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Organisational & Developmental Overview of the Imperial German Infantry, 1871-1914

English-language overviews about the organization of the German Army tend to be extremely convoluted. It is helped by the fact emphasized by the renown author Holger Herwig that there really was no German Army prior to the end of the 1914 Western offensive. Rather, there were contingent armies, four in total, led by the Prussians. All of these armies expanded between the end of the Franco Prussian war and the start of World War I. There is no better research of the details of this expansion than this article written by Glenn Jewison. Originally, this was for an old website called “A Pocket German Army.” Unfortunately, that website closed down.  It is our hope to present much of the data from this older site on this website. While we have added small tidbits here and there it must be understood that almost the entire work presented here was done by Glenn Jewison. If indeed you find any errors please let us know.

Regimental Names and Numbers
In July 1860, the Prussians started numbering their regiments and modified the structure in 1861. After the war of 1866, the states that Prussia annexed had their armies integrated into the numbering system. There does not appear to have been any standardization to the numbering. So, you had the integration of the Hanseatic States, Hanoverian regiments, the old electoral Hesse (Kurhessen), Schleswig-Holstein, and Nassau. That accounted for regiment numbers up to 88.
In 1867, the other states of the North German Confederation and Saxony joined the numbering system but it was not continuous nor did it follow any particular chronology. The order was the Mecklenburg Grand Duchies, Oldenburg, Brunswick, Anhalt, Saxe-Weimar, the Saxon duchies, and the other Thüringian states, covering numbers 89 to 96. The numbers for infantry regiments 97-99 were reserved for future Prussian units, which were not created until 1881. However, Saxony added their regiments to the mix starting at number 100 and this convention preceded the convention of some other states; Militärkonvention zwischen dem Norddeutschen Bunde und Sachsen vom 7. Februar 1867. Baden’s number started at 109 with Militärkonvention zwischen dem Norddeutschen Bunde und Baden vom 25. November 1870. Hesse and Württemberg followed: Militärkonvention zwischen dem Norddeutschen Bunde und Hessen vom 13. Juni 1871. Militärkonvention zwischen dem Norddeutschen Bunde und Württemberg vom 25. November 1870.

Not only were the regimental numbers juxtaposed but also the seniority of the regiments, as Hanoverian regiments retained their original founding date and other regiments traced their founding date to their parent organization. An analysis of regimental names and the movement of regiments led to some interesting anomalies. For example, Infantry Regiment 67 (4. Magdeburgisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.67) was originally from Prussian Saxony and called Magdeburgisch. It later relocated to Metz and drew its recruits mainly from the Rhineland and had nothing to do with Prussian Saxony.

The Army expansion could most easily be seen and explained by an expansion in the Army Corps system. These geographical areas were the primary methods of controlling the organization of all things Army.
The corps areas changed four times during the time of Imperial Germany. These changes corresponded to enlargements of the army and the subsequent reorganization of the units with inside the corps. Starting with 11 Army Corps in 1871, enlargements took place in 1889, 1898, 1905, and 1914 and corresponded to the increase in the number of corps. In 1888, there was 18 corps with 468,000 soldiers. In 1897 (before the next expansion), there were 20 corps and 480,000 soldiers. In 1904 prior to the next expansion, there were 23 army corps and 506,000 soldiers-Finally, on the eve of the Great War in 1914, there were 25 army corps and 661,000 soldiers.  As these dates and numbers are budget and budgeting years you will find some difference between these years and the actual execution of the with all highest cabinet orders.

 

Organisational & Developmental Overview of the Imperial German Infantry, 1871-1914
by
Glenn Jewison

The aim of this article is to give an organisational and developmental overview of the Imperial German infantry from the time of the conlusion of the Franco-Prussian War and the unification of Germany until the mobilisation for the Great War in August 1914. This is unfortunately not a well documented subject in the English language and I have therefore borrowed greatly from various excellent German language sources which are listed at the foot of this article.This article deals with the growth of the German infantry in the period immediately prior to this date.

