Rainer Rene Graf Adelmann von Adelmannsfelden was born under the name Rene Freiherr von Godin as the son of a Bavarian lawyer in 1948. He married Michaela Gräfin Adelmann von Adelmannsfelden (born 1953) in 1973 and the couple had ten children, born between 1974 and 1988. His wife is the niece of the late German federal MP (1957–1961) Raban Graf Adelmann (1912–1992).Rene Freiherr von Godin assumed the title Graf Adelmann von Adelmannsfelden in 1980. During the mid-1980s, the couple resided in the village of Sentenhart, near Wald, between Lake Constance and Sigmaringen.
The Bavarian ministry of justice cancelled Graf Adelmann's registration as a lawyer in the state in 1982 for discrediting acts unworthy of a lawyer, however, Adelman took the case to the Bundesgerichtshof but eventually decided to discontinue his registration himself.
Graf Adelmann, in the early 1980s, founded the Federation of German mercenaries for the purpose of recruiting mercenaries in Germany for service in Asian and African countries.
German law prohibits the recruitment of German citizens for military service in foreign countries and the very attempt is punishable with up to five years of jail. However, Graf Adelmann considered this law invalid as it, in his opinion, violates the freedom of employment specified in the German constitution.
He operated his business through the company Terfina Vermögensverwaltungs-GmbH, and contacted foreign, mainly Asian and African embassies and governments for the purpose of building a clientele. By 1985, Graf Adelmann had over 400 job applications, targeting former Bundeswehr soldiers and unemployed adventurers through newspaper ads. In 1985, he claimed to have received interest from an undisclosed African country for the purpose of protecting an oil pipeline.
He also claimed to have interests from Mozambique to provide personnel for the protection of the Cahora Bassa Dam. He saw an opportunity to provide personnel to developing countries who still "required adjustments to their borders and forms of government" but lacked qualified personnel to operate their modern weapons equipment. His initial plan was to recruit a platoon of 50 mercenaries, led by a number of retired Bundeswehr sergeants.
To join the Bund deutscher Legionäre, BDL, one had to pay DM 20 as a joining fee, followed by another DM 20 as a yearly membership fee. For this, Graf Adelmann promised combat training in Belgium and shooting practise in Switzerland, at the weapons manufacturers premises. His new recruits would have to "learn to kill" but he saw great potential in 18-year olds in this regard. He also guaranteed that the bodies of fallen "heroes" would be returned to Germany and their memory adequately honoured.
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