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Army Division

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. To one of the divisions there is usually attached a Jaeger, or rifle, battalion. The men of these rifle battalions were specially selected among recruits from forest and hill districts - men who were used to an open-air life. To each of the divisions there is attached a regiment of cavalry and a brigade of field artillery.

The infantry division was normally a lieutenant-general's command. It was formed of two infantry brigades and mustered about 13,000 men. A Division as a rule consisted in time of peace of the staff, two infantry brigades, and one cavalry brigade. The brigade of two regiments under the command of a major-general is about 6,400 strong.

The Divisional commander (lieutenant-general or major-general) had the supreme command of all the troops in the Division. His first care was to look after the practical training and exercise of the troops in field duties. He arranged for the combined drills of the various arms, and instructed the commanders on the value of concerted action and of mutual support in battle. He was under the orders of the general commanding the corps, but was empowered in many mutters to communicate direct with the War Ministry, notifying, however, in all cases the nature of such business to his immediate chief.

In matters of command and administration, his authority only extended to the troops in his Division. He was the supreme judicial authority within the sphere of his command. He selected officers for the vacant musketeer battalions and fusilier companies, and transfered the cpmpany and squadron commanders within the regiments under his orders.

The duties of the Divisional Intendants comprised all matters affecting the pay, lodging-money, and travelling expenses of the troops in the Division ; the audit of the accounts, the examination of balances in the hands of the troops ; all business connected with the clothing and equipment of the Division, the rationing of recruits, reserves, and remount escorts, and all extraordinary money disbursements. They also attend the musters of the These local administrations are the garrison, hospital, commissariat, and forage-magazine offices, and the clothing depots.

The German field artillery brigade was a major-general's command, and was made up of two artillery regiments, each of six batteries. Thus each division had seventy-two guns. In one of the divisions three of these batteries had light field howitzers for the shelling of entrenchments instead of field-pieces. Each division had, besides a company of pioneers (engineers), a bridge train and ammunition columns.

The cavalry division was a mounted force with several horse artillery batteries, and these mounted divisions were used for the great cavalry screen that covered the movements of an army, explored the country to its front, carried out reconnaissances, and on the battlefield co-operated in the attack, or used its more rapid marching power to carry out the great flank movements.

The Cavalry Division was a mounted force of about 4,500 officers and men, of whom some 500 are non-combatants. It was made up of three brigades of cavalry, each of two regiments, two batteries of horse artillery, a detachment of pioneers, a telegraph detachment, ambulances, transport and ammunition columns. In the Great War all transport attached to the cavalry division was made up of motor vehicles, and motor cars were also used to strengthen the cavalry with detachments of riflemen conveyed by motor and cars armed with machine guns and light quick-firers.

To both the infantry and cavalry divisions there were also attached a number of anti-aeroplane guns mounted on motor cars. The gun and its mounting both come from Krupp's factory. The car had a couple of spades or anchors attached to it, which can be screwed down into the ground, and the gun was mounted on an upright pivot, so that it can be placed at a high angle of elevation. It was mounted something like a big telescope on its tripod. It was a light quick-firer throwing shells of about three pounds. Some of the shells had besides their bursting charge a charge in the base of a smoke-producing substance, so that even in bright sunlight they leave a trail behind them which enables the gunner to watch their flight. The gun was thus to some extent made to act as its own range-finder.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:54:32 ZULU