PRUSSIAN GUARD AND LINE INFANTRY REGIMENTS (INCLUDING SAXONY AND WÜRTTEMBERG)

At the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71 the strength of the Prussian Infantry was 105 regiments allocated to 1 guard and 11 line corps as follows:

9 Guard infantry regiments:
1.Garde-Regiment zu Fuß "Erstes Regiment der Christenheit"
2.Garde-Regiment zu Fuß "Die Hammel"
3.Garde-Regiment zu Fuß
4.Garde-Regiment zu Fuß "Die Moabiter Veilchen"
Kaiser Alexander-Garde-Grenadier-Regiment Nr.1 "Alexander", "Kartoffelschäler"
Kaiser Franz-Garde-Grenadier-Regiment Nr. 2 "Franzer", "Bluthunde"
Königin-Elisabeth-Grenadier-Regiment Nr.3 "Elisabether", "Kronen Esel"
Königin-Augusta-Grenadier-Regiment Nr.4 "Augustaner"
Garde-Füsilier-Regiment "Die Maikäfer"

13 line grenadier regiments 1 – 12, 89
 

Name as at 1871 Subsequent Re-naming
Grenadier-Regiment Kronprinz (1.Ostpreußisches) Nr.1 Renamed 22.3.1888: 
  Kaiser-Grenadier-Regiment Nr.1 
  Renamed 21.6.1888: 
  Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich III. (1.Ostpreußisches) Nr.1 
  Renamed 6.5.1900: 
  Grenadier-Regiment Kronprinz (1.Ostpreußisches) Nr.1
Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich Wilhelm IV. (1.Pommersches) Nr.2   -
2.Ostpreußisches Grenadier-Regiment Nr.3 Renamed 27.1.1889: 
  Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich Wilhelm I. (2.Ostpreußisches) Nr.3
3.Ostpreußisches Grenadier-Regiment Nr.4 Renamed 27.1.1889: 
  Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich II. (3.Ostpreußisches) Nr.4 
  Renamed 7.9.1901: 
  Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich der Große (3.Ostpreußisches) Nr.4
4.Ostpreußisches Grenadier-Regiment Nr.5 Renamed 27.1.1889:
  Grenadier-regiment König Friedrich I. (4.Ostpreußisches) Nr.5
1.Westpreußisches Grenadier-Regiment Nr.6 Renamed 27.1.1889:
  Grenadier-Regiment Graf Kleist von Nollendorf (1.Westpreußisches) Nr.6
Königs-Grenadier-Regiment (2.Westpreußisches) Nr.7 Renamed 22.3.1888:
  König Wilhelm Grenadier-Regiment Nr.7
  Renamed 21.6.1888:
  König Wilhelm I. Grenadier-Regiment (2.Westpreußisches) Nr.7
  Renamed 27.1.1889:
  Grenadier-Regiment König Wilhelm I. (2.Westpreußisches) Nr.7
Leib-Grenadier-Regiment (1.Brandenburgisches) Nr.8 Renamed 27.1.1889:
  Leib-Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich Wilhelm III. (1.Brandenburgisches) Nr.8
Colbergsches Grenadier-Regiment (2.Pommersches) Nr.9 Renamed 27.1.1889:
  Colbergsches Grenadier-Regiment Graf Gneisenau (2.Pommersches) Nr.9
1.Schlesisches Grenadier-Regiment Nr.10 Renamed 27.1.1889:
  Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich Wilhelm II. (1.Schlesisches) Nr.10
2.Schlesisches Grenadier-Regiment Nr.11 Renamed: 22.3.1888:
  Grenadier-Regiment Kronprinz Friedrich Wilhelm (2.Schlesisches) Nr.11
  Renamed 6.5.1900:
  Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich III. (2.Schlesisches) Nr.11
Grenadier-Regiment Prinz Carl von Preußen (2.Brandenburgisches) Nr.12    -
Großherzoglich Mecklenburgisches Grenadier-Regiment Nr.89   -

71 line infantry regiments 13-32 and 41-72, 74-79, 81-85, 87-88, 91-96
12 line fusilier regiments 33-40, 73, 80, 86, 90

The former Saxon army had already been incorporated into the army of the North German Confederation at the conclusion of the Austro-Prussian war of 1866 and it's regiments given the series 100 - 108 and incorporated in the XII. army corps.

