Walter Petzel

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Walter Petzel
General der Artillerie Walter Petzel (1883-1965).jpg
Birth name Hugo Walter Petzel
Birth date 28 December 1883(1883-12-28)
Place of birth Gut Oborzysk, Kreis Kosten, Province of Posen, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Death date 1 October 1965 (aged 81)
Place of death Hameln, Lower Saxony, West 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
Freikorps Flag.jpg Freikorps
War Ensign of Germany (1921–1933).png Reichswehr
Balkenkreuz.jpg Heer
Years of service 1903–1945
Rank General der Artillerie
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Iron Cross
House Order of Hohenzollern
War Merit Cross
German Cross in Silver
Relations ∞ 1911 Margarete Hauffe

Hugo Walter Petzel (28 December 1883 – 1 October 1965) was a German officer of the Prussian Army, the Imperial German Army, the Freikorps, the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht, finally General der Artillerie (General of the Artillery) and army corps commander in World War II.


Colonel Walter Petzel.jpg
General der Artillerie Walter Petzel (1883-1965) II.jpg
Walter Petzel Poland 1939.jpg
Inauguration of the new Reich Governor Arthur Greiser (right) with Reich Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick (center) and Walter Petzel (left), November 1939
Ingeborg Bagh, née Petzel (daughter)

Petzel joined the 1. Posensches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 20 on 10 March 1902 as an officer candidate.[1] On 1 October 1905, he was commanded to the Artillery and Engineering School for four months. On 1 February 1908, he was appointed adjutant of the 2nd battalion. On 1 October 1910, he was assigned to the Military Riding Institute for almost two years. On 26 November 1913, he was appointed regimental adjutant. With his regiment, he took part in WWI and was seriously wounded in September 1914 in the battles near Dauxnoude and La Selouse. After recovery, he was appointed adjutant of the 10th Field Artillery Brigade on 27 January 1915.

On 3 December 1916, he returned to his regiment and was appointed battery commander. On 10 December 1917, he was appointed battalion leader. From 23 August to 6 September 1918, he attended the course for battalion leaders at the Army Shooting School. After the war, he served with the Freikorps (presumably with the Border Guard East), receiving the Silesian Eagle Order for his service.

He was accepted into the provisional Reichswehr as a captain. He initially served as a battery commander in the Reichswehr Artillery Regiment 5. There he was also recorded as an officer in the 200,000-man transitional army of the Reichswehr in mid-May 1920. When the 100,000-man army of the Reichswehr was formed, he was taken on as battery chief of the 4th battery in Frankfurt an der Oder in the 3rd (Prussian) Artillery Regiment. From at least 1922 to 1925, he lived privately at Fürstenwalderstrasse 53 in Frankfurt an der Oder.

On 1 January 1924, he gave up his 4th battery and was succeeded by Captain Ferdinand Pachmayr. He himself was now assigned to the staff of the 2nd battalion of his regiment for a month as a captain. From 1 February 1924, he was transferred to the staff of the 1st Cavalry Division. On 1 June 1925, he was promoted to major there. As such, on 1 March 1926, he was transferred to the staff of the 3rd Division of the Reichswehr in Berlin for several years.

From 10 to 29 March 1930, he was assigned to the staff officer course. From 25 September to 5 November 1930, he was ordered to a shooting course for artillery officers. On 1 April 1931, he was appointed commander of the 5th (mounted) battalion of the 3rd (Prussian) Artillery Regiment in Sagan. From 12 to 28 October 1932, he was ordered to a shooting course for artillery officers. On 1 February 1933, he was promoted to colonel. As such, he was placed at the disposal of the Chief of Army Command on 1 October 1933. On 1 November 1933, he was transferred to the Reichswehr Ministry (RWM) as commander of the horse artillery in the Inspection of the Cavalry (In 2). According to other sources, when the Reichswehr was expanded, he was appointed commander of the Sagan 5th (mounted) battalion on 1 October 1934. He was appointed commander of the 76th Artillery Regiment when the unit was expanded on 15 October 1935.

On 1 November 1935, he was promoted to major general. As such, he was appointed Artillery Commander (Arko) 3. In 1935, he lived privately at Ebertusstraße 14 in Frankfurt an der Oder, where he had the telephone number 3634. On 7 March 1936, he handed over his command to Colonel Friedrich Bremer. On 7 March 1936, he took over as commander of the 3rd Infantry Division in Frankfurt an der Oder, succeeding Major General Curt Haase. On 1 January 1938, he was promoted to lieutenant general.

