Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin
Von Senger.jpg
Born (1891-09-04)4 September 1891
Died 9 January 1963(1963-01-09) (aged 71)
Allegiance  German Empire(to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Rank General der Panzertruppe
Commands held 17. Panzer-Division
XIV. Panzerkorps
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Relations Ferdinand Maria von Senger und Etterlin

Fridolin Rudolf Theodor, Ritter und Edler von Senger und Etterlin (September 4, 1891 – January 9, 1963) was a German general during World War II.


Early life

Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin was born in Waldshut, Germany, into an aristocratic Roman Catholic family. He began his military career in 1910, serving in an artillery regiment. After that he went to the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

First World War

Senger fought in the First World War, beginning it in 1914 as a second lieutenant and being promoted to lieutenant in 1918. After the war he continued to serve in the Reichswehr as a squadron commander in the 18th Cavalry Regiment. He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1924, to major in 1932, lieutenant-colonel in 1936, and colonel in 1939, while commanding the 22nd Cavalry Regiment.

Second World War

During the Battle of France, Senger und Etterlin commanded the Schnelle Brigade von Senger (Senger's Fast Brigade), and was part of the German commission for the French-Italian Armistice of 1940. On September 1, 1941, he was promoted to Generalmajor (brigadier-general).

On October 10, 1942, Senger und Etterlin was given command of the 17th Panzer Division in Southern Russia. On May 1, 1943, he was promoted to Generalleutnant (major-general). In June 1943 he received the command of the German forces in Sicily during the Battle of Sicily. In August 1943, he took command of the German forces on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. He conducted the evacuation from all of these islands when the German position there became untenable. On October 8, 1943, he received the command of the XIV Panzer Corps in Italy, and on January 1, 1944, he was promoted to General der Panzertruppen (lieutenant-general of armoured troops).

During the Battle of Monte Cassino, Senger und Etterlin was responsible for the very successful defence of the Gustav Line, which included Monte Cassino. The German position was only broken by the Allies in May, 1944.[1] There was an ironic twist to the battle: the monastery overlooking the town of Cassino which was destroyed by Allied bombing belonged to the Benedictines, the order of which Senger was a lay member.[2]

Before the battle General von Senger und Etterlin successfully employed the transportation facilities of, among others, the Hermann Goering Panzer Division, to evacuate the treasures of the monastery. During the several days of this action none of the trucks were attacked. There seems to have been considerable communication between the warring headquarters at this time[citation needed].

Frido von Senger und Etterlin was one of the generals who opposed the principles of Nazism, and he refused to carry out Hitler's order to execute some 200 Italian officers taken prisoner after Italy switched sides.[3] Though he did not take part in the July 20 Plot to kill Hitler, his known anti-Nazi feelings resulted in his contribution to the defence of Cassino being played down by the German authorities.[2]

After the war

After the war he wrote his memoirs, entitled Neither Fear nor Hope (which were translated into English), and he continued to write on military matters and theory. He was invited to the Konigswinter conferences by Lilo Milchsack. These annual conferences helped to heal the bad memories after the end of the Second World War. At the conference he worked with the politician Hans von Herwath, future German President Richard von Weizsäcker and other leading German decision makers as well as British politicians like Dennis Healey, Richard Crossman and the journalist Robin Day.[4]

He took part in a BBC Radio discussion on the Battle of Monte Cassino with Dan Davin, who had also been a Rhodes Scholar, and Desmond (Paddy) Costello, who like Davin had been in Allied corps commander Bernard Freyberg’s intelligence team. He was interviewed on the BBC TV programme Face to Face in 1960.

Frido von Senger und Etterlin died in Freiburg. He was the father of Bundeswehr General and military author Ferdinand Maria von Senger und Etterlin (1923–1987).


Wehrmachtbericht reference

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
5 October 1943 Unter Führung des Generalleutnants von Senger und Etterlin, der als letzter mit seinem Stabe die Insel verließ, ist hier in ständigen Kampf gegen nachdrängende Badogliotruppen, Gaullisten und Amerikaner und gegen eine starke feindliche Überlegenheit zur See und in der Luft erneut eine einzigartige Leistung vollbracht worden.[6] Under the leadership of Lieutenant-General von Senger and Etterlin, who was the last with his staff to leave the island, again achieved a unique accomplishment in constant battle against pursuing Badoglio troops, Gaullists and Americans, and against a strong enemy superiority at sea and in the air.

See also


  1. Fridd von Senger und Etterlin (sic) "Cassino Battles", An Cosantoir, n.d.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Majdalany (1957), p. 46
  3. Dupuy, Trevor N. (1977). A Genius For War: The German Army General Staff, 1807-1945. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. p. 282. ISBN 0-13-351114-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Long Life: Presiding Genius, Nigel Nicholson, 15 August 1992, The Spectator, Retrieved 28 November 2015]] ]
  5. Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 442.
  6. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, pp. 575–576.


  • Majdalany, Fred (1957). Cassino: Portrait of a Battle. London: Longmans, Green.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2005). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe III Radusch – Zwernemann (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-22-5. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • von Senger und Etterlin, Fridolin (1963). Neither fear nor hope: the wartime career of general Frido von Senger und Etterlin, defender of Cassino. translated from the German by George Malcolm. London: Macdonald.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 (in German). München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Rudolf-Eduard Licht
Commander of 17th Panzer Division
10 October 1942 – 16 June 1943
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Walter Schilling
Preceded by
General der Panzertruppen Joachim Lemelsen
Commander of 14. Armee
15 October 1944 – 24 October 1944
Succeeded by
General der Artillerie Heinz Ziegler