With the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian war, on the 1st July 1871, the division of the Grand-Duchy of Baden was incorporated into the German army as the XIV. army corps with the newly numbered Infantry regiments 109 - 114 introduced into the Prussian sequence:
 
(1.)Leib-Grenadier-Regiment 1.Badisches Leib Grenadier-Regiment Nr.109
(2.)Grenadier-Regiment Kaiser Wilhelm 2.Badisches Grenadier-Regiment Kaiser Wilhelm Nr.110
Renamed 2.8.1888:
2.Badisches Grenadier-Regiment Kaiser Wilhelm I Nr.110
Großherzogl.Badisches 3.Infanterie-Regiment 3.Badisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.111
Renamed 18.12.1892:
Infanterie-Regiment Markgraf Ludwig Wilhelm (3.Badisches)Nr.111
Großherzogl.Badisches 4.Infanterie-Regiment 4.Badisches Infanterie-Regiment Prinz Wilhelm Nr.112
Großherzogl.Badisches 5.Infanterie-Regiment 5.Badisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.113
6.Großherzogl.Badisches Infanterie-Regiment Kgl.Preusisches 6.Badisches Infanterie-Regiment
Renamed 2.8.1888:
6.Badisches Infanterie-Regiment Kaiser Friedrich III. Nr. 114 

The Grand-Duchy of Hesse division had been incorporated in 1867 into the Prussian line as the 25. Infanterie-Division of XI. army corps with the Hessian regiments being numbered in the Prussian sequence in 1871 as Infantry regiments 115 - 118:
 
1.Infanterie-Regiment (Leibgarde-Regiment)  1.Großherzogl.Hessisches Infanterie-(Leibgarde) Regiment Nr.115
Renamed 28.11.1906:
Leibgarde-Infanterie-Regiment (1.Großherzoglich Hessisches) Nr.115
2.Infanterie-Regiment (Großherzog)  2.Großherzogl.Hessisches Infanterie-Regiment (Groherzog) Nr.116
Renamed 5.11.1891:
Infanterie-Regiment Kaiser Wilhelm  (2.Großherzoglich Hessisches) Nr.116
3.Infanterie-Regiment (Leib-Regiment)  3.Großherzogl.Hessisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.117
Renamed 15.2.1902:
Infanterie-Leibregiment Großherzogin (3.Großherzoglich Hessisches) Nr.117
4.Infanterie-Regiment (Prinz Carl)  4.Infanterie-Regiment Prinz Carl (Nr.118)
Renamed 28.11.1906:
Infanterie-Regiment Prinz Carl (4.Großherzoglich Hessisches) Nr.118

