Günther Franz Hermann von Etzel  
(14.12.1862 - 21.01.1948)
place of birth:  Magdeburg, Provinz-Sachsen  (Prussian Saxony)
Königreich Preußen:  Generalleutnant  (Kav)


Prussian general of cavalry and corps commander Günther 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 nation.

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 Fifth Army).

During 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


General 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. An extensive traveler, von Etzel toured throughout the United States, China, Korea and the Philippines.

 
 
Generalleutnant ................ 27.01.1918

Pour le Mérite .................... 04.08.1918
 
 
 

  
 
Curriculum Vitae
   
19.03.1881 2. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß - Berlin  (Fahnenjunker)
13.09.1882 1. Großherzoglich Mecklenburgisch Dragoner-Regiment Nr. 17 - Ludwigslust   
13.09.1882 Sekonde-Lieutenant
30.09.1887 Militär-Reit-Institut - Hannover  (Military Riding Academy)
13.02.1888 1. Großherzoglich Mecklenburgisch Dragoner-Regiment Nr. 17 - Ludwigslust  
10.09.1890 Premier-Lieutenant
14.09.1893 18. Kavallerie-Brigade - Altona  (Adjutant)
17.03.1894 Großer Generalstab - Berlin 
22.03.1895 Rittmeister
12.09.1895 25. Infanterie-Division - Darmstadt  (on general staff)
18.11.1897 1. Brandenburgisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr. 2 - Schwedt  (Coy Cdr) 
16.11.1899 Garde-Kavallerie-Division - Berlin  (on general staff)
12.08.1900 Armee Oberkommando in East Asia  (on general staff)
06.08.1901 Großer Generalstab - Berlin  
19.09.1901 Major
28.05.1902 Deutsche Botschaft - Tokio  (Military Attaché at Tokyo Embassy)
18.05.1908 Oberstleutnant
16.12.1908 Kurmärkisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr. 14 - Colmar  (Cdr) 
21.04.1911 Oberst
22.04.1912 33. Kavallerie-Brigade - Metz  (Cdr) 
22.04.1914 Generalmajor
   
Great War
   
02.08.1914 33. Kavallerie- Brigade  =  5. Armee
25.09.1914 Garde-Kavallerie Division  (replaced von Storch)
01.12.1914 Leib-Hussar-Brigade
03.05.1915 3. Kavallerie Division  (replaced von Wurmb)
09.08.1916 2. Kavallerie Division  (replaced Thumb von Neuburg)
14.05.1917 11. Infanterie Division  (replaced von Schoeler)
27.01.1918 Generalleutnant
23.06.1918 XVII. Armeekorps  (replaced von Webern)
26.08.1918 XVIII. Armeekorps  (replaced von Albrecht)
27.08.1939 General der Kavallerie  (Charakter - Tannenbergtag)
   
   
 

06.05.1914

 

 

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