Viktor Weber von Webenau

Viktor Weber Edler von Webenau was born on the 13th of November 1861 at Schloß Neuhaus near Lavamünd in Carinthia and spent his childhood in Graz. After leaving secondary school at Graz he attended the nearby infantry cadet school at Liebenau and on the 12th of November 1878 was assigned to Feldjäger Battalion number 27 at Cilli and was promoted to Kadett-Oberjäger on the 18th of August 1879. He was commissioned as a Leutnant on the 1st of November 1880 and remained in the same battalion until October 1893. In the meantime he was promoted Oberleutnant on the 1st of May 1886 and to Hauptmann on the 1st of November 1892. On the 1st of October 1893 the entire 27th Feldjäger Battalion was incorporated into the Tyrolean Kaiserjäger Regiment as it's 16th field battalion and consequently Hauptmann von Weber became an officer of the Kaiserjäger from that date. On the 10th of January 1895 he was transferred to the 20th Feldjäger Battalion then stationed at Tarvis. On the 2nd of May 1898 without attending the Kriegschule he was attached to the general staff, successfully passed the general staff Major's examination and was promoted to Major in the general staff on the 1st of November 1898 and simultaneously appointed as the chief of staff of the 27th infantry division at Kaschau (Kassa). After three years at this post he was assigned on the 1st of November 1901 as the second general staff officer at the headquarters of the 2nd corps in Vienna followed by his promotion to Oberstleutnant on the 1st of May 1902. As was common with general staff officers, Weber was required to periodically serve at regimental duty and he was assigned to the Sarajevo based Infantry Regiment Number 68 on the 28th of April 1905 as a battalion commander and promotion to Oberst on the 1st of May 1905. 1905 also saw Oberst von Weber receive the award of the Military Merit Cross. On the 18th of April 1907 he was given a regimental command, that of the 69th Infantry Regiment von Mörk at Pécs. Like his previous command this was also an almost exclusively Magyar manned regiment. 

Following his successful period in command of an infantry regiment he was appointed to command the 4.Gebirgsbrigade (mountain brigade) at Ragusa which was subordinated to the 47th infantry division of 16th army corps. He was promoted to Generalmajor on the 1st of May 1911 having in the meantime been awarded both the Officer's Cross of the Franz Joseph Order and the Order of the Iron Crown 3rd Class. Generalmajor von Weber's last appointment before the outbreak of the First World War was as a member of the supreme military court at Vienna which he took up on the the 1st of June 1914 and in which he served as the vice president from July. Promoted to Feldmarschalleutnant on the 1st of August 1914 he was appointed commander of the 47th Infantry division based at Cattaro in September replacing Feldmarschalleutant Friedrich Novak. With his division he was responsible for the defence of this important Austro-Hungarian naval base close to the Montenegrin border from both land and sea assault. Under the overall command of General der Infanterie Stephan Sarkotić and as a part of Feldmarschalleutnant Ignaz Trollmann's XIX corps he led the 47th infantry division in the highly successful campaign against Montenegro in January 1916 which commenced with the storming of the Lovčen Heights overlooking the bay of Cattaro. 

A post war picture of GdI von Weber taken sometime after his 1922 award of the MMThO.On the morning of the 8th of January 1916 the preparatory fire of the supporting artillery began including naval gun fire and simultaneously the four mountain brigades of Weber's reinforced 47ty infantry division started their assault. In short succession under the personal leadership of the divisional commander, the positions of Krimalj, point 628 and Solar were taken. When the assault was held up by enemy machine gun fire as the advance outstripped the supporting gun fire, Feldmarschalleutnant von Weber personally sited a mountain gun battery that destroyed the Montenegrin machine gun positions and the advance continued and within 48 hours the  both the Krstac saddle and Lovčen peak were captured. For the success of and his handling of the 47th infantry division during the Lovčen operation, Feldmarschalleutnant Viktor Weber would be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Military Maria Theresia Order at the 189th promotion on the 27th of June 1922. Following the defeat of Montenegro, Feldmarschalleutnant von Weber was appointed as it's military governor, a position he held until being replaced by Generalmajor Heinrich Graf von Clam-Martinic in July 1917. 

Returning to a field appointment he succeeded Generaloberst Karl Kritek as the commander of X corps on the eastern front until temporarily relieved by Feldmarschalleutnant Franz Kanik the following February being promoted to General der Infanterie on the 1st of November 1917. X corps was renamed as the 4.Generalkommando and von Weber reassumed command in April 1918 until finally relinquishing command to Feldzeugmeister Heinrich Goiginger in May. Von Weber's next appointment was that of commanding general of the XVIII corps which he assumed in May replacing Feldmarschalleutnant Ferdinand Kosak before finally replacing General der Infanterie Ernst Kletter Edler von Gromnik at the head of VI corps from July to October 1918.

Weber's final and most controversial appointment was as head of the Austro-Hungarian armistice commission entrusted with the armistice negotiations with the Italians. The commission which was formed in early October was headquartered at Trient on the 28th of October under the chairmanship of General von Weber. For all intents and purposes the following armistice of Villa Giusti was in fact a demand for unconditional surrender and was not subject to negotiation. By a tragic mistiming and misunderstanding on the the part of the Austro-Hungarian side, hundreds of thousands of Austro-Hungarian soldiers went into Italian captivity having effectively ceased operations twenty four hours before the official  commencement of the armistice. Consequently Italian forces were able to round up whole corps and divisions who offered no resistance thinking the war was over. Only the Isonzo army was able to successfully withdraw and for the most part escape captivity. In hindsight it is difficult to fault the Italians for the stance they took at this period but the resulting captivity cost the lives of thousands of Austro-Hungarian soldiers long after the termination of hostilities. Though not von Weber's fault, he was held in some quarters to be responsible for this tragic turn of events. 

Following the cessation of hostilities and the end of the war, General von Weber retired from military service in January 1919 and although he retained Hungarian nationality he lived mostly in Meran, Wiesbaden and Switzerland. He died on the 6th of May 1932 in Innsbruck.

Highly decorated, General der Infanterie Viktor Weber Edler von Webenau had in addition to the awards mentioned in the text the following:  Grand Cross of the Franz Joseph Order with War Decoration, Military Merit Cross 2nd Class with War Decoration and Swords, Order of the Iron Crown 2nd Class with War Decoration and Swords, Officer's Cross of the Franz Joseph Order, Honour Insignia 1st Class of the Austrian Red Cross, Military Merit Cross 3rd Class, Bronze Military Merit Medal with War Decoration (Signum Laudis), Service Badge for Officers 2nd Class, Military Jubilee Medal 1898, Military Jubilee Cross 1908 and the Mobilization Cross of 1912/13. He was also awarded the Prussian Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class and the Ottoman Iron Crescent. He was additionally appointed a Geheimer Rat (Privy Councillor). 

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