Franz Hermann von Etzel
(14.12.1862 - 21.01.1948)
place of birth: Magdeburg, Provinz-Sachsen (Prussian
Prussian general of
cavalry and corps commander
von Etzel was
known for his outstanding
leadership qualities and an exceptional drive to succeed on the field.
The China campaign of 1900 afforded him his first opportunity to prove
himself against an enemy. As
a military attache in Tokyo and attached to the Japanese military during
their 1905 campaign against Russia, von Etzel exhibited great
skill and managed to secure an excellent standing with an otherwise
suspicious and exclusive Japanese officers corps. He
became the most knowledgeable expert of the Japanese army, gaining
valuable insight into the national character and driving motives of that
As a regimental commander, von Etzel was clear, thoughtful and decisive.
His commanding general, General of the Infantry Freiherr von
Hoiningen in 1911 stated that: “...colonel von Etzel is a highly
talented, outstanding officer who has a very promising future.”
In this same manner he proved himself as leader of the 33rd
Cavalry Brigade, the dragoons unit he commanded at the outbreak of the
Great War (attached to von Hollen's HKK 4 and Crown Prince Wilhelm's
most of the war, von Etzel was a divisional cavalry commander,
serving an Austro-German-Hungarian group in Galicia and Romania. He
was later in command of an infantry division which saw action in Flanders
and Noyon. During the last months of the war he commanded XVIIth and XVIIIth
Army Corps. He retired at the end of the war at the rank of
Generalleutnant, but was later awarded the brevet rank of General der
Kavallerie (Charakter) on 27 August 1939 for Tannenberg Remembrance Day.
|“Von Etzel has shown himself as a leader under adverse
conditions and a soldier of strong character with calmness and
energy. During the
last battles at the Schelde, the divisions under his command,
though exhausted and burned out, were inspired through his
personal influence to resist enemy break through of their lines.
He is an exceptionally energetic commanding general who
kept his troops firmly in hand.”
Gen. Bruno von Mudra
Seventeenth Field Army
von Etzel's brother Otto was also a general who served on the Great General Staff.
His uncle Karl von Etzel built
many of the railroad tunnels and bridges throughout Austria (Brenner
Pass), and his wife's
father was Lieutenant General Leo von Klingspor, a highly decorated
veteran of the war of 1870-71.
extensive traveler, von Etzel toured throughout the United States,
China, Korea and the Philippines.