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Robert Martinek

Robert Martinek

Born 2 February 1889

Gratzen, Austria-Hungary

Died 28 June 1944(1944-06-28) (aged 55)near Berezino, Soviet Union
Allegiance [2] Austria-Hungary (to 1918)[3] First Austrian Republic(to 1938)

[4] Nazi Germany

Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1907–1938 (Austria)

1938–1944 (Germany)

Rank Oberst (Austria)General der Artillerie (Germany)
Commands held 267. Infanterie-Division

XXXIX. Panzerkorps

Battles/wars World War I

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves

Robert Martinek (2 February 1889 – 28 June 1944) was an artillery officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I, the Austrian Bundesheer and, during World War II, in the Wehrmacht Heer, who came to be regarded as one of the most skilled artillerymen of his generation.


[hide] *1 Military service

[edit] Military serviceEdit

Martinek was born on 2 February 1889 in Gratzen (now Nové Hrady, Czech Republic), where his father was a brewer. Enlisting in the army of Austria-Hungary in 1907, he was promoted to Leutnant in 1910, Oberleutnant in 1914, and to Hauptmann in 1917 for outstanding bravery. Serving with the Bundesheer after World War I, he taught at (and during the 1930s, headed) the Austrian military's Artillery School, and was responsible for a number of technical innovations.

After the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, Martinek continued to serve with the Wehrmacht Heer. He commanded the 267th Infantry Division from late 1941-1942, and, promoted to Lieutenant-General, the 7th Mountain Division during 1942. He was in command of the extremely heavy concentrations of artillery at the Battle of Sevastopol (including the huge Dora and Mörser Karl siege artillery).

On 1 December 1942 Martinek took command of XXXIX Panzer Corps, with which he saw a number of actions on the Eastern Front; at the beginning of 1943 he was promoted to General of Artillery.

Martinek was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. His notes from World War I were published as Kriegstagebuch eines Batterie-Kommandanten 1914–1918; he was also the subject of a book by Erich Dethleffsen.

[edit] DeathEdit

In June 1944, the XXXIX Panzer Corps was assigned to Army Group Centre in the Belorussian SSR. Shortly before the massive Soviet summer offensive, Operation Bagration, a battalion commander in the 12th Infantry Division raised concerns about a possible attack with Martinek, who was on a tour of inspection. Martinek agreed but in response cited the proverb "Whom God would destroy, he first strikes blind".[1]

Soviet forces launched an overwhelming assault on Army Group Centre on 23 June; Martinek's corps was rapidly outflanked and was ordered to fall back to more defensible positions. Martinek was killed in an air attack on 28 June while being driven to a new command post near Berezino.

[edit] Awards and decorationsEdit

[edit] Wehrmachtbericht referencesEdit

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
3 April 1944 Zwischen dem Dnjepr und Tichauffy haben die unter dem Befehl des Generals der Infanterie von Tippelskirch und des Generals der Artillerie Martinek stehenden Truppen in siebentägigen schweren Kämpfen Durchbruchsversuche von 17 feindlichen Schützendivisionen, einer motorisierten und zweier Panzerbrigaden vereitelt und damit einen hervorragenden Abwehrerfolg errungen.[4] Between the Dnieper and Tichauffy, troops under the command of General of Infantry of Tippelskirch and General of Artillery Martinek in seven days of heavy fighting have thwarted breakthrough attempts of 17 enemy infantry divisions, a motorized and two armored brigades, and thus achieved an outstanding defensive success.
3 July 1944 In den schweren Abwehrkämpfen fanden die Kommandierenden Generale, General der Artillerie Martinek und General der Artillerie Pfeiffer sowie Generalleutnant Schünemann, an der Spitze ihrer Korps kämpfend, getreu ihrem Fahneneid, den Heldentod.[5] During the heavy defensive fighting, the corps commanders, General of Artillery Martinek and General of Artillery Pfeiffer as well as Lieutenant General Schünemann, found true to their oath of allegiance, a heroic death at the head of their fighting corps.

[edit] ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Glantz, p.219
  2. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 303.
  3. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 78.
  4. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 72.
  5. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 148.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Glantz, David. When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, 1995.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 (in German). München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.
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