VII Corps (German Empire)

VII Army Corps
VII. Armee-Korps
Stab eines Generalkommandos.svg
Flag of the Staff of a Generalkommando (1871–1918)
Active1815 (1815)–1919 (1919)
Country Prussia /  German Empire
TypeCorps
SizeApproximately 44,000 (on mobilisation in 1914)
Garrison/HQMünster
EngagementsAustro-Prussian War
Battle of Königgrätz

Franco-Prussian War

Battle of Spicheren
Battle of Borny-Colombey
Battle of Gravelotte
Siege of Metz

World War I

Battle of the Frontiers
First Battle of the Marne
First Battle of Ypres
Battle of Verdun

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

Originating in 1815 as the General Command for the Province of Westphalia, the headquarters was in Münster and its catchment area was the Province of Westphalia and the Principalities of Lippe and Schaumburg-Lippe.[1]

The Corps served in the Austro-Prussian War. During the Franco-Prussian War it was assigned to the 1st Army.

In peacetime the Corps was assigned to the III Army Inspectorate which became the 2nd Army at the start of the First World War.[2] It was still in existence at the end of the war[3] in the 7th Army, Heeresgruppe Deutscher Kronprinz on the Western Front.[4] The Corps was disbanded with the demobilisation of the German Army after World War I.

Austro-Prussian War[]

VII Corps fought in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, seeing action in the Battle of Königgrätz.

Franco-Prussian War[]

During the Franco-Prussian War, the Corps formed part of the 1st Army and fought in several battles and engagements, including the Battle of Spicheren, the Battle of Borny-Colombey, the Battle of Gravelotte and the Siege of Metz.[5]

Peacetime organisation[]

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.[6] 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).[7]

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[]

Organisation on mobilisation[]

On mobilization on 2 August 1914 the Corps was restructured. 13th and 14th Cavalry Brigades were withdrawn to form part of the 9th Cavalry Division.[9] The 16th Uhlans, formerly of the IV Corps, was raised to a strength of 6 squadrons before being split into two half-regiments of 3 squadrons each. The half-regiments were assigned as divisional cavalry to 13th and 14th Divisions. 28th Infantry Brigade was assigned to the 14th Reserve Division with the VII Reserve Corps. Divisions received engineer companies and other support units from the Corps headquarters. In summary, VII Corps mobilised with 25 infantry battalions, 9 machine gun companies (54 machine guns), 6 cavalry squadrons, 24 field artillery batteries (144 guns), 4 heavy artillery batteries (16 guns), 3 pioneer companies and an aviation detachment.

Combat chronicle[]

On mobilisation, VII Corps was assigned to the 2nd Army forming part of the right wing of the forces for the Schlieffen Plan offensive in August 1914 on the Western Front.

It participated in the First Battle of the Marne and First Battle of Ypres in 1914.

It was still in existence at the end of the war[13] in the 7th Army, Heeresgruppe Deutscher Kronprinz on the Western Front.[14]

Commanders[]

The VII Corps had the following commanders during its existence:[15][16][17]

From Rank Name
30 October 1815 Generalleutnant Johann Adolf Freiherr von Thielmann
3 April 1820 Generalleutnant Philipp von Luck und Witten
24 May 1820 Generalleutnant Heinrich Wilhelm von Horn
28 November 1829 Generalleutnant Karl Freiherr von Müffling
30 March 1837 General der Infanterie Ernst von Pfuel
2 March 1848 General der Kavallerie Karl von der Gröben
2 June 1853 General der Kavallerie Ludwig Freiherr Roth von Schreckenstein
3 June 1858 Generalleutnant Eduard von Bonin
6 November 1858 General der Kavallerie Charles Anthony, Prince of Hohenzollern
20 January 1860 General der Infanterie Eberhard Herwarth von Bittenfeld
21 November 1864 General der Infanterie Eduard Vogel von Falckenstein
30 October 1866 General der Infanterie Heinrich von Zastrow
5 September 1871 Generalleutnant Wilhelm Graf zu Stolberg-Wernigerode
15 April 1882 General der Infanterie Carl Friedrich von Witzendorff
7 August 1888 General der Kavallerie Emil von Albedyll
3 June 1893 General der Infanterie Robert von Goetze
5 April 1898 General der Infanterie Viktor von Mikusch-Buchberg
27 January 1900 Generalleutnant Ernst Freiherr von Bülow
18 May 1901 Generalleutnant Moritz von Bissing
12 December 1907 General der Kavallerie Friedrich von Bernhardi
11 August 1909 General der Kavallerie Karl von Einem
16 September 1914 General der Infanterie Eberhard von Claer
29 June 1915 General der Infanterie Hermann von François
6 July 1918 Generalleutnant Wilhelm von Woyna

See also[]

References[]

  1. ^ German Administrative History Accessed: 27 May 2012
  2. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 393
  3. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  4. ^ Ellis & Cox 1993, pp. 186–187
  5. ^ Hermann Cron et al., Ruhmeshalle unserer alten Armee (Berlin, 1935); Wegner, p.459
  6. ^ Haythornthwaite 1996, pp. 193–194
  7. ^ They formed the Guards Cavalry Division, the only peacetime cavalry division in the German Army.
  8. ^ War Office 1918, p. 246
  9. ^ Cron 2002, p. 300
  10. ^ Cron 2002, p. 307
  11. ^ With a machine gun company.
  12. ^ 4 heavy artillery batteries (16 heavy field howitzers)
  13. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  14. ^ Ellis & Cox 1993, pp. 186–187
  15. ^ German Administrative History Accessed: 27 May 2012
  16. ^ German War History Accessed: 27 May 2012
  17. ^ The Prussian Machine Accessed: 27 May 2012

Bibliography[]