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Edler von Webenau
|Viktor Weber von Webenau was born on 13 November 1861 in Neuhaus bei Lavamünd, in Carinthia. Christian Frech summarizes his career:
1879 as Kadett-Offizierstellvertreter from Infanteriekadettenschule Liebenau zu FJB 27
1.11.1880 Lieutenant, General staff branch
1.5.1911 Major General and commander 4th Mountain Brigade
25.4.1914 Supreme Military Court
1.7.1914 Vice-President of SMC
9.4.1915 Commander 47. ITD
26.2.1916 Military Gouvernour of Montenegro
10.7.1917 Commander X. Corps
1.11.1917 General der Infanterie
7.2.1918 Commander of all mobile troops in the districts of Vienna, Krakow, Lemberg
15.5.1918 Commander XVIII. Corps
July 1918 Commander VI. Corps
27.10. - 3.11.1918 Chief of the "Waffenstillstandskommission" with Italy
In January 1915, FML Weber was sent to replace FML Friedrich Novak as the commander of the 47. Infantry Division. Weber held this command for more than a year, until he was succeeded by FML Rudolf Braun in February 1916. This division was part of FML Ignaz Trollmann's XIX. Corps, which was ordered to occupy Montenegro at that time.
The Governorship of the Black Mountain
The Battle of Mojkovac on 7 January 1916 threw back the advancing 47. division, but there two others descending on Montenegro from different directions. All intended to meet on the summit of Lovcen, the Black Mountain. Already, Prince Peter had retreated from the summits of Kuk and Krstac, leacing the road to Cetinje behind the mountain open. The government was still situated in the town of Podgorica.
On 13 January, Weber received two Montenegrin parliament ministers who offered to negotiate peace. Weber sent them back to King Nikola with one word: Surrender. This much Nikola would have accepted, but he was not about to follow through with the Austrian demand that all Serbian soldiers should be arrested and handed over to them. The reasoning is obvious: Nikola's soldiers would not attack their Serb brothers, especially as the Serbian army was retreating under such devastating conditions as was to be found in the winter in Albania. As Weber pushed toward Podgorica, Nikola decided to flee with his family, leaving his army and government behind on 19 January. In doing so, he ended any chance for Montenegro to be represented among the Entente. Serbia's domination and destruction of the ancient fortress of Serbdom would be complete. Montenegro surrendered to the commander of the III. Army, GdI Herman Freiherr von Kövess, and he was their governor for a month.
Bigger things awaited Kövess in the Tirol, so Weber became the military governor of Montenegro on 26 Feb 1916, but he was left with a unique situation: the Montenegrin army was mostly made of militia and guerrilla bands to start with, so when it was disbanded, the soldiers simply fled to the hills and forests, gathered what few weapons remained, and behaved as they always had--violently. in May 1916, Radomir Vesovic organised thefirst bands of rebels, and by the summer, he launched a series of attacks on the occupying forces.
Weber resorted to reprisals against civilians who aided the rebels, but as was to be expected, this did little to sway them. Weber's occupying force chased Vesovic's 300 men all over the rugged countryside, engaging in dozens of firefights. These guerrillas were by no means a cohesive force, however. Vesovic never managed to engage them all in a single operation. By the end of 1917, Weber was no longer governor in Montenegro, but Vesovic had sided with the Austrians. His own rebels had rebelled against him, declaring themselves for a Greater Serbian state. Vesovic the Montenegrin saw more of a future for Montenegro under the Austrians than with the Karadjordjevic.
Back to War
On 10 July 1917, former Austrian Chancellor Heinrich von Clam-Martinic was appointed to the governorship and Weber was given an active command. He took control of the X. Corps in the critical period of July 1917, succeeding GO Karl Kritek. Critical, for this was when Kerensky had ordered the last Russian offensive in WWI, and Weber was of better use to the Empire in the field than hunting mountain brigands on the Black Mountain. This command was held until February 1918, when he surrendered the Corps to FML Franz Kanik, and the whole force was redesignated the 4. Generalcommando. GdI Weber returned to this command for less than a month, before surrendering control of it to FZM Heinrich Goiginger, who led the Generalkommando until wars' end. Weber was then appointed to command the XVIII. Corps in May 1918, replacing GdI Ferdinand Kosak. He led the Corps until July, when it was taken over by FML Ludwig Goiginger. Weber then took command of the VI. Corps from GdI Ernst Kletter Edler von Grommnik in that month. He maintained this command until October, when he was replaced by FML Adalbert von Felix.
General Weber was awarded the Knights cross of the Order of Maria Theresia for storming the heights of Mount Lovcen, together with Generals Trollmann and Sarkotic. Viktor Weber von Webenau died on 4 May 1932 in Innsbruck.
|Weber von Webenau as Feldmarschalleutnant, 1914|
|Orders of Battle: Polish Front, August 1914
Immediately preceding the invasion of Poland
I. Armee, Gen. d. Kav. Viktor Dankl
V. Korps, Feldzeugmeister Puhallo von Brlog
XXXVII. Honved inf. div., Feldmlt. Weber
|Orders of Battle: Galician Front, Winter 1915
Immediately preceding the Battles for the Carpathians
III. Armee, Gen. d. Inf. Boroevic von Bojna
Puhallo Group, V. Korps, Feldz. Puhallo
XXXVII. Honved inf. div., Feldmlt. Weber
|Orders of Battle: Balkan Front, June 1915
Shortly after Italy’s declaration of war against the Empire
Theatre of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Dalmatia, Gen. d. Inf. v. Sarkotic
Coastal watch Castelnuovo, Bocche die Cattaro, Feldmlt. Edl. v. Weber
|Orders of Battle: Albanian Front, January 1916
Immediately following the defeat of Serbia
III. Army, Gen. d. Inf. Kövess von Kövesshaza
XIX. Korps, Feldmlt. Trollmann
XLVII. inf. div., Feldmlt. von Weber
|Orders of Battle: Italian Front, October 1918
Immediately preceding the Battle of Vittorio Veneto
XI. Armee, Generaloberst Scheuchensteuel
VI. Korps, Gen. d. Inf. Weber von Webenau
LIII. inf. div., Genmj. Korzer
XVIII. inf. div., Genmj. von San Martino
XXXIX. Honved inf. div., Feldmlt. von Doberdo
|Villa Giusti: Where the Honour of the Empire was Broken|
|It was here, late on 30 October 1918 at the Villa Giusti, which was serving as Italy's Army HQ, that General Weber had come though enemy lines in order to make peace. The General was certain of his army's defeat. The enemy was haughty and determined. Terms were harsh. The armistice was executed in confusion. Neither side understood the other properly. But Italy did not have to, for she was victorious. Order broke down. Italian divisions thrust forward hours too soon. They attacked, even as Austrian soldiers had stacked their weapons, expecting to travel home. Some 400,000 Austrian POWs were captured. Most faced months in terrible camps. Many thousands died of disease unnecessarily. Villa Giusti is a place of historical triumph for the Italians. It is an almost forgotten monument to needless tragedy for the Austrians.
GWS, 12/03 [rev. 3/05