The Württemberg army corps was incorporated as the XIII (Royal Württemberg) in the Prussian sequence on the 18th December 1871 with the regiments numbered in the sequence 119 - 126:
1.Infanterie-Regiment Königin Olga 1.Württembergisches Infanterie-Regiment (Grenadier-Regiment Königin Olga) Nr.119 
Renamed 14.12.1874:
Grenadier-Regiment Königin Olga (1.Württembergisches) Nr.119
2.Infanterie-Regiment (Kaiser Wilhelm, König von Preußen) 2.Württembergisches Infanterie-Regiment (Kaiser Wilhelm, König von Preußen) Nr.120
Renamed 14.12.1874:
Infanterie-Regiment Kaiser Wilhelm, König von Preußen (2.Württembergisches) Nr.120
3.Württembergisches Infanterie-Regiment 3.Württembergisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.121
Renamed 18.3.1891:
Infanterie-Regiment Alt-Württemberg (3.Württembergisches) Nr.121
Infanterie-Regiment Nr.4 4.Württembergisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.122 
Renamed 9.1.1892:
4.Württembergisches Infanterie-Regiment Kaiser Franz Joseph v.Österreich, König v.Ungarn Nr.122
Renamed 10.11.1906:
Füsilier-Regiment Kaiser Franz Joseph v.Österreich, König v.Ungarn (4.Württembergisches) Nr.122
5.Württembergisches Infanterie-Regiment (Grenadier-Regiment) König Karl 5.Württembergisches Infanterie-Regiment (Grenadier-Regiment) König Karl Nr.123
Renamed 14.12.1874:
Grenadier-Regiment König Karl (5.Württembergisches) Nr.123
6.Infanterie-Regiment König Wilhelm 6.Württembergisches Infanterie-Regiment (König Wilhelm) Nr.124
Renamed 14.12.1874:
Infanterie-Regiment König Wilhelm (6.Württembergisches)Nr.124
Renamed 6.10.1891:
Infanterie-Regiment König Wilhelm I. (6.Württembergisches)Nr.124
7.Linien-Infanterie-Regiment 7.Württembergisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.125
Renamed 20.3.1888:
Infanterie-Regiment Kaiser Friedrich, König von Preußen (7.Württembergisches)Nr.125
8.Linien-Infanterie-Regiment  8.Württembergisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.126
Renamed 25.4.1891:
Infanterie-Regiment Großherzog Friedrich von Baden (8.Württembergisches)Nr.126

The XV army corps was formed in Straßburg in Alsace-Lorraine on the 20th March 1871. The following Prussian regiments were transferred to it:

25, 42, 45, 47, 60, 92 as well as Saxon, Württemberg and Bavarian troops.

The following new regiments were formed by order of the all highest cabinet orders of the 24th March 1881 to the 1st April 1881 through the transfer of personnel from existing units:

1.Oberrheinisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.97
Metzer Infanterie-Regiment Nr.98
2.Oberrheinisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.99
Danziger Infanterie-Regiment Nr.128
3.Westpreußisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.129
1.Lothringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.130
2.Lothringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.131
1.Unterelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.132
 


These were at first distributed throughout the existing corps. Since the end of March 1884 until the end of March 1888 in accordance with the all highest cabinet orders of 11th March 1887 to April 1887, they with the newly established regiments 135-138 were assigned to the XV. Army corps, with the exception of regiments 128 and 129 which remained with the I. and II. Corps respectively.

Regiments formed by order of the all highest cabinet order of 11th March 1887:

3.Lothringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.135
4.Lothringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.136
2.Unterelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.137
3.Unterelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.138
Also in April 1887, the following 12 Prussian regiments were authorised a fourth battalion in the strength of four rifle companies (13., 14., 15., 16.):
13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 39, 40, 53, 65, 80, 83, & 129.
In accordance with all highest cabinet order of the 1st February 1890, these fourth battalions were used to form the following prussian Infantry regiments 140 - 144:
4.Westpreußisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.140
Kulmer Infanterie-Regiment Nr.141
7.Badisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.142
4.Unterelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.143
5.Lothringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.144
 
By order of the all highest cabinet order of 28 July 1890, the following regiment was formed by 1st October of that year through the transfer of personnel of regiments in the 8., 16., & 21. divisions:
Königs-Infanterie-Regiment (6.Lothringisches) Nr.145
 
As at the 1st April 1890 the order of battle included the newly formed XVI. and XVII. army corps as follows:
XV. Armee-Korps (Straßburg i E.) Regiments 60, 97, 99, 132, 136, 137, 138, 143.
XVI. Armee-Korps (Metz) Regiments 17, 67, 98, 130, 131, 135, 144, 145.
XVI. Armee-Korps: (Danzig) Regiments 5, 14, 18, 21, 44, 61, 128, 141.
Regiments 42, 129 and 140 went to the II. army corps and the 7. Badisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.142 went to the XIV. army corps as indeed did regiment 25. Regiment 45 was transferred to the I. army corps and regiment 47 to the V. army corps.

