Emil Freiherr David von Rohnfeld
Emil David Edler von Rohnfeld was born in Prague on the 1st of July 1837. His father Franz won the Golden Medal for Bravery as a Corporal in the 1st artillery regiment during the battle at Lyon in 1814. He was ennobled as an Hauptmann on the 21st of June 1846 and retired as an honorary Major in 1852. Emil David Edler von Rohnfeld commenced his military education at the Military Academy of Wiener Neustadt on the 28th of November 1848. After successfully graduating from the academy he was commissioned as an Unterlieutenamt 2nd class in Feldjäger battalion No 2 in the autumn of 1855 and transferred as an Unterlieutenant 1st class to Feldjäger battalion No 14 on the 1st of October 1857. Similar to his class mate Hugo Obauer he was sent to the Kriegsschule at Vienna from which he successfully graduated. On the 14th of April 1859 he was promoted to Oberleutnant in the 7th Feldjäger battalion purely as an administrative measure as on the 24th of that month he was transferred to the general staff corps as an Hauptmann 2nd class followed by the promotion to Hauptmann 1st class on the 5th of June 1859. During the campaign in Italy of that year he was attached to the headquarters of the 11th corps. For his exemplary conduct during the battle of Solferino Emil David Edler von Rohnfeld received the commendation of the Kaiser on the 15th of August 1859 which permitted him to wear the Bronze Military Medal (Signum Laudis) on the war ribbon when this medal was introduced in 1890. On the 1st of August 1865 he was transferred to infantry regiment No 5 but during the war of 1866 he again found himself employed as a general staff officer at the headquarter of the army in Italy where he rendered such outstanding service that he once more received the commendation of the Kaiser on the 3rd of October 1866. This in turn later allowed him to wear the Silver Military Merit Medal (Signum Laudis) on the war-ribbon when that medal was introduced in 1911! Shortly before the war of 1866 he had married Marie von Maschirevies. Their daughter Julie became the wife of Wladimir Giesl von Gieslingen in September 1889.
On the 28th of October 1868 Emil David Edler von Rohnfeld was promoted to Major and on the 1st of November 1872 to Oberstleutnant in the general staff corps. As was normal he was transferred for duty with the troops to infantry regiment No 78 on the 1st of May 1873. A year later he was transferred to infantry regiment No 41. On the 1st of November 1875 he was assigned as an Oberst and deputy commander in infantry regiment No 66 and on the 23rd of August 1876 he assumed command of infantry regiment No 29. Under his command this regiment made an outstanding contribution during the campaign in Bosnia and the Herzegovina in 1878, especially during the hard battles around Doboj on the 16th, 19th, 23rd and 26th of August and on the 4th and 5th of September 1878. During that short period the regiment lost 149 men in dead, wounded and missing. For his dashing leadership Oberst David von Rohnfeld was honored with the award of the knight's cross of the Order of Leopold with war decoration on the 3rd of December 1878. On the 2nd of April 1880 he took over command of the 17th infantry brigade and his promotion to Generalmajor followed on the 1st of November of the same year. During the insurrection in Southern Dalmatia in1882 he successfully commanded the 7th mountain brigade. On the 6th of January 1883 he was awarded the grand officer's cross of the Serbian Order of Takowo.
On the 1st of April 1884 Generalmajor David von Rohnfeld was attached to the 14th Korps- und Landesverteidigungs-Kommando (Territorial Defence Headquarters) at Innsbruck where he received his promotion to Feldmarshall-Leutnant on the 1st of May 1886. On the 11th of March 1887 he was attached to the command of the 15th corps in Bosnia where he became deputy commander of the 15th corps and general in command at Sarajevo - first in an acting capacity on the 24th of September 1889 and finally definitively on the 27th of June 1890. As always the posts in the Balkan area were the most troublesome and delicate in the entire Austro-Hungarian monarchy. A commander there had to be both politically astute as well as possessing the necessary diplomatic skills, even more so than in every other area of the Dual-Monarchy. On the 26th of April 1890 Feldmarschall-Leutnant David von Rohnfeld was honored with the title of Geheimer Rat (Privy Councillor). On the 11th of October 1890 he was appointed Statthalter (governor) of Dalmatia and commander of the Army and the Landwehr at Zara. In December of the same year he was honored with the title of Oberst-Inhaber or Colonel-Proprietor of infantry regiment No 72. It seems that he did his job well - in the military as well as in the diplomatic dimension - because he was honored with the award of the 1st class of the Order of the Iron Crown on the 30th of November 1892. In January 1893 he received the grand cross of the Papal Order of Saint Gregorius. Emil David von Rohnfeld was promoted to Feldzeugmeister on the 1st of November 1893 with seniority from the 27th of October. On the occasion of the 50th crown jubilee of Kaiser Franz Joseph in 1898 he was honored with the grand cross of the Order of Leopold with the war decoration of the knight's cross on the 30th of November of that year. At his own request he was relieved from his politically important post after 12 years of first rate service on the 6th of March 1902. After his retirement he was honored with the grand cordon of the Ottoman Order of Osmanie by the Ottoman Sultan on the 24th of April 1902. On the 6th of December 1902 he was further promoted within the nobility to an Austrian Barony and henceforth took the title Freiherr. Emil Freiherr David von Rohnfeld resided in Vienna's 4th district where he died on the 10th of May 1918.
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