Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin bigraphy, stories - German general

Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin : biography

September 4, 1891 - January 9, 1963

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


Frido von Senger und Etterlin was born in Waldshut, Germany, into an aristocratic Roman Catholic family. He started his military career in 1910, serving in an artillery regiment. After that he went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He participated in World War I as a lieutenant.

World War I

After World War I, he continued to serve in the Reichswehr as a squadron commander of 18th Cavalry Regiment. He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1927, to lieutenant-colonel in 1936 and to colonel in 1939, while commanding the 22nd Cavalry Regiment.

World War II

During the Battle of France, von Senger und Etterlin commanded the Schnelle Brigade von Senger (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, von Senger und Etterlin received the 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 commanded German formations 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 Korps 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, von 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.Fridd von Senger und Etterlin (sic) An Cosantoir, n.d. 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 von Senger was a lay member.Majdalany (1957), p. 46 Before the battle Gen. 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.

Frido von Senger und Etterlin was one of the generals who opposed the principles of Nazism, but he did not take part in the July 20 Plot to kill Hitler. However, his known anti-Nazi feelings resulted in his contribution to the defence of Cassino being played down by the German authorities.

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 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).


  • Iron Cross (1914)
    • 2nd Class (28 June 1915)
    • 1st Class (17 August 1917)
  • Wound Badge (1914)
    • in Black
  • Knight's Cross Second Class of the Order of the Zähringer Lion with Swords
  • Cross of Honour
  • Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th to 1st Class
  • Iron Cross (1939)
    • 2nd Class (20 May 1940)
    • 1st Class (8 July 1940)
  • German Cross in Gold on 11 October 1943 as Generalleutnant and commander of the German Wehrmacht on CorsicaPatzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 442.
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
    • Knight's Cross on 8 February 1943 as Generalmajor and commander of the 17. Panzer-Division
    • 439th Oak Leaves on 5 April 1944 as General der Panzertruppe and commanding general XIV. Panzerkorps
  • Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 5 October 1943

Wehrmachtbericht reference

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
5 October 1943 de|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.}}Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, pp. 575–576. 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 persuing Badoglio troops, Gaullists and Americans, and against a strong enemy superiority at sea and in the air.


Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine