XVI Corps (German Empire)

XVI Army Corps
XVI. Armee-Korps
Stab eines Generalkommandos.svg
Flag of the Staff of a Generalkommando (1871–1918)
Active1 April 1890 (1890-04-01)–1919 (1919)
Country German Empire
SizeApproximately 44,000 (on mobilisation in 1914)
EngagementsWorld War I
Battle of the Frontiers

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

It was assigned to the VII Army Inspectorate,[1] which became the 5th Army at the start of the First World War. It was still in existence at the end of the war[2] in the 3rd Army, Heeresgruppe Deutscher Kronprinz on the Western Front.[3]


Headquarters, XVI Army Corps

By a law of 27 January 1890, it was decided to separate Alsace-Lorraine provinces in military affairs. It stipulated that from 1 April 1890 the entire power of the Army of the German Empire should be twenty army corps (Guards, I - XVII, I and II Bavarian). The All-highest Cabinet Order (Allerhöchste Kabinettsorder, AKO) of 1 February 1890 authorised the formation of the XVI and XVII Army Corps.

The XVI Army Corps was set up on 1 April 1890 in Metz as the Generalkommando (headquarters) for Lorraine. Its headquarters was in the fortress of Metz. It took command of 33rd Division (formerly 30th Division of XV Corps) and 34th Division formed on the same date. It was assigned to the VII Army Inspectorate[4] but joined the 5th Army at the start of the First World War.

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.[5] 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).[6]

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. 33rd and 45th Cavalry Brigades were withdrawn to form part of the 6th Cavalry Division[8] and the 34th 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, XVI Corps mobilised with 24 infantry battalions, 8 machine gun companies (48 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[]

At the outbreak of World War I, the Corps was assigned to the 5th Army.[11] It fought on the Western Front in Lorraine.[12] It was still in existence at the end of the war[13] in the 3rd Army, Heeresgruppe Deutscher Kronprinz on the Western Front.[14][15]


The XVI Corps had the following commanders during its existence:[16][17][18]

Dates Rank Name
24 March 1890 to 17 May 1903 General der Kavallerie Gottlieb Graf von Haeseler
18 May 1903 to 23 April 1906 General der Infanterie Louis Stoetzer
24 April 1906 to 28 February 1913 General der Infanterie Maximilian von Prittwitz und Gaffron
1 March 1913 to 28 October 1916 General der Infanterie Bruno von Mudra
29 October 1916 to end of the war Generalleutnant Adolf Wild von Hohenborn

See also[]


  1. ^ Cron 2002, p. 395
  2. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  3. ^ Ellis & Cox 1993, pp. 186–187
  4. ^ Cron 2002, p. 395
  5. ^ Haythornthwaite 1996, pp. 193–194
  6. ^ They formed the Guards Cavalry Division, the only peacetime cavalry division in the German Army.
  7. ^ War Office 1918, p. 255
  8. ^ Cron 2002, p. 301
  9. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 312–315
  10. ^ 4 heavy artillery batteries (16 heavy field howitzers)
  11. ^ Cron 2002, p. 314
  12. ^ verwaltungsgeschichte.de page
  13. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  14. ^ Ellis & Cox 1993, pp. 186–187
  15. ^ meuse-argonne.com
  16. ^ German Administrative History Accessed: 12 May 2012
  17. ^ German War History Accessed: 12 May 2012
  18. ^ The Prussian Machine Accessed: 12 May 2012