Who's Who - Wenzel von Plehve

Wenzel von Plehve (1850-1916), a German officer, served exclusively in the Russian Army during World War One.

Plehve was one of very few German officers who had pledged their exclusive allegiance to the Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, and who therefore served during the war with the Russian Army against their own country.

Plehve was also a fine officer, efficient and (to a degree) successful.  For the planned Russian invasion of Galicia at the start of the war Plehve was appointed commander of Fifth Army.

In Galicia Plehve acted decisively in avoiding the encirclement of his force following the Battle of Komarow.  Later the same year Fifth Army played a crucial role during the defence of Lodz in Poland in November.

The following year Plehve was switched to command of the new Twelfth Army, which he led with distinction in the aftermath of the Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes in February 1915 (which saw the Russian Tenth Army defeated by the Germans).

He subsequently returned to command of Fifth Army and, briefly, commanded the northern sector of the Eastern Front.

Plagued for years by by poor health Plehve was finally invalided out of the army in February 1916; he died later the same year.

In WW1 an "ace" was a pilot who scored five confirmed "kills".

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