NAME: General der Panzertruppe Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin

PW NO:           211006
RANK:            General der Panzertruppe
CAPTURED:   Trient, Italy
DATE:             2 May 1945


DATE OF BIRTH:      4 September 1891
PLACE OF BIRTH:   Waldshut / Baden
DATE OF DEATH:    4 January 1963
NATIONALITY:        German
RELIGION:                Catholic
OCCUPATION:         Regular Soldier
HEIGHT:                    190cm
WEIGHT:                   75kg

NEXT OF KIN:         Hilda-Margarete Senger u.Etterlin, (British Zone)

: Hilda Margaretha von Kracht (married 2 December 1919) – one son and one daughter.


Commands & Assignments:

The senior German officers of the 10th Army in Italy, circa January 1944

Left to Right:

  • Generaloberst Heinrich Gottfried von Vietinghoff gen Scheel,
    Commander-in-chief of 10th Army.
  • General der Panzertruppe Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin, commanding general of XIV Panzer Corps.

On far right:

  • Generalleutnant Dr. Friedrich Franek, Commander of the 44th Infantry Division (note the Knight's Cross of the Military Maria Theresa Order - Austria's highest award for military bravery -hanging just below his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross).
This is the ceremony in which Senger is receiving his Oakleaves to the Knight’s Cross from Hitler at Obersalzberg. Senger notes in his memoirs that he departed the Italian front by car on 17 April 1944 to get the award. He also wrote:

“The ceremony had lost any personal significance now that hundreds of people wore the decoration [Oakleaves], which was being awarded to commanders of successful corps or divisions, and was thus intended to honour the troops under command.”
Senger also notes that “the impression made by Hitler was utterly depressing…”


On 15 February 1944, American B-17 and B-26 bombers destroyed the magnificent Abbey of Monte Cassino for fear that it was a German observation post (it was not occupied by them). Founded by St Benedictine in 529 A.D., the abbey was one of Europe's most sacred and spectacular sites. General der Panzertruppe Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin, himself a lay Benedictine, commanded the XIV Panzer Corps in the vicinity of the abbey. On 18 February 1944, Abbot Gregorio Diamare visited General Senger to describe the destruction of the abbey for a German radio interview before leaving for Rome.

Abbot Gregorio Diamare (centre with crucifix) is seen departing General der Panzertruppe Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin's headquarters after the bombing of Monte Cassino monastery. Abbot Diamare's secretary and assistant Monk Martino Matronola is on far left. Major Joachim Oster, one of Senger's aides, is standing next to Matronola
General von Senger, devoted catholic, helps Abbot Diamare to enter the car that will be take him to Rome (1944)

  1. Generalleutnant a.D. Dr. Hans Speidel (Military-Political Committee)
  2. General der Infanterie a.D. Hermann Foertsch (General Committee)
  3. Generalleutnant  a.D. Adolf Heusinger (Organization Committee)
  4. General der Panzertruppe a.D. Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin (Training Committee).

Decorations & Awards:

Leutnant Johann-Gustav von Senger und Etterlin (born 12 December 1894), Fridolin’s younger brother, served as a fighter pilot in Jagdstaffel [Fighter Squadron] 12 in World War I. Joining the Army on 8 August 1914, Johann-Gustav was assigned to his older brother’s unit, the 5. Badisches Feld-Artillerie-Regiment Nr. 76. Wounded on 8 October 1914, he later transferred to the Air Service in October 1916 and completed pilot training. After service in Feld-Flieger-Abteilung 12, he transitioned to fighters and was assigned to Jagdstaffel 12 in July 1917. Johann-Gustav was killed in action on 30 November 1917 during aerial combat with British SE5s fighters near the Moeuvres-Bourlon Wood. He possibly collided with a SE5s piloted by Second Lieutenant R.E. Dungate, No. 46 Squadron, who was captured on this date. The day after his death, Fridolin found the mass grave where his brother was buried and, in the midst of the battle of Cambrai, removed his body for a more dignified interment. Note: An award proposal dated 12 August 1917 for the Baden Order of the Zähringer Lion to Leutnant Karl Kern, Johann-Gustav’s observer in Feld-Flieger-Abteilung 12, claimed von Senger had been assigned to the 2. Badisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr. 21 before transferring to the Air Service.

Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin’s son, Ferdinand Maria, served in the German Army in World War II in Italy and Russia losing an arm in combat in 1944. On 4 September 1944, he received the German Cross in Gold while serving as an Oberleutnant on the Eastern Front in the 3rd Company of Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion 24 of the 24th Panzer Division. After the war he joined the Bundeswehr and retired in 1984 after serving as Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces Central Europe. General Dr. Ferdinand M. von Senger und Etterlin, author of several books on German and worldwide armored fighting vehicles, died in January 1987 while writing the biographical article on his father for the book Hitler’s Generals edited by Corelli Barnett. His son Stefan, Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin’s grandson, then completed the article.

The following is an account provided by Keith Jones who worked with NATO in Holland 1984/85 and discovered that his boss, was General Dr Ferdinand Maria von Senger und Ettelin (CINC AFCENT):

" Ferdinand Maria (Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin’s son) lost his right arm after it was run over by a German tank during a trench warfare incident of the Second World War. The weather was appalling which meant the ground was very soft which meant his arm could have survived had the tank not turned away from him at the last second. This mean that his arm was churned up instead of merely being slightly crushed. (the theory is that it is quite possible to be run over by a tank in soft ground - because the weight/pressure per square inch of track is VERY low)."