On 1 November 1938, he was appointed inspector of the artillery inspection (In 4) as the successor to Lieutenant General Curt Haase. During the mobilization for World War II at the end of August 1939, he took over the leadership of the General Command of the I Army Corps in Königsberg as the successor to General of Artillery Georg von Küchler. He led this into the Polish campaign in the late summer of 1939. Together with Johannes Blaskowitz and Wilhelm Ulex, Petzel wrote to retired Generaloberst Ludwig August Theodor Beck and complained about the inhumane behavior of the Sicherheitsdienst in Poland, which Beck included in his memorandum to the High Command of the Wehrmacht (OKW) from 20 November 1939.

On 1 October 1939, he was promoted to general of artillery. He was now appointed commanding general of the 1st Army Corps. On 26 October 1939, he relinquished his command. To this end, he now took over as commanding general of the Deputy General Command XXI. Army Corps. At the same time, he also became the commander of Military District XXI, based in Posen.[2]

On 29 January 1945, Heinrich Himmler relieved him of his command. He came to the OKH leadership reserve (Führerreserve) and was not given a new command. Petzel escaped to the west and settled in Hamelin (Pyrmonter Straße 8/10), West Germany.



Hugo Walter Petzel (sometimes Walter Hugo) was born the son of estate owner (Gut Oborzysk) and lord of the manor Lieutenant (ret.) Hugo Georg Eduard Petzel (1850–1903) and his wife Margerethe, née Meyer/Meier (d. 1 August 1912). He had several siblings:

  • His brother, who would take over the estate after the death of the mother, was Hans Petzel (b. 1882).
  • His sister Elfriede (b. 22 September 1885) married in 1905 Lieutenant Friedrich von Kronhelm (b. 2 September 1880 in Glatz), adjutant of the 2nd Battalion/1. Posensches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 20.
  • His sister Hildegard Ulrike Klara (b. 5 August 1888; d. 1 April 1940) married in Weidenau on 15 January 1911 the reserve officer Dr. jur. Karl Otto Ludwig Hauffe, brother of his future wife.
    • Their sons were
      • later member of the LSSAH and the SS Economic Administrative Main Office (SS-WVHA) Karl Heinz Hauffe (b. 27 February 1912)
      • the later veteran of the Wehrmacht as well as physical chemist, spy (for East Germany) and double agent Prof. Dr.-Ing. Karl Heinrich Hauffe (1913–1998).


On 21 August 1911 in Berlin, 1st Lieutenant Petzel married his fiancée Margarete Luise Mathilde Ottilie Hauffe. They would have two children:

  • Ingeborg (b. 4 January 1913; d. 7 December 2011); ∞ Bagh, several children, 13 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren (at the time of her death)
  • Klaus (b. 8 September 1915[3]), Major of the Wehrmacht in WWII; ∞ 2 March 1941 in Sagan Barbara Frisch (painter and photographer), graduate of the United State Schools for Liberal and Applied Arts in Berlin-Charlottenburg under Prof. Ludwig Bartning
    • Klaus Petzel served as a artillery officer in WWII. In late 1941 / early 1942, as 1st Lieutenant and commander (Batterie-Chef) of the 4th Battery/Artillerie-Regiment (mot) 3, he was wounded for a second time, now very severely. His thigh was hit by an Infantry gun round, the bone had broken into several parts. As soon as it was possible, he was brought to the reserve military hospital (Reservelazarett) in Posen, where his wife lived and where his father served. On 19 January 1942, Klaus' and Barbara's first child was born: Anna-Karina. On 1 April 1942, still in hospital, Petzel received the German Cross in Gold. Petzel would finally return to duty, was promoted to captain, later major and was the last known leader of the Artillerie-Regiment 3 in March and April 1945.


Prussian Army

  • 10.3.1902 Fahnenjunker (Officer Candidate)
  • c. January 1903 Fähnrich (Officer Cadet)
  • 19.8.1903 Leutnant (2nd Lieutenant) with Patent from 19.8.1902
  • 18.8.1911 Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)

Imperial German Army

  • 8.11.1914 Hauptmann (Captain)
    • 1.2.1922 received new Rank Seniority (RDA) from 8.11.1914


  • 1.6.1925 Major
  • 1.2.1930 Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel)
  • 1.2.1933 Oberst (Colonel)


  • 1.11.1935 Generalmajor (Major General)
  • 1.1.1938 Generalleutnant (Lieutenant General)
  • 1.10.1939 General der Artillerie (General of the Artillery)

Awards and decorations


  • Iron Cross (1914), 2nd and 1st Class
    • EK II on 14 September 1914
    • EK I on 11 September 1915
  • House Order of Hohenzollern, Knight's Cross with Swords (HOH3⚔) on 29 March 1918
  • Wound Badge (1918) in Black on 15 October 1918