7th Division (German Empire)
The 7th Division was a unit of the Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

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...

. It was formed in Magdeburg
Magdeburg , is the largest city and the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe....

 in November 1816 as a brigade and became a division on September 5, 1818. The division was subordinated in peacetime to the IV Army Corps
IV Corps (German Empire)
The IV Army Corps was a formation of the Imperial German Army. It was established on October 3, 1815 as the General Command in the Duchy of Saxony and became the IV Army Corps on August 30, 1818...

 (IV. Armeekorps). The division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I. The division was recruited primarily in the Province of Saxony
Province of Saxony
The Province of Saxony was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and later the Free State of Prussia from 1816 until 1945. Its capital was Magdeburg.-History:The province was created in 1816 out of the following territories:...

, also known as Prussian Saxony.

Combat chronicle

The division fought in the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

 in 1866, including the Battle of Königgrätz
Battle of Königgrätz
The Battle of Königgrätz , also known as the Battle of Sadowa, Sadová, or Hradec Králové, was the decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War, in which the Kingdom of Prussia defeated the Austrian Empire...

. In the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 of 1870-71, the division saw action in the battles of Beaumont
Battle of Beaumont
The Battle of Beaumont on August 30, 1870 was won by Prussia during the Franco-Prussian War.It was fought between Fifth French Corps d'Armee under General Pierre Louis Charles de Failly, and the IV and XII Army Corps under Prince George of Saxony The Battle of Beaumont on August 30, 1870 was won...

 and Sedan
Battle of Sedan
The Battle of Sedan was fought during the Franco-Prussian War on 1 September 1870. It resulted in the capture of Emperor Napoleon III and large numbers of his troops and for all intents and purposes decided the war in favour of Prussia and its allies, though fighting continued under a new French...

, and in the Siege of Paris
Siege of Paris
The Siege of Paris, lasting from September 19, 1870 – January 28, 1871, and the consequent capture of the city by Prussian forces led to French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the establishment of the German Empire as well as the Paris Commune....


The division was mobilized as the 7th Infantry Division in August 1914 and sent to the west
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...

 for the opening campaigns of the war. It fought in the siege of the Belgian fortifications at Liège
Battle of Liège
The Battle of Liège was the opening engagement of the German invasion of Belgium, and the first battle of World War I. The attack on the city began on 5 August 1914 and lasted until the 16th when the last Belgian fort finally surrendered...

, and then participated in the subsequent march into France and 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...

. The division then spent time in the trenches, and fought in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. During 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...

 of 1918, the division fought in the Battle of the Lys. It then fought in the defensive battles against the Allied offensives, including the Hundred Days Offensive
Hundred Days Offensive
The Hundred Days Offensive was the final period of the First World War, during which the Allies launched a series of offensives against the Central Powers on the Western Front from 8 August to 11 November 1918, beginning with the Battle of Amiens. The offensive forced the German armies to retreat...

 and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive
Meuse-Argonne Offensive
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, or Maas-Argonne Offensive, also called the Battle of the Argonne Forest, was a part of the final Allied offensive of World War I that stretched along the entire western front.-Overview:...

. The division was rated a first-class division by Allied intelligence.

Order of battle in the Franco-Prussian War

During wartime, the 7th Division, like other regular German divisions, was redesignated an infantry division. The organization of the 7th Infantry Division in 1870 at the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War was as follows:
  • 13. Infanterie Brigade
    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 26
    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 66
  • 14. Infanterie Brigade
    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 27
    • Anhaltisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 93
  • Jäger-Bataillon Nr. 4
  • Dragoner-Regiment Nr. 7

Pre-World War I organization

German divisions underwent various organizational changes after the Franco-Prussian War. The 7th Division exchanged its regiment from the Duchy of Anhalt for the Hanoverian 165th Infantry Regiment, broadening its recruiting area The organization of the division in 1914, shortly before the outbreak of World War I, was as follows:
  • 13. Infanterie Brigade
    • Infanterie-Regiment Fürst Leopold von Anhalt-Dessau (1. Magdeburgisches) Nr. 26
    • 3. Magdeburgisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 66
  • 14. Infanterie Brigade
    • Infanterie-Regiment Prinz Louis Ferdinand von Preußen (2. Magdeburgisches) Nr. 27
    • 5. Hannoversches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 165
  • 7. Kavallerie-Brigade
    • Magdeburgisches Husaren-Regiment Nr. 10
    • Ulanen-Regiment Hennigs von Treffenfeld (Altmärkisches) Nr. 16
  • 7. Feldartillerie-Brigade
    • Feldartillerie-Regiment Prinz-Regent Luitpold von Bayern (Magdeburgisches) Nr. 4
    • Altmärkisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 40

Order of battle on mobilization

On mobilization in August 1914 at the beginning of 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...

, most divisional cavalry, including brigade headquarters, was withdrawn to form cavalry divisions or split up among divisions as reconnaissance units. Divisions received engineer companies and other support units from their higher headquarters. The 7th Division was again renamed the 7th Infantry Division. Its initial wartime organization was as follows:
  • 13.Infanterie-Brigade:
    • Infanterie-Regiment Fürst Leopold von Anhalt-Dessau (1. Magdeburgisches) Nr. 26
    • 3. Magdeburgisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 66
  • 14.Infanterie-Brigade:
    • Infanterie-Regiment Prinz Louis Ferdinand von Preußen (2. Magdeburgisches) Nr. 27
    • 5. Hannoversches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 165
  • "1/2" Magdeburgisches Husaren-Regiment Nr. 10
  • 7. Feldartillerie-Brigade:
    • Feldartillerie-Regiment Prinz-Regent Luitpold von Bayern (Magdeburgisches) Nr. 4
    • Altmärkisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 40
  • 1./Magdeburgisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 4

Late World War I organization

Divisions underwent many changes during the war, with regiments moving from division to division, and some being destroyed and rebuilt. During the war, most divisions became triangular
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...

 - one infantry brigade with three infantry regiments rather than two infantry brigades of two regiments (a "square division
Square division
A square division is a designation given to the way military divisions are organized. In a square organization, the division's main body is composed of four regimental elements. Since a regiment could be split into separate battalions for tactical purposes, the natural division within a division...

"). An artillery commander replaced the artillery brigade headquarters, the cavalry was further reduced, the engineer contingent was increased, and a divisional signals command was created. The 7th Infantry Division's order of battle on April 1, 1918 was as follows:
  • 14.Infanterie-Brigade:
    • Infanterie-Regiment Fürst Leopold von Anhalt-Dessau (1. Magdeburgisches) Nr. 26
    • 5. Hannoversches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 165
    • Thüringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 393
    • Musketier-Bataillon Nr. 1
  • 2.Eskadron/Magdeburgisches Husaren-Regiment Nr. 10
  • Artillerie-Kommandeur 7:
    • Altmärkisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 40
    • I.Bataillon/Reserve-Fußartillerie-Regiment Nr. 20
  • Stab Magdeburgisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 4:
    • 1./Magdeburgisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 4
    • 3./Magdeburgisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 4
    • Minenwerfer-Kompanie Nr. 7
  • Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 7
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