Battle of Königgrätz
The Battle of Königgrätz was the decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War in which the Kingdom of Prussia defeated the Austrian Empire. Taking place near Königgrätz and Sadowa in Bohemia on 3 July 1866, it was an example of battlefield concentration, a convergence of multiple units at the same location to trap and/or destroy an enemy force between them. At the outset of the war in June, the Prussian armies were gathered along the Prussian border: the Army of the Elbe under Karl Herwarth von Bittenfeld at Torgau, the First Army under Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia between Senftenberg and Görlitz, the Second Army under Crown Prince Frederick in Silesia west of Neiße; the Austrian army under Ludwig von Benedek was concentrated at Olmütz. The campaign began with Herwath von Bittenfeld's advance to Dresden in the Kingdom of Saxony, where he defeated the Saxon army of 23,000 and joined with the First Army; the reluctant Austrian commander Benedek had moved his troops out of their staging point at Olmütz only on 18 June, moving north in three parallel columns with the I Corps protecting the right flank.
The Austrians took up positions at the fortress Josefstadt and the mountain passes from Saxony and Silesia. On 22 June, Prussia's Chief of the General Staff, Helmuth von Moltke, ordered both armies under his command to Jitschin near the Austrian positions, a daring maneuver undertaken to limit the war's duration despite the risk of one army being overtaken en route. However, Benedek was indecisive and failed to use his superior numbers to eliminate the Prussian armies individually; the Austrians were pressed back everywhere except at Trautenau, where they bested the Prussians despite great losses to their own forces. By 29 June, Prince Frederick Charles had reached Jitschin and inflicted a severe defeat on the Austrian I Corps under General Clam-Gallas; the Crown Prince had reached Königinhof despite stiff resistance. On 30 June, Frederick Charles' First Army advanced to within one day's march of the Second Army. However, for the next two days the Prussian cavalry lost sight of the Austrians although Moltke's guess as to their actions—a retreat to the Elbe River—proved correct.
Dismayed by his losses, Benedek had ordered a withdrawal and urgently requested that Emperor Franz Josef make peace as the only way to save the army from a "catastrophe". When this was refused, an ambiguous last sentence of the imperial telegram was interpreted as ordering a final stand, Benedek drew his Austrians up against the Elbe between Sadowa and Königgrätz; the Prussians sighted the Austrians on the eve of 2 July near Sadowa, Frederick Karl planned to attack the next morning. Moltke ordered the Crown Prince Frederick to join forces with the other two armies at the point where the Austrians were assembled, but the telegraph lines to the Second Army's positions were out, necessitating the dispatch of two mounted officers at midnight to ride the twenty miles' distance in time, they arrived at 4 a.m. The Crown Prince's Chief of Staff, Leonhard von Blumenthal, an able logistician reorganised Second Army's route plan; the Austrian army of 215,000 faced the Prussian Army of the First Army on 3 July.
The Austrian infantry was fortified and supported by cavalry in the rear and artillery units with firing range across hilly, wooded terrain. The battle began at dawn in subsiding rain and mist as Prussia took its position west of the Bystřice River. Shortly before 8 a.m. the Austrian artillery opened fire, pinning down the Prussian right flank under Herwarth von Bittenfeld. The Saxons on the Austrian left fell back in good order, proceeded to rain down fire on the advancing Prussian right from higher ground. Herwarth von Bittenfeld hesitated to order a full attack, instead the advance guard of seven battalions, under Brig. General von Schöler took a defensive stance; the Prussian center, with the Prussian 7th Division under General Edward Frederick Charles von Fransecky, having secured the Prussian rear earlier, led the advance into Swiep Forest, where it was met by two Austrian corps. The 7th Division had to both clear out the forest, cover the Prussian left until the Second Army, under the crown prince, arrived.