In accordance with the all highest cabinet order of 11th August 1893 all extant infantry regiments were authorised to form a fourth battalion in the strength of two companies (13. and 14.) with a personnel strength of 8 officers and 193 NCOs and privates. As ordered by cabinet orders from 31st March to 1st April 1897 these so-called fourth half-battalions were used to form new regiments, at first in the strength of only two battalions each:

5.Garde-Regiment zu Fuß
Garde-Grenadier-Regiment Nr.5
1.Masurisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.146
2.Masurisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.147
5.Westpreußisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.148
6.Westpreußisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.149
1.Ermländisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.150
2.Ermländisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.151
Deutsch-Ordens Infanterie-Regiment Nr.152
8.Thüringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.153
5.Niederrheinisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.154
7.Westpreußisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.155
3.Schlesisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.156
4.Schlesisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.157
7.Lothringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.158
8.Lothringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.159
9.Rheinisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.160
10.Rheinisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.161
3.Hanseatisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.162
Schleswig-Holsteinisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.163
4.Hanoversches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.164
5.Hanoversches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.165
Infanterie-Regiment Hessen-Homburg Nr.166
1.Oberelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.167
5.Grossherzoglich Hessisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.168
8.Badisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.169
9.Badisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.170
2.Oberelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.171
3.Oberelsässisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.172
9.Lothringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.173
10.Lothringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.174
8.Westpreußisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.175
9.Westpreußisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.176
 
An example of the way in which these new regiments were formed can be shown by the case of 5.Garde-Regiment zu Fuß:

Formed 31.3.1897 through the transfer of fully formed companies and officially named the following day as

5.Garde-Regiment zu Fuß:
1./ from 13./3.Garde-Rgt.z.Fuß
2./ from 13/Garde-Füs.-Rgt.
3./ from 14./ 3.Garde-Rgt.z.Fuß
4./ from 14./ Garde-Füs.-Rgt.
5./ from 13./Garde-Gd.-Rgt. Nr.3
6./ from 13./Garde-Gd.-Rgt. Nr.4
7./ from 14./ Garde-Gd.-Rgt. Nr.3
8./ from 14./ Garde-Gd.-Rgt. Nr.4

The addition of a third battalion for each of the above regiments was a lengthy process which in some cases was not completed until 1913. They received their 3rd battalions according to the following cabinet orders:

A.K.O. of the 1st April 1903: Regiments 146 and 150
A.K.O. of the 1st June 1906: Regiments 147 and 151
A.K.O. of the 17th May 1907: Regiment 172
A.K.O. of the 4th April 1909: Regiments 165 and 171
A.K.O. of the 29th June 1912: Regiments 148, 149, 155, 160, 161, 163, 166, 173 - 176
A.K.O. of the 4th May 1913: 5. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß, Garde-Grenadier-Regiment Nr.5 and Regiments 152 - 154, 156 - 159, 162, 164, 167 - 170
 
The all highest cabinet order of the 1st of April 1899 authorised the formation of the XVIII. army corps at Frankfurt am Main. The XIX. army corps (2nd Royal Saxon) was formed the same day. A further two corps were formed on the 1st October 1912 - the XX. at Allenstein in East Prussia and the XXI. at Saarbrücken.
The XX. Armee-Korps received the following regiments: 18, 59, 146, 147, 148, 150, 151 & 152.
The XXI. Armee-Korps: Regiments 17, 60, 70, 97, 137, 138, 166 & 174.
Prior to mobilisation in 1914 therefore, 9.Westpreußisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.176 was the highest numbered Prussian infantry regiment.

Since 1871 the following non Prussian contingent regiments had been formed (excluding Bavaria):
 
9.Württembergisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.127 1.4.1897 
Königl. Sächsisches 9.Infanterie-Regiment Nr.133 1.4.1881 
10.Königlich Sächsisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.134 1.4.1881 
11.Königlich Sächsisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.139 1.4.1897 
Königl. Sächsisches 12.Infanterie-Regiment Nr.177 1.4.1897
13.Königlich Sächsisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.178 1.4.1897 
14.Königlich Sächsisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.179 1.4.1897 
10.Königl. Württembergisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.180 1.4.1897
Königl. Sächsisches 15.Infanterie-Regiment Nr.181 1.4.1900
16.Königlich Sächsisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.182 1.10.1912

