Krobatin graduated from the Artillery Academy in Moravia-Weisskirchen in 1869 and subsequently undertook further education in applied chemistry and artillery that qualified him to teach at the Technical Military Academy (1877-1882).
Thereafter, in the grade of major, Krobatin headed the Artillery Cadet School in Vienna; after 1896 he served in the grade of colonel in the War Ministry, being promoted major general in 1900. Krobatin, a close friend of General Conrad von Hotzendorf, in 1912 succeeded Baron Moritz Auffenberg as war minister, and under his guidance the Austro- Hungarian army adopted the rapid-fire 8-cm gun M. 5/8 for field artillery, a new 10-cm alpine howitzer, and the new 30.5-cm mortar developed by Skoda in Pilsen.
In the aftermath of the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, Krobatin vigorously supported Conrad's stance for an immediate strike against Serbia. For the first two years of the Great War, Krobatin struggled tirelessly to supply machine guns to the infantry and to introduce flame throwers into the army; his efforts largely accounted for the tripling of the artillery at the divisional level. After repeated requests for front duty, the new Emperor Charles appointed Krobatin commander of the Tenth Army in Karnten on April 12, 1917. The Moravian had been a military member of Francis Ferdinand's Belvedere Circle, but unlike the civilian members of that body he did not view Charles' coming to power as a blessing owing to the ruler's aspirations for personal military command and his lack of firmness. General Rudolf Stoger-Steiner succeeded Krobatin as war minister.
The sixty-eight-year-old Krobatin took part in the assault against the Italians in October 1917. While the main thrust of the German Fourteenth Army was set for the sector in and around Flitsch and Tolmino, Krobatin undertook several minor raids designed to hide the main thrust. After the German breakthrough, Krobatin along with Archduke Eugene stormed the Tagliamento Valley and advanced as far as Cadore by November 4; in the process, Krobatin captured two Italian divisions near Tolmezzo. For his part in the victory, Krobatin was promoted field marshal on November 5. The great triumph at Caporetto had its disappointing side. It meant that the Tenth Army had become superfluous because the front with Italy could now be greatly reduced, and the Moravian had to witness the dissolution of his army and a transfer to the southwestern front in Tyrol with headquarters at Trient.
As the Dual Monarchy mounted its last major offensive in the summer of 1918, Krobatin was ordered on June 13 to conduct a feint down the Tonale Pass to camouflage the main thrust of the Eleventh Army south of Asiago. Unfortunately, both the feint and the main attack failed, and by late October 1918 the Eleventh Army was in full revolt. Croatian and Hungarian units mutinied and threatened the life of Archduke Joseph, commander of Army Group Tyrol. Joseph left the front on October 26 for Budapest and turned the Eleventh Army over to Krobatin. The latter asked the Italians for an armistice on October 31, but had to watch the Italians storm the defenseless remnants of the erstwhile Habsburg army between November 1 and 4 in what is termed the "victory" at Vittorio Veneto. Krobatin retired to private life after the war; he died in Vienna on December 27, 1933.