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25th Division (German Empire)


The 25th Division 25 Division, officially the Grand Ducal Hessian 25th Division Großherzoglich Hessische 25 Division, was a unit of the Prussian/German Army[1] It was headquartered in Darmstadt, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Hesse[2] The division was subordinated in peacetime to XVIII Army Corps XVIII Armeekorps when that corps was formed in 1899[3] The division was disbanded in 1919, during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I

As the formal name indicates, the division was raised and recruited in the Grand Duchy of Hesse

Contents

  • 1 Evolution of the Grand Ducal Hessian Division
  • 2 Combat chronicle
  • 3 Pre-World War I organization
  • 4 Order of battle on mobilization
  • 5 Late World War I organization
  • 6 References
  • 7 Notes

Evolution of the Grand Ducal Hessian Division

The Grand Ducal Hessian 25th Division was officially formed on December 20, 1842, as the Infantry Division Command Infanterie-Divisions-Kommando, but the division-strength Hessian Army had been around before that date During the Napoleonic Wars, Hesse fielded a division-strength troop corps Truppenkorps In 1820, as part of the Hessian troop contribution to the German Confederation's Federal Army Bundesheer, Hesse reorganized its army into two brigades of infantry, 1/2 company of horse artillery, two companies of foot artillery, one light horse regiment, one trains company and one sapper later pioneer company This force was placed under the Infantry Division Command in 1842 On February 5, 1849, this force was redesignated the Grand Ducal Army Division Großherzogliche Armee-Division[4] The organization of the Grand Ducal Army Division in 1858 was as follows:[5]

  • Army Division Staff
  • Guard NCO Company
  • General Quartermaster Staff with Pioneer Company
  • Guard Light Horse Regiment
  • Grand Ducal Artillery Corps
  • Two infantry brigades of two regiments of two battalions each 8 total battalions, each with 5 companies

In 1860, the cavalry was expanded to brigade strength[6] In 1867, Hesse, on the losing side of the Austro-Prussian War, entered into a convention with Prussia on military matters and reorganized its division along Prussian lines The division was redesignated the Grand Ducal Hessian 25th Division[6] It formally became a part of the Prussian Army in 1872, in accordance with the military convention of June 13, 1871[7]

The organization of the division at the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 was as follows: [8]

  • 49 Infanterie-Brigade
    • Hessisches Leib-Garde-Regiment Nr 1
    • Hessisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr 2
    • Hessisches Gardejäger-Bataillon Nr 1
  • 50 Infanterie-Brigade
    • Hessisches Leib-Regiment Nr 3
    • Hessisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr 4
    • Hessisches Leibjäger-Bataillon Nr 2
  • Hessische 25 Kavallerie-Brigade
    • Hessisches 1 Reiter-Regiment
    • Hessisches 2 Reiter-Regiment

Combat chronicle

During the Franco-Prussian War, the Grand Ducal Hesse 25th Division was subordinated to the Prussian IX Army Corps, along with the 18th Infantry Division The Hessians fought in the battles of Mars-la-Tour and Gravelotte, and then participated in the Siege of Metz It then fought at Noiseville and in the Second Battle of Orléans[9]

During World War I, the Grand Ducal Hesse 25th Infantry Division served on the Western Front It fought in the opening campaigns, including the Allied Great Retreat that culminated in the First Battle of the Marne, and the subsequent Race to the Sea After a period in the trenches, the division was heavily engaged in 1916 in the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme In 1917, it fought in the battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres In 1918 it participated in the German Spring Offensive and ended the war resisting the subsequent Allied counteroffensives Allied intelligence rated the division as first class[10][11]

Pre-World War I organization

German divisions underwent various organizational changes after the Franco-Prussian War The division was subordinated to the newly created XVIII Army Corps in 1899 and in the same year the division's 25th Field Artillery Brigade was created The organization of the 25th Division in 1914, shortly before the outbreak of World War I, was as follows:[12]

  • 49 Infanterie-Brigade 1 Großherzoglich Hessische
    • Leibgarde-Infanterie-Regiment 1 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 115
    • Infanterie-Regiment Kaiser Wilhelm 2 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 116
    • Infanterie-Regiment 5 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 168
  • 50 Infanterie-Brigade 2 Großherzoglich Hessische
    • Infanterie-Leibregiment Großherzogin 3 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 117
    • Infanterie-Regiment Prinz Carl 4 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 118
  • 25 Kavallerie-Brigade Großherzoglich Hessische
    • Garde-Dragoner-Regiment 1 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 23
    • Leib-Dragoner-Regiment 2 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 24
  • 25 Feldartillerie-Brigade Großherzoglich Hessische
    • Großherzogliches Artilleriekorps, 1 Großherzoglich Hessisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr 25
    • 2 Großherzoglich Hessisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr 61
  • Großherzoglich Hessische Train-Abteilung Nr 18
  • Großherzoglich Hessische Garde-Unteroffizier Kompanie

