33rd Reserve Division (German Empire)
The 33rd Reserve Division (33. 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 August 1918. The division began the war as part of the central reserve of Fortress Metz (Hauptreserve/Festung Metz).

Although designated a reserve division, it was initially composed of one active and one reserve infantry brigade. The active brigade was the 8th Bavarian Infantry Brigade, detached from the 4th Bavarian Infantry Division. The rest of the division's troops came primarily from the Prussian Rhine Province
Rhine Province
The Rhine Province , also known as Rhenish Prussia or synonymous to the Rhineland , was the westernmost province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia, within the German Reich, from 1822-1946. It was created from the provinces of the Lower Rhine and Jülich-Cleves-Berg...

 and Province of Westphalia
Province of Westphalia
The Province of Westphalia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1815 to 1946.-History:Napoleon Bonaparte founded the Kingdom of Westphalia, which was a client state of the First French Empire from 1807 to 1813...


Combat chronicle

The 33rd Reserve Division began the war 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...

. 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...

 and advanced to the Verdun region. From September 1914 to August 1916, it occupied the line in the region between the Meuse and Moselle Rivers. In late 1916, it suffered heavy losses in the later phases of the 1916 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...

. After a few months in the trenches in Lorraine, it went to the Chemin des Dames region and fought in the Second Battle of the Aisne
Second Battle of the Aisne
The Second Battle of the Aisne , was the massive main assault of the French military's Nivelle Offensive or Chemin des Dames Offensive in 1917 during World War I....

, also known as the Third Battle of Champagne (and to the Germans as the Double Battle on the Aisne and in the Champagne), and again suffered heavy losses. In September 1917, the division was transferred to the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War I)
The Eastern Front was a theatre of war during World War I in Central and, primarily, Eastern Europe. The term is in contrast to the Western Front. Despite the geographical separation, the events in the two theatres strongly influenced each other...

, arriving shortly before the December armistice on that front. It returned to the Western Front in January 1918. It fought in several engagements, including the Aisne and the Champagne-Marne offensives against French and American forces, after which it was disbanded and its troops distributed to other divisions. Allied intelligence rated the division as a good division in 1917, but by 1918, before its dissolution, it was rated as fourth class.

Order of battle on mobilization

The order of battle of the 33rd Reserve Division on mobilization was as follows:
  • 8.Kgl. Bayerische Infanterie-Brigade
    • Kgl. Bayerisches 4. Infanterie-Regiment König Wilhelm von Württemberg
    • Kgl. Bayerisches 8. Infanterie-Regiment Großherzog Friedrich II. von Baden
  • 66.Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 67
    • Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 130
  • Reserve-Husaren-Regiment Nr. 2
  • Ersatz-Abteilung/1. Lothringisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 33
  • Ersatz-Abteilung/2. Lothringisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 34
  • Ersatz-Abteilung/3. Lothringisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 69
  • Ersatz-Abteilung/4. Lothringisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 70

I.Bataillon/Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Fußartillerie-Regiment Nr. 2 (attached in early August 1914)
II.Bataillon/Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Fußartillerie-Regiment Nr. 2 (attached in early August 1914)
4.Kompanie/Kgl. Sächsisches 2. Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 22 (attached in early August 1914)

Order of battle on October 10, 1917

The 33rd 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 August 1916, when the 8th Bavarian Infantry Brigade was sent to the 14th Bavarian Infantry Division. This also made the division entirely Prussian in composition. 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 October 10, 1917 was as follows:
  • 66.Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 67
    • Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 130
    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 364
  • 6.Eskadron/Ulanen-Regiment Hennigs von Treffenfeld (Altmärkisches) Nr. 16
  • Artillerie-Kommandeur 125
    • Reserve-Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 33
  • Stab Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 333
    • 1.Ersatz-Kompanie/2. Lothringisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 20
    • 1.Landwehr-Pionier-Kompanie/IV. Armeekorps
    • Minenwerfer-Kompanie Nr. 233
  • Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 433
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