56th Corps (German Empire)

I Cavalry Corps
(Höhere Kavallerie-Kommando Nr 1)
Higher Cavalry Command No. 1
Stab eines Generalkommandos.svg
Flag of the Staff of a Generalkommando (1871–1918)
Active2 August 1914-3 March 1918
Country German Empire
SizeApproximately 13,000 (on mobilisation)
EngagementsWorld War I

The I Cavalry Corps (German: Höhere Kavallerie-Kommando 1 / HKK 1 literally: Higher Cavalry Command 1) was a formation of the German Army in World War I. It was formed on the mobilization of the German Army in August 1914 and disbanded in March 1918.

I Cavalry Corps[]

The Corps initially served on the Western Front with the Guards and 5th Cavalry Divisions and preceded the 3rd Army.[1] By 15 September 1914, it was assigned to 2nd Army and comprised the Guards and 2nd Cavalry Divisions.[2] Transferred to the East on 6 November 1914[3] and attached to the 9th Army. By 8 February 1915, it consisted of the 6th and 9th Cavalry Divisions.[4]

At various times, the Corps was named for its commander as Cavalry Corps Richthofen, Corps Richthofen and Army Group[5] Richthofen.

It remained with 9th Army until 20 November 1916, when it was redesignated as 56th Corps (z.b.V.).[6][7]

56th Corps[]

56th Corps (z.b.V.)[8] was formed on 20 November 1916 by the redesignation of I Cavalry Corps.[9] As the need for large mounted cavalry formations diminished as the war went on, the existing Cavalry Corps increasingly took on the characteristics of a normal Corps Command. This culminated in them being redesignated as "General Commands for Special Use" Generalkommandos zur besonderen Verwendung (Genkdo z.b.V.). 56th Corps was disbanded on 5 March 1918.[10]

Order of Battle on mobilisation[]

Initially, the Corps simply consisted of 2 Cavalry Divisions (with 3 Jäger battalions attached) without any Corps troops; in supply and administration matters, the Cavalry Divisions were entirely autonomous. The commander was only concerned with tactics and strategy, hence his title of Senior Cavalry Commander Höherer Kavallerie-Kommandeur.[11]

On formation in August 1914, the Corps consisted of:[12]

Each cavalry division consisted of 3 cavalry brigades (6 regiments each of 4 squadrons), a horse artillery Abteilung (3 four-gun batteries), a machine gun detachment (company size, 6 MGs), plus pioneers, signals and a motor vehicle column. A more detailed Table of Organisation and Equipment can be seen here. The Jäger battalions each consisted of 4 light infantry companies, 1 machine gun company (6 MGs), 1 cyclist company and a motorised vehicle column.[13]


I Cavalry Corps / 56th Corps had the following commanders during its existence:[14][15][16]

Commander From To
General der Kavallerie Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen 2 August 1914 23 September 1916
General der Kavallerie Götz Freiherr von König 23 September 1916 5 March 1918

See also[]


  1. ^ Cron 2002, p. 299
  2. ^ Ellis & Cox 1993, p. 176
  3. ^ Cron 2002, p. 94
  4. ^ Ellis & Cox 1993, p. 189
  5. ^ Armee-Gruppe in the sense of a part of an army formed for a specific task. Heeresgruppe is an Army Group in the sense of a number of armies under a single commander.
  6. ^ General Commands for Special Use Generalkommandos zur besonderen Verwendung (Genkdo z.b.V.)
  7. ^ Cron 2002, p. 95
  8. ^ Note that Corps (z.b.V.) were designated with Arabic, not Roman, numerals.
  9. ^ Cron 2002, p. 89
  10. ^ German War History Accessed: 13 April 2012
  11. ^ Cron 2002, p. 94
  12. ^ Cron 2002, p. 299
  13. ^ Cron 2002, p. 116
  14. ^ The Prussian Machine, HKK Accessed: 20 May 2012
  15. ^ The Prussian Machine, GenKdo Archived 2012-06-30 at Archive.today Accessed: 20 May 2012
  16. ^ German War History Accessed: 20 May 2012