Mārtiņš Peniķis (1874- 1964) Commander of the Latvian Army, General
I WW1 & Wars of Independence , II WW2, IV Soviet occupation

Ģenerālis Mārtiņš Peniķis. 20. gs. 20. gadi. Fotogrāfs nezināms. Foto: Latvijas Kara muzejs.

Mārtiņš Peniķis was born on November 6, 1874 in Kuldīga district. In the village of. Studied at the Kuldīga Ministry School and further educated through self-study.

In 1896 he joined the Russian army and served in the 133rd Simferopol Infantry Regiment. In 1900 he entered the Chuguyeva Junker School. In 1902 he was promoted to podporic in the 121st Infantry Regiment in Kharkov. Participated in the Russo-Japanese War.

In 1913 he was admitted to the Nicholas Military Academy. Returned to the regiment at the beginning of World War I. As commander of the company, he took part in the fighting on the Galician front, seriously injured. After recovery, he fought in several battles near Krakow. In 1915 he took part in the summer battles against Makenzen's army, later in the battles of Arjergard from Brestlitov to Baranovichi. 1916 in the summer as a battalion commander fought on the Shara River. Growing up. for the colonel, counting from 1915. November 26.

On November 16, 1916, he was appointed commander of the 2nd Riga Latvian Rifle Regiment. Participated in Christmas battles, fought at Ložmetējkalns. Awards with the sword of Jura. In September 1917, he defended his position on the shores of the Little Jugla. At the beginning of 1918 he left the service and remained in Vidzeme. He fell into German captivity and returned from it at the end of November 1918.

After the establishment of the State of Latvia, he voluntarily joined the Armed Forces and on December 8, 1918, he was appointed the Commander of the Kurzeme War Station, and later a member of the Commission for the Development of the Organization of the Army Plans and Staff. From June 1919, the commander of the Latvian army in Liepāja district with the rights of the division commander. At the start of the Bermont attack, he was appointed commander of the 2nd Vidzeme Division and commander of the South Front. He led subordinate units in battles from Riga to the Lithuanian border, then took part in battles against the Bolsheviks in Latgale.

As one of the first to be awarded the 3rd class of the Lāčplēsis War Order, he was appointed a member of the LKO Council, the Chairman of the Council until the adoption of the Statute of the Order at the Constitutional Assembly, then a member of the Council. In 1927 he was awarded the LKO II class.

On July 30, 1920, he was appointed Chief of the Main Staff of the Latvian Army. Promoted as General from 5 February 1920. 1921-1924. troops inspector. In 1928 he was appointed Commander of the Army. In this position until 1934, when he retired.

M.Peniķis has studied military history, given lectures at the Higher Military School; author of many books. Mazsalija mill in Snēpele parish was granted. Awarded many Latvian, Tsarist Russian and foreign orders.

In 1943, he resigned from the position of Inspector General of the Latvian Legion. In 1944, he and his family fled to Germany. He got into the Soviet occupation zone, from which he returned to Latvia. Lived in Riga, researched military history. Mārtiņš Peniķis died on February 18, 1964 in Rīga and was buried in Meža cemetery.

More information sources

Eric Jacobson. Mārtiņš Penikis. - National Encyclopedia. https://enciklopedija.lv/skirklis/29981-M%C4%81rti%C5%86%C5%A1-Peni%C4%B7is

Biography of the Knight of the Military Order of Mārtiņš Peniķis Lāčplēsis. https://web.archive.org/web/20150115071605/http://www.lkok.com/detail1.asp?ID=2121