archibaldsidney, on 01 March 2012 - 10:32 AM, said:
Can any one tell me what was the size of the professional , standing, army of the Germany Empire (Prussia and the Kingdoms and Sates) in 1914. I know how many troops could be mobilised etc and the reserves etc but I would like to know the size of the core- the professionals who each year took the males identified for military service and trained them. Plenty of sources give the number of troops on mobilisation though there are lots of varied estimates. Presumably each regiment in the army list had a peace time professional establishment to which the call up men were added and through which they were rotated.
Thanks in anticipation for your help
First of all, please consider any input from Jack as absolutely authorative.
Let me flesh our for you, a bit, the structure of what could be considered the standing army (as Jack said, more correctly, four armies, plus a number of units associated with smaller states whose rulers were not one of the four German kings).
There were the 25 army corps of active or line regiments and other units. Then, most, but not all of these (active Army corps, composed of divisions, brigades, regiments, and assorted smaller active units) had a related Reserve unit, and usually the numbering of the units was the same. For example, in the corps district from which my family came, there was an active III. Armeekorps
, and at the outbreak of war it probably was at about 70% war strength, with a roughly full complement of officers and senior NCOs, but only about two-thirds of the OR/EMs. When mobilization occurred, this unit was put on a war footing; some cadre was added, some withdrawn for other service, and the ranks of the OR/EMs were immediately filled to full war strength from reservists immediately called up. For example, a typical active infantry company might be immediately filled out from 180 men to 260 men. Additional equipment might be drawn. These units were filled up and equipped for war in about four days, and left for the front.
Meanwhile, most of these active units, say a regiment, had a reserve counterpart. (I call them a "shadow unit".) However, for example, a reserve infantry regiment might only have a few cadre on active duty, I don't know, 10-20 (I am guessing here), instead of an active duty regiment being at say 2400 men on active duty to be filled out to 3000 in a few days. At mobilization, in order to "stay out of the hair" of the active counterpart unit, the reserve unit might start organizing in another facility, perhaps a school, instead of the active unit's Kaserne
. Som,etimes they even formed in another, nearby town. These reserve units had to add, not the typical 30% more men of the active unit, but perhaps 97%, officers, NCOs, and OR/EMs, generally from reserve rolls. (In the case of my grand-father, he was a Landwehr
officer, a lower grade of reserve formation than the Reserve
, but at mobilization he was made the Id, a leader of one of the four sub-sections of the Operations Section of the Generalkommando
of III. Reservekorps
, although most Id's in the commands of the army corps of this Army were active duty General Staff officers. But he was exceptionally able and an excellent professional manager. In some cases an experienced General Staff officer was taken out of the command staff of a regular active duty unit and put in the same position in a reserve unit; my suspicion is that it was done to stiffen the reserve unit's staff, if anything the reserve unit needed a "better" staff officer to help manage the "greener" unit.
The reserve units were similar in structure to its active counterpart, except that generally a reserve infantry division only had half the artillery of its active counterpart. They were freely put into line like their active counterparts and generally performed quite well.
The typical OR/EM was called up at 20, and served in the active army for two years, and then served in the Reserve for five more. Some branches, such as cavalry, serve three years active and then four years in the Reserve, again for a total of seven years. So, at mobilization, there generally was at least two more resevists from the Reserve for each OR/EM on active duty. This was enough to double the number of active units and have some left over for reasons of selection, disability, etc.
The Reserve units "were out the door" in only a few more days; I think in the case of III. Reservekorps
perhaps four days later that when the III. Armeekorps
was able to "go out the door". The reserve unit had most of their officers from the reserves and civilian life, as well as the EM/ORs.
After these two classes of units formed up and left for the front, a complex stew of other units were formed, Landwehr, Landsturm, Ersatz, Marine=Infanterie
; many fit for combat (some only on the Eastern Front, like some Landsturm
units), others for guarding POWs and lines of communication. This whole picture is very complex.
Many, many artillery units were formed from warehoused weapons, many stored at fortresses, and reservist manpower. This included the very specialized big 42 cm and 30.5 cm siege guns, which went from non-existant to fully formed from resources drawn from all over Germany and headed for the front in only five or six days.
I hope that this was useful.