XX Corps (German Empire)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
XX Army Corps
XX. Armee-Korps
Stab eines Generalkommandos.svg
Flag of the Staff of a Generalkommando (1871–1918)
Active 1 October 1912 (1912-10-01)–1919 (1919)
Country  German Empire
Type Corps
Size Approximately 44,000 (on mobilisation in 1914)
Garrison/HQ Allenstein
Engagements

World War I

Battle of Gumbinnen
Battle of Tannenberg (1914)
First Battle of the Masurian Lakes
Battle of the Vistula River

The XX Army Corps / XX AK (German: XX. Armee-Korps) was a corps level command of the German Army before and during World War I.

As the German Army expanded in the latter part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century, the XX Army Corps was set up on 1 October 1912 in Allenstein as the Generalkommando (headquarters) for the southern part of East Prussia. It took over command of 37th Division from I Corps and the newly formed 41st Division. General der Artillerie Friedrich von Scholtz, former commander of 21st Division, took command.[1] It was assigned to the I Army Inspectorate.[2] which became the 8th Army at the start of the First World War.

XX Corps served on the Eastern Front from the start of the war. In September 1915, the corps was upgraded to form Armee-Gruppe Scholtz, later Armee-Abteilung Scholtz, as part of the Army of the Niemen. It was reformed from Armee-Abteilung D in September 1918.[3] It was dissolved after the war.

Peacetime organisation[edit]

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.[4] 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).[5]

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. 41st Cavalry Brigade was withdrawn to form part of the 1st Cavalry Division[8] and the 37th Cavalry Brigade was broken up and its regiments assigned to the divisions as reconnaissance units. Divisions received engineer companies and other support units from the Corps headquarters. In summary, XX Corps mobilised with 25 infantry battalions, 9 machine gun companies (54 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, XX 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 took part in the battles of Gumbinnen, Tannenberg and 1st Masurian Lakes. Immediately after 1st Masurian Lakes it joined 9th Army in Lower Silesia where it fought at the Battle of the Vistula River. By May 1915 it was back with 8th Army and on 26 May the commander of XX Corps, General der Artillerie Friedrich von Scholtz, was made commander of the Army, while retaining simultaneous command of his Corps. On 29 September 1915, the headquarters of 8th Army was dissolved. On 18 September 1915, XX Corps was upgraded to form Armee-Gruppe Scholtz, later Armee-Abteilung Scholtz, as part of the Army of the Niemen.

XX Corps was reformed from Armee-Abteilung D on 21 September 1918.[12]

Commanders[edit]

The XX Corps had the following commanders during its existence:[13][14]

Dates Name Notes
1 October 1912 to 28 October 1915 General der Artillerie Friedrich von Scholtz Headquarters upgraged to Armee-Abteilung Scholtz
21 September 1918 to end of war[15] Generalleutnant Viktor Albrecht Headquarters reformed from Armee-Abteilung D[16]

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.[17]
  • 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. ^ The Prussian Machine Archived July 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed: 7 April 2012
  2. ^ Cron 2002, p. 395
  3. ^ Cron 2002, p. 85
  4. ^ Haythornthwaite 1996, pp. 193–194
  5. ^ They formed the Guards Cavalry Division, the only peacetime cavalry division in the German Army.
  6. ^ War Office 1918, p. 259
  7. ^ Had a third (Horse Artillery) Abteilung of three batteries of 4 guns.
  8. ^ Cron 2002, p. 324
  9. ^ Cron 2002, p. 324
  10. ^ With a machine gun company
  11. ^ 4 heavy artillery batteries (16 heavy field howitzers)
  12. ^ Cron 2002, p. 85
  13. ^ German Administrative History Accessed: 9 April 2012
  14. ^ German War History Accessed: 9 April 2012
  15. ^ The Prussian Machine Archived September 30, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed: 7 April 2012
  16. ^ Cron 2002, p. 85
  17. ^ 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. 
  • Haythornthwaite, Philip J. (1996). The World War One Source Book. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-351-7. 
  • 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.