5th Reserve Division (German Empire)
The 5th Reserve Division (5. Reserve-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. The division was a reserve division of the III Reserve Corps and was raised in the Prussian Province of Brandenburg
Province of Brandenburg
The Province of Brandenburg was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1815 to 1946.-History:The first people who are known to have inhabited Brandenburg were the Suevi. They were succeeded by the Slavonians, whom Henry II conquered and converted to Christianity in...


Combat chronicle

The 5th 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 opening campaigns against the Belgian Army and the British Expeditionary Force, including the Battle of Mons
Battle of Mons
The Battle of Mons was the first major action of the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War. It was a subsidiary action of the Battle of the Frontiers, in which the Allies clashed with Germany on the French borders. At Mons, the British army attempted to hold the line of the...

, and participated in the Siege of Antwerp
Siege of Antwerp
The Siege of Antwerp was an engagement between the German and the Belgian armies during World War I. A small number of British and Austrian troops took part as well.-Strategic Context:...

. It was in the Yser region during the Race to the Sea
Race to the Sea
The Race to the Sea is a name given to the period early in the First World War when the two sides were still engaged in mobile warfare on the Western Front. With the German advance stalled at the First Battle of the Marne, the opponents continually attempted to outflank each other through...

. In December 1914, 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...

. In 1915, it fought in the Gorlice-Tarnów Offensive
Gorlice-Tarnów Offensive
The Gorlice–Tarnów Offensive during World War I started as a minor German offensive to relieve Russian pressure on the Austro-Hungarians to their south on the Eastern Front, but resulted in the total collapse of the Russian lines and their retreat far into Russia...

, including in the battle for Warsaw. It remained on the Eastern Front, mainly in positional warfare along the Shchara River, throughout the rest of 1915, in 1916, and into 1917. In April 1917, the division returned to the Western Front along the heights of the Meuse River. It 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). In 1918, it fought in the German Spring Offensive
Spring Offensive
The 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht , also known as the Ludendorff Offensive, was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during World War I, beginning on 21 March 1918, which marked the deepest advances by either side since 1914...

. In June, it fought the Americans in the Battle of Montdidier-Noyon and then again in August during the Somme Offensive. Allied intelligence rated it a second class division in 1918, noting that "in the earlier years it was a very good division, but through losses and lack of reinforcements during 1918 considerably reduced its value."

Order of battle on mobilization

The order of battle of the 5th Reserve Division on mobilization was as follows:
  • 9.Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Brandenburgisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 8
    • Brandenburgisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 48
  • 10.Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Brandenburgisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 12
    • Brandenburgisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 52
    • Reserve-Jäger-Bataillon Nr. 3
  • Reserve-Dragoner-Regiment Nr. 2
  • Reserve-Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 5
  • 4.Kompanie/Pionier-Bataillon von Rauch (1. Brandenburgisches) Nr. 3

Order of battle on April 9, 1918

The 5th 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 June 1915. Over the course of the war, other changes took place, including the formation of the artillery and signals commands. The order of battle on April 9, 1918 was as follows:
  • 9.Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Brandenburgisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 8
    • Brandenburgisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 12
    • Brandenburgisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 48
  • 5.Eskadron/Dragoner-Regiment von Bredow (1. Schlesisches) Nr. 4
  • Artillerie-Kommandeur 90
    • Reserve-Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 5
    • IV.Bataillon/Reserve-Fußartillerie-Regiment Nr. 17
  • Stab Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 305
    • 2.Reserve-Kompanie/Pionier-Bataillon von Rauch (1. Brandenburgisches) Nr. 3
    • Minenwerfer-Kompanie Nr. 205
  • Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 405
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