Svetozar Boroevic - History of World War I - WW1 - The Great War

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Svetozar Boroevic Information

Svetozar Boroevic

Place of birth: Umetic, Croatian Military Frontier, Austrian Empire (today's Croatia)
Place of death: Klagenfurt, First Austrian Republic (today's Austria)
Allegiance: Austria-Hungary
Service/branch: Austro-Hungarian Army
Rank: Field Marshal
Battles/wars: First World War
Eastern Front
Italian Campaign
Awards: Military Merit Cross,
Cross of the Order Star of Romania,
Persian Order of the Sun and the Lion,
Order of the Iron Crown,
Knights' Cross of the Order of Leopold,
Military Order of Maria Theresa

First World War

Eastern Front
Italian Campaign

Svetozar Boroevic (or Borojevic) von Bojna (December 13, 1856 - May 23, 1920) was a Croatian Serb-born Austro-Hungarian field marshal. Born in the village of Umetic, Military Frontier, Kingdom of Croatia in the Austrian Empire, Boroevic joined cadet school at the age of ten and rose to the rank of Austro-Hungarian Field Marshal by 1918. He was described as one of the finest defensive strategists of the First World War.

Private life

Boroevic was born on 13 December 1856 in the village of Umetic, Military Frontier, Kingdom of Croatia, Austrian Empire (present-day Croatia). He was the son of a Croatian Serb Grenzer family. After finishing grade school he moved to Kamenica and later Graz where he studied in military academies. In 1889, he married Leontina von Rosner, a daughter of a late Austrian colonel, Friedrich Ritter von Rosner. The couple had one son, Friedrich Borojevic von Bojna, named after his mother's father. The son died in 1918.

Military career

He advanced quickly through the ranks (corporal in 1872, lieutenant in 1875) and became a commander in the Croatian Home Guard, an equivalent to the Hungarian Honvd and the Austrian Landwehr, defensive troops of parts of the Danube Monarchy, in times of peace not belonging to the Imperial & Royal Army. Before the First World War, he commanded the 42nd division of the Croatian Home Guard. In 1903 he was formally released from the Home Guard, already having been assigned to the Imperial & Royal Army in 1898. During war, the defensive troops were part of the Armed Forces commanded by the Supreme Army Command (Armeeoberkommando) and could be used at the front.

He distinguished himself in the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878 and was promoted to the rank of Oberleutnant in 1880. Between 1887 and 1891 he underwent additional military training and worked as an instructor after that, becoming a major in 1892. In 1897 he was promoted to the rank of Oberst (colonel), and appointed chief of staff of the Seventh Corps of the Imperial & Royal Army in June 1898, where he remained until February 1904. In 1904 he was promoted Major General (Generalmajor). In 1905 he was created a Hungarian nobleman (since Croatia was one of the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown) with the attribute von Bojna by the Emperor & King. In 1908 the monarch made him Field Marshal Lieutenant (Feldmarschallleutnant). He became the commander of the Sixth Corps of the I & R Army in April 1912 and in 1913 General of the Infantry.

World War I

World War 1 Picture - Svetozar Boroevic

Picture - Svetozar Boroevic

When the World War I started in 1914 he was in command of the Sixth Corps on the Eastern Front. In early September 1914 he became commander of the Third Army, and in early October he liberated Fort Przemysl, providing a temporary relief in the Siege of Przemyśl. His troops then pulled back to hold positions around Limanova, at the Dukla mountain pass, and elsewhere on the Carpathians, stopping the Russians from breaking out on the Danube. The Russian counter-offensive in February and March 1915 almost managed to push Boroevic's Third Army back towards Hungary, but they managed to hold just enough for the German reinforcements to arrive and save the already endangered Budapest and the Pressburg bridgehead. They then proceeded to join the general Austro-Hungarian/German offensive (with the Austro-Hungarian Fourth Army under Joseph Ferdinand and the German Eleventh Army under Mackensen) that pushed back the Russians and would eventually retake Przemysl.

However, Boroevic did not remain on the Eastern Front long enough to see Przemysl liberated in June, because on May 25, 1915 he was sent to the new Italian front, taking part of the Third Army with him and leaving the rest to Army Group Mackensen. There Boroevic became the Commander of the Fifth Army, with which he organized a defense against the Italians and broke countless offensives. Franz Conrad von Hxtzendorf, Chief of Staff (Generalstabschef), Supreme Army Command (Armeeoberkommando), recommended that they fall back and avoid trying to defend the better part of today's Slovenia, claiming it was undefendable. However, Boroevic persisted with thirty of his detachments, maintaining that the Slovenes would stand their ground when faced with the defense of their own country. This appealed to emperor Francis Joseph and he was given command on the Soča (Isonzo) front.

Boroevic's troops prevented a total of eleven Italian attacks and he was hailed as the Knight of Isonzo in Austria-Hungary, while his soldiers adored him and called him Na Sveto! ("Our Sveto!"). For valor in combat he was promoted to the rank of Generaloberst on May 1, 1916. On August 23, 1917 he rose to the position of commander of the Southwestern Front, which was later renamed Army Group Boroevic. In January 1918, he opposed Hungarian proposals to split Austria-Hungary's Army into separate Austrian and Hungarian units. He became Field Marshal on February 1, 1918, and was also awarded with numerous medals, including the highest order for Austro-Hungarian soldiers, the Military Order of Maria Theresia.

The front was maintained until November 1918, when the Hungarian troops left the positions for returning to Hungary on the order of the new Hungarian war minister (Hungary had canceled the real union with Austria by October 31). After that Boroevic regrouped at the Tagliamento river, then fell back to Velden, where he sent a telegram to the Emperor offering to march on Vienna to fight the anti-Habsburg revolution in the imperial capital. It is not sure whether the Emperor has been handed out this message (Boroevic doubted it); the offer was refused on behalf of the Emperor. After the Imperial & Royal Army had been demobilized by the Emperor on November 6, Boroevic was retired, by the I & R War Ministry in liquidation, by December 1, 1918.

After The War

World War 1 Picture - Tomb of Boroevic at the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna, Austria

Picture - Tomb of Boroevic at the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna, Austria

After the split-up of Austria-Hungary, Boroevic decided to become a citizen of the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. He was not welcome, although he even had offered his services to the National Council of SHS. So he stayed in Carinthia, now Austria's southernmost state; his personal belongings, which were on transport in Slovenia, the former Austrian crownland of Carniola, were confiscated there. Boroevic could not understand the mean treatment he had to experience, − the only field marshal the Southern Slavs had ever produced, as he wrote in his memoirs. He died in a hospital at Klagenfurt, the capital city of Carinthia. His body was transferred to Vienna where he was entombed at the Central Cemetery (Grave # 62 in the New Arcades to the right of the Church of St. Charles Borromeo). The grave had been paid for by the former emperor Charles, who lived in Switzerland then. He could not take part in the funeral, since he had been banished from Austria for his lifetime by the Habsburg Law since April 3, 1919.

Imperial Croatian Home Guard

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Source: WikiPedia

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