XVIII. Reserve Corps (German Empire)

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The XVIII. Reserve Corps was a major unit of the army of the German Empire in the First World War .


The corps was formed at the beginning of the war from Prussian and Hessian contingents and was structured as follows:

21st Reserve Division

  • 41st Reserve Infantry Brigade
    • Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 80
    • Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 87
  • 42nd Reserve Infantry Brigade
    • Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 81
    • Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 88
    • Reserve Dragoon Regiment No. 7
    • Reserve Field Artillery Regiment No. 21
    • 4th Company / Kurhessisches Pioneer Battalion No. 11

25th Reserve Division

Corps troops

  • Reserve Telephone Department No. 18 (XVIII.RK)
  • 2 reserve ammunition columns
  • 2 reserve train departments
  • 4 reserve field hospitals
  • 7 reserve fleet columns
  • 2 reserve baker columns


Kuno von Steuben

On August 2, 1914, General of the Infantry Kuno Arndt von Steuben became the first commander of the reserve corps set up with the mobilization . With his corps he was deployed on the Western Front in conjunction with the 4th Army . Together with his chief of staff, Colonel Friedrich von Studnitz, General Steuben led the corps as it marched through Luxembourg. The XVIII. Reserve Corps and the VIII. Reserve Corps were in the second meeting of the 4th Army invading the Ardennes . During the Battle of Neufchateau , the XVIII. Reserve Corps on Libramont and the VIII. Reserve Corps on Neufchâteau . On August 21, the corps advanced to Ebly without any enemy contact with the 21st Reserve Division under Lieutenant General von Rampacher , followed by the 25th Reserve Division to Anlier.

On August 22nd, advanced to the center of the 4th Army, the 21st Reserve Division reached the heights west and south of Neufchâteau, on the left the 25th Reserve Division under Lieutenant General Torgany had to advance to Straimont. Towards noon the right flank of the 21st Division under Major General von Oven at Petitvoir came under pressure from French counter-attacks. The intervention of the right wing of the 25th Reserve Division, advancing backwards over Hampire, stabilized this section. South of Neufchâteau, the XVIII. Reserve Corps itself in distress, with the 21st Reserve Division the 41st Reserve Brigade (Lieutenant General von Mey) had to deploy its last reserve to intercept the French attacks on the heights southwest of Neufchâteau. Only around 1 p.m. did the exhausted XVIII. Reserve Corps picked up the chase again, the 21st Reserve Division advanced on Martilly, the 25th Reserve Division deployed three columns on Suxy. The French 17th Corps under General Poline went before the pressure of the German XVIII. Army Corps and XVIII. Reserve Corps via Messincourt to Sedan, the French 12th Corps under General Roques returned from Florenville to Carignan via the Meuse. The 21st Reserve Division took Straimont by evening, the 25th Reserve Division reached Jamoigne. The corps was later involved in heavy fighting at Temblois and Charignon. At the beginning of September the corps went together with the VI. Army Corps advance south via Grandpré . On September 4th, the corps deployed on the left wing of the 4th Army was assigned to Valmy via Ville sur Tourbe while the VI. Corps (General von Pritzelwitz ) was advancing west of Varennes on Sainte-Menehould . During the Battle of the Marne , the corps wrestled at Pargny and carried out last advances at Revigny in the direction of Bar-le-Duc before the tactical retreat until September 11th .

After the transition to trench warfare Steubens Corps formed the right wing of the 5th Army . In September 1915, the 21st Reserve Division, as the right wing of the corps at Cernay-Servon, was engaged in major combat with the 3rd Army units during the autumn battle in Champagne .

As part of the 5th Army, the corps was also involved in the Battle of Verdun from autumn 1916 . On September 3, 1916 troops of the XVIII. Reserve Corps under Steuben's command took over the French positions on both sides of the Souville Gorge. In November 1916, the 50th Division under the corps lost Fort Vaux and Damloup.

Ludwig winner

On June 5, 1917, the Bavarian Lieutenant General Karl von Wenninger became the new commanding general of the corps. The corps came to Romania in July and took part in the breakthrough battle of Putna and Susita. The superior German 9th Army tried in vain to break through the opposing front in the Battle of Mărăşeşti (August 6 to September 3, 1917). The XVIII. Reserve corps with the 217th division , in the middle the 89th and 76th reserve divisions , on the right wing the 216th division , behind it the 212th division was available as intervention reserve. During the battle Muncelul was captured, then strong Romanian counter-attacks led to the attack being stopped. After the offensive was stopped, Wenninger fell in the course of further fighting on September 8, 1917 on the Seuclui-Höhe.

Lieutenant General Ludwig Sieger was appointed Commanding General on September 11, 1917. In December 1917 the corps was transferred to the 4th Army in Flanders . Here it fought in April 1918 in the Fourth Battle of Flanders , subordinated to the 7th Division , as well as the 17th and 49th Reserve Divisions . For taking the Kemmel , the emperor awarded winners with the order Pour le Mérite . At the beginning of July the corps of the 18th Army was placed under the command of the Matz section between Marest-Chevincourt-Cambronne. Because of French attacks in the direction of Assainvillers and Orvillers (August 10), the Sieger corps was pushed back to the Siegfried position via Noyon in early September . After November 1918 the corps was demobilized.

Commanding general

Rank Surname date
General of the Infantry Kuno Arndt von Steuben August 2, 1914 to June 5, 1917
Lieutenant General Karl von Wenninger June 5, 1917 to September 8, 1917 †
Lieutenant General Ludwig winner September 11, 1917 until the end of the war


  • Reichsarchiv (Ed.): The World War 1914–1918, Volume 1: The border battles in the west , ES Mittler & Sohn , Berlin 1925, p. 675
  • Hanns Möller: History of the Knights of the Order pour le mérite in World War I , Volume 2 MZ, Verlag Bernard & Graefe, Berlin 1935, pp. 312–314 and 375–376
  • Rudolf Kramer, Otto Freiherr von Waldenfels: VIRTUTI PRO PATRIA. The Royal Bavarian Military Max Joseph Order. Self-published by the Bavarian Military Max Joseph Order. Munich 1966. p. 428.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Reichsarchiv: Volume I. The border battles in the west 1914, ES Mittler Verlag, Berlin 1925, pp. 303-344
  2. ^ Crown Prince Wilhelm: My memories, ES Mittler, Berlin 1923, pp. 65 and 84
  3. a b c Dermot Bradley (ed.), Günter Wegner: Occupation of the German Army 1815-1939 Volume 1: The higher command posts 1815-1939 , Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück 1990, ISBN 3-7648-1780-1