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Karl von Kuk
Karl Kuk, born 12 January 1853 in Triest. The following timeline summarizes Kuk’s career: 

1876 Promoted to Leutnant
1878 Promoted to Oberleutnant
1878 Part of Construction Battalion No. 2 in Bosnia
1878 Part of the planning and defense works office at Brixen until 1883
1883 Worked in fortress construction office in Trient until 1884
1884 Part of the Military Intelligence Staff until 1886
1886 Commanded General Regiment No. 2 until 1889
1886 Promoted to Hauptmann, 2nd Class
1889 Served on the Military Intelligence Staff and the Technical Staff until 1895
1891 Promoted to Hauptmann, 1st Class
1895 Director of Mil. Intelligence at Mostar, teacher in the military school until 1896
1895 Promoted to Major
1896 Served on the General Staff until 1897
1897 Promoted to Oberstleutnant
1898 Worked in the “Soldiers’ Service” Office Infantry Regiment No. 43 until 1902
1900 Promoted to Oberst
1902 Made commander of the Army Railroad/Communications Regiment until 1906
1906 Elevated to command Infantry Brigade No. 72 until 1908
1908 Appointed commander of the Peterwardein fortress until 1909
1908 Promoted to Generalmajor
1909 Appointed commander of the Komárom fortress until 1912
1911 Promoted to Feldmarschalleutnant
1914 Appointed of the Krakau fortress until 1916
1915 Promoted to Feldzeugmeister
1916 Appointed generalgouvernor of Austrian-occupied Poland at Lublin until 1917

Krakau:  A Great City, a Great Fortress

Kuk was firmly in command of the Krakau Fortress at the beginning of the World War.  This position became highly precarious during the late Autumn 1914, as the Russians bore down upon Krakau after having conquered nearly all of Galicia and put the other great Fortress, Przemysl, and its commander General
Hermann Kusmanek under siege.  For the Russians, capturing Krakau would enable them to bring their armies in two critical directions:  to the west and into industrialised German Upper Silesia, or to the southwest, into Moravia and toward Vienna. 

The passes around Biala to the south of Krakau therefore had to be taken along with the city.  Fortunately, the Austrian armies around Krakau had gained enough determination after a long period of retreat to stand at Krakau and prevent its fall.  Russian General Radko Dmitriev and his III. Army decided to push south of city and make for the passes.  Generals
Josef Roth and Artur Arz rushed their Corps to the aid of General Svetozar Boroevic and his III. Army on either side of the pass and created a situation so dangerous that Radko Dmitriev backed away from both the passes and Krakau. Thus, the so-called Battle of Limanowa was one of the most decisive engagements in the entire war. 

Kuk's forces were engaged in fierce fighting with the Russian III. Army during this battle in early December 1914.  The city was being slowly surrounded on the north and especially the south sides.  The western side of the city commanded the railway leading from German Silesia to Krakau, and from Moravia.  Its fall could not be permitted, especially as it was facilitating the movement of vast numbers of troops from General
Viktor Dankl's I. Army to the III. Army.  In protecting the railway, Kuk's soldiers rendered a valuable service to the whole armed forces.

Following the defeat at Limanowa, the Austrian I. and III. Armies managed to push Radko Dmitriev back in a series of counteroffensives.  Krakau was saved from the Russians, and its fortress walls were never again approached by the enemy.

The march forward of the Central Powers began in May 1915, and the Russians were finally and permanently forced out of Congress Poland.  This territory was conquered by Army Group Linsingen composed of the I. Army of FZM
Paul Puhallo, the IV. Army of Archduke Josef Ferdinand, and the newly formed Army of the Bug under General Alexander Linsingen himself.   Following these triumphs, the area conquered by Linsingen's armies was handed over to Austrian authorities.  Erich Freiherr von Diller was appointed governor general and his office was established at Lublin.

After Diller was dismissed, Kuk became the second governor general of the Austrian-occupied sector of Congress Poland in May of 1916.  His first objective was to continue rounding up suspected Russian collaborators who persisted in the villages of Poland.  Kuk's rule was considered harsh, but not any more than his eager predecessor.

In Lublin on 5 November 1916, Kuk read a proclamation from both Kaisers of Germany and Austria that Poland was to be an independent kingdom.  How this was to be or in what shape the independence was to take was left unanswered.  In reality, the Germans and Austrians refused to concede one inch of their authority in their respective zones of occupation.  Kuk also declared the formation of the Polish national army, the crux of the whole scheme.  He was replaced in May 1917 by GM
Stanislaus Graf von Szeptycki owing to his failure to raise contingents for the Polish national army.  Karl von Kuk died in 1935.

GWS, 11/01 [rev. 12/02]
Orders of Battle:  Eastern Front, May 1915
Immediately preceding the Dunajec offensive
Armee Woyrsch, preuß. Generaloberst
v. Woyrsch
Fortress Krakau, Feldmlt. Kuk
    Chief of Staff, Obstlt.
Edl. v. Haller