Georg Dragičević

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Georg Dragičević was born on November 7th 1890 in Kalesija in Bosnia the son of a Gendarmerie District Sergeant. He commenced his military career by attending the Technical Military Academy at Mödling near Vienna and graduated from there as a Leutnant on the18th August 1911 with an assignment to Festungsartillerieregiment Kaiser Nr.1 (Fortress Artillery) then based in Vienna. On mobilisation in August 1914 he was promoted to Oberleutnant and given command of a battery in the106th Field Artillery Brigade equipped with obsolete 9-centimetre field guns. This brigade was part of the 106th Landsturm Infantry Division commanded by Feldmarschalleutnant Ernst Kletter and although nominally a reserve formation it proved to be a very effective fighting formation with a well earned reputation for steadiness and reliability throughout the war. 

As a part of Archduke Joseph Ferdinand's 4th Army with further subordination to Feldmarschalleutnant Rudolf Králiček's IX. Corps, the division took part in the May 1915 Gorlice-Tarnów offensive in Southern Poland. The attack commenced at 1000 hours on the 2nd May with the division jumping off from positions just North of Gromnik. Advancing East on the North bank of the Biała river the division captured Tuchów on the 3rd,  Wielopole on the 10th and by the14th was on the San river in the vicinity of Stare Miasto 35 kilometres downstream from Jaroslau. The division would be involved in heavy fighting on the San for the next three weeks before the advance could continue. On the15th of May Oberleutnant Dragičević was commanding two batteries of 9-centimetre field guns in support of Generalmajor Adolf Aust's 110th Landsturm Infantry Brigade at Stare Miasto. Due to insufficient bridging material or pontoons, the brigade had to satisfy itself with the occupation of the Eastern perimeter of the village. Positioned two kilometres to the South at the village of Siedlanka were the ten field pieces under the command of Oberleutnant Dragičević. 

Battle of Stare Miasto - 15th May 1915 - Click to enlargeAt dawn on the 19th May, the Russians crossed the San from the meadows opposite and attacked along the entire front of the110. LstIBrigade. Initially Dragičević permitted one battery to open fire and set out towards the brick kiln* between the Southern exit of Stare Miasto and the river, which by then was only a hundred paces from the enemy firing line. Faced with this immediate threat the forward artillery observer already in place had descended the chimney of the brick works in order to choose another observation post. Dragičević however climbed up the 36 metre chimney in his place and steadfastly controlled the fire of his batteries from dawn until midday under Russian fire through the flue of the chimney. The effect of this fire to the flanks of the enemy infantry and to his bridge building activity was such, that the attack came to a halt. Noticeable was the reduced fighting spirit of the Russians as they became anxious about being cut off and when the only connection to the opposite bank remained through the few undamaged pontoon boats, the enemy commander gave the order to withdraw. This withdrawal however could not prevent the capture of an entire Siberian infantry regiment with 10 officers and about 2000 NCOs and men when an attack by the divisional reserve in the afternoon brought the battle to a close. The part of Oberleutnant Dragičević in no small way played an highly significant role in this success and he was justifiably awarded the Military Maria Theresa Order.

Dragičević saw further service as an Adjutant and battery commander on the Italian front. Promoted to captain on the 1st of November 1917 his final wartime posting was with the staff of the Artillery Cadet School in Traiskirchen South of Vienna. Following the monarchy's collapse he returned to the new state of Yugoslavia where he joined the armed forces of that country. Becoming a colonel he rose to become the second in command of the anti-aircraft service of the Royal Yugoslavian Army. Following Croatia's declaration of independence on 10th April 1941 he joined the Croatian army in the rank of a general officer. He served as head of the Army Artillery service in the Croatian Armed Forces Ministry from 1941-1944 followed by an assignment to the Croatian Embassy in Berlin as head of the military procurement office. Captured at the wars end by the Soviets, General Dragičević was not released from captivity until 1954 when he made his home in Austria. Among his decorations, he held the order of the Iron Crown Third Class with War Decoration and Swords, the Military Merit Cross Third Class with War Decoration and Swords, both the Silver (with Swords) and Bronze Medals for Military Merit (Signum Laudis) and the Karl Troop Cross. The General died on the 28th of July 1980 in Vienna.

 * Shown as Z.O. on the map.

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