Senger von Etterlin, Fridolin Rudolf Theodor von, born 04-09-1891 in Tübingen, Germany, into a family rich in military tradition, with over 250 years of service to various German polities. His father, Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin, who served as a Wehrmacht officer throughout World War II, reached the rank of General der Panzertruppe, “General of Armored Troops”, and began his own highly decorated military service before World War I in service with the Reichswehr. His mother, Hilda Margarethe von Kracht, was the daughter of Prussian General Ernst Alexander von Kracht. Like most of his male forbears, he sought a military career and began it at age 17, by joining the cavalry regiment commanded by his father. In 1946, he married Ebba von Keudell; they had two children, a boy, Stefan, and a girl, Marina Josepha Anna Sidonie. Von Senger und Etterlin started his military career on 01-10-1940 in the replacement section of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Göttingen , commanded at the time by his father.
Senger und Etterlin took part in the Battle of France in 1940. On 21-06-1941, Adolf Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Ferdinand fought on this front as a Lieutenant with the 24th Panzer Division in the German 6th Army, ultimately participating in the Battle of Stalingrad, one of history’s bloodiest battles. He was placed in command of a panzer squadron on 23-08-1942, in the later stages of this battle. Not long before the end of the battle, he was evacuated back to Germany, having been badly wounded, thus saving him from a worse fate as the Soviets surrounded and eventually destroyed the German 6th Army, Friedrich von Paulus . Upon his recovery and promoted to Oberleutnant, he was assigned to serve as a regimental adjutant in northern Italy with the re-constituted 24th Panzer Division . In October 1942 he was given command of the 17 Panzer Division in Southern Russia. In June 1943, during the Battle of Sicily he was German Liaison Officer to the Italian 6th Army, under General Alfredo Guzzoni , and commanded the German units on the island until 17 July 1943 when General Hans Valentin Hube assumed control of all Axis troops on the island. General Guzzoni died old age 88 on 15-04-1965. In August 1943, Senger took command of the German forces on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. He conducted the evacuation when the German positions became untenable. On 08-10-1943 he received the command of the XIV Panzer Corps in Italy. The Corps also participated in the Battle of Monte Casino under the command of Senger von Etterlin and included among its formations, the 1st Fallshirmjager Division under Generalmajor Karl-Lothar Schulz , the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division under Generalleutnant Eberhard Rodt and the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division , under General Dr. Hans Boelsen which had previously fought under it in Sicily. It remained on the Italian front until its surrender at the end of the war. His unit being transferred back to the Eastern Front, after October 1943, he found himself again facing the Soviet Army in combat, this time at Kiev and the Dnieper Bend. Soviet offensives having pushed the German forces along with the 24th Division back to Romania, in August 1944, during the Second Battle of Jassy-Kishinev he was wounded again , this time losing his right arm, again requiring his evacuation from the front.
During the Battle of Monte Casino, Senger und Etterlin fought at the Gustav Line, which included Monte Casino. The German position was only broken by the Allies in May 1944.