In accordance with the cabinet order of 1st October 1911 the following infantry regiments received a machine- gun company as 13.company:

1. and 2. - 5. Garde-Rgt., Elisabeth, Augusta Garde-Grenadier-Rgt., Garde-Füsilier-Rgt. and the following line grenadier and infantry regiments: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 15, 17, 21, 22, 24, 27, 31 - 36, 38, 39, 41, 47, 48, 49, 51, 53, 56, 58, 59,63, 65, 66, 68 - 72, 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 83, 86, 88, 91, 94, 97, 98, 129, 130, 132, 135, 143, 144, 145, 148, 149, 150, 155, 157, 161, 162, 166, 171, 173 & 176

In accordance with the cabinet order of 1st October 1912 the following regiments received their 3. Battalions: Regiments 148, 149, 155, 160, 161, 163, 173, 174, 175, 176.

The cabinet order of 4th May 1913 authorised the formation of a machine gun company for those regiments still without one on the establishment and a 3. Battalion for the 5.Garde-Rgt. zu Fuß, 5. Garde-Grenadier- Regiment as well as infantry regiments 152, 153, 154, 156 - 159, 162, 164, 167 so that all regiments numbered within the Prussian series now had a third battalion.

Additionally at the 1st October 1913 15 fortress machine-gun companies (Festungs-M.G.-Abteilung) were added as the 14. company of the following regiments and attached to battalions as follows:
1.= F./Gren.-Rgt. Nr.1
2.= III./Inf.-Rgt. Nr.147
3.= I./ Inf.-Rgt. Nr.141
4.= II./ Inf.-Rgt. Nr.129
5.= III./ Inf.-Rgt. Nr.21
6.= III./ Inf.-Rgt. Nr.47
7.= I./ Inf.-Rgt. Nr.65
8.= III./ Inf.-Rgt. Nr.88
9.= II./ Inf.-Rgt. Nr.132
10.= III./ Inf.-Rgt. Nr.143
11.= I./ Inf.-Rgt. Nr.135
12.= II./ Inf.-Rgt. Nr.130
13.= II./Königs- Inf.-Rgt. Nr.145
14.= II./ Inf.-Rgt. Nr.98
15.= I./ Inf.-Rgt. Nr.144

The fortress machine companies were the last peace-time additions to the German infantry prior to the outbreak of hostilities in 1914 and were only raised in Prussia. All formations created thereafter were termed "Kriegsformationen" (war formations) and were disbanded almost immediately after the armistice in 1918.

PRUSSIAN JÄGER BATTALIONS
Already in existence in 1871 were 16 Jäger battalions consisting of the Guard Jäger and Guard Schützen battalions plus 14 line Jäger battalions including two Saxon (Nr. 12 & 13) and one from Mecklemburg-Schwerin (Nr. 14). The Jäger battalion was initially organised into 4 companies (1. - 4.) and as at the 1st October 1913 each received a machine gun company and a cycle company (5. & 6.) respectively. A further Saxon battalion was formed on the 1st April 1887. This battalion
was 3.Jäger-Bataillon Nr.15. This battalion was converted on 1st April 1900 to become Königl. Sächsisches 15.Infanterie-Regiment Nr.181.

BAVARIAN INFANTRY REGIMENTS
Bavaria being the largest of the Southern States retained a certain amount of autonomy regarding its military forces and its troops were organised in separate Bavarian corps, initially of which there were two, increased by the addition of a 3rd on 1st April 1900. At the formation of the Second Reich, the Bavarian infantry stood at a strength of One life regiment and fifteen line infantry regiments each with three battalions of four companies each. Additionally Bavaria possessed at this time 10 Jäger battalions, which for the most part were used as the basis for a further increase in the number of line infantry regiments.

