Alexander von Krobatin

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Alexander von Krobatin
Krobatin Alexander FM 1849 1933 photo.jpg
Krobatin in 1914
Born (1849-09-12)September 12, 1849
Olomouc, Moravia, Austrian Empire
Died September 28, 1933(1933-09-28) (aged 84)
Vienna, Austria
Allegiance Austrian Empire
Austria-Hungary
Service/branch Army
Years of service 1869 – 1918
Rank Field Marshal
Unit Tenth Army
Commands held Tenth Army
Eleventh Army
Tyrol Front
Battles/wars Caporetto
Vittorio Veneto
Piave Offensive
Other work War Academcy Instructor

Alexander Freiherr von Krobatin (12 September 1849 – 28 September 1933) was an Austrian Field Marshal and Imperial Minister for War between 1912 and 1917.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Olmütz (Olomouc),[2] Moravia, Krobatin graduated from the Artillery Academy in 1869 before spending a number of years studying the place of artillery in late 19th century warfare. He served as an instructor at the Technical Military Academy from 1877 to 1882 and recognized as an expert in munitions, he was appointed to the War Ministry in 1896 where he successful worked as a head of department and as chief of a section while also promoted to the rank of Major General in 1900.[3]

Imperial War Minister[edit]

A close associate of the army chief of staff Conrad, Krobatin was appointed Imperial Minister for War in 1912 and as an integral member of the "war party" gave his full backing to the hawkish element in the military in their calls for an immediate attack on Serbia following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and the July Ultimatum.[3] With the outbreak of war, Krobatin was responsible for the task of harnessing the economies of industrial Austria and agrarian Hungary to ensure the now mobilised military was supplied with vital arms and munitions as well as increasing industrial efficiency to meet the needs of a state with a large cohort of its industrial population no longer available for industrial and food production given their enlistment for war.[4] According to a number of sources, Krobatin struggled in his task for the first two years of the war, and although he never really threatened to harness the economy efficiently, he succeeded in tripling the level of artillery available at divisional level.[3]

One of the first commanders to be raised to the newly created rank of Generaloberst in February 1916,[5] Krobatin was responsible for dealing with the crisis caused by Romania's entry into the war on the side of the Entente and the sudden cutting off of resources (particularly grain and petroleum) that Romania's declaration of war brought. In Crown council on September 9, 1916, Krobatin sought backing for a proposal which would have allowed the army unrestricted powers to seize foodstuffs and punish hoarders, but this was vetoed by Chancellor Karl Stürgkh and Premier Istvan Tisza. Though occupied Serbia was eventually to produce more grain than Romania, food supplies to soldiers in the field remained a persistent and crucial worry to those at the higher echelons of the War Ministry.[5]

Field Commander[edit]

With Conrad's dismissal in March 1917, Krobatin was left isolated in the Crown Council and he was relieved of his tenure over the war ministry in April to be handed command of the Tenth army.[1] It was as a field commander that Krobatin was most successful, and following his role at Caporetto in October 1917 during which his force captured two Italian divisions he was promoted to Field Marshal on November 5, 1917. Redeployed to form part of Archduke Josef's strike force in Tyrol, Krobatin was given command of the entire Tyrol sector following the failure of the Piave Offensive and the Archduke's flight from the front in the face of mutinies on October 26, 1917.[4]

Retirement[edit]

Following the rejection of his offer of an armistice to the Italians on October 31, the battered remains of his armies were overrun at Vittorio Veneto a few days latter.[3]

Krobatin retired immediately after the close of the war and was never again to hold a commission. He was an Honorary Doctor of Technical Science at the Vienna Technical Institute, Honorary President of the Kaiser Karl War Welfare Fund, and an honorary member of the "Viribus Unitis" Vienna Riding Association.[5] Krobatin died in Vienna in 1933.

Service record[edit]

von Krobatin (left) in 1915
  • 1865 - Attends Artillerieakademie until 1869
  • 1869 - Promoted to Leutnant
  • 1873 - Promoted to Oberleutnant
  • 1879 - Promoted to Hauptmann 2. Kl.
  • 1882 - Promoted to Hauptmann 1. Kl.
  • 1877 - Attends the Technisch Militarisch Akademie until 1885
  • 1885 - Truppendienst until 1890
  • 1889 - Promoted to Major
  • 1890 - Head of the Artillery Kadett Schule until 1895
  • 1892 - Promoted to Oberstleutnant
  • 1895 - Promoted to Oberst
  • 1895 - Commander of Korps Artillery Regiment 1
  • 1896 - Head of 7. Section of the RKM until 1904
  • 1900 - Promoted to Generalmajor
  • 1904 - Sections Chief im RKM until 1912
  • 1905 - Promoted to Feldmarschalleutnant
  • 1910 - Promoted to Feldzeugmeister
  • 1912 - k.u.k Minister of war until April 1917
  • 1916 - Promoted to Generaloberst
  • 1917 - Commands X. Army until October 1918
  • 1917 - Promoted to Feldmarschall
  • 1918 - Commands Heeresgruppe Tirol until November 1918 [5]

Notes[edit]

Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron), which is now legally a part of the last name. The female forms are Freifrau and Freiin.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Pope, S. & Wheal, E.A.(1995): The Macmillan Dictionary of the First World War Macmillan: London.
  2. ^ "ALEXANDER KROBATIN, FREIHERR VON". Classic Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Alexander von Krobatin". Who's Who of the first world war. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  4. ^ a b Pope, S. & Wheal, E.A. (1995): The Macmillan Dictionary of the First World War Macmillan: London.
  5. ^ a b c d "Alexander Freiherr von Krobatin". Austrian Commanders. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Moritz Ritter Auffenberg von Komarów
Imperial & Royal Minister for War
1912–1917
Succeeded by
Rudolf Stöger-Steiner Edler von Steinstätten