Paul Julius von Petersdorff
(09.02.1861 - 24.11.1933)
place of birth: Gollnow, Pommern (Goliniow, Poland)
German 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 honor.
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 November