Bavarian Ersatz Division (German Empire)

Bavarian Ersatz Division (German Empire)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=Bavarian Ersatz Division ("Bayerische Ersatz Division")
dates=1914-1919
country=Bavaria/Germany
branch=Army
type=Infantry
size=Approx. 15,000
battles=
World War I:
Battle of the Frontiers, Race to the Sea, Verdun, Second Battle of the Aisne,
Passchendaele, Romanian Campaign, Hundred Days Offensive

The Bavarian Ersatz Division ("Bayerische Ersatz Division") was a division of the Imperial German Army in World War I. It was formed in August 1914 and dissolved in 1919 in the demobilization following the Armistice which ended the war. It was initially an all-Bavarian formation, but soon received several non-Bavarian units which served with the division until 1917.

Combat narrative

The division first saw action in 1914 in the Battle of the Frontiers, including the battles before Nancy and Epinal. The division participated in the Race to the Sea, and then settled into trenchline duty. The commander of the division, General der Infanterie Eugen Ritter von Benzino, was killed in action on November 28, 1915. In 1916, the division entered into the Battle of Verdun. The division also was engaged in 1917 in the Second Battle of the Aisne, also called the Third Battle of Champagne and referred to in German sources as the Dual Battle of Aisne-Champagne ("Doppelschlacht Aisne-Champagne"). After a short spell in the trenches near Verdun, in the latter part of 1917, the division was sent to Flanders in response to the Allied offensive there. In October 1917, the division went to the Romanian Front and then to Ukraine after the armistice in Romania. It returned to the Western Front in April 1918, occupying the line near Verdun and then Reims, and then engaged in mobile defense. It ended the war facing Allied forces in the Hundred Days Offensive. The division was rated as a third class division by Allied intelligence. [ [http://www.1914-18.info/erster-weltkrieg.php?u=102 Bayerische-Ersatz-Division] ] ["Histories of Two Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which Participated in the War (1914-1918), compiled from records of Intelligence section of the General Staff, American Expeditionary Forces, at General Headquarters, Chaumont, France 1919" (1920)]

Formation and organization on mobilization

On mobilization, the Brigade Replacement Battalions ("Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillone") of the Bavarian Army were formed. A brigade replacement battalion was formed by grouping companies taken from the replacement, or "Ersatz", battalion of each infantry regiment. The companies were combined to form a brigade replacement battalion. The Bavarian Army created twelve brigade replacement battalions and formed them into three brigades of four battalions each. The brigades were mixed formations, with their own cavalry, artillery and engineers, also "Ersatz" units similarly formed from the replacement detachments and companies of the cavalry and artillery regiments and engineer battalions. [Hartwig Busche, "Formationsgeschichte der deutschen Infanterie im Ersten Weltkrieg 1914-1918" (1998)]

The order of battle of the Bavarian Ersatz Division on mobilization was as follows: [Hermann Cron et al., "Ruhmeshalle unserer alten Armee" (Berlin, 1935)]

*Stab/1. Königlich Bayerische gemischte Ersatz-Brigade
**Königlich Bayerisches Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 1
**Königlich Bayerisches Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 2
**Königlich Bayerisches Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 3
**Königlich Bayerisches Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 4
**Kavallerie-Ersatz-Abteilung München/I. Königlich Bayerisches Armeekorps (⅓ squadron)
**Königlich Bayerische Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Nr. 1 (2 batteries)
**Königlich Bayerische Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Nr. 4 (2 batteries)
**2. Ersatz-Kompanie/Königlich Bayerisches 1. Pionier-Bataillon
*Stab/5. Königlich Bayerische gemischte Ersatz-Brigade
**Königlich Bayerisches Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 5
**Königlich Bayerisches Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 6
**Königlich Bayerisches Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 7
**Königlich Bayerisches Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 8
**Kavallerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Landau/II. Königlich Bayerisches Armeekorps (⅓ squadron)
**Königlich Bayerische Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Nr. 2 (2 batteries)
**Königlich Bayerische Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Nr. 12 (2 batteries)
*Stab/9. Königlich Bayerische gemischte Ersatz-Brigade
**Königlich Bayerisches Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 9
**Königlich Bayerisches Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 10
**Königlich Bayerisches Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 11
**Königlich Bayerisches Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 12
**Kavallerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Nürnberg/III. Königlich Bayerisches Armeekorps (⅓ squadron)
**Königlich Bayerische Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Nr. 8 (2 batteries)
**Königlich Bayerische Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Nr. 10 (2 batteries)
**1. Ersatz-Kompanie/Königlich Bayerisches 3. Pionier-Bataillon