The Prussians methodically cleared the villages of Austrian defenders. King Wilhelm I of Prussia ordered the First Army across the river to support Fransecky. Sadowa was captured; the Austrian artillery held off the Prussians by firing into the smoke of the Prussian advance. The Prussians were slowed, although the river was easy to wade, transporting artillery across it was difficult; the Prussian attack was halted as the advancing Prussian 8th and 4th Divisions were cut down by the Austrian artillery as soon as they emerged from the smoke. However, the Austrian leader, refused to call for a cavalry charge which commentators have argued might have won the battle. Reserve units were deployed at noon, but the outcome of the battle was still uncertain and Prussian commanders anxiously waited for the crown prince. To this point the Austrian superiority in numbers and position had held the day, their weapons had longer range, which meant that the outnumbered Prussians could neither advance against the artillery barrage, nor engage the Austrian infantry.
The Prussians had attempted to bring three armies together for the battle, but problems with sending orders by telegraph and moving men by railroad had meant that only two of the three armies had arrived in time. The Prussian center, in the cover of the forest, was able to hold its position, discourage a mounted charge by the Austrians, who were
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Third French Republic, the German states of the North German Confederation led by the Kingdom of Prussia. Lasting from 19 July 1870 to 28 January 1871, the conflict was caused by Prussian ambitions to extend German unification and French fears of the shift in the European balance of power that would result if the Prussians succeeded; some historians argue that the Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck deliberately provoked the French into declaring war on Prussia in order to draw the independent southern German states—Baden, Württemberg and Hesse-Darmstadt—into an alliance with the North German Confederation dominated by Prussia, while others contend that Bismarck did not plan anything and exploited the circumstances as they unfolded. None, dispute the fact that Bismarck must have recognized the potential for new German alliances, given the situation as a whole.
On 16 July 1870, the French parliament voted to declare war on Prussia and hostilities began three days when French forces invaded German territory. The German coalition mobilised its troops much more than the French and invaded northeastern France; the German forces were superior in numbers, had better training and leadership and made more effective use of modern technology railroads and artillery. A series of swift Prussian and German victories in eastern France, culminating in the Siege of Metz and the Battle of Sedan, saw French Emperor Napoleon III captured and the army of the Second Empire decisively defeated. A Government of National Defence declared the Third French Republic in Paris on 4 September and continued the war for another five months. Following the Siege of Paris, the capital fell on 28 January 1871, a revolutionary uprising called the Paris Commune seized power in the city and held it for two months, until it was bloodily suppressed by the regular French army at the end of May 1871.
The German states proclaimed their union as the German Empire under the Prussian king Wilhelm I uniting Germany as a nation-state. The Treaty of Frankfurt of 10 May 1871 gave Germany most of Alsace and some parts of Lorraine, which became the Imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine; the German conquest of France and the unification of Germany upset the European balance of power that had existed since the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Otto von Bismarck maintained great authority in international affairs for two decades. French determination to regain Alsace-Lorraine and fear of another Franco-German war, along with British apprehension about the balance of power, became factors in the causes of World War I; the causes of the Franco-Prussian War are rooted in the events surrounding the unification of Germany. In the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Prussia had annexed numerous territories and formed the North German Confederation; this new power destabilized the European balance of power established by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars.
Napoleon III the emperor of France, demanded compensations in Belgium and on the left bank of the Rhine to secure France's strategic position, which the Prussian chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, flatly refused. Prussia turned its attention towards the south of Germany, where it sought to incorporate the southern German kingdoms, Bavaria, Württemberg and Hesse-Darmstadt, into a unified Prussia-dominated Germany. France was opposed to any further alliance of German states, which would have strengthened the Prussian military. In Prussia, some officials considered a war against France both inevitable and necessary to arouse German nationalism in those states that would allow the unification of a great German empire; this aim was epitomized by Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck's statement: "I did not doubt that a Franco-German war must take place before the construction of a United Germany could be realised." Bismarck knew that France should be the aggressor in the conflict to bring the southern German states to side with Prussia, hence giving Germans numerical superiority.
