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Mystery Feldmarschalleutnanty


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Dear members,

I have had the attached photo for a number of years and thought (wrongly as it turns out) that I had posted it on the GMIC forum previously. I had not.

My FML has what I feel are a unique set of Orders ans decorations for identification purposes.  I and a couple of other people I have showed it to thought it was FML Georg Komma, but after I received a copy of Balla Tibor's great book on Austro-Hungarian Feldmarschalleutnants it turns out that my photo and the photo Tibor has produced in his book are nothing alike. Hmm! back to the drawing board.

I have trawled through the 1914 -1918 rank lists in the hope of identifying my man, but not one that I can see matches his awards exactly.  One of the closet is Generalmajor Nikolaus Karapansca Edler von Kraina. 

The awards as best I can make out are for my mystery FML are: 

EKO-2, LO-R, FJO-R (peace time ribbon), MVK-3 (KD), MVK-3, Kreigsmedaille or an STM 1, D2/D3, Wound Medal or Bosnian Medal, JM 98, JK 08, MK 13 and an EK II (happy to be corrected)

Does anyone recognise my mystery FML.

Regards,

Ian

FML.jpg

Edited by Ian
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Hi Graham,

I appreciate the response and yes, he does bear a resemblance to Johann Salis-Seewis, but unfortunately the orders and decorations of my FML do not match those of Feldzeugmeister Salis-Seewis.  Also, note the ears on my guy, which are very unusual and they don't match Salis-Seewis's ears.

Regards,

Ian

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Yep, those ears are unique and that is why I thought he would be easily identifiable.....obviously a wrong thought on my part 🙂

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Hi Tifes,

Eduard Ritter Jemrich bears a passing resemblance, but notice the ears..they don't match.  Additionally his awards  don't match my mystery man.   I would hazard a guess and say the search continues, but thank you for your comment.

Regards,

Ian

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Hi Ian,

I will leave an anthropologist research fully in your hands 😉 and I will just concentrate on phaleristics side of the whole matter. Picture is very blurry but if EK0-R2(KDS), LO-R(KDS), FJO-R  and both MVKs: MVK3 (KDS) and MVK3 (Frieden/ Peace time) are present, then I would try it with FML Theodor Ritter von Soretic as medals/awards-wise this is the best match. However, I don’t have a picture…

t.

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Tifes,

I also think Theodor Soretic could be the man I am searching for, but alas I have not been able to locate a photo of him for comparison purposes.

Ian

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Hi Ian,

as good as it gets, but I would say it might be him. However, I do not see his ears properly...😉

t.

 

 

 

GdI Kralicek and GM Soretic.jpg

GM Soretic 1.jpg

GM Soretic 2.png

The first picture (I tried to put an inscription on the picture but it´s barely visible), on the left GdI Kraliček (in the coat) and in the right (tall guy) GM von Soretic.

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Tifes,

Wow! and thanks, these are the first photos I have seen of FML Theodor Soretic.  It is very hard to tell if the photos match, but what you have provided is an excellent starting point.

Cheers,

ian   

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Hello , Its possible ,the pics shows a Field Mass and the Buildings says Italian front. and ? Theodor ritter von Soretic commanded the 42 Infantry Division of the Hungarian Honved in the Italian Front during 1918

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I have tried enlarging the photos to see if I can obtain a clearer view, but unfortunately not clear enough to make a positive finding.  However, I am starting to believe that tifes may be correct and my mystery FML is Theodor Ritter von Soretic, although I can not find any evidence that FML Soretic received a Prussian Iron Cross 2nd class.

 

 

Edited by Ian
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On 26/01/2021 at 21:44, tifes said:

Hi Ian,

as good as it gets, but I would say it might be him. However, I do not see his ears properly...😉

t.

 

 

 

GdI Kralicek and GM Soretic.jpg

GM Soretic 1.jpg

GM Soretic 2.png

The first picture (I tried to put an inscription on the picture but it´s barely visible), on the left GdI Kraliček (in the coat) and in the right (tall guy) GM von Soretic.

These photos are from your collection?

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Good morning,

there is a reasonable resemblance, but overnight checking has revealed that FML Soretic did not receive a Prussian Iron Cross II class, where as my man has one so the chances of them being the same man have diminished in my opinion.

First photo belongs to me. 

Regards,

Ian

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Gentlemen,

first picture in better resolution (I hope). It shows GdI Kraliček as commander of XVI Corps and GM von Soretic as commander of 63 Infantry Division by opening of "Soldatenheim" (soldiers´recreation/aftercare center on occupied territory) of 1st Landsturm brigade  in "Vlk zable" (sic!), followed by the holy mass (other 2 pics).  I do not understand  "Vlk zable" (it doesn't ring a bell, somewhere in nowadays Slovenia maybe?) but definitely Italian front between march 1917 and the bitter end of November 1918.  Taking into consideration his rank (FML) I would say it´s almost sure that he got EK and in my honest opinion 2nd Class is pretty low for general rank. Most AH generals were also awarded by EK 1st class.    