Organizational changes and late-war organization

The 5th Mixed Replacement Brigade ("5. gemischte Ersatz-Brigade") was transferred to the 30th Reserve Division on August 17, 1914. On October 3, 1914, the other two brigades, the 1st and 9th Mixed Replacement Brigades, were redesignated as the 1st and 9th Replacement Brigades and their cavalry, artillery and engineer units were moved to division level. Three battalions from each brigade were reorganized into Kgl. Bayer. Ersatz-Infanterie-Regiment Nr.1 (1st Replacement Brigade) and Kgl. Bayer. Ersatz-Infanterie-Regiment Nr.3 (9th Replacement Brigade). The two regiments were transferred to "Division von Rekowski" (which later became the 39th Reserve Division). Kgl. Bayer. Ersatz-Infanterie-Regiment Nr.2 was formed from two taken battalions of the 5th Mixed Replacement Brigade as well as troops drawn from elsewhere in the Bavarian Army, and was attached to the Bavarian Ersatz Division. [ [http://www.1914-18.info/erster-weltkrieg.php?u=102 Bayerische-Ersatz-Division] ]

On November 22, 1914, the 59th Replacement Infantry Brigade ("Ersatz-Infanterie-Brigade"), a non-Bavarian unit, was renamed the 59th "Landwehr" Infantry Brigade ("59. Landwehr-Infanterie-Brigade") and attached to the Bavarian Ersatz Division (this brigade was reassigned to the 199th Infantry Division on January 15, 1917). [ [http://www.1914-18.info/erster-weltkrieg.php?u=102 Bayerische-Ersatz-Division] ] The 3rd Royal Bavarian Reserve Infantry Brigade ("3. Kgl. Bayer. Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade"), with three reserve infantry regiments, also joined the division in late 1914, effectively making the division a reinforced reserve and Landwehr division, and an Ersatz division in name only. ["Histories", p.14]

The organization of the division on April 7, 1918 was as follows: [Cron et al., "Ruhmeshalle"]

*3.Kgl. Bayer. Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade:
**Kgl. Bayer. 4. Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment
**Kgl. Bayer. 15. Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment
**Kgl. Bayer. 18. Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment
*1. Eskadron/Kgl. Bayer. 6. Reserve-Kavallerie-Regiment
*Kgl. Bayer. Artillerie-Kommandeur 19:
**Kgl. Bayer. Ersatz-Feldartillerie-Regiment
**Fußartillerie-Bataillon Nr. 89
*Stab Kgl. Bayer. 13. Pionier-Bataillon:
**Kgl. Bayer. 4. Landwehr-Pionier-Kompanie
**Kgl. Bayer. 6. Landwehr-Pionier-Kompanie
**Kgl. Bayer. 100. Minenwerfer-Kompanie
*Kgl. Bayer. Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 551

References

* [http://www.1914-18.info/erster-weltkrieg.php?u=102 Bayerische-Ersatz-Division]
*"Histories of Two Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which Participated in the War (1914-1918), compiled from records of Intelligence section of the General Staff, American Expeditionary Forces, at General Headquarters, Chaumont, France 1919" (1920)
*Hermann Cron et al., "Ruhmeshalle unserer alten Armee" (Berlin, 1935)
*Hermann Cron, "Geschichte des deutschen Heeres im Weltkriege 1914-1918" (Berlin, 1937)

Notes


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