General Rudolf Bangersky
I WW1 & Wars of Independence , First Independance, II WW2

Ģenerālis Rūdolfs Bangerskis. 1924/25. Avots: Polijas nacionālais arhīvs.

Rūdolfs Bangerskis was born on July 21, 1878 in Līčakrogs, Taurupe Parish. Studied at Zaube Primary School and Jaunjelgava City School. In 1895 he joined the army, serving in both Riga and St. Petersburg.

In 1914, with the outbreak of World War I, R. Bangerski returned to the 36th Infantry Regiment as commander of the company and already in December 1914 received the rank of captain. After the formation of the Latvian Rifle Battalion in August 1915, R. Bangerski was appointed Commander of the 1st Daugavgrīva Latvian Rifle Battalion. In October 1916, Mr Bangerski was promoted to lieutenant colonel and two months later to colonel.

In December 1916, R. Bangerskis became the commander of the position of the commander of the 2nd Riga Latvian Rifle Regiment, but during the Christmas battles - the head of the headquarters of the joint Latvian Rifle Division. g. Jan 17 in the battle near Ložmetējkalns, Bangerskis personally carried out reconnaissance and clarified the position of the front, led a regiment in a dagger battle under direct and fierce shooting, thus greatly facilitating the recapture of enemy positions ”. For these merits in 1923 R. Bangerski was awarded the 3rd class Latvian Lāčplēsis War Order No. 1627

In February 1924, R. Bangerski enlisted in the Latvian Army as a colonel, and from December 1924 to December 1925, and from December 1926 to January 1928, R. Bangerski was Minister of War.

Minister of War J. Balodis praises R. Bangerski in an article in the newspaper “Rīts” No. 76 (March 17, 1937) “Honoring General R. Bangerski”: “He has been one of the most outstanding creators and leaders of Latvian rifle regiments in famous battles. His rich fighting adventures and experiences, his unbreakable energy, and the great hospitality and care for his subjects have blessed and facilitated the formation of our entire army. ”

During World War II, during the German occupation from 1942 to 1943, R. Bangerskis was the rapporteur of the General Directorate of Justice of the local government, later also the inspector general of the Latvian Legion and the SS group leader. On February 20, 1945, in Potsdam, Germany, R. Bangerski was elected Chairman of the Latvian National Committee. From June 1945 to December 1946, Mr Bangerski was held in British custody. After his release he lived in Oldenburg, Germany. Died February 25, 1958. On March 16, 1995, he was reburied in the Brothers' Cemetery in Riga.

During his military career, R. Bangerski received the Latvian Order of the 3rd Class Lāčplēsis War Order, the 2nd Class Order of the Three Stars, the Order of Merit of the Latvian Defenders, the Order of the French Legion of Honor, the Estonian Freedom Cross, the 1st Class Order of the Twisted Cross of Lithuania, the Russian Order . Jurassic sword, as well as other high awards of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Germany.

More information sources

Source: Latvian War Museum. General Rudolf Bangersky (1878–1958). Available: [accessed 21.10.2021]

Related objects

Machine Gun Hill

Located in Jelgava region, near the A9 motorway.

Ložmetējkalns is a place of World War I fighting, which is the only cultural and historical reserve of national significance in Latvia. It is located on the Long Dune, which is part of the Nordeķi - Kalnciems dune ridge. The name of the machine gun hill originated at a time when there were hard-to-occupy fortifications of the German army, which were defended by a strong machine gun fire.

Christmas battles are probably the best known and most dramatic event of World War I in the history of Latvia. It occupies a special place in the military and cultural history of Latvia. In 1917, the Latvian Rifle and Siberian units of the Russian army attacked Ložmetējkalns and occupied it. At least 600 opponents were captured, as well as valuable trophies, such as 19 machine guns. This was the most significant success of the Christmas battles and the greatest gain that the Russian troops had achieved on the Riga front. Latvian riflemen believed that they deserved the honor of the conquerors of the highlands.

Today, there is a lookout tower with views of former battles. Memorials and wartime evidence can be seen in the area. The Silenieki Brothers Cemetery is nearby.

Christmas battles memorial at Antinu Brethren Cemetery

Located in Babīte district, on the side of the road near the former Antiņi house and the old medicine warehouse.

The cemetery of Antiņi or Tīreļi soldiers was established during the First World War. The defense positions of the army of the Russian Empire were located in the area. In 1917, during the Christmas battles, the headquarters of the 5th Zemgale Latvian Rifle Regiment and an infirmary with a medicine warehouse were located nearby.

