3rd Army (German Empire)

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For the equivalent formation in World War II, see 3rd Army (Wehrmacht).
3. Armee
3rd Army
Stab eines Armeeoberkommandos.svg
Flag of the Staff of an Armee Oberkommando (1871–1918)
Active 2 August 1914 – 30 January 1919
Country  German Empire
Type Army
Engagements

World War I

The 3rd Army (German: 3. Armee / Armeeoberkommando 3 / A.O.K. 3) was an army level command of the German Army in World War I. It was formed on mobilization in August 1914 seemingly from the II Army Inspectorate. The army was disbanded in 1919 during demobilization after the war.[1]

History[edit]

Upon the mobilization Max von Hausen (Saxon War Minister) was given command of the 3rd Army which mainly consisted of Saxons. The army participated in the Battle of the Frontiers, mainly in the battles of Dinant and Charleroi and the army were responsible for the destruction of Reims in September 1914. After the Second Army's retreat after the First Battle of the Marne, Von Hausen saw his own flank exposed and ordered a retreat. Upon the stabilization of the front on the river Aisne, Von Hausen was relieved of his command and replaced by General Karl von Einem.

Successfully repulsing the French Champagne-Marne offensive from February–March and September–November 1915 respectively, the army would take part in all three Battles of the Aisne and would hold General Anthoine's 4th Army (under General Philippe Petain's Center Army Group) during the Second Battle of the Aisne as part of the Nivelle Offensive from 16 April - 15 May 1917.

Einem's right wing units would also participate in Erich Ludendorff's Champagne-Marne offensive on 15–17 July 1918 supporting the east flank of the German 1st Army. After suffering severe casualties in battle with John J. Pershing's Allied Expeditionary Force from 26 September - 11 November in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, the army was forced to retreat northward shortly before the war's end. At the end of the war it was serving as part of Heeresgruppe Deutscher Kronprinz.[2]

Order of Battle, 30 October 1918[edit]

By the end of the war, the 3rd Army was organised as:

Organization of 3rd Army on 30 October 1918[3]
Army Corps Division
3rd Army XXV Reserve Corps 9th Landwehr Division
199th Division
3rd Guards Division
1st Guards Division
XVI Corps 213th Division
242nd Division
1st Bavarian Division
I Reserve Corps 202nd Division
14th Reserve Division
203rd Division
195th Division
76th Reserve Division
42nd Division
103rd Division
XXXVIII Reserve Corps No units assigned
Moving to Bavaria 4th Bavarian Division

Commanders[edit]

The 3rd Army had the following commanders during its existence:[4]

3rd Army
From Commander Previously Subsequently
2 August 1914 Generaloberst Max von Hausen Saxon Minister of War Adjutant to his Majesty the King of Saxony[5]
12 September 1914 General der Kavallerie Karl von Einem VII Corps Retired
27 January 1915 Generaloberst Karl von Einem

Glossary[edit]

  • Armee-Abteilung or Army Detachment in the sense of "something detached from an Army". It is not under the command of an Army so is in itself a small Army.[6]
  • Armee-Gruppe or Army Group in the sense of a group within an Army and under its command, generally formed as a temporary measure for a specific task.
  • Heeresgruppe or Army Group in the sense of a number of armies under a single commander.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cron 2002, p. 79
  2. ^ Ellis & Cox 1993, p. 187
  3. ^ Ellis & Cox 1993, p. 187
  4. ^ Cron 2002, p. 393
  5. ^ The Prussian Machine Accessed: 6 February 2012
  6. ^ Cron 2002, p. 84

Bibliography[edit]

  • Cron, Hermann (2002). Imperial German Army 1914-18: Organisation, Structure, Orders-of-Battle [first published: 1937]. Helion & Co. ISBN 1-874622-70-1. 
  • Ellis, John; Cox, Michael (1993). The World War I Databook. Aurum Press Ltd. ISBN 1-85410-766-6.