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Karl  Freiherr von Pflanzer-Baltin
Karl von Pflanzer-Baltin was born in Pecs, Hungary, on 1 June 1855.  Now, Oberleutnant Pflanzer-Baltin was appointed to be chief of staff to the XI. Corps in October 1896.  He stayed in this position for more than six years, and then was succeeded by Obst Friedrich Ritter Gerstenberger von Reichsegg und Gerstberg in March 1903.  He was ranked GdK when ordered to command Army Group Pflanzer-Baltin on 3 October 1914, as the Austrian counteroffensive attempted to push the Russians out of Galicia. 

He remained at this post until August 1915.  Before his army group was disbanded, he ascended to command the new VII. Army, which was formed on 8 May 1915.  Pflanzer-Baltin was promoted to Generaloberst on 1 May 1916, along with many other fellow Army Commanders.  On 8 September 1916, Pflanzer-Baltin was replaced as commander of the VII. Army by General
Kirchbach. From then, he was sent to the Balkans and was not part of the higher command until he was promoted to lead Army Group Albanien in September 1918. This change on the Balkan frontlines was necessitated by the Salonika Offensive by the Entente, which forced Bulgaria to surrender on 28 September 1918 and changed the course of the whole war.

Pflanzer-Baltin gained the distinction of being the last General of the Quadruple Alliance in Europe to surrender.  As of November 13, he was still receiving the salute by K.u.K. soldiers under the Imperial colours, even though the both the Austrian and German amistices had long been signed and peace declared over the whole world.  His command in the wild mountains of Albania prevented him from receiving news of Austria's surrender nearly two weeks earlier.

Like his comrades FM
Franz Conrad, GO Samuel Hazai, and FM Hermann Kövess, Pflanzer-Baltin lost a son in the first campaigns in Galicia in 1914.  After the war, he joined private life in Vienna.   Karl Freiherr von Pflanzer-Baltin died on the 8 April 1925.

GWS, 2/02
Orders of Battle:  December 1914
Immediately preceding the Battles for the Carpathians
Army Group Pflanzer-Baltin, GdK Karl von Pflanzer-Baltin
     76. Honvéd inf. Brig., Hpt Csermak
     Guilleame Brig. , Hpt Guilleame
     Hofmann Corps, GM
Peter Hofmann
     131. inf. Brig.
     55 inf. Brig.
     Polish Legion, FML
Karl Trzaska-Durski
           12. Landstürm inf. Brig.
            Haller Brig., GM
Joszef Haller von Hallenberg
      52. inf. Brig.
      Schuller Brig.
      54. inf. Brig.
       Fischer Brig.

As the Austrian 3. Army under GdI Svetozar von Boroevic backed against the Carpathians in the early autumn, it switched front positions with the 2. Army of GdI Böhm-Ermolli.  Both fell back to the central Carpathian Passes, and a gap in the east was left.  This was filled by the German Südarmee under GdI Alexander von Linsingen and GdK Pflanzer-Baltin moved his new Group into position on the extreme right flank. Army Group Pflanzer-Baltin was made up of only about 10 brigades, including a sizeable portion of the Polish Legion.  By November, the Russians had managed to clear the northern half of the Bukowina and much of Eastern Galicia of the Austrian troops, and Pflanzer was stationed at Dorna Watra, and places already within Hungary. The Russians had followed this success with a renewed invasion of Galicia, and Przemysl was put under siege for a second time.

The Dunajec river and the Carpathian heights made up the newest battle front, and though all attention was turned toward the Battles for Krakau, there was plenty of action in the far eastern part of the theatre.  The Russians made a surprise assault across the small Suczawa river in the second week of December 1914.  The Russian forces consisted of the Dniester Group, which numbered ten divisions, mostly of Caucasus and Cossack origin.  It controlled a sector from the Roumanian frontier, covering half of the Bukovina, along the ridges of the Carpathians almost to the Uzsok Pass.   Cossack Brigades charged across the river and seized Radautz for the first time, threatening the rest of Bukovina and the eastern passes into Hungary. 

