I Corps (German Empire)

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For the equivalent formation in World War II, see I Army Corps (Wehrmacht).
I Army Corps
I. Armee-Korps
Stab eines Generalkommandos.svg
Flag of the Staff of a Generalkommando (1871–1918)
Country  Prussia /  German Empire
Type Corps
Size Approximately 44,000 (on mobilisation in 1914)
Garrison/HQ Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia)
Engagements

Austro-Prussian War

Battle of Trautenau
Battle of Königgrätz

Franco-Prussian War

Battle of Noiseville
Battle of Gravelotte
Siege of Metz
Battle of Amiens (1870)
Battle of Hallue
Battle of St. Quentin (1871)

World War I

Battle of Stallupönen
Battle of Gumbinnen
Battle of Tannenberg (1914)
First Battle of the Masurian Lakes

The I Army Corps / I AK (German: I. Armee-Korps) was a corps level command of the Prussian and then the Imperial German Armies from the 19th Century to World War I.

It was established with headquarters in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). Initially, the Corps catchment area comprised the entire Province of East Prussia, but from 1 October 1912 the southern part of the Province was transferred to the newly formed XX Corps District.[1]

In peacetime, the Corps was assigned to the VIII Army Inspectorate, which became the 1st Army at the start of the First World War.[2] The corps was still in existence at the end of the war,[3] and was disbanded with the demobilisation of the German Army after World War I.

Austro-Prussian War[edit]

The I Corps fought in the Austro-Prussian War against Austria in 1866, including the Battle of Trautenau and the Battle of Königgrätz.[4]

Franco-Prussian War[edit]

The Corps served in the Franco-Prussian War against France in 1870–1871. It saw action in the Battle of Noiseville, the Battle of Gravelotte, the Siege of Metz, the Battle of Amiens, the Battle of Hallue, and the Battle of St. Quentin, among other actions.[5]

Peacetime organisation[edit]

Headquarters, about 1908

From formation in 1820, the Corps commanded two divisions: 1st Division and 2nd Division.[6] These were joined by 37th Division when it was formed on 1 April 1899. 37th Division was transferred to XX Corps when it was formed on 1 October 1912.[7]

The 25 peacetime Corps of the German Army (Guards, I - XXI, I - III Bavarian) had a reasonably standardised organisation. Each consisted of two divisions with usually two infantry brigades, one field artillery brigade and a cavalry brigade each.[8] Each brigade normally consisted of two regiments of the appropriate type, so each Corps normally commanded 8 infantry, 4 field artillery and 4 cavalry regiments. There were exceptions to this rule:

V, VI, VII, IX and XIV Corps each had a 5th infantry brigade (so 10 infantry regiments)
II, XIII, XVIII and XXI Corps had a 9th infantry regiment
I, VI and XVI Corps had a 3rd cavalry brigade (so 6 cavalry regiments)
the Guards Corps had 11 infantry regiments (in 5 brigades) and 8 cavalry regiments (in 4 brigades).[9]

Each Corps also directly controlled a number of other units. This could include one or more

Foot Artillery Regiment
Jäger Battalion
Pioneer Battalion
Train Battalion

World War I[edit]

Organisation on mobilisation[edit]

On mobilization on 2 August 1914, the Corps was restructured. The 1st and 2nd Cavalry Brigades were withdrawn to form part of the 1st Cavalry Division[12] and the 43rd Cavalry Brigade was broken up and its regiments assigned to the divisions as reconnaissance units. The Divisions received engineer companies and other support units from the Corps headquarters. In summary, I Corps mobilised with 24 infantry battalions, 8 machine gun companies (48 machine guns), 8 cavalry squadrons, 24 field artillery batteries (144 guns), 4 heavy artillery batteries (16 guns), 3 pioneer companies and an aviation detachment.

Combat chronicle[edit]

On mobilisation, I Corps was assigned to the 8th Army to defend East Prussia, while the rest of the Army executed the Schlieffen Plan offensive in August 1914. It saw action at the battles of Stallupönen, Gumbinnen, and Tannenberg, and the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes.

The Corps was still in existence at the end of the war.[3]

Commanders[edit]

The I Corps had the following commanders during its existence:[1][15][16]

From Rank Name
18 March 1814 General der Infanterie Friedrich Graf Bülow von Dennewitz
5 March 1816 General der Kavallerie Ludwig von Borstell
18 June 1825 Generalleutnant Karl August von Krafft
30 March 1832 Generalleutnant Oldwig von Natzmer
29 November 1839 General der Kavallerie Friedrich Graf von Wrangel
7 April 1842 General der Kavallerie Karl Friedrich Emil zu Dohna-Schlobitten
28 March 1854 General der Infanterie Franz Karl von Werder
29 January 1863 General der Infanterie Adolf von Bonin
30 October 1866 General der Infanterie Eduard Vogel von Falckenstein
4 August 1868 General der Kavallerie Edwin Freiherr von Manteuffel
15 July 1873 General der Infanterie Albert Freiherr von Barnekow
5 June 1883 Generalleutnant Walther von Gottberg
1 June 1885 Generalleutnant Christian Ewald von Kleist
15 June 1889 General der Infanterie Paul Bronsart von Schellendorff
29 June 1891 General der Infanterie Hans Wilhelm von Werder
10 January 1895 General der Infanterie Karl Graf Finck von Finckenstein
27 January 1902 General der Infanterie Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz
11 September 1907 General der Infanterie Alexander von Kluck
1 October 1913 Generalleutnant Hermann von François
8 October 1914 Generalleutnant Robert Kosch
11 June 1915 General der Infanterie Johannes von Eben
5 June 1917 General der Infanterie Arnold von Winckler
25 February 1918 Generalleutnant Wilhelm Groener
28 March 1918 Generalleutnant Theodor Mengelbier
14 December 1918 General der Infanterie Johannes von Eben
25 February 1919 Generalleutnant Ludwig von Estorff

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b German Administrative History Accessed: 5 June 2012
  2. ^ Cron 2002, p. 392
  3. ^ a b Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  4. ^ Hermann Cron et al., Ruhmeshalle unserer alten Armee (Berlin, 1935); Bredow
  5. ^ Cron et al., Ruhmeshalle
  6. ^ Wegner 1993, p. 49
  7. ^ Wegner 1993, pp. 84–85
  8. ^ Haythornthwaite 1996, pp. 193–194
  9. ^ They formed the Guards Cavalry Division, the only peacetime cavalry division in the German Army.
  10. ^ War Office 1918, p. 240
  11. ^ Had a third (Horse Artillery) Abteilung of three batteries of 4 guns.
  12. ^ Cron 2002, p. 324
  13. ^ Cron 2002, p. 323
  14. ^ 4 heavy artillery batteries (16 heavy field howitzers)
  15. ^ German War History Accessed: 5 June 2012
  16. ^ The Prussian Machine Accessed: 5 June 2012

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. 
  • Haythornthwaite, Philip J. (1996). The World War One Source Book. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-351-7. 
  • Wegner, Günter (1993). Stellenbesetzung der deutschen Heere 1815-1939, Bd. 1. Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück. 
  • Histories of Two Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which Participated in the War (1914–1918), compiled from records of Intelligence section of the General Staff, American Expeditionary Forces, at General Headquarters, Chaumont, France 1919. The London Stamp Exchange Ltd (1989). 1920. ISBN 0-948130-87-3. 
  • The German Forces in the Field; 7th Revision, 11th November 1918; Compiled by the General Staff, War Office. Imperial War Museum, London and The Battery Press, Inc (1995). 1918. ISBN 1-870423-95-X.