Stephan Baron Sarkotić von Lovčen

Stephan Sarkotić was born the son of Lieutenant Mathias Sarkotić of the Otočaner Border Regiment Nr.2 on the 4th October 1858. After graduating from the Maria Theresa Academy in 1879 he was assigned to the 16th Infantry Regiment then stationed at Trebinje in Herzegovina. For the next three and a half years he served as a subaltern officer with his regiment in took part in the 1882 campaigns in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Krivosije. Following his studies at the War School he was attached to the General Staff with an initial assignment to the Staff of the 1st Mountain Brigade in Mostar. After a further three year posting as a Brigade Staff officer in Vienna he was promoted to captain and assigned to the General Staff Corps in 1889. With an assignment to the General Staff department responsible for recording intelligence on foreign countries he traveled extensively in Serbia,  Bulgaria and Macedonia followed by an attachment to Kazan on the Volga to learn the Russian language. On his return he served in the Intelligence Department of the General Staff and then a one year tour of duty with the troops. The then Major Sarkotić  was assigned as the Chief of Staff of the 7th Infantry Division in Esseg for the next four years and then once more was assigned for a year at regimental duty as a lieutenant-colonel in Prague. From 1900 to1903 he was the chief of Staff at Pola on the Adriatic  having been promoted to colonel on the 11th June 1901. His next General Staff assignment was as Chief of Staff of XII Corps in Hermannstadt (Nagyszeben). He was made a Knight 3rd Class of the Order of the Iron Crown in 1905 and remained in this post until he assumed command of the 5th Infantry Brigade at Linz in 1907 with promotion to major general on the 6th of November that year. He remained with this brigade for a year before assuming command of the 88th Landesschützen-Brigade followed in 1910 by command of the 44th Landwehr Infantry Division. Promoted to Feldmarschalleutnant on the 2nd November 1911, he succeeded Svetozar von Boroević as commanding general of the VI Royal Hungarian Honvéd District  on the 10th of April 1912. The VI Honvéd District mobilised as the 42nd Landwehr Infantry Division with Sarkotić as the Divisional Commander. The division was under command of General der Infanterie Adolf Freiherr von Rhemen zu Barensfeld's XIII Corps as part of General der Infanterie Liborius Ritter von Frank's 5th Army. Although the initial Serbian campaign was a disaster, Sarkotić  handled his division well and was made a Knight 2nd Class of the Order of the Iron Crown in late 1914. Recalled to Vienna,  he was  promoted to General der Infanterie and appointed by Kaiser Franz Joseph as the Commanding General in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the 22nd December 1914. He assumed his new command in the new year with responsibility for the Austro-Hungarian forces in Bosnia, Herzegovina and Dalmatia with simultaneous responsibility as the Military Governor. Following the successful campaign by Mackensen's forces in defeating the Serbian army in October and November 1915 the campaign to clear Montenegro was initiated. On 7th January 1916 from his firm base in the Gulf of Cattaro (Kotor), General Sarkotić  unleashed his forces against the Montenegrins holding the Lovčen mountain. With naval support in the Gulf of Cattaro, troops of Feldmarschalleutnant Ignaz Trollmann's XIX Corps stormed the 1707 metre high mountain on the 8th and by the evening of the 10th the mountain was in Austro-Hungarian hands. By the 13th of January the first Austro-Hungarian troops were in Cetinje, the Montenegrin Capital and the whole of Montenegro was cleared shortly afterwards. For his success in the Montenegrin operation, General Sarkotić was awarded the Order of Leopold First Class with War Decoration and Swords and the Bronze Military Merit Medal with Swords. When he was raised to an Hungarian Barony in early 1917 he took the predicate "von Lovčen". He would remain in the Bosnia-Herzegovian command for the remainder of the war being promoted to Generaloberst on the 17th November 1917. With the collapse of the Monarchy he retired from active military service on the 1st December 1918. After a short period of internment in Croatia he retired to Vienna. Further to the awards already mentioned, Generaloberst Sarkotić held the Military Merit Cross First Class with War Decoration and Swords and the Honour Badge First Class of the Austrian Red Cross. Following the war he was the honorary President of the Kaiserschützen Association and died on the 16th October 1939 in Vienna. 

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