Further west, Pflanzer urged his brigades to step up pressure on the flanks of Dniester Group, and Schuller’s brigade advanced through the mountains into Galicia, scoring against the Russians but making little difference in the Bukovina.  Throughout the rest of December,  fighting was indecisive, but through a creeping advance, the cossacks managed to wrest all of the Bukovina from Pflanzer’s weak but determined forces.  By the end of December, Krakau was saved by the victory at Limanowa, and the General Staff ordered reinforcements east to aid Pflanzer’s sector.  Several new divisions were added to Army Group Pflanzer-Baltin in January, and these were ready to drive the enemy out of the Bukovina. [rev. 4/04]
Orders of Battle:  Galician Front, early January 1915
Immediately preceding the Battles for the Carpathians

Deutsch Südost-armee, General der Infanterie von Linsingen
Pflanzer-Baltin Army Group, General der Kavallerie von Pflanzer-Baltin
          VI. inf. div., Feldmarschalleutnant
Fürst Schönberg-Hartenstein
          LIV. inf. div., Feldmlt. von Schultheisz
          Polnisch legion, Oberst
von Haller
          CXXIII. k. Ung. Landsturm brigade, Oberst Latzin
     XIII. Korps, Gen. d. Inf.
von Rhemen
          XLII. Honved inf. div., Genmj.
          V. Honved kav. div., Genmj. von Apor
The Carpathians, Winter 1915:  We're finished if they reach Hungary!

Army Group Pflanzer-Baltin commanded a front that extended along the Carpathian ridge from the Wyszkow Pass (controlled by the German Süd Armee under General Linsingen) all the way to Dorna Watra on the Roumanian frontier.  After the miserable fighting of November and December, which had resulted in the loss of the Bukowina to the Russians, Pflanzer-Baltin received fresh reinforcements and assembled them for an offensive in mid-January. 

Starting from the line of Jasina-Carlibaba-Dorna Watra, Army Group Pflanzer-Baltin launched its offensive on January 23 (concurrent with General
Boroevic's III. Army offensive) and succeeded in reconquering the Bukowina with his right wing while his left wing cleaned up Kolomea, Nadworna, and Stanislau.  He was opposed by the Russian Dniester Group. 

It had been Pflanzer-Baltin's plan to attack the weak left flank of the XI. Army, which was then assaulting Linsingen's Südarmee and its hold on the Uzsok and Wyszkow Passes.  However, Dniester Group saved the XI. Army from Pflanzer-Baltin's movement toward Stryj and Kalusz, and the Austrian momentum ground to a halt.  February remained static, but March saw a fresh general offensive by the Russians. 

In March, Gen. Lechitski compelled his XI. Corps to make an attack on the Austrian XIII. Corps’ left in the first week of March.  After a terrific onslaught by two Russian Corps into the weakening flank of the XIII., Pflanzer ordered his two Corps south as the Russians brought a total of six corps into action;
Czibulka withdrew from Stanislau, and Pflanzer ordered Gen. Marschall’s Corps east of Nadworna in support.  Through March, three corps were keeping Nadworna out of Russian hands: Rhemen’s XIII, Czibulka, and Marschall.  The Russians pulled the strong II. Cavalry Corps and threw it against Marschall’s eastern flank at the end of March, but that still left five Russian Corps facing two Austrian.  Meanwhile, Marschall had been shifted to the far right, taking over protection of Czernowitz, which was also the main objective of Lechitski the end of March.  Thus, the spring thaw saw Pflanzer-Baltin above the Carpathians—the only part of the K.u.K. Army beyond the passes. 10/01 [rev. 4/04]

