5th Ersatz Division (German Empire)

5th Ersatz Division (5. Ersatz-Division)
SizeApprox. 12,500
EngagementsWorld War I
Gerhard Tappen

The 5th Ersatz Division (5. Ersatz-Division) was a unit of the German Army, in World War I.[1] The division was formed in June 1915 as a temporary division known as the Division Basedow, named after its commander, Heino von Basedow.[2] It was formed from two previously independent Brigades: 37th Mixed Landwehr and 2nd Reserve Ersatz.[2] The division was converted into the 5th Ersatz Division in June 1916.[3] The 5th Ersatz Division was disbanded in 1919, during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I.

Combat chronicle[]

The division initially occupied defensive positions in the Yser region. In October 1916, it entered the Battle of the Somme. Thereafter, it occupied positions in the Champagne region until December 1916, when it was transferred to the Eastern Front. It fought in Lithuania until the armistice on the Eastern Front, and then participated in police actions in Estonia and Latvia until February 1919. Allied intelligence rated the division as fourth class, with only moderate fighting value.[3][4]

Order of battle on June 3, 1915[]

The order of battle of the Division Basedow on June 3, 1915, was as follows:[5]

Order of battle on November 15, 1916[]

The order of battle of the 5th Ersatz Division on November 15, 1916, was as follows:[6]

Order of battle on January 1, 1918[]

The 5th Ersatz Division's order of battle on January 1, 1918, was as follows:[6]



  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. Only the Bavarian Army remained fully autonomous and only came under Prussian control during wartime.
  2. ^ a b Division Basedow (Chronik 1915/1916)
  3. ^ a b 5. Ersatz-Division (Chronik 1914/1917)
  4. ^ 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 Expionary Forces, at General Headquarters, Chaumont, France 1919 (1920), pp. 741-743.
  5. ^ Hermann Cron et al., Ruhmeshalle unserer alten Armee (Berlin, 1935).
  6. ^ a b Cron et al., Ruhmeshalle.