Who's Who - Count Viktor Dankl von Krasnik
Count Viktor Dankl von Krasnik's (1854-1941) World War One career was relatively short-lived. Following relative success at Galicia in 1914 and defeat on the Italian Front in 1915 Dankl asked Austro-Hungarian Chief of Staff Conrad to relieve him of command following stinging criticism from the latter.
Born in Venetia on 18 September 1854 the son of an army captain, Dankl entered the Cadet Institute at St. Polten at fourteen in 1869, and the following year at the Maria Theresa Military Academy at Wiener-Neustadt.
He received a commission into the Dragoon regiment Konig Albert No. 3 as Lieutenant in 1874. From 1887-79 he attended the War School in Vienna and was posted to the General Staff in December 1880.
Following numerous staff appointments and promotions, he was made Chief of the Central Office of the Austro-Hungarian General Staff at Vienna in 1899. He received his promotion to Generalmajor three years later in May 1903 and to Feldmarschalleutnant in 1907.
With the outbreak of war in August 1914 Dankl was handed commander of First Army. In Austria-Hungary's opening campaign Dankl achieved the first Austro-Hungarian victory of the war by defeating the Russian Fourth Army at the Battle of Krasnik in Northern Galicia between 23-25 August 1914.
For his success at Krasnik Dankl was subsequently awarded the Commanders' Cross of the Military Maria Theresa Order in August 1917.
Dankl was transferred to the Italian Front in May 1915 to assume the defence of the Tyrol. Despite having only relatively weak forces under his command, Dankl nevertheless succeeded in pushing back repeated Italian attempts to invade the Tyrol.
He was subsequently appointed to command of Eleventh Army in March 1916 in time for the Spring offensive against the Italians at Trentino. He led Eleventh Army in the advance south of Rovereto.
Blame for the failure of the Trentino offensive was apportioned to Dankl by Conrad. In response Dankl tendered his resignation, never again holding field command, taking up instead an honorific post.
In 1925 following the death of Conrad Dankl became Chancellor of the Military Maria Theresa Order. He died at Innsbruck on 8 January 1941 at the age of 86.
A cartwheel was a particular type of aerial manoeuvre.
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