Friedrich von Both

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Friedrich von Both
Friedrich von Both.jpg
Birth name Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig von Both
Nickname Fried
Birth date 22 February 1871(1871-02-22)
Place of birth Marburg, Province of Hesse-Nassau, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Death date 31 October 1945 (aged 74)
Place of death Kassel, Hesse, Allied-occupied Germany
Allegiance  German Empire
 Weimar Republic
 National Socialist Germany
Service/branch War and service flag of Prussia (1895–1918).png Prussian Army
Iron Cross of the Luftstreitkräfte.png Imperial German Army
War Ensign of the Reichswehr, 1919 - 1935.png Preliminary Reichswehr
Balkenkreuz.jpg Heer
Years of service 1890–1919
Rank Generalmajor z. V.
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Iron Cross
House Order of Hohenzollern
Relations ∞ 1900 Erna Freiin Wolff von Gudenberg

Friedrich "Fried" Wilhelm Ludwig von Both (22 February 1871 – 31 October 1945) was a German officer of the Prussian Army, the Imperial German Army, the Preliminary Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht, finally Generalmajor in World War II.


Friedrich von Both II.png

Military career (chronology)

  • 1 October 1890 Joined the Hessisches Feldartillerie Regiment Nr. 11 (1. Batterie)
    • renamed 1. Kurhessisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 11 on 27 January 1902
  • As of Rangliste 1895 in the 6th Battery
  • 1 October 1895 to 30 June 1899 Adjutant of the III. Abteilung (field artillery battalion)
  • 1 October 1899 Adjutant of the Regiment
  • 14 November 1903 Adjutant of the 19th Field-Artillery-Brigade
  • 17 September 1906 Commander of the 4th Battery in the Feldartillerie-Regiment „von Peucker“ (1. Schlesisches) Nr. 6
  • 18 April 1913 Transferred to the Staff of the 1. Posensches Feld-Artillerie-Regiment Nr. 20
  • 1 October 1913 Commander of the II. Battalion of the 1. Posensches Feld-Artillerie-Regiment Nr. 20
  • October 1914 Leader of the 20th Field-Artillery-Regiment
  • September 1916 Commander of the 278th Field-Artillery-Regiment
  • 1 July 1919 Battalion-Commander in the 5th Reserve-Artillery-Regiment
  • 31 December 1919 Retired
  • 5 March 1935 Return to Army Service
  • 26 August 1939 Placed to Disposal (Army)
  • 1940 Commandant of Bordeaux (France)
    • later Commandant of the Troop-Exercise-Grounds at Wildflecken
  • 20 June 1942 Führer-Reserve OKH
  • 30 November 1942 Retired
  • 22–23 October 1943 In a single deadliest raid by 569 bombers from England during the night, at least 10,000 people were killed, 150,000 inhabitants of Kassel were bombed-out, the vast majority of the city center was destroyed, and the fire of this most severe air raid burned for seven days. Von Both was called up for duty by the city to take over an "administrative-organizational management function", as author Jörg Friedrich writes in his book Der Brand, Deutschland im Bombenkrieg 1940–1945 (2002). Von Both's grandson states, that Friedrich von Both became city commandant (Stadtkommandant), but this is not documented. Generalmajor Johannes Erxleben would become Wehrmachtskommandant of Kassel in September 1944, later Kampfkommandant.

Between wars

From 1920 until the end of 1925, Oberstleutnant a. D. von Both was the authorized representative of the mines of the Waitz von Eschen in Ringenkuhl (near Großalmerode). As his brother-in-law and friend Arnold Freiherr Wolff von Gudenberg states in his notes, as of the mid-1920s, von Both was involved in "half-secret, half-licensed, half-political activities".[1] Since Autumn 1927, he was secretary (Schriftführer) of the German Nobility Association or Deutsche Adelsgenossenschaft (D.A.G.), regional department Kassel.


In 1945, his beloved younger brother Dr. med. Hans-Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Gabriel, director of the maternity clinic in Kassel, and his wife Gela Margarte Hedwig, née von Goddaeus, chose suicide over surrender. On 5 December 1946, the American occupying forces threw the general and his wife from there home (Zedlitzstraße 20, Kassel), taking over the villa by confiscation. They were first accommodated by the family von Müffling, then by the family Harnier von Regendorf.


Generalmajor a. D. Friedrich von Both died in a freak accident, as Oberstleutnant a. D. Arnold Freiherr Wolff von Gudenberg wrote superior of the Oberkirchner Damenstift[2] Ursula von Gronefeld (d. September 1947) on 8 November 1945.[3] Von Both had been taking care of relatives who had been expelled from the East and now lived in Kassel. They had brought with them a horse-drawn carriage. On a dark evening in October 1945, during a coal and firewood search, the horses were startled by a streetcar. It was night, and the tram driver was blinded by the lights of an American military vehicle and therefore didn't brake. The carriage was hit, and von Both, trying to stop the horses, was ripped off the driver's seat. A wheel of the carriage rolled over him and severed a part of the right side of his face. He did not die immediately, but developed wound fever in hospital. He finally died on 31 October 1945 and was buried at the military cemetery of Kassel on 5 November 1945 with over 100 mourners attending.


