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Maximilian “Max” Wilhelm Gustav Moritz von Prittwitz und Gaffron (27 November 1848 – 29 March 1917) was an Imperial German general. He fought in the Austro-Prussian War, the Franco-Prussian War, and briefly in the First World War.
Maximilian von Prittwitz
|Born||27 November 1848|
Bernstadt, Province of Silesia, Kingdom of Prussia now Bierutów, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland
|Died||29 March 1917 (aged 68)|
Berlin, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Imperial German Army
|Years of service||1866–1914|
|Commands held||8th Division|
World War I
On 19 May 1874 Prittwitz married Olga von Dewitz (30 August 1848 – 9 January 1938), the daughter of Kurt von Dewitz, a landowner and his wife Euphemia, née von der Groeben. Their only son died on 23 May 1918.
Early military careerEdit
After attending a school in Oels, Prittwitz joined the 3rd Guard Grenadier Regiment and fought in the Austro-Prussian War. He was then commissioned as a junior officer in the 38th Fusileers with which regiment he served in the Franco-Prussian War. After attending the Prussian Military Academy Prittwitz was appointed to the 6th Jaeger Battalion. He subsequently held a number of General Staff positions, interspersed with company and battalion commander appointments in various infantry regiments. In 1913 he was appointed as Generaloberst (full general), in command of the XVI Corps in Metz.
World War IEdit
When the Russian invasion threatened his rear, Prittwitz suggested a retreat to the west of the Vistula. This meant abandoning East Prussia, which the German General Staff found unacceptable. Additionally, commander of the I Corps Hermann von François complained to the General Staff that his superior was panicking; the General Staff concurred in this assessment. Prittwitz was promptly replaced as Eighth Army commander by Paul von Hindenburg on 23 August 1914. Hindenburg, and Erich Ludendorff as replacement for Chief of Staff Georg von Waldersee, then destroyed the two invading Russian armies at the Battles of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes.
Honours and awardsEdit
- Kingdom of Prussia:
- Knight of the Red Eagle, 4th Class with Swords, 1866; 3rd Class with Bow and Swords on Ring, 18 January 1882; with Crown
- Knight of the Royal Crown Order, 4th Class with Swords, 1866; 3rd Class with Swords on Ring, 18 January 1879; 1st Class
- Iron Cross (1870), 2nd Class
- Knight of Honour of the Johanniter Order, 1872; Knight of Justice, 1876
- Service Award Cross
- Knight of the Black Eagle, with Collar
- Anhalt: Grand Cross of the Order of Albert the Bear
- Kingdom of Bavaria:
- Grand Cross of the Military Merit Order
- Prince Regent Luitpold Medal on Band of Jubilee Medal
- Ernestine duchies: Grand Cross of the Saxe-Ernestine House Order
- Oldenburg: Commander of Honour of the Order of Duke Peter Friedrich Ludwig
- Kingdom of Saxony: Grand Cross of the Albert Order, with Golden Star
- Schaumburg-Lippe: Cross of Honour of the House Order of Schaumburg-Lippe, 1st Class
- Austria-Hungary: Knight of the Iron Crown, 2nd Class, 1895
- Chile: Medal of the Merit, 1st Class
- German Army Groups, 1914–1919, The Eastern Front, viewed on 11 October 2012
- Stone N. (1975) The Eastern Front 1914–1917, Hodder & Stoughton, London: 348 pp.
- Rangliste de Königlich Preußischen Armee (in German), Berlin: Ernst Siegfried Mittler & Sohn, 1914, p. 45 – via hathitrust.org
- Königlich Preussische Ordensliste (in German), vol. 1, Berlin, 1886, pp. 179, 686, 1004 – via hathitrust.org
- "Großherzogliche Orden", Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogtum Baden, Karlsruhe, 1910, pp. 189 – via blb-karlsruhe.de
- "Ritter-Orden: Österreichisch-kaiserlicher-Orden der Eisernen Krone", Hof- und Staatshandbuch der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie, Vienna, 1916, p. 110 – via alex.onb.ac.at