Best,

t. 

 

eroffnung-des-soldatenheimes-der-1-landsturmbrigade-in-vlk-zable-09f909.jpg

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tifes,

Dr. Tibor Balla's excellent book (A Nagy Haboru osztrak-magyar tabornokai:Altabornagyok) on the Austro-Hungarian FML's meticulously lists the non Austro-Hungarian awards to the FML's and he does not list FML Soretic (pages 451/452) with an EK II.  Does that mean FML Soretic didn't receive and EK II possibly not, but to me, it does cast a doubt regarding the two men  being one in the same.

I don't feel knowledgeable enough to comment on the EK II being a 'low award' for a General, but I believe that the Prussians were very strict in awarding an EK II.  Before the recipient could be awarded and EK I (even tough sometimes they awarded both simultaneously) they had to hold the EK II.   

I will spend the afternoon putting together a rough estimate of the number of FML's who were awarded and EK I versus the number awarded an EK II versus no award of an EK.  That should tell us something regarding the significance of the EK and Austro-Hungarian Generals.

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AN update on the awarding of the EK II to FMLs.  Of the 407 Officers who served as FMLs during the period 1914-1918 approx 40 received both classes of the EK, whilst approx 138  received the EK II only. 

From these figures I would suggest that the award of the EK II to Austro-Hungarian FMLs was not a low award. Remembering of course that some/a lot of the FMLs with the EKII probably received it as Generalmajors.

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Dear Ian,

About FML: I don’t know exactly where you´ve found information about 407 FMLs but in 1918 (at the end of the war) there were 119 officers in rank of FML (all branches: kuk Heer, kk Landwehr, ku Landwehr/Honvéd, K. K. Gendarmerie), including 4 brevet FML and one on retirement. This is info from official “Schematismus” books from the period. Even with promoted, non-active, out of active duty, on retirement officers this number is too high, in my honest opinion.

To the EK awarding to AH military personal as main ally partner (and vice-versa MVKs to German military personal): In this respect I would recommend the book “Heldenwerk 1914-1918” from J.C. Steiner, page 14-15. “Exchange key” was final agreed in April/May 1915. Enlisted personal and NCOs: Silver Bravery Medal 2nd Class for EK II and Silver Bravery Medal 1st Class for EK I, however the soldier/ NCO had to be under direct command of his ally (German soldier under AH commanding officer and AH soldier under German commanding officer), so in reality this basically (almost) never happened. So what was a real exchange key? The problem was on AH side, which insisted that EK (both classes) as primary German bravery award, could be awarded only to AH officers (in German army every soldier was entitled to get both classes, regardless the rank) and so EK II corresponded to MVK 3rd class (with war decoration) and EK I to MVK 2nd Class (with war decoration). There was mockery on both sides. German officers were not happy that they would get “something of 3rd class” (as 2nd class was only for higher ranks - Colonel/GM) and AH officers made jokes that while Germans are getting fancy enameled decorations looking like order they are getting some tinny crosses. Enlisted/NCOs exchange rule was Bravery Medals (usually 1st Class, very scarcely Gold one) for KVM (Kriegsverdienstmedaille). It concerned mostly soldiers/NCOs fighting side by side, mostly on East front and Italian front + famous NCOs like aerial aces and submarines crew members (mostly on AH side, because for instance German flying aces were officers). To the numbers: AH officers received in total 7.478 EK II and 341 EK I. It´s very much true that numbers of awarded EK I is quite low compared to EKII as EK I was kept only for very high commanding officer till end 1917 (numbers: 1914 - 5, 1916 – 49, 1917 – 88 and 1918 – 144), but then to boost morale German command decided to award EK I to AH “Truppenführer”(officers commanding brigade and higher, so basically it could be even a colonel). As you can see numbers of awarded EK I in 1918 is almost doubled to 1917 and tripled to 1916.

 

Conclusion: I do not know where you numbers are coming from but FML without EK II would be very strange (he had to be very disrespectful to German allies, saying something or acting by very improper manner which would offend German officers) as this decoration in AH army (any branch) was normally received since the rank of major, in some cases even captain (like flying aces, submarine commander Ritter von Trap received in such rank even EK I). EK I was varying in the course of the war, but FML, who had been very often commanding the army corps (Soretic was commanding “only” division, that´s true but still) was perfectly eligible to receive such decoration. As I stated above, at the very end phase of the war EKI was given even to some brave colonels and GMs. I don’t have any info about German decorations of FML von Soretic but coming from these facts I would say EK II for sure and EK I maybe.

 

I am sorry if I was too long…

t.

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Hi tifes,

Short response to your post.