Orders of Battle:  Eastern Front, May 1915
Immediately preceding the Dunajec offensive
VII. Armee (after 8 May, Army Group Pflanzer-Baltin), Gen. d. Kav. Frh. v. Pflanzer-Baltin
   Chief of Staff, Obstlt. Ritt. v. Zeynek
   XI. Korps, Feldmlt.
Edl. v. Korda
   Chief of Staff, Obstlt. Frh. v. Senarclens
       42. Honvéd inf. div., Genmj. Stracker
                83. Honvéd inf. brig., Oberst v. Pillepic
                84. Honvéd inf. brig., Oberst v. Petkovic
        5. Honvéd kav. div., Genmj. Frh. v. Apor
                19. Honvéd kav. brig., Oberst v. Jony
                23. Honvéd kav. brig., Oberst Gf. Lubienski
        6. kav. div., Genmj. Edl. v. Schwer
              5. kav. brig., Oberst Leitner
              14. kav. brig., Oberst Edl. v. Rettich
        Brigade Obstlt. Papp
        Brigade Oberst Schnitzler
   XIII. Korps, Gen. d. Inf.
Frh. v. Rhemen
   Chief of Staff, Obstlt. Stromfeld
      Gruppe Feldzeugsmeister Ljubicic, FZM
Stefan Ljubicic
               9. inf. brig., Genmj. Ritt. Weiss v. Mainprugg
              16. inf. brig., Oberst Köckh
       6. inf. div., Feldmlt.
Fürst Schönburg
               11. inf. brig., Genmj. v. Stöhr
               12. inf. brig., Oberst Rudolf Müller
               6. field art. brig., Genmj.
Karl Kratky
        5. inf. div., Feldmlt. Edl. v. Habermann
              10. inf. brig., Oberst Adalbert v. Kaltenborn
               5. field art. brig., Oberst Edl. v. Senkowski
   Korps Czibulka, Feldmlt.
Klaudius v. Czibulka
   Chief of Staff, Obstlt. Hermann v. Langer
       36. inf. div., Feldmlt. Ritt. v. Schreiter
              13. inf. brig., Oberst Boleslav Wolf
              72. inf. brig., Genmj. Edl. v. Luxardo
              36. field art. brig., Oberst Joseph Edl. v. Müller
       15. inf. div., Feldmlt.
Ritt. v. Benigni
              29. inf. brig., Oberst v. Stanoilovic
              30. inf. brig., Oberst Leide
              15. field art. brig., Oberst Latka
   Korps Marschall, preuß. Gen. d. Kav. Frh. Marschall
   Chief of Staff, preuß. Oberst v. Dommes
       30. inf. div., Feldmlt.
              88. KSchützen brig.,  Genmj. v. Eckhardt
              Landsturm inf. brig., Obstlt. Bekesi
              ArtBrig.: preuß. Genmj. Gf. v. Schweinitz
       10. kav. div., Genmj. Gf. Herberstein
               4. kav. brig., Oberst v. Horthy
               8. kav. brig., Genmj. Viktor v. Bauer
        8. kav. div., Feldmlt. Edl. v. Lehmann
              13. kav. brig., Oberst Frh. v. Wolf
              15. kav. brig., Genmj. Frh. v. Klingspor

Spring Offensive, May 1915:  We did well, but there's still work to be done!

Thanks to the transfer of the Russian IX. Army under Lechitski and parts of Radko Dmitriev's III. Army to stop Pflanzer-Baltin's advance in the winter, the Dunajec front was weakened considerably.  This provided General Mackensen the opportunity to break through this line and drive on Przemysl practically unopposed. 

This was begun on May 2 in conjunction with
Archduke Josef Ferdinand's IV. Army  and Boroevic's III. Army.  By June 3, Przemysl had fallen and less than three weeks later, Lemberg was also abandoned by the Russians.  With the whole front moving east in a general fighting retreat, Pflanzer-Baltin attempted to improve his position in Bukowina and Eastern Galicia.  Pflanzer-Baltin was granted the newly assembled VII. Army for the purpose of reconquering Eastern Galicia.

There was sporadic fighting all along the Dniester River between July 14 and 19, but no changes in the front were apparent.  Lechitski was determined to keep this part of the front static, especially when considering that nearly 1,000 miles of Russian trenches were being abandoned in an orgy of desperate devastation. 

During the fierce trials of July and August, Pflanzer-Baltin reconquered Stanislau (taken from him by Lechitski in mid-March), Halicz, and brought the frontlines to the River Sereth by September's end.  It would remain there for many months.

