Ing. Josef Freiherr von Janečka
Josef Janečka was born on the 22nd of November 1867 as the son of a railway official in Suben, Upper Austria. After attending the Gymnasium he entered the artillery cadet school in Vienna and graduated from there as a Kadettoffiziersstellvertreter on the 18th of August 1889 and was assigned to fortress artillery battalion number 3. Promoted to Leutnant in November 1890 he was assigned to the artillery cadet school as an Oberleutnant and instructor in 1897 which followed his attendance at the two years long senior artillery course in Vienna. He was promoted to Hauptmann on the 1st of November 1899 and saw further service with fortress artillery battalions 4 at Pola and 5 at Peterwardein. He was transferred to the artillery staff on it's formation and served on the military technical committee and later as an instructor at the fortress artillery school of gunnery. Janečka was promoted to Major in 1910 and his last peacetime assignment prior to the outbreak of the war was that of the chief of artillery staff at the fortress of Krakau (Cracˇw) in the rank of Oberstleutnant (1st November 1912). He was awarded the Bronze Military Merit Medal (Signum Laudis) on the 20th of January 1914 and the outbreak of the war still found Oberstleutnant Janečka at Cracˇw followed by his appointment as commander of heavy artillery with Generaloberst von Hindenburg's 9th German army in the autumn advance to Ivangorod in Southern Poland for which he was awarded the Order of the Iron Crown 3rd Class with war decoration on the 11th of October. Recalled to fortress Cracˇw he then participated in the battle of Cracˇw with the 4th army. On the 1st of January 1915 he was entrusted with the organization of aerial artillery spotting and observation within 4th army and then became the commander of an artillery group including guns of the heaviest calibre - the 42cm mortar. Promoted to Oberst on the 1st of March 1915, during the highly successful battle of Gorlice-Tarnˇw in May 1915 and the subsequent pursuit of Russian forces to the east and the battle of Ivangorod Janečka commanded his artillery group within 4th army. For his performance as an artillery commander in the late spring and summer battles he was awarded the Knights' Cross of the Order of Leopold with war decoration on the 19th of June and the Prussian Iron Cross Second Class on the 25th of September 1915.
Transferred to the Serbian theatre in the autumn of 1915, Oberst Janečka commanded the artillery of XIX Corps during the crossing of the river Save followed by his assignment to the Isonzo front as the artillery commander of the VII and later III Corps on the Carso. He was awarded the Knights' Cross 2nd Class of the Oldenburg House and Merit Order on the 9th of October 1915. In preparation for the coming Trentino offensive in the spring of 1916 Janečka was involved from February 1916 in the detailed organization of the artillery plan as the artillery commander of III Corps. In the following offensive which necessitated the movement and control of large quantities of guns, men, materiel and ammunition in extremely difficult terrain, Janečka controlled his artillery assets with exemplary skill. Following the wind down of the offensive due to amongst other reasons the necessity to transfer divisions to the Russian theatre consequent to the Brussilov offensive, he successfully employed his artillery in the maintenance of the newly established front line, was assigned as the artillery commander in the Etsch Valley and took part in the fighting for Monte Pasubio.
Returning to the Isonzo front on the 1st of November 1916 Janečka was assigned as the artillery commander of the VII Corps in 5th Army and in the spring of 1917 as the sector artillery commander under Generaloberst Wenzel Wurm. For his magnificent handling of the artillery during the Trentino offensive and the defensive battles on the Isonzo in the late autumn of 1916 he was spontaneously awarded the Knights' Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresia by Kaiser Karl without reference to the chapter of the order which he received at the 180th promotion on the 17th of August 1917. Consequent to his award of the MMThO Josef Janečka was ennobled and took the title of a Freiherr (Baron) in the Austrian nobility. Following the 12th battle of the Isonzo (Caporetto) he was assigned as the artillery commander of the 10th army where he oversaw the artillery preparations for the planned spring offensive of 1918.. Oberst Janečka remained with 10th army until the war's end when he retired from active service. Promoted to Generalmajor on his retirement Josef Janečka died at M÷dling near Vienna on the 5th of April 1937.
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