Generals and personalities

“Colonel Danny Papp, the hero of Bukovina”

The title is not a joke, but an excerpt from a contemporary war propaganda book. Danny Papp was the commander of a famous infantry unit of the Monarchy, the Papp Brigade.

The Papp Brigade was organized in early 1915 to defend Bukovina. The troops at the disposal of Colonel-General Böhm-Ermolli were kneaded from the auxiliary units just available, consisting of Gendarmes, Hungarian, Ruthenian and Romanian volunteers, insurgent companies and some regular units. It was not an easy and grateful task to organize and command the suddenly assembled troops, but General Böhm-Ermolli solved this very successfully. His army group later evolved into the 7th Army of the Monarchy.

On a small scale, Colonel Dániel Papp did similar job at a smaller scale and was just as enthusiastic as the general and developed his battalions to a regular brigade over time. It’s strange right away why an engineering officer had to be entrusted with leading an infantry brigade? Apparently he applied for the task himself, but this event still characterizes the situation at that time, in the emergency situation caused by the Russian attack, the higher command received well volunteers like Papp.

Unfortunately, I managed to gather very little from this legendary officer. He was promoted to colonel in September 1916. He was also awarded the 2nd Class Military Cross of Merit, the 2nd Class of the Iron Crown Order and the Knight’s Cross of the Leopold Order. These high honors are a testament to his excellent organizing work and troop leadership skills. I found an account of his actions only in a propaganda publication. According to this, from the beginning of 1915 to the end of 1917, his group and then the brigade fought in Bukovina and in the Carpathians during the Russian advance. In the summer of 1916, during the Brussilow offensive, his brigade formed the aftermath when Czernowitz was evacuated. His tenacious defense allowed the 7th Army to withdraw orderly from the overwhelming Russian attack. After that, the brigade’s defense line stretched around Jakobeny and Kirlibaba.

Papp’s popularity is shown by the fact that several badges have used his name. From the series of badges of the Arkanzas company, both pine twigs and oak leaves were made with the name Papp. The triple coat of arms of the Monarchy or the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Hungary were both featured separately on the pine twigs. In the photo attached to the entry, the colonel is shown with “usual” equipment, in NCO’s tunic with a carbine on his shoulder. The picture is from the mentioned book.

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