GWS, 12/00
Enemy Portrait:  General Platon Alexeevich Lechitski
General Lechitski began his term in the World War on the Polish Front, guarding the salient against German incursions from Posen and West Prussia.  During the Lodz battles, his IX. Army came narrowly close to being destroyed by General von Below's pincer attack; however, heavy Russian reinforcements saved Poland for Russia at least a few months longer.  By late January, Lechitski's IX. Army was transferred from opposing General Dankl's I. Army, to the eastern Carpathians, where General Pflanzer-Baltin was gaining ground on an otherwise frozen front.  Lechitski immediately launched a coutneroffensive that stopped the Austrian VII. Army and even recaptured Kolomea for Russia.  Lechitski was to command the IX. Army until 1917, when desertion by the troops caused his army to vanish more than by enemy shells. 
Orders of Battle:  Podolian Front, early September 1915
Immediately following the summer counteroffensive and preceding the offensive against Serbia

VII. Armee, Gen. d. Kav. von Pflanzer-Baltin
     XIII. Korps, Gen. d. Inf.
von Rhemen
          XXXVI. inf. div., Feldmlt. von Schreitter
          XV. inf. div., Genmj. Stracker
     Henriquez Korps, Feldmlt.
von Henriquez
          VIII. kav. div., Feldmlt. von Lehmann
          XXX. inf. div., Feldmlt.
     Benigni Korps, Feldmlt.
von Benigni
          VI. kav. div., Genmj. von Schwer
          III. kav. div., Feldmlt.
von Brudermann
          VI. inf. div., Feldmlt.
          V. Honved kav. div., Feldmlt. von Apor
          V. inf. div., Feldmlt. von Habermann
     XI. Korps, Gen. d. Kav.
von Korda
          XLII. Honved inf. div., Feldmlt. Liposcak
     Polish Legion, II. brigade, Oberst Küttner
          Support: X. kav. div., Genmj. Herberstein
Pflanzer-Baltin proves he's a General der Kavallerie in this photo
Orders of Battle for the VII Army, 15 December 1915
At the start of the winter battles for Czernowitz
VII. Armee, GdK Karl Freiherr v. Pflanzer-Baltin
     VI. Corps, GdI
Arz von Straussenberg
        39 HID, GM Blasius v. Dani
        12 ID, GM Edler v. Hinke
     XIII. Corps, Rhemen, GdI
v. Rhemen
        36 ID, FML v. Schreitter
        15 ID, GM v. Richard-Rostoczil
     Korps Hadfy, FML
v. Hadfy
        6 KD, GM v. Schwer
        30 ID, GM Jesser
Korps Begnini, FZM
Ritter v. Begnini
        5 ID, FML v. Habermann
        3 KD, FML
Adolf Ritter v. Brudermann
        8 KD, GM Schnehen
     XI. Korps, GdK
Ignaz Edl. v. Korda
        42 HID, FLM Liposcak
Reserves added at the end of January
        38 HID, GM Werz
        40 HID, GM
Paul v. Nagy
        24 ID, GM Urbarz
        2 KD, GM v. Abele
        21 Schützen Div., GM Podhajsky
Orders of Battle:  Podolian Front, early June 1916
Immediately preceding the Brussilov offensive

. Armee, Generaloberst Pflanzer-Baltin
     XI. Korps, Gen. d. Kav.
von Korda
          5. inf. div., Feldmlt. von Habermann
         40. inf. div., Genmj.
          24. inf. div., Feldmlt. Urbarz
     Benigni Group,
Feldz. Benigni
          3. kav. div., Feldmlt.
von Brudermann
          30. inf. div., Genmj. Jesser
          42. Honved inf. div., Feldmlt.
          8. kav. div., Genmj. von Schnehen
          5. Honved kav. div., Feldmlt. von Apor
          51. Honved inf. div., Genmj. Foglar
     Hadfy Group, Feldmlt.
          21. Schützen div., Genmj. Podhajsky
          6. kav. div., Genmj. von Schwer
     XIII. Korps, Gen. d. Inf.
von Rhemen
          15. inf. div., Genmj. von Weiß-Tihanyi
          2. kav. div., Genmj. von Abele
         36. inf. div., Oberst von Löw
     VI. Korps, Gen. d. Inf.
Arz von Straußenberg
          12. inf. div., Feldmlt. von Hinke
          39. Honved inf. div., Genmj. Blasius von Dani

Although Russia’s Stavka intended a theatre-wide offensive against the Austrian fronts, the opening of the Brusilov Offensive initially occurred only in the north, in the Lutsk sector, and that as a favour to the Italians, then under attack of the Tirol Offensive headed by General Hermann Kövess. 

