XI Corps (German Empire)

The XI Army Corps / XI AK (German: XI. Armee-Korps) was a corps level command of the Prussian and German Armies before and during World War I.

XI Army Corps
XI. Armee-Korps
Stab eines Generalkommandos.svg
Flag of the Staff of a Generalkommando (1871–1918)
Active30 October 1866 (1866-10-30)–1919 (1919)
Country Prussia /  German Empire
SizeApproximately 44,000 (on mobilisation in 1914)
EngagementsFranco-Prussian War
Battle of Wissembourg
Battle of Wörth
Battle of Sedan

World War I

Battle of the Frontiers
First Battle of the Masurian Lakes
Battle of the Vistula River
Battle of Amiens
AbbreviationXI AK

XI Corps was one of three formed in the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War (the others being IX Corps and X Corps). The Corps was formed in October 1866 with headquarters in Kassel. The catchment area included the newly annexed Province of Hesse-Nassau and the Thuringian principalities (Saxe-Weimar, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Waldeck).[1]

During the Franco-Prussian War it was assigned to the 3rd Army.

The Corps was assigned to the VI Army Inspectorate but joined the predominantly Saxon 3rd Army at the start of the First World War.[2] It was still in existence at the end of the war[3] in the 6th Army, Heeresgruppe Kronprinz Rupprecht on the Western Front.[4] The Corps was disbanded with the demobilisation of the German Army after World War I.

Franco-Prussian WarEdit

During the Franco-Prussian War, the corps formed part of the 3rd Army. It participated in the battles of Wissembourg, Wörth and Sedan.

Between the warsEdit

Initially, the Corps commanded the 21st Division in Frankfurt and the 22nd Division in Kassel. In 1871 they were joined by the Grand Ducal Hessian 25th Division in Darmstadt. As the German Army expanded in the latter part of the 19th Century, a new XVIII Corps was formed on 1 April 1899 and took command of the 21st and 25th Divisions. The 38th Division was formed at Erfurt on the same date and joined the Corps.

The Corps was assigned to the VI Army Inspectorate but joined the predominantly Saxon 3rd Army at the start of the First World War.[5]

Peacetime organisationEdit

The 25 peacetime Corps of the German Army (Guards, I - XXI, I - III Bavarian) had a reasonably standardised organisation. Each consisted of two divisions with usually two infantry brigades, one field artillery brigade and a cavalry brigade each.[6] Each brigade normally consisted of two regiments of the appropriate type, so each Corps normally commanded 8 infantry, 4 field artillery and 4 cavalry regiments. There were exceptions to this rule:

V, VI, VII, IX and XIV Corps each had a 5th infantry brigade (so 10 infantry regiments)
II, XIII, XVIII and XXI Corps had a 9th infantry regiment
I, VI and XVI Corps had a 3rd cavalry brigade (so 6 cavalry regiments)
the Guards Corps had 11 infantry regiments (in 5 brigades) and 8 cavalry regiments (in 4 brigades).[7]

Each Corps also directly controlled a number of other units. This could include one or more

Foot Artillery Regiment
Jäger Battalion
Pioneer Battalion
Train Battalion

World War IEdit

Organisation on mobilisationEdit

On mobilization on 2 August 1914 the Corps was restructured. 38th Cavalry Brigade was withdrawn to form part of the 8th Cavalry Division[10] and the 22nd Cavalry Brigade was withdrawn to form part of the 3rd Cavalry Division.[11] The 6th Cuirassiers, formerly of the III Corps, was raised to a strength of 6 squadrons before being split into two half-regiments of 3 squadrons each. The half-regiments were assigned as divisional cavalry to 22nd and 38th Divisions. Divisions received engineer companies and other support units from the Corps headquarters. In summary, XI Corps mobilised with 25 infantry battalions, 9 machine gun companies (54 machine guns), 6 cavalry squadrons, 24 field artillery batteries (144 guns), 4 heavy artillery batteries (16 guns), 3 pioneer companies and an aviation detachment.

Combat chronicleEdit

The Corps was assigned to the VI Army Inspectorate in peacetime but joined the predominantly Saxon 3rd Army at the start of the First World War[15] forming part of the right wing of the forces for the Schlieffen Plan offensive in August 1914 on the Western Front. It participated in the capture of Namur and was immediately transferred to the Eastern Front to join the 8th Army in time to participate in the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes. It was then transferred to the 9th Army and took part in the Battle of the Vistula River.

It returned to the Western Front at the end of 1915.

It was still in existence at the end of the war[16] in the 6th Army, Heeresgruppe Kronprinz Rupprecht on the Western Front.[17]


The XI Corps had the following commanders during its existence:[18][19][20]

From Rank Name
30 October 1866 General der Infanterie Heinrich Ludwig von Plonski
18 July 1870 General der Infanterie Julius von Bose
6 April 1880 General der Kavallerie Ludwig Karl von Schlotheim
22 March 1889 General der Infanterie Wilhelm Hermann von Grolman
11 August 1892 General der Infanterie Adolf von Wittich
24 April 1904 General der Infanterie Wilhelm von Linde-Suden
24 September 1905 General der Kavallerie Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg
25 February 1908 General der Infanterie Reinhard von Scheffer-Boyadel
1 January 1914 General der Infanterie Otto von Plüskow
12 March 1917 Generalleutnant Viktor Kühne
27 August 1917 General der Infanterie Franz Freiherr von Soden[21]
21 November 1917 Generalleutnant Viktor Kühne[22]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ German Administrative History Accessed: 22 May 2012
  2. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 309
  3. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  4. ^ Ellis & Cox 1993, pp. 186–187
  5. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 309
  6. ^ Haythornthwaite 1996, pp. 193–194
  7. ^ They formed the Guards Cavalry Division, the only peacetime cavalry division in the German Army.
  8. ^ War Office 1918, p. 250
  9. ^ Had a third (Horse Artillery) Abteilung of three batteries of 4 guns.
  10. ^ Cron 2002, p. 300
  11. ^ Cron 2002, p. 301
  12. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 309
  13. ^ With a machine gun company.
  14. ^ 4 heavy artillery batteries (16 heavy field howitzers)
  15. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 309
  16. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  17. ^ Ellis & Cox 1993, pp. 186–187
  18. ^ German Administrative History Accessed: 19 May 2012
  19. ^ German War History Accessed: 19 May 2012
  20. ^ The Prussian Machine Accessed: 19 May 2012
  21. ^ Replaced Kühne as commander of V Reserve Corps. "Franz Freiherr von Soden". The Prussian Machine. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  22. ^ Replaced by Soden as commander of V Reserve Corps. "Viktor Kühne". The Prussian Machine. Retrieved 22 December 2012.


  • Cron, Hermann (2002). Imperial German Army 1914-18: Organisation, Structure, Orders-of-Battle [first published: 1937]. Helion & Co. ISBN 1-874622-70-1.
  • Ellis, John; Cox, Michael (1993). The World War I Databook. Aurum Press Ltd. ISBN 1-85410-766-6.
  • Haythornthwaite, Philip J. (1996). The World War One Source Book. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-351-7.
  • 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. The London Stamp Exchange Ltd (1989). 1920. ISBN 0-948130-87-3.
  • The German Forces in the Field; 7th Revision, 11th November 1918; Compiled by the General Staff, War Office. Imperial War Museum, London and The Battery Press, Inc (1995). 1918. ISBN 1-870423-95-X.