|The War That Came Early |
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
|Type of Appearance:||Direct (POV in Two Fronts and Last Orders)|
|Date of Birth:||Early 20th century|
|Date of Death:||1944|
|Cause of Death:||Shot in street fighting|
|Military Branch:||Wehrmacht (World War II)|
Baatz's squad spent the first month of the war defending western Germany from desultory French probes before taking part in the German offensive that brought Wehrmacht forces to the outskirts of Paris. Throughout 1939 and early 1940, Baatz served on the German lines in France as they were slowly driven back by the British and French.
After the Big Switch of 1940, Baatz' squad was transferred to the Eastern Front where he participated in the advance upon Smolensk. Baatz suffered an arm wound in 1941 and spent several months on home leave before returning early next year.
Baatz was thoroughly despised by the men he led because of his unpleasant nature and petty adherence to army regulations. He was also well aware that they called him "Awful Arno" behind his back and were as insubordinate as they could get away with. In fact Baatz's behavior was motivated by genuine dedication to the war effort and Hitler's vision of a German-colonized Russia. He also showed some concern for his men's welfare, at one stage refusing the tempting idea of leaving the insubordinate Pfaff behind during a retreat.
When rebellion erupted in Münster in 1944, Baatz' unit sided with the pro-Nazi faction and was involved in helping secure the area for Hitler's arrival. Most of Baatz' squad were either killed or deserted (with Adam Pfaff among the latter) in the street fighting that followed, and Baatz witnessed the pro-Nazi forces slowly lose the civil war against the Committee for the Salvation of the German Nation. Finally, in a skirmish with rebel forces, Baatz was gunned down by Theo Hossbach while running for cover.