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Artur Arz Freiherr
von Straussenburg
Exclaimed the Emperor: "I Don't Need Another Genius!"

Artur Arz von Straussenburg was born on 16 June 1857 in Hermannstadt, Transylvania.╩ He was one of the more successful commanders in the K.u.K. Army during WWI.╩ He was a Saxon; that is, he was born among the ancient German settlers in eastern Transylvania.╩ Arz began the war ranked General der Infanterie.╩ FML Artur Arz took control of the 15. Infantry Division from FML Alfred Edler von Schenk on 2 September 1914.  But it was unlikely that he was ever able to even be saluted by his men, for he was gone on 4 September--he was replaced by Obst Josef Mark, who in turn barely lasted three weeks before Schenk returned. 

FML Arz was appointed to fill in the vacuum left by GdI
Svetozar Boroevic von Bojna when the latter took command of the III. Army, leaving the VI. Corps leaderless.  Arz successfully commanded the VI. Corps through some of the toughest trials any Corps had to face, until he was ordered to organise a new I. Army in Transylvania in August 1916.  In the VI. Corps, Arz was replaced by FML Ludwig von Fabini. 

He commanded the VI. Corps until succeeding to the newly reorganised I. Army on 16 August 1916.╩ Upon reaching Klausenburg where his headquarters was being assembled in anticipation of a Roumanian invasion of Transylvania, Arz immediately made a now-classic observation:╩ "I am an Army Commander without an Army."╩ As of the Roumanian declaration of war, Arz's new I. Army had less than 10,000 men (half a division) under his direction.╩ Thanks to the slowness of the Roumanian advance and the hysterical outcry from Budapeset, the I. Army was considerably strengthened to meet the challenge from the south.╩ Arz was to remain there until February 1917, after Roumania's defeat was completed with help from the German IX. Army under General
Falkenhayn and the Danube Army of General Mackensen.

GdI Arz himself remained in the I. Army until February 1917, when his fortunes rose unexpectedly thereafter.╩ Newly crowned
Kaiser Karl didn't want a genius to command his armies (asserts historian Martin Gilbert); Karl wanted someone who was just capable.╩ Therefore, the Kaiser appointed Arz to that all-important position of Chief of the General Staff.╩  GO Franz Freiherr Rohr von Denta took over the I. Army on Arz's behalf.  Arz made every effort to meet his Emperor's wishes once appointed in March 1917, succeeding the intelligent and imaginative but rather unsuccessful Conrad von HÜtzendorf. Arz von Straussenburg was elevated to the rank of Generaloberst on 26 February 1918.╩

By late October, Arz could see the writing on the wall.╩ He began drawing up plans for an orderly troop withdrawal to follow the inevitable armistice.╩ Following the end of the war, Arz's homeland was incorporated into Rumania, a nation that did not welcome his return, especially since he had played a significant role in punishing them.╩ Therefore, he retired in Budapest, as he was a Hungarian citizen, albeit German.

The following timeline summarizes Arz's military career:

╩╩╩╩
May 1902 Promoted to Oberst
╩╩╩╩
May 1903 Chairman of the Management Bureau until Nov 1908
╩╩╩
Nov 1908 Promoted to Generalmajor
╩╩╩
Nov 1908 Commands 61. Infantry Brigade until Apr 1912
╩╩╩
Apr 1912 Commands 15. Infantry Division until Apr 1913
╩╩╩
May 1912 Promoted to Feldmarschalleutnant
╩╩╩╩
Apr 1913 Section chief of all military Depts in the War Min. until Sep 1914
╩╩╩╩
Sep 1914 Commands 15. Infantry Division until end of the month
╩╩╩╩
Sep 1914 Commands VI. Corps until Aug 1916
╩╩╩
Sep 1915 Promoted to General der Infanterie
╩╩╩╩
Aug 1916 Commands I. Army until Feb 1917
╩╩╩╩
Mar 1917 Chief of the General Staff until Nov 1918
╩╩╩╩
Feb 1918 Promoted to Generaloberst

Arz wrote
Zur Geschichte des Grossen Krieges 1914-1919 (Vienna) and Kampf und Sterz der Kaiserreich (Vienna/Leipzig, 1935).╩ Artur Arz von Straussenburg died in Budapest in July 1935.

