12th Reserve Division (German Empire)
12th Reserve Division was a unit of the Imperial German
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

German Army (German Empire)
The German Army was the name given the combined land forces of the German Empire, also known as the National Army , Imperial Army or Imperial German Army. The term "Deutsches Heer" is also used for the modern German Army, the land component of the German Bundeswehr...

 in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The division was formed on mobilization of the German Army in August 1914. The division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I. The division was recruited in the Province of Silesia
Province of Silesia
The Province of Silesia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1919.-Geography:The territory comprised the bulk of the former Bohemian crown land of Silesia and the County of Kladsko, which King Frederick the Great had conquered from the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy in the 18th...

, mainly Upper Silesia.

Combat chronicle

The 12th Reserve Division fought on the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

, participating in the opening German offensive which led to the Allied Great Retreat
Great Retreat
The Great Retreat, also known as the Retreat from Mons, is the name given to the long, fighting retreat by Allied forces to the River Marne, on the Western Front early in World War I, after their holding action against the Imperial German Armies at the Battle of Mons on 23 August 1914...

. Thereafter, the division remained in the line in the Verdun region until February 1916, when it entered the Battle of Verdun
Battle of Verdun
The Battle of Verdun was one of the major battles during the First World War on the Western Front. It was fought between the German and French armies, from 21 February – 18 December 1916, on hilly terrain north of the city of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France...

. The division later fought in the Battle of the Somme. It remained in the Flanders-Artois region for the rest of the war, and fought in the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917. Allied intelligence rated the division as second class.

Order of battle on mobilization

The order of battle of the 12th Reserve Division on mobilization was as follows:
  • 22. Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment von Winterfeldt (2. Oberschlesisches) Nr.23
    • Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 38
    • Reserve-Jäger-Bataillon Nr. 6
  • 23. Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 22
    • Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 51
  • Reserve-Ulanen-Regiment Nr. 4
  • Reserve-Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 12
  • 1.Reserve-Kompanie/Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 6
  • 2.Reserve-Kompanie/Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 6

Order of battle on February 20, 1918

The 12th Reserve Division was triangularized
Triangular division
A triangular division is a designation given to the way divisions are organized. In a triangular organization, the division's main body is composed of three regimental maneuver elements. These regiments may be controlled by a brigade headquarters or directly subordinated to the division commander...

in April 1915. Over the course of the war, other changes took place, including the formation of artillery and signals commands and a pioneer battalion. The order of battle on February 20, 1918 was as follows:
  • 22. Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 23
    • Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 38
    • Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 51
  • 2.Eskadron/Reserve-Husaren-Regiment Nr. 4
  • Artillerie-Kommandeur 99
    • Reserve-Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 12
  • Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 312
  • Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 412
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