The year 1872 saw the introduction of new rank designations for the personnel of the Bavarian infantry and Jäger battalions followed in 1873 with the introduction of Prussian badges of rank to correspond with those in use in Prussia:
Prussian title Bavarian title
Oberleutnant Premier-Leutnant
Unterleutnant Sekonde-Leutnant
Oberjäger* Feldwebel
Sekondjäger*  Sergeant
Korporal* Oberjäger
Korporal Unteroffizier

*Jäger battalions


As ordered on the 24th July 1878, the formation of two new infantry regiments was authorised from six existing Jäger battalions. 16.Infanterie-Regiment was formed from Jäger battalions 2, 7 and 9 and 17.Infanterie-Regiment was formed from Jäger battalions 6, 8 and 10. A third new Infantry regiment was ordered on the 1st April 1881. The 18.Infanterie-Regiment was formed as follows:
 
   I.Bataillon One company each from 1., 4., 12. and 6. infantry regiments as 1.-4. company.
  II.Bataillon One company each from 5., 9., 14. and 8. infantry regiments as 5.-8. company.
 III.Bataillon One company each from 13., 15., 17. and 7. infantry regiments as 9.-12. company.

15 July 1890 saw the order issued for the foundation of 19.Infanterie-Regiment which was formed as follows:
 
   I.Bataillon One company each from 6., 7., 14. and 5. infantry regiments as 1.-4. company.
  II.Bataillon Formed from Jäger battalion 2.
 III.Bataillon Formed from Jäger battalion 4.

In a similar fashion to that ordered by the prussian cabinet order of 11th August 1893, the Bavarian War Ministry issued an order dated 19th August 1893 authorising the formation of a fourth half-battalion for each of the then extant infantry regiments to include the Infanterie-Leib-Regiment. These fourth half-battalions were each composed of two companies (13. and 14.)and were co-located with their parent regimental staff.

These twenty half battalions were soon utilised as ordered by various decrees from 28 June 1896, 20/24 September and 24/28 November 1896, effective 1 April 1897 to form four further infantry regiments with staffs (20. - 23.) as follows:

20.-Infanterie-Regiment
21.-Infanterie-Regiment
22.-Infanterie-Regiment
23.-Infanterie-Regiment
Although I have yet to find the order establishing 13. Machine gun companies for the Bavarian infantry, one can probably assume that in line with Prussia, they were organised in 1911.

BAVARIAN JÄGER BATTALIONS
As previously stated, 10 Jäger battalions were in existence at the start of this period, numbered 1. -10.
With the expansion of the line infantry in July 1878, the following Jäger battalions were converted to normal line infantry battalions:
 
  2.Jäger-Bataillon I./16
  6.Jäger-Bataillon I./17
  7.Jäger-Bataillon II./16
  8.Jäger-Bataillon II./17
  9.Jäger-Bataillon III./16
  10.Jäger-Bataillon III./17

5.Jäger-Bataillon was renamed as 2.Jäger-Bataillon and the strength of the Jäger arm at this time was now:

1.Jäger-Bataillon
2.Jäger-Bataillon (Previously 5.Jäger)
3.Jäger-Bataillon
4.Jäger-Bataillon
On 15 July 1890 2. and 4. Jäger-Bataillonen were converted to rifle battalions in the newly organised 19. Infantry regiment and consequently 3. Jäger-Bataillon was renamed 2.Jäger-Bataillon.

In 1914 therefore the two remaining regular Jäger-Bataillonen were:

1.Jäger-Bataillon König (I.AK., 1.Div., 2.Inf.-Brig.)
2.Jäger-Bataillon (II.AK., 4.Div., 7.Inf.-Brig.)
 
MASCHINENGEWEHR-ABTEILUNGEN (Machine Gun Detachments)

Following the cabinet order of the 26th March effective 1st October 1901 five independent machine gun detachments were formed. These company sized organisations were built as one guard and four line detachments. Following the cabinet order of 20th March 1902, a further guard and a further five line detachments were formed on the 1st October 1902. A further Maschingewehr-Abteilung; Nr.11 was formed on 1st October 1904.

A Bavarian detachment was formed on 1st October 1902 and a Saxon detachment on 1st October 1903.

