 8. The second parallel was completed the night between April 10 and 11.
It was succeeded by Hauptmann Daun with three Officers and 106 Mann from the 4th Kompanie des Pionier Battalions Nr. 3 and with 16 Officers and 510 men from the 2nd Battalion des Infantry Regiments Nr. 24 finished at 6 in the morning of April 11.
A heavy fog covered the excavation work, but a few outpost fences did occur.
Here, Klinke and Kitto may well have been present and received their baptism of fire, as two Danish companies attacked the parallel from Hedge II.
Both ordinary soldiers and pioneers took part in the battle.
They succeeded in reversing the attack and on April 13, the parallel was extended to a sole width of 6 meters. Following royal orders, a third parallel was constructed, with the right wing being only 300 meters from barrier II and the left wing only 220 meters from barrier V.
Prinz Friedrich Karl then set the date of the attack on April 18.

At 10.06, scans VI, III, V and I had been taken.
But the battle for hedge II was the toughest of the day. On the Danish side, Leutnant Ancker (with Fontane spelled: “Anchor”), who was praised by many for his heroic defense, brought his troops to the forefront, still giving fire.
Thus, several attacks, in the shooting range and in races over 400 meters, stalled in the fire from rifles and firearms. Hauptmann von Spies and his soldiers succeeded in penetrating the barrier II and continuing towards the withdrawn line. The advancing Pioneer and Sturm Company was still fired from the canopy, including the 4th Company from the Pioneer Battalion 3 under Hauptmann Daun and thus also Carl Klinke, who was deployed in the Second Lieutenant Servant’s division (Zug).
Under the cover of his own fire, Diener and some pioneers pulled down into the trench and laid a gunpowder at the still intact palisade wall to blast a hole in it. It was during this action that Pionier Klinke was severely burned and then struck by a gunshot.
The explosion of the palisade succeeded and the storm troops were now able to penetrate the barrier.
Ten minutes after the storm began, II fell.
The Pioneers lost 5 dead, 3 severely wounded (one of whom died the next day) and 2 more lightly wounded.

Memorials of Carl Klinke