The German army was organized in twenty-five army corps, stationed and recruited in the various provinces.
|V||Posen||Poland and part of Silesia|
|IX||Altona||Hanse Towns and Schleswig-Holstein|
|XVIII||Frankfurt-am-Main||Hesse Darmstadt, Main country|
|I. Bavarian Corps||Munich|
|II. Bavarian Corps||Würzburg|
|III. Bavarian Corps||Nuremberg|
The formation of a XX. army corps out of the extra division of the XIV. corps at Colmar in Alsace, with the addition of two regiments from Westphalia and drafts of the XV. and XVI. corps, was announced in l908 as the final step of the program for the period 1906-1910.
The Law of 1912 raised the peace strength of the Army to 544,211, and the number of Army Corps was increased from 23 to 25 by the creation of the XX. Army Corps for the eastern frontier (Allenstein) and of the XXI. Army Corps for the western frontier (Saarbriicken). It was decided that the most important provisions of the Law of 1911, as well as of the new Law, should be carried out immediately, instead of being spread over the period until 1915. The Law involved a considerable reorganization and redistribution on both frontiers. It increased enormously the readiness of the Army for war, and was the greatest effort made by Germany since 1870.
The Prussian army was managed by army corps, in peace as well as in war. Each province was an army corps district, though the civil and military boundaries were not quite identical. All the troops in it belonged to the corps and were under the command of the general, who had in military matters absolute authority, being independent of the Ministry of War and responsible directly to the king and to no one else.
An army corp is headed by the general commanding, who had charge of all the troops and of the forts within his corps district, and was responsible to the commander-in-chief for the condition and training of his forces. He had also to see to the maintenance of peace and order in his district. The power exercising the highest authority in an army corps was called the General Command, the business of which was conducted, under the supervision of the general commanding, by the chief of the general staff of the army corps. The latter was assisted by two or three officers of the general staff, two or three aides-de-camp of the rank of field officers or captains, the judge-advocate of the corps for conducting the courts-marshal business, the surgeon-general of the corps, the veterinary surgeon of the corps, and the corps chaplain for attending to military-clergical affairs. The intendances had charge of all administration business.
The general commanding the army corps had to deal directly with only a few subordinates, the commanders of his infantry divisions, of his cavalry brigade or division, and of his artillery brigade, and with the heads of the corps organizations for such purposes as supply and medical service. He inspected and tested the condition of all the various units, but he did not attempt to do the work of his subordinates. He was thus at liberty to keep his mind concentrated upon those essential matters which properly require his decision. The normal composition of an army corps on war was (a) staff, (b) 2 infantry divisions, each of 2 brigades (4 regiments of 12 battalions), 3 regimenté of field artillery (comprising 9 batteries of field-guns and 3 of field howitzers, 72 pieces in all), 3 squadrons of cavalry, l or 2 companies of pioneers, a bridge train and 1 or 2 bearer companies; (c) corps troops, i battalion riñes, telegraph troops, bridge train, ammunition columns, train (supply) battalion, field bakeries, bearer companies and field hospitals, &c., with, as a rule, one or two batteries of heavy field howitzers or mortars and a machine-gun group. The remainder of the cavalry and horse artillery attached to the army corps in peace goes in war to form the cavalry divisions.
Certain corps had an increased effective; thus the Guard had a whole cavalry division, and the I. corps (Königsberg) had three divisions. Several corps possessed an extra infantry brigade of two 2-battalion regiments, but these, unless stationed on the frontiers, were gradually absorbed into new divisions and army corps.
The Army Corps was a combined force of infantry, cavalry and artillery, with their auxiliary services, but mainly an infantry and artillery force. The cavalry attached to it was a relatively small detachment, intended to supply escorts and orderlies, and the few mounted troops to be used in advanced guard and outpost work. A German army corps was usually formed of two infantry divisions. In each division there were two infantry brigades, each formed of two regiments of three battalions each. In all the army corps had thus twenty-five battalions of infantry. Most of the army corps had a heavy artillery battalion, which brought into the field four batteries of heavy howitzers on travelling carriages.
To the army corps were attached from one to four engineer companies, a heavy bridge train, a telegraph detachment, a balloon and aeroplane detachment, ammunition columns for infantry and artillery, ambulances, supply columns, including field-bakery columns. A large part of this transport was motor driven, and in the German army corps this motor transport was used to enable the auxiliary services to get through a large amount of work on the actual line of march. Thus there were motor waggons fitted as travelling kitchens. Others in which tailors and cobblers were at work repairing the men's clothes and boots, and a travelling printing office, which set up and printed off orders, circulars containing information, and in one of the army corps of each group of corps working together as an Army, a little daily paper for distribution to the men.
In war time an army corps may be strengthened by the addition of a third division formed of Reservists and Landwehr troops. This would make the fighting strength of the corps about 50,000 men. The normal army corps of two divisions brings about 40,000 men and officers into the field. But of these some 6,000 were non-combatants - transport, ambulances, and other auxiliary services requiring this large personnel. The transport, ammunition columns, ambulances, etc. used to require nearly 10,000 horses, but these had been largely replaced by motors.
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