Robert Martinek

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Robert Martinek
Robert Martinek.jpg
Robert Martinek
Born 2 February 1889
Gratzen, Austria-Hungary
Died 28 June 1944(1944-06-28) (aged 55)
near Berezino, Soviet Union
Allegiance Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary (to 1918)
Austria First Austrian Republic (to 1938)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1907–1938 (Austria)
1938–1944 (Germany)
Rank Oberst (Austria)
Rank insignia of General of the Wehrmacht.svg General der Artillerie (Germany)
Commands held 267. Infanterie-Division
XXXIX. Panzerkorps
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves

Robert Martinek (2 February 1889 – 28 June 1944) was an artillery officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I, the Austrian Bundesheer and, during World War II, in the Wehrmacht Heer, who came to be regarded as one of the most skilled artillerymen of his generation.

Military service[edit]

Martinek was born on 2 February 1889 in Gratzen (now Nové Hrady, Czech Republic), where his father was a brewer. Enlisting in the army of Austria-Hungary in 1907, he was promoted to Leutnant in 1910, Oberleutnant in 1914, and to Hauptmann in 1917 for outstanding bravery. Serving with the Bundesheer after World War I, he taught at (and during the 1930s, headed) the Austrian military's Artillery School, and was responsible for a number of technical innovations.

After the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, Martinek continued to serve with the Wehrmacht Heer. He commanded the 267th Infantry Division from late 1941–1942, and, promoted to Lieutenant-General, the 7th Mountain Division during 1942. He was in command of the extremely heavy concentrations of artillery at the Battle of Sevastopol (including the huge Dora and Mörser Karl siege artillery).

On 1 December 1942 Martinek took command of XXXIX Panzer Corps, with which he saw a number of actions on the Eastern Front; at the beginning of 1943 he was promoted to General of Artillery.

Martinek was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. His notes from World War I were published as Kriegstagebuch eines Batterie-Kommandanten 1914–1918; he was also the subject of a book by Erich Dethleffsen.

Death[edit]

In June 1944, the XXXIX Panzer Corps was assigned to Army Group Centre in the Belorussian SSR. Shortly before the massive Soviet summer offensive, Operation Bagration, a battalion commander in the 12th Infantry Division raised concerns about a possible attack with Martinek, who was on a tour of inspection. Martinek agreed but in response cited the proverb "Whom God would destroy, he first strikes blind".[1]

Soviet forces launched an overwhelming assault on Army Group Centre on 23 June; Martinek's corps was rapidly outflanked and was ordered to fall back to more defensible positions. Martinek was killed in an air attack on 28 June while being driven to a new command post near Berezino.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Wehrmachtbericht references[edit]

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
24 October 1943 An den Abwehrerfolgen im mittleren Frontabschnitt haben das XXXIX. Panzerkorps unter Führung des Generals der Artillerie Martinek und die rheinisch-westfälische 253. Infanteriedivision des Generalleutnant Becker besonderen Anteil.[4] In the defensive successes in the middle section of the front had the XXXIX. Panzer Corps under the command of General of Artillery Martinek and the Rhenish-Westphalian 253rd Infantry Division of Major General Becker particular share.
3 April 1944 Zwischen dem Dnjepr und Tichauffy haben die unter dem Befehl des Generals der Infanterie von Tippelskirch und des Generals der Artillerie Martinek stehenden Truppen in siebentägigen schweren Kämpfen Durchbruchsversuche von 17 feindlichen Schützendivisionen, einer motorisierten und zweier Panzerbrigaden vereitelt und damit einen hervorragenden Abwehrerfolg errungen.[4] Between the Dnieper and Tichauffy, troops under the command of General of Infantry of Tippelskirch and General of Artillery Martinek in seven days of heavy fighting have thwarted breakthrough attempts of 17 enemy infantry divisions, a motorized and two armored brigades, and thus achieved an outstanding defensive success.
3 July 1944 In den schweren Abwehrkämpfen fanden die Kommandierenden Generale, General der Artillerie Martinek und General der Artillerie Pfeiffer sowie Generalleutnant Schünemann, an der Spitze ihrer Korps kämpfend, getreu ihrem Fahneneid, den Heldentod.[5] During the heavy defensive fighting, the corps commanders, General of Artillery Martinek and General of Artillery Pfeiffer as well as Lieutenant General Schünemann, found true to their oath of allegiance, a heroic death at the head of their fighting corps.

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Glantz, p.219
  2. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 303.
  3. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 78.
  4. ^ a b Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 72.
  5. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 148.
Bibliography
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Glantz, David. When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, 1995.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 2, 1 January 1942 to 31 December 1943] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 3, 1 January 1944 to 9 May 1945] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links[edit]

  • [1] Online article at Feldgrau.com
Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Friedrich-Karl von Wachter
Commander of 267. Infanterie-Division
10 November 1941 – 1 January 1942
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Friedrich-Karl von Wachter
Preceded by
Generaloberst Hans-Jürgen von Arnim
Commander of XXXIX.Panzerkorps
1 December 1942 – 13 November 1943
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Carl Püchler
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Carl Püchler
Commander of XXXIX.Panzerkorps
18 April 1944 – 28 June 1944
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Otto Schünemann