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Robert Martinek was an artillery officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I, the Austrian Bundesheer and, during World War II, in the Wehrmacht Heer, who came to be regarded as one of the most skilled artillerymen of his generation.

Military service

Martinek was born on 2 February 1889 in Gratzen (now Nové Hradymarker, Czech Republicmarker), where his father was a brewer. Enlisting in the army of Austria-Hungary in 1908, he was promoted to Leutnant in 1910, Oberleutnant in 1914, and to Hauptmann in 1917 for outstanding bravery. Serving with the Bundesheer after World War I, he taught at (and during the 1930s, headed) the Austrian military's Artillery School, and was responsible for a number of technical innovations.

After the annexation of Austriamarker by Nazi Germany, Martinek continued to serve with the Wehrmacht Heer. He commanded the 267th Infantry Division from late 1941-1942, and, promoted to Lieutenant-General, the 7th Mountain Division during 1942. He was in command of the extremely heavy concentrations of artillery at the Battle of Sevastopol (including the huge Doramarker and Mörser Karl siege artillery).

On 1 December 1942 Martinek took command of XXXIX Panzer Corps, with which he saw a number of actions on the Eastern Front; at the beginning of 1943 he was promoted to General of Artillery.

Martinek was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. His notes from World War I were published as Kriegstagebuch eines Batterie-Kommandanten 1914 – 1918; he was also the subject of a book by Erich Dethleffsen.


In June 1944, the XXXIX Panzer Corps was assigned to Army Group Centre in the Belorussian SSR. Shortly before the massive Sovietmarker summer offensive, Operation Bagration, a battalion commander in the 12th Infantry Division raised concerns about a possible attack with Martinek, who was on a tour of inspection. Martinek agreed but in response cited the proverb "Whom God would destroy, he first strikes blind".Glantz, p.219

Soviet forces launched an overwhelming assault on Army Group Centre on 23 June; Martinek's corps was rapidly outflanked and was ordered to fall back to more defensible positions. Martinek was killed in an air attack on 28 June while being driven to a new command post near Berezinomarker.

See also


  • Glantz, David. When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, 1995.
  • [536323] Online article at


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