19th Ersatz Division (German Empire)
The 19th Ersatz Division (19. Ersatz-Division) was a unit of the 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.

Formation and recruitment

The 19th Ersatz Division was formed on mobilization around 11 brigade replacement battalions (Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillone). Each brigade replacement battalion was numbered after its parent infantry brigade, and was formed with two companies each taken from the replacement battalions of the brigade's two infantry regiments. One brigade replacement battalion was formed by three regiments. Thus, collectively, the 11 brigade replacement battalions represented troop contributions from 23 different infantry regiments. The units of the 21st Mixed Ersatz Brigade were raised from the VI Army Corps area, which covered most of the Prussian 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...

. These units were disbanded after the opening fighting in Lorraine, with their troops sent to other units in mid-September 1914. The other two brigades of the division were from the Kingdom of Saxony
Kingdom of Saxony
The Kingdom of Saxony , lasting between 1806 and 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in Napoleonic through post-Napoleonic Germany. From 1871 it was part of the German Empire. It became a Free state in the era of Weimar Republic in 1918 after the end of World War...

. The units of the 45th Mixed Ersatz Brigade were raised from the XII (1st Royal Saxon) Corps
XII (1st Royal Saxon) Corps
The XII Army Corps was a Saxon corps of the Imperial German Army. It was formed on April 1, 1867 and was headquartered in Dresden, Saxony....

 area, which covered eastern Saxony. The units of the 45th Mixed Ersatz Brigade were raised from the XIX (2nd Royal Saxon) Corps
XIX (2nd Royal Saxon) Corps
The XIX Army Corps was a Saxon corps of the Imperial German Army. It was formed on April 1, 1899 and was headquartered in Leipzig, Saxony...

 area, which covered western and southern Saxony. Thus after the dissolution of the 21st Mixed Ersatz Brigade, the division became a fully Saxon unit.

Combat chronicle

The 19th Ersatz 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...

 in World War I. It fought in the Battle of the Frontiers
Battle of the Frontiers
The Battle of the Frontiers was a series of battles fought along the eastern frontier of France and in southern Belgium shortly after the outbreak of World War I. The battles represented a collision between the military strategies of the French Plan XVII and the German Schlieffen Plan...

, seeing action in Lorraine. With occasional rests, it remained in the trenchlines in Lorraine until October 1916. It was then in the line near Verdun until July 1918. That month, it went into the line near Reims
Reims , a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, lies east-northeast of Paris. Founded by the Gauls, it became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire....

. It was there when it met the Allied Aisne-Marne Offensive, part of the Second Battle of the Marne
Second Battle of the Marne
The Second Battle of the Marne , or Battle of Reims was the last major German Spring Offensive on the Western Front during the First World War. The German attack failed when an Allied counterattack led by France overwhelmed the Germans, inflicting severe casualties...

. After the severe fighting there, the division left the line for rest and reconstruction. In late August, it fought against the Allied Oise-Aisne Offensive. It was then returned to a quiet sector in Lorraine, where it remained until the end of the war. Allied intelligence rated the division as third class.

Order of battle on mobilization

The order of battle of the 19th Ersatz Division on mobilization in August 1914 was as follows:
  • 21. gemischte Ersatz-Brigade
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 21
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 24
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 78
    • Kavallerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Breslau/VI. Armeekorps
    • Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Nr. 6 (Ersatz-Abteilung/Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 6)
    • Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Nr. 57 (Ersatz-Abteilung/Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 57)
  • Kgl. Sächsische 45. gemischte Ersatz-Brigade
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 45
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 46
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 63
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 64
    • Kgl. Sächsische Kavallerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Dresden/XII. Armeekorps
    • Kgl. Sächsische Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Nr. 28 (Ersatz-Abteilung/Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 28)
    • Kgl. Sächsische Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Nr. 48 (Ersatz-Abteilung/Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 48)
    • 1.Ersatz-Kompanie/Kgl. Sächsisches 1. Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 12
  • Kgl. Sächsische 47. gemischte Ersatz-Brigade
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 47
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 48
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 88
    • Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon Nr. 89
    • Kgl. Sächsische Kavallerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Leipzig/XIX. Armeekorps
    • Kgl. Sächsische Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Nr. 32 (Ersatz-Abteilung/Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 32)
    • Kgl. Sächsische Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Nr. 77 (Ersatz-Abteilung/Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 77)
    • 1.Ersatz-Kompanie/Kgl. Sächsisches 2. Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 22

Order of battle on July 12, 1918

The division underwent several structural changes as the war progressed. As noted above, the Silesian brigade was dissolved early in the war. The other Saxon mixed Ersatz brigades were converted to Ersatz infantry brigades as cavalry, artillery, and pioneer Ersatz units were grouped and reorganized. The brigade replacement battalions were grouped into Ersatz infantry regiments. The 19th Ersatz 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 October 1916. Cavalry was reduced, pioneers were increased to a full battalion, and an artillery command and a divisional signals command were created. The division's order of battle on July 12, 1918 was as follows:
  • 45. Ersatz-Brigade
    • Kgl. Sächsisches Ersatz-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 23
    • Kgl. Sächsisches Ersatz-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 24
    • Kgl. Sächsisches Ersatz-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 32
  • 5.Eskadron/Kgl. Sächsisches 2. Husaren-Regiment Nr. 19
  • Kgl. Sächsischer Artillerie-Kommandeur 137
    • Kgl. Sächsisches Ersatz-Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 47
  • Kgl. Sächsisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 519
    • 1.Ersatz-Kompanie/Kgl. Sächsisches 1. Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 12
    • 1.Ersatz-Kompanie/Kgl. Sächsisches 2. Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 22
    • Kgl. Sächsische Minenwerfer-Kompanie Nr. 164
  • Kgl. Sächsischer Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 569
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