Fritz von Below

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Fritz von Below
Grave in the Invalidenfriedhof , Berlin

Fritz Wilhelm Theodor Carl von Below (* 23. September 1853 in Gdansk ; † 23. November 1918 in Weimar ) was a Prussian general of the infantry in the First World War .



Fritz came from the Mecklenburg-Pomerania noble family von Below . He was the son of the Prussian major general Ferdinand von Below (1812-1870) and his wife Therese, née Mauve (1823-1895). The later German infantry general Ernst von Below was his younger brother.

Military career

At the age of 20, Below came from the Cadet Corps as a Second Lieutenant in the 1st Guards Regiment on foot in the Prussian Army and served himself up to 1906 as Quartermaster General in the General Staff . In 1908 he was given command of the 1st Guard Division . Promoted to General of the Infantry on September 13, 1912, he took over as commanding general of the XXI stationed in Saarbrücken . Army Corps .

At the beginning of the First World War on August 20, 1914, he successfully led the corps in the center of the 6th Army ( Rupprecht von Bayern ) during the Battle of Lorraine . In October 1914 the XXI. Army corps transferred to the 2nd Army (Colonel General Karl von Bülow ) in the Arras area during the race to the sea . At the beginning of 1915 the XXI. Army Corps to East Prussia. Below fought in the 10th Army (Colonel General Hermann von Eichhorn ) during the winter battle in the Masuria . On April 3, 1915 Below handed over his corps to General Oskar von Hutier .

On April 4, 1915 Below was transferred back to the Western Front , where he replaced General Field Marshal Karl von Bülow as commander of the 2nd Army and took over the defense in the St. Quentin area . At the beginning of the Battle of the Somme he commanded the section from Gommecourt via Mametz in the north of the Somme and south of the river via Lihons to Noyon . On July 18, 1916, his section was divided, Below became Commander in Chief of the 1st Army , whose area of ​​command was limited to the defense of the hard-pressed line north of the Somme. For his services he was awarded the oak leaves for the Pour le Mérite on August 11, 1916 . After the 1st Army withdrew ( Operation Alberich ) to the western apron of Cambrai in spring 1917 , his army command moved to Rethel at the beginning of April. There his army covered the Aisnefront north of Reims against the attacks of the French 5th Army during the level offensive .

On June 18, 1918 Below was entrusted with the leadership of the 9th Army , but because he was already seriously ill, General of the Infantry Johannes von Eben remained in his place as commander in chief of the army deployed in the second Marne battle . On August 7, 1918, Below was put into disposition and finally adopted at the end of the war in November. He died shortly afterwards of pneumonia and was buried in the Berlin Invalidenfriedhof .

The new barracks, which were built in the Saarbrücken city forest in 1936/37 and moved into in November 1938, were known as the Below barracks until the end of World War II and were then used as Caserne Verdun by the French army. The newly founded University of Saarland with three faculties finally moved into the building in November 1948 .


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