Order of battle on mobilization

On mobilization in August 1914, at the beginning of World War I, most divisional cavalry, including brigade headquarters, was withdrawn to form cavalry divisions or split up among divisions as reconnaissance units Divisions received engineer companies and other support units from their higher headquarters The 25th Cavalry Brigade was sent to help form the 3rd Cavalry Division and the 25th Division received cavalry support from the cavalry brigade of the 21st Division, its sister division in the XVIII Army Corps The 25th Division was renamed the 25th Infantry Division and its initial wartime organization was as follows:[13]

  • 49 Infanterie-Brigade 1 Großherzoglich Hessische
    • Leibgarde-Infanterie-Regiment 1 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 115
    • Infanterie-Regiment Kaiser Wilhelm 2 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 116
  • 50 Infanterie-Brigade 2 Großherzoglich Hessische
    • Infanterie-Leibregiment Großherzogin 3 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 117
    • Infanterie-Regiment Prinz Carl 4 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 118
  • Magdeburgisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr 6
  • 25 Feldartillerie-Brigade Großherzoglich Hessische
    • Großherzogliches Artilleriekorps, 1 Großherzoglich Hessisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr 25
    • 2 Großherzoglich Hessisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr 61
  • 2Kompanie/1 Nassauisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr 21
  • 3Kompanie/1 Nassauisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr 21

Late World War I organization

Divisions underwent many changes during the war, with regiments moving from division to division, and some being destroyed and rebuilt During the war, most divisions became triangular - one infantry brigade with three infantry regiments rather than two infantry brigades of two regiments a "square division" An artillery commander replaced the artillery brigade headquarters, the cavalry was further reduced, the engineer contingent was increased, and a divisional signals command was created The 25th Infantry Division's order of battle on February 19, 1918, was as follows:[13]

  • 49 Infanterie-Brigade 1 Großherzoglich Hessische
    • Leibgarde-Infanterie-Regiment 1 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 115
    • Infanterie-Regiment Kaiser Wilhelm 2 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 116
    • Infanterie-Leibregiment Großherzogin 3 Großherzoglich Hessisches Nr 117
    • Maschinengewehr-Scharfschützen-Abteilung Nr 49
  • 1Eskadron/Magdeburgisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr 6
  • Artillerie-Kommandeur 25:
    • Großherzogliches Artilleriekorps, 1 Großherzoglich Hessisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr 25
    • IBataillon/Reserve-Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr 24
  • Stab Pionier-Bataillon Nr 129:
    • 3Kompanie/1 Nassauisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr 21
    • Reserve-Pionier-Kompanie Nr 89
    • Minenwerfer-Kompanie Nr 25
  • Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 25

References

  • 25 Infanterie-Division Chronik 1914/1918 - Der erste Weltkrieg
  • Claus von Bredow, bearb, Historische Rang- und Stammliste des deutschen Heeres 1905
  • Hermann Cron et al, Ruhmeshalle unserer alten Armee Berlin, 1935
  • Hermann Cron, Geschichte des deutschen Heeres im Weltkriege 1914-1918 Berlin, 1937
  • Günter Wegner, Stellenbesetzung der deutschen Heere 1815-1939 Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, 1993, Bd 1
  • 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 1920

Notes

  1. ^ From the late 1800s, the Prussian Army was effectively the German Army as, during the period of German unification 1866-1871, the states of the German Empire entered into conventions with Prussia regarding their armies and only the Bavarian Army remained fully autonomous
  2. ^ Günter Wegner, Stellenbesetzung der deutschen Heere 1815-1939 Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, 1993, Bd 1, p122; Claus von Bredow, bearb, Historische Rang- und Stammliste des deuschen Heeres 1905, p777
  3. ^ Bredow, p 737
  4. ^ Bredow, pp769-774
  5. ^ Bredow, p772
  6. ^ a b Bredow, p773
  7. ^ Bredow, p776
  8. ^ A Niemann, Der französische Feldzug 1870-1871 Verlag des Bibliographischen Instituts, Hildburghausen, 1871, p43
  9. ^ Hermann Cron et al, Ruhmeshalle unserer alten Armee Berlin, 1935; Wegner, p777
  10. ^ 25 Infanterie-Division Chronik 1914/1918
  11. ^ 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 1920, pp 351-354
  12. ^ Rangliste der Königlich Preußischen Armee 1914, pp 107-108
  13. ^ a b Cron et al, Ruhmeshalle


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