Svetozar Boroević


Svetozar Boroević

Svetozar Borojević (or Boroević) von Bojna (December 13, 1856 – May 23, 1920) was a successful Croatian [http://www.austro-hungarian-army.co.uk/biog/boroevic.htm] [http://www.arhiv.hr/hr/izlozbe/download/KATALOG_BOROEVIC.pdf] defensive military leader in the Austro-Hungarian Army.

Borojević was born into a Serb Orthodox family in the village of Umetić near Kostajnica, Croatia. The area was then part of the Military Frontier of the Habsburg Monarchy (finally being reincorporated in Croatia on July 15 1881). After finishing grade school he moved to Kemenitz and later Graz where he studied in military academies. He advanced quickly through the ranks (corporal in 1872, lieutenant in 1875) and became a commander in the Croatian Home Defense. He distinguished himself in the Austrian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878 and was promoted to the rank of oberleutnant in 1880.

Between 1887 and 1891 he underwent additional military training and worked as an instructor after that, becoming a major in 1892. In 1897 he was promoted to the rank of Oberst (colonel), and appointed chief of staff for the Seventh Corps in June 1898, where he remained until February 1904. In 1903 he was released from the Home Defense.

In the meantime, in 1889 he got married to a daughter of an Austrian soldier. In 1905 he was awarded with the title "von Bojna".He became the commander of the Sixth Corps in April 1912.

When the First World War started in 1914 he was in command of the Sixth Corps on the Eastern Front. In early September 1914 he became a commander of the Third Army, and in early October he liberated Fort Przemysl, providing a temporary relief in the siege of Przemysl. His troops then pulled back to hold positions around Limanova, at the Dukla mountain pass, and elsewhere on the Carpathians, stopping the Russians from breaking out on the Danube. The Russian counter-offensive in February and March 1915 almost managed to push Borojević's Third Army back towards Hungary, but they managed to hold just enough for the German reinforcements to arrive and save the already endangered Budapest and the Pressburg bridgehead. They then proceeded to join the general Austrian/German offensive (with the Austro-Hungarian Fourth Army under Joseph Ferdinand and German Eleventh Army under Mackensen) that pushed back the Russians and would eventually retake Przemysl.

However, Borojević did not remain on the Eastern Front long enough to see Przemysl liberated in June, because on May 25, 1915 he was sent to the Italian front, taking part of the Third Army with him and leaving the rest to Army Group Mackensen. There Boroević became the Commander of the Fifth Army, with which he organized a defense against the Italians and broke countless offensives. The other distinguished Austro-Hungarian general, Conrad von Hotzendorf, recommended that they fall back and avoid trying to defend the better part of today's Slovenia, claiming it was undefendable. However, Boroević persisted with thirty of his detachments, maintaining that the Slovenes would stand their ground when faced with the defense of their own country. This appealed to emperor Francis Joseph and he was given command on the Soča (Isonzo) front.

Borojević's troops prevented a total of eleven Italian attacks and he was hailed as the "Knight of Isonzo" in Austria-Hungary, while his soldiers adored him and called him "Naš Sveto!" ("Our Sveto!"). For valor in combat he was promoted to the rank Generaloberst on May 1, 1916. On August 23, 1917 he rose to the position of the commander of the Southwestern Front, which was later renamed "Army Group Borojevic". He became field marshal on February 1, 1918, and was also awarded with numerous medals, including the Military Order of Maria Theresia.

The front was maintained until November 1918 when the Hungarian soldiers massively deserted, after which he regrouped at Tagliamento, then fell back to Velden, where he offered to march on Vienna to suppress the anti-Habsburg mob gathering in the imperial capital. The Emperor refused this offer, and Borojević stepped off duty in December, after the final demise of Austria-Hungary.

As an Austrian general, he was unwelcome in the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, although he offered his services to the new country. So he moved to Austria, where he died in a Klagenfurt hospital. His body was transferred to Vienna where he was buried in a grave paid for by emperor Charles.

Nationality

Svetozar Boroević was borned in a Serb Orthodox family, but he declared as a Croat. In his many letters to Slavko Kvaternik he mentions his Croatian patriotism. Because of his orthodox religion he is often labeled as a Serb which is not true.

ee also

*Imperial Croatian Home Guard
*Kemenitz (Sremska Kamenica)

External links

* [http://www.geocities.com/veldes1/boroevic.html Boroević at "Field Commanders in WWI", by G. Stefanovics]
* [http://www.austro-hungarian-army.co.uk/biog/boroevic.htm Boroević at "Austro-Hungarian Army", by Glenn Jewison & Jörg C. Steiner]


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