He was convinced that France would not find any allies in her war against Germany for the simple reason that "France, the victor, would be a danger to everybody – Prussia to nobody," and he added, "That is our strong point." Many Germans viewed the French as the traditional destabilizer of Europe, sought to weaken France to prevent further breaches of the peace. The immediate cause of the war resided in the candidacy of Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, a Prussian prince, to the throne of Spain. France feared encirclement by an alliance between Spain; the Hohenzollern prince's candidacy was withdrawn under French diplomatic pressure, but Otto von Bismarck goaded the French into declaring war by releasing an altered summary of the Ems Dispatch, a telegram sent by William I rejecting French demands that Prussia never again support a Hohenzollern candidacy. Bismarck's summary, as mistranslated by the French press Havas, made it sound as if the king had treated the French envoy in a demeaning fashion, which inflamed public opinion in France.
French historians François Roth and Pierre Milza argue that Napoleon III was pressured by a bellicose press and public opinion and thus sought war in response to France's diplomatic failures to obtain any territorial gains following the Austro-Prussian War. Napoleon III believed. Many in his court, such as Empress Eugénie wanted a
Guards Cavalry Division (German Empire)
The Guards Cavalry Division was a unit of the German army, stationed in Berlin. The division was a part of the Guards Corps. Before the outbreak of war, the component units of the division were: 1st Guards Cavalry Brigade Gardes du Corps Guards Cuirassiers 2nd Guards Cavalry Brigade 1st Guards Uhlans 3rd Guards Uhlans 3rd Guards Cavalry Brigade 1st Guards Dragoons "Queen of Great Britain and Ireland" 2nd Guards Dragoons "Empress Alexandra of Russia" 4th Guards Cavalry Brigade Life Guards Hussars 2nd Guards Uhlans The division was assigned to I Cavalry Corps, which preceded the 3rd Army on the Western Front, it served on the Western Front until December 1914 undertook frontier guard duties against Holland until 30 June 1915, when it relocated to Russia. From 16 March 1918 to 9 April 1918, it was dismounted, re-formed and trained on the Zossen troop training ground. Thereafter, it served as the Guard Cavalry Schützen Division on the Western Front, it was in Artois until May 1918 Champagne / Aisne.
By the end of the war, it was serving under VI Reserve Corps, 1st Army, Heeresgruppe Deutscher Kronprinz on the Western Front. A more detailed combat chronicle can be found at the German-language version of this article. Upon the outbreak of war, the 4th Guards Cavalry Brigade was dissolved and its component regiments were assigned as divisional cavalry to the 1st Guards Infantry Division and 2nd Guards Infantry Division. With the addition of support units, the Division's structure was: 1st Guards Cavalry Brigade Gardes du Corps Guards Cuirassiers 2nd Guards Cavalry Brigade 1st Guards Uhlans 3rd Guards Uhlans 3rd Guards Cavalry Brigade 1st Guards Dragoons "Queen of Great Britain and Ireland" 2nd Guards Dragoons "Empress Alexandra of Russia" Horse Artillery Abteilung of the 1st Guards Field Artillery Regiment 1st Guard Machine Gun Detachment Pioneer Detachment Signals Detachment Heavy Wireless Station 2 Light Wireless Station 1 Light Wireless Station 2 Cavalry Motorised Vehicle Column 10See: Table of Organisation and Equipment The Guard Cavalry Division was extensively reorganised in the course of the war, culminating in the conversion to a Cavalry Schützen Division, to say, dismounted cavalry.
Here, the cavalry brigades were renamed Cavalry Schützen Commands and performed a similar role to that of an infantry regiment command. The cavalry regiments became Cavalry Schützen Regiments and allocated the role of an infantry battalion. However, these units were much weaker than normal infantry formations. 1st Guards Cavalry Brigade became independent on 9 April 1917 2nd Guards Cavalry Brigade became independent on 6 June 1916 3rd Guards Cavalry Brigade became independent on 18 October 1916 19th Cavalry Brigade joined from 9th Cavalry Division on 8 April 1917 and became independent on 12 February 1918 11th Cavalry Brigade joined from 5th Cavalry Division on 23 March 1918 and renamed 11th Cavalry Schützen Command on 8 May 1918 14th Cavalry Brigade joined from 9th Cavalry Division on 23 February 1918 and renamed 14th Cavalry Schützen Command on 8 May 1918 38th Cavalry Brigade joined from 8th Cavalry Division on 20 April 1918 and renamed 38th Cavalry Schützen Command on 8 May 1918 Allied Intelligence rated this division as 2nd Class.
