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Emil (and Alfred) Ritter von Ziegler
Emil Ziegler: On the left as Oberst and on the right as GdK
The Story of Emil

Emil Ritter von Ziegler was born on 14 April 1861. On 8 May 1889, he married Maria Mitlacher (born 14 April 1864), and they had five children: Gertrude (*2.2.1890), Helene (*4.12.1890), Susanne (*9.10.1893), Friedrich Gustav (*28.5.1899), and Gustav Alfred (*3.1.1909).  Oberst Emil Ritter von Ziegler was the commander of Dragoons Regiment Erzherzog Joseph No. 15 from Feb 1901 through June 1907,  and was succeeded by Oberstleutnant Alois Kucera.

At the beginning of World War I, FML Emil Ziegler was commander of the 2. Cavalry Division in the XIV. Corps of the 3. Army. This was an extremely dangerous place to be in late summer 1914, as the sectors of Eastern Galicia covered by the XIV. Corps was severely undermanned. Ziegler's Division survived the Russian onslaught and was transferred to the 1. Army in the late autumn, after the 3. Army was reorganised. 

Emil von Ziegler replaced FML
Heinrich von Tschurtschenthaler and became commander of the XVIII. Corps in March 1915, as his predecessor had been called to prepare defenses in the Tirol in case of an Italian attack.  Ziegler was promoted to the rank of General der Kavellerie on 1 May 1915, and remained in command of the Corps until 1 August 1915, when he unexpectedly died. Likely, cholera took his life.  Emil was one of the highest-ranking officers in the k.u.k. Armed Forces to have died while serving in the field.

Meanwhile, GM Rudolf Ritter von Willerding was briefly interim commander of the Corps.  It was reorganised during August and FML
Klaudius Czibulka was appointed to command the XVIII. Corps thereafter.

Following his death, Emil's family left Salzburg and moved into the house of his brother, Alfred Ritter von Ziegler.  Emil's eldest son Friedrich served briefly on the Italian front in 1918.  After the war, Friedrich joined a construction crew in Brazil, but soon returned to Europe to study mechanical engineering in Mannerheim, Germany.  Friedrich planned to emigrate to the U.S., but was diverted to Mexico, where he met his future wife, Emilia, and decided to settle there.

The Story of Alfred

Emil's brother, Alfred Ritter von Ziegler was born on 28 August 1854 in Hermannstadt, Transylvania. He was ranked Oberleutnant when he became chief of staff for the VI. Army Corps from October 1894 to September 1900.  Alfred was promoted to GdI on 29 October 1910.  He returned to the VI. Corps as its commander from April 1910 until April 1912 until he was succeeded by FML
Svetozar Boroevic. Alfred was ordered to command the II. Army Corps from April 1912 until February 1914, when he retired and was replaced by FZM Blasius Schemua. He was not retired for very long.  At the beginning of the war, Alfred was called into service despite having bouts of illness.  Alfred never married, but accepted his brother's family into his house after Emil died.  Alfred Ritter von Ziegler died in February 1920.

GWS, 8/03 [rev. 11/04]



Orders of Battle for Emil v. Ziegler:  Galician Front, August 1914

Immediately preceding the invasion of Poland
3. Armee, GdK Rudolf Ritter v. Brudermann
     XIV. Korps, GdI
Erzherzog Josef Ferdinand
          2. kav. div., FML Emil Ritter v. Ziegler
                3. kav. brig., GM Albert Freiherr v. Abele
                16. kav. brig., GM Erich Freiherr von Diller

Ziegler’s cavalry division was among the few units charged with guarding the eastern frontier of the Empire, as most commanders thought the main battles would be fought in Poland.  However, the biggest gathering point for Russia’s mobilisation was in Kiev gubernija, directly east of Galicia.  Thus, when Russian armies crossed the Zbrucz river into Austrian territory in the second week of August, they outnumbered the Austrian defenders 20 to 1 in many instances.  Ziegler’s cavalry took part in the Battle of the Zlota Lipa on 24 August 1914, which should have warned Austrian HQ of how dire the situation was.  Instead, the invasion of Poland continued, and Ziegler was ordered by the Archduke Josef Ferdinand to withdraw what little remained of his division from the collapsing Zlota Lipa front a further 12 miles northwest to make a stand with the rest of the XIV. Corps on the Gnila Lipa.

It was here, on 28 August 1914, that the Russians virtually destroyed the Austrian 3. Army.  Some survivors of Ziegler’s cavalry managed to flee the rout.  To his left, the 4. cavalry division was destroyed to a man and GM
Eduard v. Zaremba had nothing to command.  The 5. Honvéd cavalry division, which was one of the few representatives of the missing 2. Army, was also destroyed, and its commander, FML v. Froreich, was either killed in the maelstrom or committed suicide.  Within a week, Ziegler received replacement troops, but these were thrown into a fighting retreat, which continued throughout September.  Overall, the 2. cavalry division retreated more than 180 miles in 30 days.