Your figure of 119 active Feldmarschalleutnants, plus 4 ‘Titular und Charakter’ is correct but you have not included the 124-war activated FMLs. Additionally, there are another 160 FMLs, who were promoted to the rank and/or fulfilled some wartime role between July 1914 and Nov/Dec 1918 and are not listed in the 1918 Rangliste, yet they can be found in the various year Ranglisten.

My Sources:                                                                                                                           Schematimus der k.u.k. Heer und fur der ku.k. Kriegsmarine 1914; Hof-und Staatsdruckerei 1914 1914                                                                                                     Rangliste der k.u.k. Heer 1916; Hof-und Staatsdruckerei 1916                                            Rangliste der k.u.k. Heer 1917; Hof-und Staatsdruckerei 1917                                           Rangliste der k.u.k. Heer 1918; Hof-und Staatsdruckerei 1918                                                                        

Schematismus der Generale und Obersten der K.u.k. Armee (Stand 31 Dezember 1918), Jorg Steiner, Edition S & H 1992                                                                                                                                                                                         

A Nagy Haborou osztrak-magyar tabornokal: Altabornagvok, Dr, Balla Tibor, HM HadtortentiIntezet es Muzuem, Budapest 2019  (I am happy to provide you with some sample pages if you are interested)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Alt-Österreichs Heerführer. Stellenbesetzung in Heer, Landwehr und Kriegsmarine 1541 bis 1918. Self-Published:  Geoerg Zivkovic, Vienna, (Available on-line from the Kriegsarchiv Vienna Austria)

Regimentsinhaber und-Kommandanten des k.u.k. Heeres und der k.k. Landwehr: (1880) 1898-1918 Self-Published; Georg Zivkovic, Vienna 1977 (Available on-line from the Kriegsarchiv Vienna Austria)

As for your points on the awarding of the EK I and EK II I do not have enough knowledge to debate the point . My knowledge has come from the various sources I have listed and I note that only one source (Balla Tibor) has provided a list on non Austrian awards.  

We probably need some one like Christian1962  or Glenn Jewison to comment. 

Regards,

Ian

Edited by Ian
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Gentlemen,

I can just provide some points:

1. The number of more than 400 FML is out of any doubt in my opinion. There is a good overview in Jörg Steiner´s book "Schematismus der Generale und Obersten der k.u.k. Armee 31.12.1918": https://library.hungaricana.hu/en/view/Andere_Steiner_1992/?pg=0&layout=s

2. I am sure there were many FML without EKII. German decorations in general were bestowed just to officers who served in functions and commands connected to german troops or under german command. There were many FML who never had this connection. Don´t forget that many of them were on duty in homeland functions, esp. called back to duty generals.

3. EKII was often given out like a tinnie. There were many doctors and even military officials who received it.

4. EKI was not as rare with lower-ranking officers. There were captains and majors who received it. I can give some examples: Ernst Pauer von Arlau, Edmund Glaise-Horstenau, Alfred Jansa, Rudolf Zu der Luth, Franz Böhme, Friedrich Moro.

5. Indeed it´s a problem that foreign decorations are just listed in the "Personalverordnungsblatt für die k.u.k. Armee" and not in "Rangliste". So you can just find them if you go through ten thousends of pages between 1914 and 1918.

Just my two cents.

I hope Glenn can provide some more facts.

Regards

Christian

 

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Christian,

Thank you for your input and I apologise for mentioning you without providing a 'heads up'.

You have provided some very interesting talking points, and I admit that whilst 400 FMLs is a huge number,  Tibor Balla does go on to list them all. Some had no impact, involvement nor participation in WW I, my point was, although poorly explained, was to highlight that not all (possibly over 65%) of Austro Hungarian FMLs received and EK II during the 1914 - 1918 period.

I also hope Glenn can chime in with even more salient points.

As always I am more than happy tom be corrected. Knowledge is to be shared and not kept a secret.

Regards,

Ian

Edited by Ian
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Hi,

To some particular points: I see your point about 407 FML now. I didn’t count in FMLs activated for the war period as I’ve mentioned only 119 active general officers (those serving in military duties in the war) as those who were primary considered for German decorations, like both classes of EK. However, it might have happen that some of war-activated FMLs could also receive EK, when they saw battlefield or even for their good conduct in homeland rear service, appreciated by German ally. That´s also true.  

To the points made by Christian:  There is nothing to add.

Once again my point about FML von Soretic, because this whole discussion is about  EKII on the uniform of still unknown/unconfirmed general officer who might be FML von Soretic.  Coming from my phaleristics experience, I have couple of (active) general officers´ estates in my collection and all of them had at least EKII. So I am only repeating myself now: There is very high chance (very much more likely than unlikely) that FML (since June 1918, till then GM) von Soretic as commander of infantry division with very good results on Italian front received EKII. That was my whole point.

t.

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tifes,

I think we are on the same page, but just reached via different paths.  

For the time being I will put Theodor Soretic in the maybe/maybe not column.

Ian

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