Its late war organisation was: 5th Landwehr Brigade 11th Cavalry Schützen Command Guards Cuirassiers 1st Life Cuirassiers "Great Elector" 8th Dragoons "King Frederick III" 14th Cavalry Schützen Command 4th Hussars "von Schill" 11th Hussars 5th Uhlans 38th Cavalry Schützen Command 4th Cuirassiers "von Driesen" 2nd Jäger zu Pferde 6th Jäger zu Pferde 1st Guard MG Detachment 1st Squadron, 5th Jäger zu Pferde 132nd Artillery Command 3rd Guards Field Artillery 722nd Light Ammunition Column 852nd Light Ammunition Column 1135th Light Ammunition Column 412th Pioneer Battalion 2nd Ersatz Company, 18th Pioneer Battalion 307th Pioneer Company 226th Signal Command 226th Telephone Detachment 183rd Wireless Detachment Medical and Veterinary 257th Ambulance Company 642nd Ambulance Company 1st Field Hospital 302nd Field Hospital 262nd Vet. Hospital Train 636th Motor Transport Column German Army German cavalry in World War I German Army order of battle Histories of two hundred and fifty-one divisions of the German army which participated in the war p. 29-32.
Cron, Hermann. Imperial German Army 1914-18: Organisation, Orders-of-Battle. Helion & Co. ISBN 1-874622-70-1. Ellis, John; the World War I Databook. Aurum Press Ltd. ISBN 1-85410-766-6. Histories of Two Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which Participated in the War, compiled from records of Intelligence section of the General Staff, American Expeditionary Forces, at General Headquarters, France 1919; the London Stamp Exchange Ltd. 1920. ISBN 0-948130-87-3; the German Forces in the Field. Imperial War Museum and The Battery Press, Inc. 1918. ISBN 1-870423-95-X
4th Army (German Empire)
The 4th Army was an army level command of the German Army in World War I. It was formed on mobilization in August 1914 from the VI Army Inspection; the army was disbanded in 1919 during demobilization after the war. At the outset of war, the 4th Army, with the 5th Army, formed the center of the German armies on the Western Front, moving through Luxembourg and Belgium in support of the great wheel of the right wing, to pin down and defeat the French armies; the 4th Army defeated Belgian forces on the frontier, drove the French out of the Ardennes and encountered the British Expeditionary Force in the "Race to the Sea" at the First Battle of Ypres. The 4th Army faced the British in Flanders for the rest of the war, notably defending in the Battle of Passchendaele, attacking in the 1918 Spring Offensive and being pushed back in the Hundred Days Offensive from August 1918. At the end of the war it was serving as part of Heeresgruppe Kronprinz Rupprecht. By the end of the war, the 4th Army was organised as: The 4th Army had the following commanders during its existence.
Armee-Abteilung or Army Detachment in the sense of "something detached from an Army". It is not under the command of an Army so is in itself a small Army. Armee-Gruppe or Army Group in the sense of a group within an Army and under its command formed as a temporary measure for a specific task. Heeresgruppe or Army Group in the sense of a number of armies under a single commander. 4th Army for the equivalent formation in World War II German Army order of battle German Army order of battle, Western Front Schlieffen Plan
A division is a large military unit or formation consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. Infantry divisions during the World Wars ranged between 30,000 in nominal strength. In most armies, a division is composed of several brigades; the division has been the default combined arms unit capable of independent operations. Smaller combined arms units, such as the American regimental combat team during World War II, were used when conditions favored them. In recent times, modern Western militaries have begun adopting the smaller brigade combat team as the default combined arms unit, with the division they belong to being less important. While the focus of this article is on army divisions, in naval usage division has a different meaning, referring to either an administrative/functional sub-unit of a department aboard naval and coast guard ships, shore commands, in naval aviation units, to a sub-unit of several ships within a flotilla or squadron, or to two or three sections of aircraft operating under a designated division leader.
