Günther Franz Hermann von
(14.12.1862 - 21.01.1948)
place of birth: Magdeburg, Provinz-Sachsen
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
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).
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
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.