GWS, 11/01
Orders of Battle:╩ Galician Front, January 1915
Immediately preceding the Battles for the Carpathians
IV. Army,
Archduke Josef Ferdinand
Arz von Strauženberg Group,
Feldmarschalleutnant Arz von Strauženburg
╩╩╩╩ VI. Korps, Feldmlt. Arz von Strauženberg
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XXXIX. Honved inf. div., Feldmlt.
Hadfy
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XII. inf. div., Feldmlt. Kestranek
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XLV. Schčtzen div., Feldmlt. Smekal
╩╩╩╩ Bartheldy Group
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XXXVIII. Honved inf. div., Feldmlt. Bartheldy
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ Combined Honved inf. div., Feldmarschal von Kornhaber
╩╩╩╩ IX. Korps, Feldmlt.
Kralicek
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ X. inf. div., Genmj.
von Mecenseffy
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XIII. Schčtzen div., Feldmlt. von Kreysa
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XXVI. Schčtzen div., Feldmlt. Lischka
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XI. Honved kav. div., Genmj. Graf Bissingen

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Krakau and Limanowa, December 1914:╩ How They Broke the Russians

A Russian offensive by Radko Dmitriev's III. Army toward Krakau was opposed by
Archduke Josef Ferdinand's IV. Army.╩ General Arz's VI. Corps was situated on General Dankl's right flank above the Vistula.╩ He was ordered by the Archduke Josef Ferdinand to move north of the city along with the Polish Legion under Pilsudski, and together with General Roth's XIV. Corps, managed to force the Russians to the south.╩

Suddenly, a large salient was created below the Vistula, and General Brussilov committed several divisions from his Russian VIII. Army to exploit the situation.╩ But, Arz sent whatever forces he could spare all the way around the salient to Neu Sandec, where General
Boroevic's III. Army prepared to meet Brussilov's advancing VIII. Army (see Fig. 1).╩ The timely assault by Boroevic from Limanowa on 8 December 1914 caused Brussilov to retreat and also forced Radko Dmitriev to back away from Krakau and reassemble on line of the rivers Nida and Dunajec.

GWS, 12/00
Sketch Drawing of the Battle of Limanowa
ArzŇs Group consisted of two Corps and guarded Neusandec from the Russian X. Corps.  Neusandec was the hotly contested key to the advance on Krakau, and ArzŇs capture of the city in December saved Krakau from the Russians.  By mid-February, his sector stretched along and across the Dunajec river from Gromnik, a little town 10km south of TarnŚw, to the crest of the Carpathians, which was also the Hungarian border.  This extremely important front saw action almost continually, owing to its strategic location.  In the week of February, the 106. Landstčrm infantry division was moved from Gen. Josef RothŇs Group, and took control of the Mount Wal sector near Gromnik, as Arz shifted the entire front south to relieve Russian pressure on the Austrian 3. Army.  Ten days later, a sectorwide counteroffensive by ArzŇs divisions succeeded in pushing the Russians back 4 km and the town of Gorlice was seized by the 12. Division of FML Kestranek.  Gorlice was critical because it was to be the staging point for the great Spring Offensive against the Russians, centred on the sector of Gorlice-TarnŚw; Gorlice was far ahead of the Dunajec river, a natural barrier in front of TarnŚw.  In the first week of April, the Russian X. Corps made its final bid, attacking everywhere and succeeding in retaking Gorlice.  But they ran out of steam quickly, and could not expell the Austrians from the suburbs of Gorlice.  By 6 April, portions of the German 11. Army were already fitting their guns into special emplacements, ready for the salvo which would shred the Russian lines and allow the Germans to charge right through them.

GWS, 4/04
Orders of Battle:╩ Eastern Front, May 1915
Immediately preceding the Dunajec offensive
Deutsche XI. Armee, preuž. Generaloberst v. Mackensen
ůst. VI. Korps, Kmdt. Feldmlt. v. Arz
    Chief of Staff, Oberst Josef Huber
       39. HonvÄd inf. div., Feldmlt.
v. Hadfy
              77. HonvÄd inf. brig., Genmj. v. Molnar
              78. HonvÄd inf. brig., Oberst Daubner
              39. field art. brig., Oberst Nowotny
        12. inf. div., Feldmlt. Kestranek
              23. inf. brig., Genmj.
Ritt. v. Metz
              24. inf. brig., Genmj.
v. Puchalski
              12. field art. brig., Oberst v. Dobn
The VI. Corps had a serious role to play in the critical battle of Gorlice-Tarnow, fought decisively during the Dunajec Offensive.  Mackensen knew he could rely on Arz and his VI. Corps ever since his daring rescue of the situation during the Battle of Limanowa some five months earlier.  Mackensen was directing the German XI. Army, assembled for this particular occasion, and the VI. Corps formed the core of this force.

GWS, 8/03
Orders of Battle:╩ Podolian Front, September 1915
Immediately following the counteroffensive against Russia
VII. Armee,
Gen. d. Kav. von Pflanzer-Baltin
╩╩╩╩ Army res., VI. Korps, Feldmlt. Arz von Strauženburg
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XII. inf. div., Feldmlt. Kestranek
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XXXIX. Honved inf. div., Feldmlt. ?
╩╩╩╩ VIII. Korps, Feldz.
von Scheuchensteuel
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XXXVII. Honved inf. div., Genmj. Tabajdi
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ CVI. Landsturm inf. div., Feldmlt. Kletter
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ Polish Legion, I. & III. brigades, Feldmlt.
von Trzaska-Durski
╩╩╩╩ XVIII. Korps, Gen. d. Inf.
Kritek
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XI. inf. div., Genmj. Brubic
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XLI. Honved inf. div., Genmj.
Schamschula

Orders of Battle: VII Army, 15 December 1915

Immediately preceding the winter battles for Czernowitz
VII. Armee, GdK Karl Freiherr v. Pflanzer-Baltin
     VI. Corps, GdI Arz v. Straussenberg
        39 HID, GM Blasius v. Dani
        12 ID, GM Edler v. Hinke
Orders of Battle:╩ Podolian Front, early June 1916
Immediately preceding the Brussilov Offensive
VII. Armee,
Generaloberst von Pflanzer-Baltin
╩╩╩╩ VI. Korps, Gen. d. Inf. Arz von Strauženburg
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XII. inf. div., Feldmlt. von Hinke
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XXXIX. Honved inf. div., Genmj. Blasius von Dani
Orders of Battle:╩ Podolian Front, mid-July 1916
Immediately following the Brussilov Offensive's breakthrough at Lutsk and later at Czernowitz
Deutsch Sčdwest Armee,
Gen. d. Inf. von Bothmer
╩╩╩╩ K.u.K. VI. Korps, Gen. d. Inf. Arz von Strauženburg
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XII. inf. div., Feldmlt. von Hinke
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XXXIX. Honved inf. div., Genmj. Blasius von Dani
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ Deutsch XXXIX. div., Genlt. von Oppeln-Bronikowski

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The unexpected collapse of the sector controlled by General Pflanzer-BaltinŇs VII. Army led to a swift reorganisation, and ArzŇs Corps, together with General Adolf RhemenŇs XIII. Corps, was transferred to the German Sčdarmee under General v. Bothmer.  The Sčdarmee formed the southern half of the immovable salient between Lutsk and the Bukovina.