Some languages, like Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Polish, use a similar word divizion/dywizjon for a battalion-size artillery or cavalry unit. In administrative/functional sub-unit usage, unit size varies though divisions number far fewer than 100 people and are equivalent in function and organizational hierarchy/command relationship to a platoon or flight. In the West, the first general to think of organising an army into smaller combined-arms units was Maurice de Saxe, Marshal General of France, in his book Mes Rêveries, he died without having implemented his idea. Victor-François de Broglie put the ideas into practice, he conducted successful practical experiments of the divisional system in the Seven Years' War. The first war in which the divisional system was used systematically was the French Revolutionary War. Lazare Carnot of the Committee of Public Safety, in charge of military affairs, came to the same conclusion about it as the previous royal government, the army was organised into divisions.
It made the armies more flexible and easy to maneuver, it made the large army of the revolution manageable. Under Napoleon, the divisions were grouped together because of their increasing size. Napoleon's military success spread the corps system all over Europe; the divisional system reached its numerical height during the Second World War. The Soviet Union's Red Army consisted of more than a thousand divisional-size units at any one time, the total number of rifle divisions raised during the Great Patriotic War is estimated at 2,000. Nazi Germany had hundreds of numbered and/or named divisions, while the United States employed 91 divisions, two of which were disbanded during the war. A notable change to divisional structures during the war was completion of the shift from square divisions to triangular divisions that many European nations started using in World War I; this was done to pare down chain of command overhead. The triangular division allowed the tactic of "two forward, one back", where two of the division's regiments would be engaging the enemy with one regiment in reserve.
All divisions in World War II were expected to have their own artillery formations the size of a regiment depending upon the nation. Divisional artillery was seconded by corps level command to increase firepower in larger engagements. Regimental combat teams were used by the US during the war as well, whereby attached and/or organic divisional units were parceled out to infantry regiments, creating smaller combined-arms units with their own armor and artillery and support units; these combat teams would still be under divisional command but have some level of autonomy on the battlefield. Organic units within divisions were units which operated directly under Divisional command and were not controlled by the Regiments; these units were support units in nature, include signal companies, medical battalions, supply trains and administration. Attached units were smaller units that were placed under Divisional command temporarily for the purpose of completing a particular mission; these units were combat units such as tank battalions, tank destroyer battalions and cavalry reconnaissance squadrons.
In modern times, most military forces have standardized their divisional structures. This does not mean that divisions are equal in size or structure from country to country, but divisions have, in most cases, come to be units of 10,000 to 20,000 troops with enough organic support to be capable of independent operations; the direct organization of the division consists of one to four brigades or battle groups of its primary combat arm, along with a brigade or regiment of combat support and a number of direct-reporting battalions for necessary specialized support tasks, such as intelligence, logistics and combat engineers. Most militaries standardize ideal organization strength for each type of division, encapsulated in a Table of Organization and Equipment which specifies exact assignments of units and equipment for a division; the modern division became the primary identifiable combat unit in many militaries during the second half of the 20th century, supplanting the brigade.
Corps is a term used for several different kinds of organisation. Within military terminology a corps may be: an operational formation, sometimes known as a field corps, which consists of two or more divisions, such as the Corps d'armée known as I Corps of Napoleon's Grande Armée); these usages overlap. Corps may be a generic term for a non-military organization, such as the U. S. Peace Corps. In many armies, a corps is a battlefield formation composed of two or more divisions, commanded by a lieutenant general. During World War I and World War II, due to the large scale of combat, multiple corps were combined into armies which formed into army groups. In Western armies with numbered corps, the number is indicated in Roman numerals; the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps was raised in 1914, consisting of Australian and New Zealand troops, who went on to fight at Gallipoli in 1915. In early 1916, the original corps was reorganised and two corps were raised: I ANZAC Corps and II ANZAC Corps. In the stages of World War I, the five infantry divisions of the First Australian Imperial Force —consisting of personnel who had volunteered for service overseas—were united as the Australian Corps, on the Western Front, under Lieutenant General Sir John Monash.
