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Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin
Von Senger.jpg
Born (1891-09-04)4 September 1891
Died 9 January 1963(1963-01-09) (aged 71)
Place of birth Waldshut
Place of death Freiburg
Allegiance Flag of the German Empire.svg German Empire(to 1918)
Flag of Germany (3-2 aspect ratio).svg Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Flag of German Reich (1935–1945).svg 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.


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 second lieutenant (from 1914) and was promoted to lieutenant in 1918.

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 1924, to major in 1932, 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.[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 von Senger was a lay member.[2] 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.[2]

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).


Wehrmachtbericht referenceEdit

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.[4] 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.

See alsoEdit


  1. Fridd von Senger und Etterlin (sic) "Cassino Battles", An Cosantoir, n.d.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Majdalany (1957), p. 46
  3. Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 442.
  4. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, pp. 575–576.


  • Majdalany, Fred (1957). Cassino: Portrait of a Battle. London: Longmans, Green. 
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000), Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001) (in German). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2]. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2005) (in German). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe III Radusch – Zwernemann [Oak Leaves Bearers 1940 – 1945 Contemporary History in Color III Radusch – Zwernemann]. Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-22-5. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). 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 [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • 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. 
  • 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 linksEdit

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