GWS, 9/03
Orders of Battle:╩ Podolian Front, early August 1916
Immediately preceding Roumania's declaration of war against Austria
Deutsch Sčdwest Armee,
Gen. d. Inf. von Bothmer
╩╩╩╩ VI. K.u.K. Korps, Gen. d. Inf. Arz von Strauženburg
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XII. inf. div., Feldmlt. von Hinke
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XXXIX. Honved inf. div., Genmj. von Dani
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ I. Deutsch inf. div., Genlt. Zietlow
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XLVIII. Deutsch inf. div., ?
Introducing the Newest Enemy for 1916:  Roumania!
Gen. Gheorge Georgescu, Mil. Mission to Britain
Gen. Dumitru Iliescu, Chief of the General Staff
Gen. Ioan Culcer, Cmd. of the 1st Army
Gen. Grigore Crainiceanu, Minister of War
Orders of Battle:╩ Transylvanian Front, early September 1916
Immediately following Roumania's invasion of Transylvania
I. Armee,
Gen. d. Inf. Arz von Strauženburg
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ LXXI. inf. div., Genmj.
Goldbach
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XXXIX. Honved inf. div., Genmj. von Dani
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ LXXXIX. Deutsch div., Gen. d. Inf. von Lčttwitz
╩╩╩╩ VI. Korps, Feldmlt. von Fabini
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ LXI. inf. div., Genmj. von Grallert
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XXXVII. Honved inf. div., Genmj. Haber
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ LXXII. inf. div., Feldmlt. Hefelle

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For the invasion of Hungary,the Roumanians concentrated their forces into four main armies.  The first army was to break through the Vulkan Pass and charge toward the Lower Maros river, seizing vital railway lines through the Eisentor Pass (the way to Banat from Transylvania) in the process.  A small action by the Roumanian 1. division against the confluence of the Cerna, Temes, and Danube rivers was thwarted quite early by the 145. infantry brigade and the Bulgarian 12. division in the area.  To stop the Roumanian first army, Arz dispatched the 144. infantry brigade.  The second Roumanian push was against Hermannstadt by sending the Alt-Lotru Group through the Red Tower Pass.  In this, the Roumanians had the biggest early success, for this group was their largest.  Against this army, Arz had the 51 infantry division and the 143. brigade. 

The Roumanian second army was thrown into the six passes that converge on Kronstadt.  They succeeded in pushing nearly as far as Sepsi Szent GyÜrgy in the Szelker lands by 4 September.  To fend off these six separate invasions, Arz put the 71. infantry division in their way, along with the 141 and 142 bigades.  Finally, the Roumanian North Army attacked theoretically the whole Moldavian front, but really focused on the northern tier where the Russian 9. Army was likeliest to render aid.  Against this force, Arz had the 16. and the 19. Landstčrm infantry brigade, part of the 61. division.  This division alone was to cover 100 km of frontier.  No wonder the German high command ordered all reserves in all fronts of all allies to render immediate and high priority aid to Hungary in the first week of September!

GWS, 9/03
Orders of Battle:╩ Moldavian Front, early November 1916
Immediately following Roumania's defeat
I. K.u.K. Armee,
Gen. d. Inf. Arz von Strauženburg
╩╩╩╩ Stein Group, Genlt.
von Stein
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ I. K.u.K. kav. div., Feldmlt. von Ruiz
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ VII. K.u.K. inf. div., Genmj.
Goldbach
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ VIII. Bayerisch res. div., Genlt. von Stein
╩╩╩╩ VI. K.u.K. Korps, Feldmlt. von Fabiani
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ XXXIX. Honved inf. div., Oberst Daubner
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ LXI. Honved inf. div., Genmj. von Grallert
╩╩╩╩ XXI. K.u.K. Korps, Feldmlt. von Lčtgendorf
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ LXXII. inf. div., Feldmlt. Bandian
╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩ LXXIII. Honved inf. div., Genmj. Haber
The Chief of the General Staff, 1917
General Artur Arz as the Chief of Staff to the Supreme Commander, His Majesty Kaiser Karl.
The Chief of the General Staff and his Supreme Commander, Kaiser Karl, conferring on military matters at Army HQ in Baden, near Vienna.
General Arz surveys the carnage of war as he tours the Tagliamento after the victorious Battle of Caporetto, November 1917.
The Austrian Chief of Staff meets with the German Quartmaster General, Ludendorff (marked with an X), at Supreme Headquarters in Baden, 2 July 1917.
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