During World War II, the Australian I Corps was formed to co-ordinate three Second Australian Imperial Force units: the 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions, as well as other Allied units on some occasions, in the North African campaign and Greek campaign. Following the commencement of the Pacific War, there was a phased withdrawal of I Corps to Australia, the transfer of its headquarters to the Brisbane area, to control Allied army units in Queensland and northern New South Wales. II Corps was formed, with Militia units, to defend south-eastern Australia, III Corps controlled land forces in Western Australia. Sub-corps formations controlled Allied land forces in the remainder of Australia. I Corps headquarters was assigned control of the New Guinea campaign. In early 1945, when I Corps was assigned the task of re-taking Borneo, II Corps took over in New Guinea. Canada first fielded a corps-sized formation in the First World War; the Canadian Corps consisted of four Canadian divisions. After the Armistice, the peacetime Canadian militia was nominally organized into corps and divisions but no full-time formations larger than a battalion were trained or exercised.
Early in the Second World War, Canada's contribution to the British-French forces fighting the Germans was limited to a single division. After the fall of France in June 1940, a second division moved to England, coming under command of a Canadian corps headquarters; this corps was renamed I Canadian Corps as a second corps headquarters was established in the UK, with the eventual formation of five Canadian divisions in England. I Canadian Corps fought in Italy, II Canadian Corps in NW Europe, the two were reunited in early 1945. After the formations were disbanded after VE Day, Canada has never subsequently organized a Corps headquarters. Royal Canadian Army Cadets: A Corps size in the RCAC is different everywhere, depending on the size, the Commanding Officer can be a Captain or Major; the National Revolutionary Army Corps was a type of military organization used by the Chinese Republic, exercised command over two to three NRA Divisions and a number of Independent Brigades or Regiments and supporting units.
The Chinese Republic had 133 Corps during the Second Sino-Japanese War. After losses in the early part of the war, under the 1938 reforms, the remaining scarce artillery and the other support formations were withdrawn from the Division and was held at Corps, or Army level or higher; the Corps became the basic tactical unit of the NRA having strength nearly equivalent to an allied Division. The French Army under Napoleon used corps-sized formations as the first formal combined-arms groupings of divisions with reasonably stable manning and equipment establishments. Napoleon first used the Corps d'armée in 1805; the use of the Corps d'armée was a military innovation that provided Napoleon with a significant battlefield advantage in the early phases of the Napoleonic Wars. The Corps was designed to be an independent military group containing cavalry and infantry, capable of defending against a numerically superior foe; this allowed Napoleon to mass the bulk of his forces to effect a penetration into a weak section of enemy lines without risking his own communications or flank.
This innovation stimulated other European powers to adopt similar military structures. The Corps has remained an echelon of French Army organization to the modern day; as fixed military formation in peace-time it was used in all European armies after Battle of Ulm in 1805. In Prussia it was introduced by Order of His Majesty from November 5, 1816, in order to strengthen the readiness to war; the paramilitary forces of Pakistan's two main western provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan are the Frontier Corps founded in 1907 during British Rule as at least three various organizations before being combined together. They are charged with guarding the country's wes
1st Guards Infantry Division (German Empire)
The 1st Guards Infantry Division was a unit of the Prussian Imperial German Army and was stationed in Berlin. The division was created on September 5, 1818. In the reorganization, the guards brigades, assigned to various corps and batteries of the Prussian Guards, were grouped into a single formation. By 1914 the division was subordinate to the Guards Corps of the Imperial German Army. At the outbreak of the First World War it was commanded by Gen-Lt. Oskar von Hutier. Order of Battle: 1914 1st Guards Infantry Brigade 1st Foot Guards 3rd Foot Guards 2nd Guards Infantry Brigade 2nd Foot Guards 4th Foot Guards 1st Guards Field Artillery Brigade 1st Guards Field Artillery 1st Guards Field Artillery Guards Hussar Regiment 1st Company, Guards Pioneer Battalion 1st and 3rd Section, Guards Field Ambulance Company 1st Guards Divisional Pontoon Train Prussian Army Units, by Michael Hughes