Axel Paul Julius von Petersdorff
(09.02.1861 - 24.11.1933)
place of birth: Gollnow, Pommern (Goliniow,
general officer Axel von Petersdorff commanded at the brigade,
division, and corps level during the Great War. General von
Petersdorff came from a well-known soldiering family, with three of his ancestors
having earned the Pour le Merite honor during earlier conflicts.
During his pre-War service, a young Hauptmann von Petersdorff was
transferred to the War Ministry in Berlin and remained in the capacity
over the subsequent 14 years. In 1913, he was sent to command Guard
Grenadier Regiment Nr. 5 in Spandau.
As the Imperial German Army geared up for the War, Oberst von
Petersdorff was selected to be in charge of the Guard Infantry Brigade
and was promoted to Generalmajor soon after hostilities commenced.
Fighting in support of General von Plettenberg's Guard Corps, his
soldiers were an integral part of several key engagements as Germany's
northern flank swept through Belgium and toward Paris, but ultimately
faltering at the River Marne. The Guards then moved in April 1915
to the Eastern Front to fight for General von Mackensen and his Eleventh
Army in Galicia. The Guards saw action in the taking of Gorlice-Tarnow
and helped push the Russian enemy back across River San. During
this time, von Petersdorff occasionally had sole charge of 2nd
Guard-Infantry-Division as well.
After moving back to the Western Theater later in 1915, General
von Petersdorff was put in charge of the independent 50th
Reserve-Division in mid-summer 1916. He was then transferred in November
to take full command of 2nd Guard-Reserve-Division, and led them into
battle along the River Somme. The subsequently were engaged in
April 1917 at Arras, and in June made their way to fight in the Flanders
region. In the Spring of 1918, Generalmajor von Petersdorff's leadership
during the fighting in the Artois and at Baupaume prompted
his military leadership to recognize him with the Pour le Merite
Von Petersdorff was promoted to Generalleutnant in May of 1918,
becoming one of the youngest German officers to be serving at that rank.
He was nonetheless soon transferred to XVII. Armeekorps headquarters to
replace General von Etzel as commander. Remaining in this capacity until
War's end, brought his corps back home to Danzig, where they fought
revolutionary factions and shored up the defenses along the Polish
border. In early 1919 and now in command of 20th Infantry Division in
Kassel, he further organized anti-revolutionary defenses in Thuringia.
As the Imperial German Army met its dissolution, General von Petersdorff
likewise took his leave and retired from active duty in September of
1919. He lived another 34 years in the Wiesbaden area and passed away in