Friedrich was the son of Oberstleutnant z. D. Alexander Otto Karl Heinrich von Both (1842–1905).[4] He had four brothers, his youngest was Kuno-Hans Paul Hermann Viktor Ludwig von Both (1884–1955), General der Infanterie of the Wehrmacht and one of only 19 Knights of the Order "Pour le Mérite" with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. All five brothers were Knights of Honor of the Johanniter.


On 8 October 1900, Oberleutnant von Both married in Kassel his fiancée Wilhelmine Mathilde Kathinka Erna Freiin Wolff von Gudenberg (b. 16 January 1879 in Hessisch-Oldendorf) (sometimes documented as Erna Wilhelmine Mathilde Kathinka Rosa Freiin Wolff von Gudenberg), daughter of George Moritz August Freiherr Wolff von Gudenberg and his wife Rosalie Marianne Karoline Sophie Mathilde, née Pfeiffer. They had three children:[5]

  • Wolf Rudolph Hans Emanuel (b. 20 June 1901 in Kassel; d. 6 February 1976 in Willingshausen), Dr. phil. (1926), Unteroffizier (NCO) of the Landwehr, member of the NSDAP since 1 May 1933, member of the SA, 1934 member of the NSV, Reichsbund der Deutschen Beamten and the Reichsluftschutzbund, 1936 member of the Reichskolonialbund, Oberregierungsrat with the Reich Protector Konstantin von Neurath and Wilhelm Frick in WWII, post-war Director of the State and University Library (Kassel, later Marburg until 1966), secretary of the Historical Commission for Hesse and Waldeck (1963–1968);[6] ∞ Elisabeth Freiin von Müffling, four children
  • Gisela Rosemarie Bertha (b. 27 February 1904; d. 21 December 1995); ∞ Kassel 29 December 1926 Kaspar Wilhelm Karl Ernst von Harnier Freiherr von Regendorf (1900–1991), four children, including Eberhard Friedrich Adolf Hans Alfred (1931–1985)
  • Friedrich Heinrich "Fritz-Heinz" Kuno Axel Richard Otto (b. 29 July 1907 in Kassel), Major im Generalstab in WWII, was wounded severly oin battle n 11 October 1941 at the Eastern Front and died shortly afterwards (ᛣ⚔) at the Hauptverbandsplatz der 1. Sanitäts-Kompanie (Sanko 1/25) der 25. Infanterie-Division (motorisiert) in Weselaga-Kalina near Bryansk, southwest of Moscow; ∞ 15 October 1933 Marie Cecilie Anna-Luise "Anilisa" Gräfin von Schwerin (1910–1991), who later (23 March 1943) married widower Generalleutnant Wolfgang Thomale (his first wife, Ilse Sonnenberg, whom he had married on 25 March 1934, died on 19. August 1940).



  • 1 October 1890 Fahnenjunker (Officer Candidate)
  • 16 May 1891 Fähnrich (Officer Cadet)
  • 17 December 1891 Sekondeleutnant (2nd Lieutenant)
  • 13 September 1899 Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant) without Patent
    • Patent received on 22 July 1900
  • 22 April 1905 Hauptmann (Captain) without Patent
    • Patent received on 21 May 1906
  • 1 October 1913 Major
  • 31 December 1919 Charakter als Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel)
  • 5 March 1935 Oberst (Colonel)
    • most sources state, he returned to the military as a Supplemental-Officer or E-Offizier (Ergänzungsoffizier), but the DAL (seniority list) for E-Offziere of 1935, 1937 and 1938 do not show him, so that some assume, he was z. V. (zur Verfügung = at disposal) as of 1935.
  • 1 June 1942 Generalmajor z. V.

Awards and decorations

Friedrich von Both, Ribbon Bar.jpg


  • Was ich aus mündlichen Erzählungen von den Voreltern weiß, in: "Nachrichten über die Familie von Both 1838–1944" by Dr. phil. Wolf von Both


  1. Hans Manfred Bock: Die Wolff von Gudenberg – Zur Sozialgeschichte und Familienchronik eines Adelsgeschlechts der Region Kassel, 2019, p. 187
  2. In some Lutheran states the endowments of women's monasteries were preserved, with the nunneries converted into secular convents in order to maintain unmarried or widowed noble women (the so-called conventuals, German: Konventualinnen), therefore called ladies' foundations (Damenstift) or noble damsels' foundations (Danish: Adelige Jomfrukloster, German: [Adeliges] Fräuleinstift, Swedish: Jungfrustift). Many of these convents were dissolved in Communist countries after the Second World War, but, in Denmark and the former West Germany, many continue to exist, such as the Stift Fischbeck. In Lower Saxony the former endowments of many Lutheran women's convents are collectively administered by the Klosterkammer Hannover, a governmental department, while others maintain their endowments independently or their endowments are administered by a collective body consisting of the noble families of a former principality (e.g. Neuenwalde Convent or Preetz Priory). Some of these charitable institutions which previously accepted only female members of noble families now also accept residents from other social classes.
  3. Fate described in Die Wolff von Gudenberg – Zur Sozialgeschichte und Familienchronik eines Adelsgeschlechts der Region Kassel, 2019, pp. 245–246
  4. Gothaisches Genealogisches Taschenbuch der Adeligen Häuser (Deutscher Uradel), 1914, p. 128
  5. Gothaisches Genealogisches Taschenbuch der Adeligen Häuser (Deutscher Uradel), 1922, p. 123
  6. Wolf von Both, in: "Die Historische Kommission für Hessen und Waldeck", pp. 38–41