Through the cabinet order of 28th May 1913 and effective by 1st October of that year, detachments 6 and 9 were converted to infantry companies as were detachments 1 and 3 following the cabinet order of 4th May 1913. Consequently, detachments 8, 10 and 11 were re-numbered 1, 3 and 6.

The final peacetime strength of the Maschinengewehr-Abteilungen was therefore:
 
Garde-Maschinengewehr-Abteilung Nr.1 attached to Garde-Jäger-Bat.
Garde-Maschinengewehr-Abteilung Nr.2. attached to II./Garde-Gren.-Regt. Nr.4
Maschingewehr-Abteilung Nr.1 attached to I./I.R.51
Maschingewehr-Abteilung Nr.2 attached to III./I.R.29
Maschingewehr-Abteilung Nr.3 attached to I./I.R.97
Maschingewehr-Abteilung Nr.4 attached to I./I.R.21
Maschingewehr-Abteilung Nr.5 attached to III./I.R.45
Maschingewehr-Abteilung Nr.6 attached to I./I.R.67
Maschingewehr-Abteilung Nr.7 attached to I./I.R.158
Kgl. Sächs.Maschinengewehr-Abteilung Nr.8  attached to I.R.107
Kgl. Bayr. 1.Maschinengewehr-Abteilung attached to Kgl. Bayr. I.R. 18

Consequently the all up strength of the regular peacetime German Infantry in August 1914 was as follows:
Garde: 1.-5. Garde-Regt.z.F.,
Garde-Gren.1-5,
Garde-Füs.Regt.
Line: Inf.-Regt. 1 -182. (Gren.1-12, Inf.-Regt.13-32, Füs.-Regt.33-40, Inf.-Regt.41-72, Füs.-Regt.73, Inf.-Regt.74-79, Füs.-Regt.80, Inf.-Regt.81-85, Füs.-Regt.86, Inf.-Regt.87-88, Gren.-Regt.89, Füs.-Regt.90, Inf.-Regt.91-99, Gren.-Regt.100-101, Inf.-Regt.102-107, Schützen-(Füs.-)Regt.108, Gren.-Regt.109-110, Inf.-Regt.111-114, Leib-G.Inf.-Regt.115, Inf.-Regt.116-118, Gren.-Regt.119, Inf.-Regt.120-121, Füs.-Regt.122, Gren.-Regt.123, Inf.-Regt.124-182).
Lehr-Inf.Batl., Stamm-Batl. der Infanterie-Schießschule,
Jäger: G.Jäger-Batl., G.Sch.-Batl., Jäger-Batl. 1-14
Bavaria:  : Inf.Leib-Regt., 1.-23.Inf.Regt.,
1., 2.Jäger-Batl.

In total 217 active infantry regiments and 18 Jäger battalions plus 11 independent machine gun detachments.


Sources:
  • Deutsche Infanterie "Das Ehrenmal der Vorderstenfront". Edited by v. Eisenbart Rothe, Tschischwitz and Beckmann. Published by Verlag Berhard Sporn, Zeulenroda in Thüringen 1933.
  • Deutschlands Heere bis 1918 by Günther Voigt, Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück 1980.
  • Formationsgeschichte des Deutschen Heeres 1815-1939 by G. Wegner. Published by Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück 1992.
  • Formations-und Uniformierungsgeschichte des preußischen Heeres 1808 bis 1914 Volume 1 by Paul Pietsch. Published by Verlag: Helmut Gerhard Schulz, Hamburg 1963.
  • Führer durch Heer und Flotte 1914 by B. Friedag. Reprint of the 1913 edition published by Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück 1993.
  • German Infantry 1914-1918 by David Nash. Published by Almark Publications 1971.
  • Organisation, Bekleidung, Ausrüstung und Bewaffnung der Königlich Bayerischen Armee von 1808 bis 1906 by Karl Müller. Reprint of the 1906 edition published by LTR-Verlag, Buchholz-Sprötze 1996.
  • Ruhmeshalle unsere alten Armee by Dr. Martin Lezius and others. Published by Militär Verlag Leipzig ca. 1930.

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