XV Corps (German Empire)

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

XV Army Corps
XV. Armee-Korps
Stab eines Generalkommandos.svg
Flag of the Staff of a Generalkommando (1871–1918)
ActiveMarch 1871 (1871-03)–1919 (1919)
Country German Empire
SizeApproximately 44,000 (on mobilisation in 1914)
EngagementsWorld War I
Battle of the Frontiers
Battle of Mulhouse
First Battle of Ypres
AbbreviationXV AK

XV Corps served on the Western Front from the start of the war with the 7th Army. It was still in existence at the end of the war[1] in the 19th Army, Heeresgruppe Herzog Albrecht von Württemberg on the Western Front.[2]


With the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian War and the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, the XV Corps was formed in March 1871 with responsibility for the new Imperial provinces. Headquarters was established in Strasbourg with the constituent units drawn from the armies of the various states of the German Empire. The Corps initially covered the entire district of Alsace-Lorraine, but from April 1890 a new XVI Corps was formed in Lorraine and the Corps was restricted to Alsace.

It was assigned to the V Army Inspectorate[3] which became the 7th Army at the start of the First World War.

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.[4] 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).[5]

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On mobilization on 2 August 1914 the Corps was restructured. 30th Cavalry Brigade was withdrawn to form part of the 7th Cavalry Division[7] and the 39th Cavalry Brigade was broken up and its regiments assigned to the divisions as reconnaissance units. Divisions received engineer companies and other support units from the Corps headquarters. In summary, XV Corps mobilised with 26 infantry battalions, 10 machine gun companies (60 machine guns), 8 cavalry squadrons, 24 field artillery batteries (144 guns), 4 heavy artillery batteries (16 guns), 3 pioneer companies and an aviation detachment.

Combat chronicleEdit

At the outbreak of World War I, the Corps was assigned to the 7th Army on the left of the forces that executed the Schlieffen Plan.[12] It fought on the Western Front in Lorraine. It was still in existence at the end of the war[13] in the 19th Army, Heeresgruppe Herzog Albrecht von Württemberg on the Western Front.[14]


The XV Corps had the following commanders during its existence:[15][16][17]

Dates Rank Name
20 March 1871 General der Infanterie Eduard von Fransecky
1 November 1879 Generalfeldmarschall Edwin Freiherr von Manteuffel
16 September 1885 General der Kavallerie Wilhelm von Heuduck
4 November 1890 General der Artillerie Alfred von Lewinski
1 April 1892 General der Infanterie Wilhelm Hermann von Blume
4 April 1896 General der Infanterie Kuno Freiherr von Falkenstein
22 May 1899 Generalleutnant Emil Freiherr von Meerscheidt-Hüllessem
6 June 1900 Generalleutnant Hans Anton Herwarth von Bittenfeld
1 April 1903 General der Infanterie Leopold Ritter Hentschel von Gilgenheimb
31 January 1910 General der Infanterie Max von Fabeck
1 March 1913 General der Infanterie Berthold von Deimling
25 May 1917 Generalleutnant Emil Ilse

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  2. ^ Ellis & Cox 1993, pp. 186–187
  3. ^ Cron 2002, p. 395
  4. ^ Haythornthwaite 1996, pp. 193–194
  5. ^ They formed the Guards Cavalry Division, the only peacetime cavalry division in the German Army.
  6. ^ War Office 1918, p. 254
  7. ^ Cron 2002, p. 300
  8. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 312–315
  9. ^ With a machine gun company
  10. ^ With a machine gun company
  11. ^ 4 heavy artillery batteries (16 heavy field howitzers)
  12. ^ Cron 2002, p. 321
  13. ^ Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  14. ^ Ellis & Cox 1993, pp. 186–187
  15. ^ German Administrative History Accessed: 12 May 2012
  16. ^ German War History Accessed: 12 May 2012
  17. ^ The Prussian Machine Archived 11 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Accessed: 12 May 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.