Who's Who - Felix von Bothmer
Count Felix von Bothmer (1852-1937) led the Austro-Hungarian-German South Army on the Eastern Front for much of the First World War.
Bothmer, a Bavarian, entered the German Army in 1871 and rose to Lieutenant-General by 1905. The outbreak of war in 1914 brought Bothmer - recovering from an injury - an appointment to command of the 6th Bavarian Reserve Division in November.
Four months later he was handed command of II Reserve Corps in Galicia before succeeding Alexander von Linsingen as commander of the 'Sudarmee' or South Army in July 1915. The South Army, based in the southern portion of the Eastern Front, was comprised of a mixed German-Austro-Hungarian force, and later came to include Turkish units.
Bothmer's leadership of the South Army brought a run of success against the numerically superior Russian Army, most notably during the initially successful Russian Brusilov Offensive in June 1916, when his force was pushed back but not broken. Similarly, in 1917 Bothmer's force turned the Russian Kerenski Offensive into a Russian retreat.
Russia's exit from the war resulted in the dissolution of the South Army in February 1918 and Bothmer's transferral to the Western Front. He proved an unremarkable commander in this theatre, commanding the new Nineteenth Army in Lorraine during its retreat towards the close of the war (during which he was promoted to full General in April 1918).
Three days before the armistice in 1918 Bothmer returned to Bavaria in anticipation of an Allied invasion, and helped to prepare its defences. Retiring from the Army in December 1918 Bothmer died in 1937.
Shrapnel comprised steel balls ejected from shells upon detonation.
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