Once again I am late to the party. My feeble excuse is that we had a wedding for our only daughter and I have been consumed as a father of the bride. So once more into the breach! We have done considerable work on this subject for our next book. It is one of those areas where I have great umbrage with Zuber's approach. He does that without providing a general understanding of the cyclical nature of training in these units. It was indeed an annual intake. It was very regimented. In calendar year one the new inductee would undergo somewhat different training than the 2nd year “old soldiers.” In the middle of October–after harvest–those selected to begin their service time would report into their units. The starting date was known as the Einstellungstag. These brand-new soldiers were treated as recruits for 15 weeks in a period of basic training known as Rekrutenschule. Instruction included drill, hygiene, physical training, and dry fire marksmanship. There were weekly training exercises in the countryside where the weight of the pack was increased gradually until it reached approximately 60 pounds. The second-year soldiers also underwent a period of individual training and weapons drill. This was known as Exerzierausbildung. Individual training ended in the 1st half of February with the evaluation of basic training success (Rekrutenbesichtigung) conducted by the battalion commander.
Even given the cyclical training active units were not full. Reservists filled them up in time of mobilization. An active infantry company was supposed to be comprised of 250 NCOs and men. When Bloem first addressed his company, “#2” Company, 1st Battalion, 12 Grenadiers, early in the mobilization of 1914, he had 14 NCOs and 162 men, of which 50 were reservists who had already reported in. The numbers get a little complex here. After your active time, there were an additional five classes of infantrymen. Looking at the start of the war, the active-duty soldiers were those who had turned 20 in 1912 and 1913 (those who were born in 1892 and 1893). The reservists were the next five classes: 1891, 1890, 1889, 1888, and 1887. There were more reservists than there were positions in the active regiment. Left over reservists formed or filled out other units.
Active Units: 54 percent active duty soldiers
46 percent reserve soldiers.
Reserve Units: 1 percent active duty soldiers
44 percent reserve soldiers.
55 percent Landwehr soldiers from the 1st Contingent
Landwehr Units: 62 percent Landwehr soldiers from the 1st Contingent
38 percent Landwehr soldiers from the 2nd Contingent
I do not pretend to understand any link between campaign planning and induction. It was possible to retain active soldiers in times of crisis but this had huge political and financial ramifications.
A few comments based on the conversation that has transpired.
1. Reservists while trained had not trained with all of the soldiers they were about to go into combat with. This is a big issue. The doctrinal employment of those soldiers varied tremendously by Army Corps and there was no universal acceptance of doctrine per se.
2. What I have presented is a very watered-down version. It gets really complex when you start thinking that there were lots of people at the age of 20 who did not get inducted into the military at all and went back through the selection process for a number of years.
3. Landsturm soldiers between the ages of 17 and 20 received no training. It was only a paper accounting.
4. Kriegsfreiwilliger or war volunteers served for the duration, were not in any officer training program and are often confused with one-year volunteers who did indeed serve for only one year and had the possibility of becoming a reserve officer.
5. Landwehr soldiers of the 2nd ban no longer trained.
6. The soldiers of 1st Ypres were completely different than any of the original serving soldiers. I can really recommend you to the book by Jack Sheldon on that battle. He does a magnificent job and you really get a good sense of how those soldiers were just not trained but were utilized.
Again I am sorry for my late response but I'm also a pauper!
, on Flickr