In the night of January 5, 1917, in the light of eight huge bonfires, 105 fighters of the 5th Zemgale Latvian Rifle Regiment were buried in military honor. They fell in battle against the German army or died from injuries. The funeral ceremony was led by Regiment Commander Jukums Vācietis. In later years, soldiers from other units of the Russian army were also buried in the cemetery. In 1925, a monument to the architect Eizen Laube was unveiled in the cemetery, and the territory was landscaped. Information about the 3,800 soldiers buried in the cemetery can be found in many places, but it must be assessed as unlikely and unverified.


The Christmas Battle museum and outdoor exhibition

The Christmas Battle Memorial Park and Museum is located in Jelgava municipality, Valgunde parish, in the Mangaļi homestead. This museum is a branch of the Latvian War Museum. It was opened in 2005 and is located in the area where Christmas Battles took place. Unique World War I fortifications still remain in locations where battles took place. The indoor exhibit contains objects found in the battlefield. The open-air exposition has reconstructed fortifications. There are tourist routes and informative trails in the vicinity of the museum. The open-air exposition of World War I fortifications and indoor exhibits are available to visitors every day. Unique evidence of World War I fortifications can still be found in the vicinity of Ložmetējkalns. There is a 27 m tall observation tower that provides a panoramic view of the area where the Christmas Battle took place. The Christmas Battle is probably the best known and most dramatic event of World War I in Latvia. It has a special place in Latvia’s military and cultural history. This engagement is mainly associated with the attack of Latvian Riflemen on the German Army units in extremely harsh and unfavourable conditions. And it was also a unique situation where a large-scale combat operation was started without artillery support.

Daugavgrīva Fortress

Daugavgrīva Fortress (entry from Birzes street) is located on the Daugavgrīva Island where Buļļupe river joins the Daugava river. The fortress was built in the 17th century to defend from enemies moving in the direction of Riga, which was an important administrative, trade and production centre. Later it became the main fortification of the Latvian Army coastal defence with several support points. This defensive fortification system is one of the most valuable objects of Latvia's military heritage. This fortress has witnessed Latvian military history. For example, during the Crimean War (1853-1856) Latvian and Estonian gunboat crews were trained here. The main objective of these units was to protect local ports and the coast from attacks by the British navy. During World War I Daugavgrīva militiamen companies were formed here. These were the first Latvian combat units, which came even before the Latvian Riflemen. Nowadays it is possible to see the territory of the fortress. ‘Komētforts’ and the Seaside Nature Park are located nearby and Mangaļsala fortifications are on the other side of the Daugava river.

Brothers' Cemetery in Riga

Riga Brothers’ Cemetery is located in the northern district of Riga. The cemetery extends over an area of 9 ha and is the most outstanding and significant memorial ensemble in Latvia dedicated to the fallen Latvian soldiers. About 3,000 soldiers are buried here. The Brothers’ Cemetery was created during World War I after the first three Latvian Riflemen, who fell in Tīreļpurvs in the battle against the German Army, were buried here. Later Latvian soldiers who had died in other battles and wars would also be buried in the Brothers’ Cemetery. The memorial is based on the design of the sculptor Kārlis Zāle, and is the first memorial ensemble in Europe with such landscape, architecture and sculptural value. It uses elements typical to the Latvian landscape, traditional farmsteads, Latvian folklore and history that praise the characteristics of soldiers and tell the story of the way of the soldier. The memorial was unveiled in 1936 and it has three parts: ‘The Road of Though’ which is a 250 m long alley, ‘Terrace of Heroes’ with the Altar of the Sacred Flame and ensemble the Sacred Oak Grove, and the burial ground with the Latvian wall and a memorial of a mother with her fallen sons.

Related stories

About Christmas battles

The Christmas battle ended on January 11. The Latvian riflemen of the heavily fortified position of the German army - Ložmetējkalns - managed to take the battle on the third day. The price of Christmas battles was very high. Hundreds of Latvian and other Russian army soldiers had lost their lives trying to knock the Germans out of position. The narrator vividly describes the scenes on the battlefield after the end of the Christmas battles.

About Daugavgriva fortress

The narrator describes an event in the Daugavgrīva fortress during World War I, when it was bombed by an air force in the German army. The fortress was one of the strategic objects that remained important until the end of World War II.