GWS, 9/03 [rev. 10/05]
Orders of Battle:  Podolian Front, mid-July 1916
Immediately following the Brussilov offensive's breakthrough at Lutsk and later at Czernowitz

VII. Armee, Generaloberst von Pflanzer-Baltin
     XI. Korps, Feldmlt. von Habermann
          LI. Honved inf. div., Genmj. Foglar
          XL. inf. div., Genmj.
     Brudermann kav. Korps, Feldmlt.
von Brudermann
          III. kav. div., Feldmlt.
von Brudermann
          VIII. kav. div., Genmj. von Fluck
     Benigni Group, Feldz.
          XXIV. inf. div., Genmj. Urbarz
          LIX. inf. div., Genmj. Kroupa
          XLIV. Schützen div., Feldmlt. Nemeczek
     Hadfy Group, Feldmlt.
          XXX. inf. div., Genmj. Jesser
          V. Honved kav. div., Feldmlt. von Apor
          XLII. Honved inf. div., Feldmlt.
          XXI. Schützen div., Genmj. Podhajsky
     Kräwel (Deutsch) Group, Genlt. von Kräwel
          VI. K.u.K. kav. div., Genmj. von Schwer
          CXIX. Deutsch div., Genmj. von Behr
          CV. Deutsch div., Genlt. von Kraewe
     K.u.K. Group, Genmj. Leide

Pflanzer-Baltin watched the unfolding Brusilov disaster to the north with bated breath through June.  During this time, big reorganisation of the Austrian forces were underway, as the German High Command had taken overall responsibility for the entire Eastern Front.  Many commanders were ousted at the Germans’ insistence, and new Army Groups were formed, such as Army Group Archduke Karl, under which Pflanzer-Baltin’s 7. Army was now subordinated.

To the south, the Russian 9. Army's commander Lechitski dithered while waiting for more guns and munitions to arrive, as Stavka had originally ordered.  Although the Lutsk breakthrough was a tremendous success, Russian attacks between there and Lechitski’s front were not at all successful, probably owing to the artillery deficit in those sectors; the Austrian 2. Army and the German Südarmee held fast. 

Still, Lechitski had his offensive against Pflanzer-Baltin’s well-defended lines proceed three weeks later at the desperate prodding of Brusilov and Stavka. 

Up to this point, the secret of Pflanzer-Baltin’s success had been his use of strong-points and gunnery redoubts wherever the undulating terrain of southern Galicia and Bukovina would allow.  For a year and a half, the Russian 9. Army had hammered at these points using traditionally successful line assaults, all with futility.  Pflanzer-Baltin maintained a big salient on the Galician plain throughout the terrible winter of 1914-1915, at a time when the rest of the Austrian front was struggling to hold a few mountain passes.  Perhaps these successes and the label “military genius” contributed to his  overconfidence; nevertheless, what Lechitsky had planned was something new.

Lechitsky took Brusilov’s recommendation to abandon this method of attack and instead make focus attacks on weak points, almost as Brusilov had done in the Lutsk sector.  It was sort of an early version of “infiltration” that the Germans would make grand use of in their attacks at Riga and Caporetto in 1917, and during Operation Michael in spring 1918, though the precision of the individual assault squadrons was not so clearly defined by the higher command. 

Lechitski opened his bombardments at the sleepy, indifferent town of Okna in northernmost Bukovina.  “Okna” means “window” and indeed, a gaping hole was left in the front lines.  Through this hole and many other smaller ones, the Russians captured communications trenches and avoided contact with resistant Austrian formations.  The redoubts, finding themselves surrounded by Russian battle formations and cut off from communication with their commanding officers, began surrendering in breath-taking numbers.  Easily 50,000 men were lost within a few days, and another 200,000 followed within the next weeks.  As those redoubts fell, the front lines were pushed up the railway lines into the Bukovina, and by the beginning of July, some 40 kilometers had been gained by Lechitski, and much more was to follow through the month into early August. 

