Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Looking for von Kaunitz - Persian Campaign.


James H
 Share

Recommended Posts

There are many references on the net to a German officer named Graf (Count) von Kaunitz, who was allegedly in command of a Turkish force defeated by Baratov at Kangavar (Persia) in early 1916. Unfortunately, most of these references are similar or identical, which leads one to suspect that they might be clones of a single source.

The only significant von Kaunitz I can find was an Austrian Chancellor of the 18th century. There doesn't seem to be any other info about the battle at Kangavar, or anything else about von Kaunitz apart from a mention on Wikipedia where it's claimed that his first name was Georg. There are no further details on him, and it's claimed that he later "disappeared without trace".

I also think that such a battle places Turkish troops in Persia when there wouldn't have been any there - only local irregulars.

Can anyone identify Graf von Kaunitz and verify this account? A long shot, I know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

James

I believe you are trying to find Georg von Kanitz, military attaché to the German embassy in Persia. He arrived in May 1915. See War by Revolution by McKale. He is also mentioned in Caucasian Battlefields by Allen and Muratoff.

The action you are referring to was in 13 Jan 1916 at Kangavar. He had organized a small force of Persian gendarmerie and levies. Both sources state there was a Turkish battalion involved, but I can't find mention of this action in the Turkish officials. McKale wrote he committed suicide after the battle, Allen and Muratoff assumed that he was killed during the fight or shortly afterwards by his own men.

Jeff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi James,

according to my knowledge there were two Graf (Earl) von Kanitz in Persia.

One was Georg Graf von Kanitz and he was special "Ausserordentlicher" military attaché in Teheran in 1916.

The other was Konrad Graf von Kanitz, Captain in the Cavallery (Rittmeister) and belonged to the Irakgroup Persia. He had a special task to recruit persian tribes to fight on the German side. He was not successful and was called back from Persia to the German Military Mission in Istanbul were he committed suicid on the 26. November 1916. He is buried on the German cemetery in Istanbul/Tarabya, where I took the attached picture. He hold the Iron Cross 2nd class.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you, citizens. That explains a great deal. The spelling mistake has been reproduced all over the net.

Interesting that there should be 2 von Kanitzes. This highly interesting article claims to list all the Swedish officers who served in the Ottoman Army, but apparently includes a number of Germans. Georg is listed as Binbasi (Major), and it seems that the full family name was von Kanitz-Podangen. (The page is in Turkish, which I can't do, I'm afraid.)

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=114928

The name crops up in the Reichstag before the War, in a debate about proposals to expel "itinerant Jews" from the Empire:

http://antisemiten-im-reichstag.netfirms.c...nwanderung.html

Thanks for the reference to the Irakgruppe. That led me to this account, which I am plodding through in rusty German to see if it turns up anything new:

http://www.unet.univie.ac.at/~a8202219/Jor.../Asienkorps.pdf

I'm still a bit confused. Was Georg both in combat and miliary attaché? It seems unlikely that he would do both. Is it possible that it was Konrad who was in command at Kangavar?

I agree that the presence of Turkish regulars seems unlikely on that date. As far as I am aware, they had been expelled from northern Persia and none entered eastern Persia until after the Russian withdrawal from Khanaqin.

The von Kanitzes do seem to have gone in for suicide quite a lot, don't they?

Thanks again, J & ES. The case continues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

El Shahin

Do you have a source/cite for this second Kanitz? I have not found him in any of my sources. I also didn't find any reference to Irakgroup Persia. However, I limited my search to 1915, given the parameters set by James (see below).

McKale states that it was Georg Kanitz that tried to rally the Persian tribes to the German cause. This effort was part of the German attempt to spark a revolt in Persia in 1915. McKale states that Kanitz persisted in this effort even after all knew it was a failure.

It is very possible that Konrad Kanitz was part of the second Ottoman invasion of Persia. This started in May 1916 after the British surrender at Kut. The date of his return to Istanbul better fits this scenario. I will look to see if Konrad was part of this expedition.

James

The account is of the Pasha groups and the Asien Korps. The standard work covering these units is Jildirim published in 1926. The Pasha units were techincal and combat support units designed to augment Ottoman units, rather than to fight as separate units. The Asien Korps was formed when these units were reinforced with infantry and the like to make them stand alone combat units. The 146th Infantry Regiment and a Jager battalion were sent in 1918 (IIRC).

My point is this account will not tell you anything about Persia. When the Yildirim Army Group was formed, it was initially planned to move into Irak (Mesopotamia). Events in Palestine in 1917 changed these plans. While 4th Army retained responsiblity for the Euphrates River defense, 6th Army remained in charge of Irak and Yilderim took over responsiblitiy for Palestine. So these units were never involved in Persia.

Jeff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jeff - it seems you are right about the Irakgruppe. A quick read through indicates that the idea arose from the need to mount an offensive against Baghdad in Spring 1917. Hindenburg advised Enver Pasha by telegram on March 27th.

Thanks for your responses. I thought I'd managed to learn a bit about this theatre, but I realise now I've only scratched the surface.

J

Link to comment
Share on other sites

James

Glad to have helped. That is why many of us are here. If you have any questions, please ask. It is a very interesting theater, especially from the Ottoman side.

Irakgruppe threw me for a bit. Normally this plan/effort is discussed under its army name, Yildirim. The German components are normally addressed by Pacha I and II, and Asienkorps. I am not use to seeing/reading Irakgruppe as a unit

Jeff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Bob Evans

I lived with part of the Kanitz family in Germany as and exchange student durring High School. Their estate was Podangen in East Prussia. That part of Prussia is now a part of Russia after the Potsdam agreement. The Russians burned Podagen to the ground. Here is a link to pictures of the Kanitz Estate. Obviously I lived with them in West Germany, not East Prussia.

You have to scroll down a bit

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt...l%3Den%26sa%3DN

Bob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi folks

here the confirmed information, which I got from the "Gotha" - a book about noble families in Europe as well from Dr. Norbert Schwake, who recently published a book about German war graves in Palestine.

There were definitely two von Kanitz involved!

Georg Graf von Kanitz (*1877), 2nd Lt im 2. GUl-Rgt., who was attached 1911 to the German embassy as military attache in Teheran and later died due to suizide.

His real cousin was Konrad von Kanitz (*1883, + Suleimanje, Mesopotamien 25.11.1916), he died because of a tropical desease and was burried in Suleymanieh and later transferred to the cemetery in Tarabay - Istanbul. I have a photograph of his headstone but because of some reasons I can not post it even the size is just 16kb.

As above mentioned the family von Kanitz lived in East Prussia and there was a saying because the family was so big, that everybody in East Prussia was either related with Kanitz or Tempelhueter. (Tempelhueter was the most famous stallion in the Trakenen stable)...

Best regards

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Have come across yet another Kanitz. According to Martin Gilbert's First World War, a Count Kanitz was First Secretary at the German Embassy in Constantinople.

This is the strange thing: the wife of the British Military Attaché says that he spoke to her on August 1st about Britain's possible involvement in the War. On the 5th Kanitz was amongst the German diplomats who left to return to Germany. The woman's diary says that Kanitz (whom she does not appear to have liked very much) 'promised to send a postcard from Paris in a few weeks! - but those few weeks found him a prisoner in Malta!'

I don't understand that at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...