GWS, 9/04


Orders of Battle:  Galician Front, October 1914
Immediately preceding the Battles of the San
4. Armee, GdI Erzherzog Josef Ferdinand
     XIV. Korps, FML
Josef Roth
          2. kav. div., FML Emil Ritter v. Ziegler

By the second week of October, drastic changes had taken place in the command and organisation of the armies.  Ziegler’s division was still part of the XIV. Corps, but the Corps was transferred to the IV. Army, and the Corps commander became the new army chief; all of this helped when XIV. Corps led the charge to relieve the besieged fortress of Przemysl, which was reached on 6 October 1914.  Two days later, three Austrian armies took up defensive postures on the San River, as three Russian armies with twice as many Corps thrust forward to recapture what they had lost.  Ziegler’s cavalry opposed the Russian XXI. Corps almost alone in the neighbourhood of Stary and Rudnik, small towns on the lower San.  Successful counterthrusts by Ziegler and GdK
Leopold Hauer’s 9. Cavalry division succeeded in driving the XXI. Corps back across the San after they slipped over on the night of 9 October. 

After this, Ziegler’s division became subordinate to Hauer, and together they formed Gruppe Hauer, which operated through the third week of October under the X. Corps of GdI
Hugo Meixner. Indeed, Meixner sent a desperate message for Hauer Group's aid on 22 October 1914, for although the Battle of the San intensified around Nisko and Rudnik thanks to an offensive by the Austrian XIV. Corps, further north the Russian III. Caucasian Cavalry Corps hammered the X. Corps’ lines and required an equal match to hold the flanks of the developing assault.  The San Battles turned against Austria as the Russians stepped up pressure to the north of the Vistula river, and within a week, another retreat of 140 miles was under way.

GWS, 9/04


Orders of Battle:  Galician Front, Mid-November 1914
Immediately preceding the battle for Krakau
1. Armee, GdK Viktor Dankl v. Krasnik
     II. Korps, FML
Johann Freiherr v. Kirchbach auf Lauterbach
          2. kav. div., FML Emil Ritter v. Ziegler
          25. inf. div., FML
Erzherzog Peter Ferdinand
          4. inf. div., FML
Rudolf v. Stöger-Steiner

From the beginning of November, desperate preparations were being made west of Germany’s territory of Upper Silesia, where retreat and reorganisation had placed  the 2. cavalry division.  Now, Ziegler’s division was separated from Hauer, who was sent to aid the 2. Army, while Ziegler was attached to the 1. Army as part of the II. Corps.  His nemesis was still Russia’s III. Caucasians, only now they fought only 5 miles east of Upper Silesia.  Much of Ziegler’s cavalry had the job of patrolling the Czenstochau-Bendzin railway (both places were in Russian Poland but remained under Austro-German occupation during this time).  This track ran parallel to the whole front for more than 50 miles, and was the most critical supply route from Silesia for the entire Austrian 1. Army and Army Group Woyrsch. 

The Russians were aware of this and had their Cossack cavalry stage dozens of raids to destroy this track throughout November 1914.  By the end of the month, the Russians focused less on Silesia and more toward Krakau, relieving the Czenstochau sector of the worst pressure.  Ziegler’s division was not involved in the Battle of Limanowa, but provided cover as reserve divisions moved south by rail through their sector.

GWS, 9/04

Orders of Battle:  Northern Front in January 1915
Immediately preceding the Battles for the Carpathians
1. Armee, GdK Viktor Dankl v. Krasnik
     Martiny Group, FML
Hugo v. Martiny
          14. inf. div., GM v. Willerding
          106. Landstürm inf. div., FML v. Kletter
          91. Schützen brig., GM Urbanski v. Ostrymiecz
          2. kav. div., FML Emil v. Ziegler

Orders of Battle:  Eastern Front, May 1915

Immediately preceding the Dunajec offensive
II. Armee, Gen. d. Kav. Eduard von Böhm-Ermolli
    XVIII. Korps, Gen. d. Kav. Emil Ritt. v. Ziegler
   Chief of Staff, Oberst Edl. v. Lunzer
       44. Schützen div., Feldmlt.
Ludwig Goiginger
                17. inf. brig., Oberst Edl. v. Dietrich
                122. inf. brig., Oberst Ritt. v. Wasserthal
                44. field art. brig., Oberst Edl. v. Ellenberger
        9. inf. div., Genmj. Schön
                 18. inf. brig., Oberst Edl. v. Dokonal
                 53. inf. brig., Genmj. Urbarz
                 9. field art. brig., Oberst Putsek
Emil Ritter von Ziegler as Leutnant above, and Alfred Ritter von Ziegler as FML, right.
Emil Ritter von Ziegler poses in front of his family house in Salzburg, left. Right, a photo of Emil's wife, Marie, taken some time around 1905.
Emil and his wife, above, and the Ziegler family residence, nestled on the left side of a prominent hill in Salzburg, right.
Emil as a cadet in the cavalry school, above, and FML Ziegler at an officer's meeting in Galicia, 1915,  right.
Emil and his staff in Galicia, summer 1915.
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