This was probably the biggest territorial gain of the war for the Russians.  Pflanzer-Baltin’s reputation was devastated along with his 7. Army. According to his chief of staff, Hans v. Seeckt, Pflanzer-Baltin succumbed to panic in the first onslaught, and the paralysed command structure could not respond fast enough.  This was when 50,000 soldiers were captured by the Russians.  Pflanzer-Baltin regained his senses shortly and began a tactical retreat, which by the second week had restored order on the front, even though it was still moving in reverse.

GWS, 9/03 [rev. 10/05]
Orders of Battle:  Galician Front, August 1916
Immediately following Roumania's declaration of war against Austria

Army Group Erzherzog Karl, Feldmlt. Erzherzog Karl Franz Josef
VII. Army, Generaloberst von Pflanzer-Baltin
     XI. Korps, Feldmlt. von Haberman
          XL. Honved inf. div., Genmj.
     Brudermann kav. Korps, Feldmlt.
von Brudermann
          III. kav. div., Oberst von Szivo
     Krauss Group, Feldmlt. Krauss
          XXXIV. inf. div., Feldmlt. Krauss
     Reserve: Deutsch Karpathen Korps, Preußisch Genlt.
von Conta
          VIII. kav. div., Genmj. von Fluck

A fresh counteroffensive, set two weeks later than the counteroffensive in the north, was made by fresh reinforcements in the Südarmee, and the Austrian 3. Army had arrived in the east from the Tirol.  By the end of August, Lechitski was forced to cede some ground.  But the earlier successes of Lechitski against his army finally compelled Roumania to declare war on Austria-Hungary.  For this, and the endless petitions by Seeckt to the Army HQ, Pflanzer-Baltin was relieved of his command and temporarily retired.  Karl von Kirchbach took command of the 7. Army and maintained order, even winning back more territory in the September and October counterattacks.

The Germans’ 9. Army and Austria’s new 1. Army scrambled to fight the Roumanians, allowing the 3. Army and Südarmee to proceed with the 7. Army unabated against the Russian 8. and  9. Armies.  All of the territory was recaptured by mid-October.  This was crucial, for the Russians refused to send Roumania troops and aid while the Bukovina sector was still active, and it remained so through the most critical period of Roumania’s invasion of Hungary.  Once Arz’s newly formed I. Army and General Falkenhayn’s reorganised German IX. Army took to the field against the Roumanians, the Russians were licking wounds in the spots where they had first launched their massive blows at the beginning of summer.

GWS, 9/03 [rev. 10/05]
Orders of Battle:  Albanian Front, October 1918
Immediately following Bulgaria's surrender on the Salonika Front

K.u.K. Generalgouvernment Montenegro, Genmj.
Albanian Army Group, Generaloberst von Pflanzer-Baltin
          XLVII. inf. div., Feldmlt. Weiss-Tihanyi von Mainprugg
          LXXXI. inf. div., Feldmlt. Wossala
          IX. kav. div., Feldmlt. Legay von Lierfels
     Oberkommand res., Generaloberst
Sarkotic von Lovcen
          XLV. Schützen div., Genmj. Meisel

GO Pflanzer-Baltin took command of the XIX. Corps in July 1918, which was previously led by GdI Ludwig von Können-Horak. Pflanzer-Baltin renamed it Army Group Albania and engaged the Italians and the French Third Group at Koritsa.  He was able to win the last victory for the Central Powers at the end of August 1918, when the Italians attempted a breakthrough across the trenches north of Valona.  The French staged a diversionary assault, but Pflanzer-Baltin was not distracted and he repulsed the main Italian blow.  Several hundred prisoners were taken and much-needed foodstuffs were also looted from the Italians.  It was the last military victory for the Armies of Austria-Hungary.

His Army Group Albania intended to dig in after this victory, but less than a month later, they were forced to uproot and form a new line of trenches north of Berat, because the whole Balkan Front was being rolled up with the defeat and surrender of the Bulgarians.  Pflanzer made it difficult for the Italians to move from Valona, but they succeeded in occupying Berat in early October.  The Army Group Albania sought refuge in the Albanian interior, where it lost contact with the outside world by the third week in October.  It wouldn't regain that contact until the third week of November, long after the demise of the Empire.  Pflanzer-Baltin was receiving the imperial salute under the schwarzgelb banners weeks after the republic had been declared and Kaiser Karl had abdicated his authority.

GWS, 3/02 [rev. 10/05]