Karl Freiherr von Bardolff

Karl Bardolff was born on the 3rd of September 1865 in Graz and following his graduation from the Gymnasium entered Infantry Regiment Number 4 "Hoch- und Deutschmeister in 1884 as a one year volunteer. After his year of service he studied law at the university of Graz earning a doctorate in jurisprudence in 1888. Bardolff decided to make the army his career and rejoined the common army that same year being commissioned as a Leutnant in Infantry Regiment Number 27 at Graz on the 1st of March 1889. From 1891 to 1893 he attended the Kriegsschule course in Vienna and was attached to the general staff being promoted Hauptmann in the general staff on the 1st of May 1896 followed by a five years assignment to the operations bureau until given a company commander's appointment in Infantry Regiments Number 31 and 63 respectively. In November 1903 he was assigned as an instructor in military history and strategy at the Kriegsakademie in Vienna  being promoted to Major on the 1st of May 1904. Three years later he returned to the operations bureau where he remained until assuming a battalion command in Infantry Regiment Number 19 in 1909 having been promoted to Oberstleutnant on the 1st of May 1908. Promoted Oberst on the 5th of July 1911 he was assigned as the personal adjutant and chief of the military chancery of Archduke Franz Ferdinand where he remained until the outbreak of the war when he assumed command of the 29th infantry brigade in FML. Friedrich Freiherr Wodniansky von Wildenfeld's 15th infantry division in the VI corps of General der Infanterie Svetozar Boroević in 4th Army (General der Infanterie Moritz Ritter von Auffenberg ).

Oberst Bardolff particularly distinguished himself by his energetic leadership of his brigade during the battle of Komarów on the 31st of August 1914 where through his personal bravery he inspired his much depleted and tired troops in an attack against Russian positions on the hill at Janówka three and a half kilometres south of Komarów. The assault which was necessary in order to turn the flank of the opposing enemy forces was in danger of faltering when his Infantry Regiment Number 66  was checked. Bardolff then personally led elements of the newly subordinated 11. Marschregiment in taking the position causing the enemy to retire with the loss of some 400 prisoners of war. This action led to his later award of the Knights' Cross of the Military Maria Theresia Order at the 184th promotion on the 17th of August 1918. On the 27th of September 1914 he was appointed as chief of staff to General der Kavavallerie Eduard Böhm-Ermolli's 2nd Army, with whom he would serve for the next two and a half years as both an army and army group chief of staff. Promoted to Generalmajor on the 2nd of March 1915, the very able staff officer was awarded the Prussian Order Pour le Mérite on the 27th of July 1917 and given a further field command, that of the 60th infantry division on the 9th of March 1918 then serving in Northern Italy. Promoted to Feldmarschalleutnant on the 4th of March 1918 he had replaced Feldmarschalleutnant Ludwig Goiginger as the division's commander. He led the division during the June battles in the "Seven Communities" and the Grappa sector before receiving a further staff appointment on the 3rd of September 1918 at the war ministry in Vienna as section head of the supply and clothing department. Following his award of the MMThO on the 17th of August 1918 he was elevated to the rank of a Baron in the Austrian nobility and took the title Freiherr von Bardolff.

Freiherr von Bardolff in the uniform of a General der Infanterie of the German Wehrmacht (Heer)With the defeat of Austria-Hungary, the General retired on the 1st of January 1919. In the interwar years he devoted himself to writing on historical matters and amongst his published works are Soldat im alten Österreich and Deutsch-österreichisches Soldatentum im Weltkrieg. In 1942 along with Generalmajor a.D. Oskar von Hofmann and Oberst a.D. Gustav von Hubka he produced a history of the MMThO winners during the First World War titled Der Militär-Maria Theresien-Orden - die Auszeichnungen im Weltkrieg 1914-1918. Like his former chief, Feldmarschall Eduard Freiherr von Böhm-Ermolli he was granted a brevet rank in the German Wehrmacht and was accordingly initially appointed a Generalleutnant with a further promotion to General der Infanterie on the 27th of August 1938. Although "at the disposal" of the German army he held no active appointment during the Second World War. He additionally served as a member of the German Reichstag from 1938 to 1945. The General died at Graz on the 17th of May 1953.

Amongst his decorations General der Infanterie Karl Freiherr von Bardolff held the following: Franz-Joseph Order Grand Cross with War Decoration and Swords, Leopold Order Commander's Cross with War Decoration and Swords, Military Merit Cross 2nd Class with War Decoration and Swords (twice), Order of the Iron Crown 2nd Class with War Decoration and Swords, the Silver and Bronze Military Medals (Signum Laudis) both with War Decoration and Swords and the Prussian Iron Cross First and Second Class.

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