Alfred Edler von Schenk

Alfred Schenk was born in Laibach (Ljublanja) on the 5th of July 1863 as the son of a retired senior civil servant. After studying at both the Gymnasium and Cadet School in Prague he entered the 21st Infantry Regiment Freiherr von Mondel in July 1880 then based at Prague. Commissioned as a Leutnant in Infantry Regiment Nr.91 Ritter von Fröhlich on the 1st May 1884 he was promoted to Oberleutnant on 1st of November 1888. After attending the General Staff Course at the War School he was attached to the General Staff of the 9th Infantry Brigade at Olmütz on the 1st of November 1889 until the 24th of November 1891. A promising  Staff Officer, Schenk was promoted early to Captain 1st Class in the General Staff Corps on the 5th of May 1892 with a further staff appointment to the 2nd Mountain Brigade at Trebinje and in November 1892 until April 1895 to the staff of the 12th Army Corps at Hermannstadt. From the 1st of May 1895 to May 1896 he studied the Russian language at Kazan followed by an assignment to the Intelligence Bureau of the General Staff. Promoted to Major on the 1st of November 1898 he was assigned as Chief of Staff of the 16th Infantry Division followed by a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel on the 1st May 1902 and service with the 1st Bosnian Herzegovinian Infantry Regiment. He assumed command of the regiment on April 13th 1907 having been promoted to Colonel on the 27th of November 1905. He was raised to the Austrian Nobility assuming the title of Edler von Schenk in February 1911 followed by his promotion to Generalmajor on the 11th of May of the same year.

In February 1914 he was commanding the 97th Infantry Brigade in Vienna and with the coming of war against Russia  he was an army rear area commander but was appointed to command 15.ID in late August 1914 followed by promotion to Feldmarschalleutnant on November 1st 1914. Appointed to command the 9th Infantry Division he saw further service in Italy and especially on the Isonzo Front as the Sector Commander of "Abschnitt" or Sector IIIb which included his own Division as well as the 24th Landsturm Mountain Brigade, 59th Infantry Brigade and 43rd Artillery Brigade. Sector IIIb covered the Southern end of the Carso to the East of Monfalcone and was subsequently renamed as Group Schenk and finally became on the 1st of November 1916 the XXIII Army Corps. On the 23rd of June 1917 he assumed command of the XIII Army Corps in Generaloberst Terszyánszky's 3rd Army on the Stanislau Sector of the Russian Front. Promoted finally to General der Infanterie on the 1st of February 1918 with seniority from the 28th of that month he assumed command of the IX Army Corps on the 21st of February. The collapse of the Monarchy found General von Schenk as the Military Governor of Zagreb after which he retired on the 1st January 1919 after 44 years service. Among his many decorations the General was a Knight First Class of the Order of the Iron Crown (with War Decoration and Swords), holder of the Military Merit Cross Second Class (With War Decoration and Swords) and a Knight of the Order of Leopold (with War Decoration and Swords). Alfred Edler von Schenk died on the 12th of October 1952 in Vienna.

General von Schenk photographed in a trench on the Isonzo front. Photo courtesy of C.R.A.S.G.In the photograph above, Feldmarschalleutnant Alfred Edler von Schenk; Commander of XXIII Army Corps is speaking to Kaiser Karl I during a visit to the Isonzo Front in March 1917. Also pictured from left to right are Generaloberst Svetozar Boroević von Bojna; Commander of the 5th Army, Feldzeugmeister Wenzel Wurm; Commander of Sector or Abschnitt III and his Chief of Staff Oberst Theodor Körner (later President of Austria). 

Many thanks to Felix G Game for supplying much of the biographical information relating to General von Schenk.

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