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|Karl Durski von Trzaska was born in Galicia in 1849. FML Durski led the Polish Legion for more than a year as an officer of the army of Austria-Hungary. Josef Pilsudski was one of his subordinates, in command of the First Brigade of the Legion. Durski was dismissed in winter 1916 and replaced by GM Stanislaus von Puchalski.
Karl Durski von Trzaska died in 1935.
GWS, 10/03 [rev. 12/03]
Attention: Visit FEEFHS map room for a Map of Galicia. Also, see the Map of Volhynia including Lutsk and Kowel (on the far left). Be sure to open in a separate window to toggle between this page and FEEFHS.
|The staff of the Polish Legion located in Volhynia, winter 1915. Durski is in the centre.|
|Orders of Battle: December 1914
Immediately preceding the Battles for the Carpathians
Army Group Pflanzer-Baltin, GdK Karl von Pflanzer-Baltin
Polish Legion, FML Karl Trzaska-Durski
12. Landstürm inf. Brig.
Haller Brig., GM Joszef Haller von Hallenberg
The Polish Legion was stationed in the far eastern part of the Carpathian theatre. Durksi’s troops covered a good 90 km sector consisting of rugged uninhabited mountain peaks and wooded valleys. Into these places attacked Russian cossacks and Caucasus divisions from the Dniester Group. The Legion was facing at least four infantry and two cavalry divisions. The Russians took the Wyszków Pass, the most important in the sector, driving 10 km south into Hungary until Durski stopped them. Haller’s brigade was still partly in Eastern Galicia, fighting in what could be the worst sort of terrain: snowy and windy at high elevation; at least there was a railway that terminated just before the hotly contested Pantyr Pass, which was too high and too little used. Haller kept the Pantyr Pass in Austrian hands through January and February.
To the west of the legion, the Russian 78. Inf. div. attempted a flanking manouever in mid-January but fresh reinforcements in the form of 24. Regiment took over part of Durski’s sector and threw the 78th in reverse, recapturing the Wyszków Pass within a fortnight. The Polish Legion used this momentum to advance over the crest of the Carpathians, and Gen. Norwid-Neugebauer’s brigade had the furthest advance into Galicia of any unit at the beginning of February. Haller’s had not advanced but never yielded, either. The Russians retreated toward Nadworna, the biggest city above the Pantyr Pass, and this town was taken by the Legion by mid-February.
However, the Dniester Group was reinforced by the powerful Russian 9. Army of Gen. Lechitski at this time, and quickly counterattacked, focusing on the Legion, even though GdK Pflanzer-Baltin had reconquered much more territory in other sectors. To counter this assault, Czibulka Corps and the XIII. Corps was brought into the Nadworna sector, while the Polish Legion was moved out in the last week of February. Durski was then given a sector east of Kolomea, which had been hard-won by the XIII. Corps some weeks earlier.