Wilhelm Leopold Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz
(12.08.1843 - 19.04.1916)
place of birth:  Bielkenfeld, Ostpreußen  (Ivanovka, PL)
Königreich Preußen:  Gen-Gouv von Belgien,  OBH,  Generalfeldmarschall


German baron and military theorist, Freiherr von der Goltz was one of Germany's ten active duty field marshals during the Great War. Born the second son of an impoverished Prussian landowner and former military officer, Colmar von der Goltz was commissioned as a lieutenant at the age of 18. He served in both the Austro-Prussian War (wounded at Trautenau) and the Franco-Prussian War, where as a general staff officer he saw action at Mars-la-Tour and Le Mans. Baron von der Goltz was married to Therese Dorguth, with whom he had five children.

Colmar von der Goltz
spent much of his post-1871 career in staff positions, taking this time to also serve from 1878 to 1883 as a history lecturer at the Military Academy, and to pen the military histories noted for their scholarly analysis: "Roßbach und Jena" and "Das Volk in Waffen" (A Nation in Arms).  He thereafter was promoted to major and in his restlessness was sent to Turkey as military advisor to the Ottoman Empire (1883-1895), where he helped modernize the Turkish Army. Upon his return to Germany, Lieutenant General von der Goltz served as a divisional commander before being selected as Chief of Combat Engineers and Inspector General of Fortresses.

At the turn of the century, von der Goltz consistently warned of an impending military conflict with England. His attitude ruffled some feathers at Great General Staff, and so in 1902 he was brushed off to the province of East Prussia where he commanded I. Corps. He had been in line to succeed von Schlieffen as Chief of General Staff, but instead remained in Königsberg as Inspector General of the Sixth Army Inspectorate, simultaneously serving as commander of all troops based in East Prussian. In early 1911, von der Goltz was promoted to general field marshal but retired from military service two years later.

As Germany marched to war, Field Marshal von der Goltz returned to active duty in 1914 to serve as military governor of  Belgium. In November 1914, he transferred back to Constantinople as Sultan Mehmed V's senior military advisor and eventually replaced General Liman von Sanders as commander of the Bosporous Army in Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq. Later, as commander of the Turkish Sixth Army, he fought Sir Charles Townsend's Anglo-Indian forces at Ctesipon and supervised the five-month siege of Kut-al-Amara. On 19 April 1916, a few days before the garrison surrendered, von der Goltz died in Baghdad due to complications from typhus; he was also (falsely) rumored to have been poisoned by the so-called Young Turks. 

 
 
Generalfeldmarschall ...... 01.01.1911

Eisernes Kreuz II .............. Deutsch-Französischer Krieg  1870–1871
 
 
 

  
 
Curriculum Vitae
   
23.07.1861 Sekonde-Lieutenant
00.00.1864 Preußische Kriegsakademie - Berlin
15.06.1866 Der Deutsche Krieg von 1866   (participant in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866)
00.00.1867 Großer Generalstab - Berlin  (Topographical Section)
15.09.1869 Premier-Lieutenant
19.07.1870 Deutsch-Französischer Krieg von 1870–1871   (on 2.AOK General Staff during Franco-Prussian War, awarded Iron Cross)
03.10.1871 Hauptmann
00.00.1874 6. Infanterie-Division - Brandenburg an der Havel  (on Schwerin's general staff)
00.00.1878 Preußische Kriegsakademie - Berlin  (instructor of military history)
12.10.1878 Major
25.08.1883 Oberst-Lieutenant
00.00.1883 Türkische Armee - Constantinople  (charged with Ottoman Army reorganization)
22.03.1887 Oberst
18.06.1891 Generalmajor
18.04.1895 General-Lieutenant
02.01.1896 5. Infanterie-Division - Frankfurt an der Oder  (Cdr, replaced Vogel von Falckenstein)
00.00.1898 General-Inspektion des Ingenieur- und Pionierkorps und Festungen - Berlin  (Inspector General of Fortresses)
27.01.1900 General der Infanterie
27.01.1902 I. Armeekorps - Königsberg  (Cdr)
11.09.1907 VI. Armee-Inspektion - Stuttgart  (Inspector General) 
00.00.1908 Generaloberst
01.01.1911 Generalfeldmarschall
00.00.1913 außer Dienst 
   
Great War
   
23.08.1914 Kaiserliche Deutsche Generalgouvernement Belgien - Brüssel  (Governor General in Belgium)
11.12.1914 Military Advisor to Sultan of Turkey - Constantinople
00.03.1915 1. Türkische Armee - Constantinople  (replaced Otto Liman von Sanders)
00.10.1915 1. Türkische Armee - Constantinople  (replaced Otto Liman von Sanders)
   
   
 

06.05.1912

 

 

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