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VIII Army Corps
VIII. Armee-Korps
Stab eines Generalkommandos.svg
Flag of the Staff of a Generalkommando (1871–1918)
Active 21 June 1815 (1815-06-21)–1919 (1919)
Country  Prussia /  German Empire
Type Corps
Size Approximately 44,000 (on mobilisation in 1914)
Garrison/HQ Koblenz
Engagements

Austro-Prussian War

Battle of Königgrätz

Franco-Prussian War

Battle of Gravelotte
Siege of Metz (1870)
Battle of Hallue
Battle of Amiens (1870)
Battle of St. Quentin (1871)

World War I

Battle of the Frontiers

The VIII Army Corps / VIII AK (German language: VIII. Armee-Korps) was a corps level command of the Prussian and then the Imperial German Armies from the 19th Century to World War I.

Originating on 21 June 1815 as the General Command for the Grand Duchy of the Lower Rhine and established on 3 April 1820 as VIII Corps. The headquarters was in Koblenz and its catchment area was the Rhine Province and the Principality of Birkenfeld of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg.[1]

The Corps served in the Austro-Prussian War. During the Franco-Prussian War it was assigned to the 1st Army.

In peacetime the Corps was assigned to the V Army Inspectorate but joined the 4th Army at the start of the First World War.[2] It was still in existence at the end of the war.[3] The Corps was disbanded with the demobilisation of the German Army after World War I.

Austro-Prussian War[edit | edit source]

VIII Corps fought in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, seeing action in the Battle of Königgrätz.

Franco-Prussian War[edit | edit source]

During the Franco-Prussian War, the Corps formed part of the 1st Army. Initially involved in the battles around Metz (Battle of Gravelotte) and subsequent siege of the fortress. After the capitulation of Metz in October 1870 it took part in the fighting north of Paris in the Battle of Hallue and the siege of the fortress of Péronne. Subsequent battles followed at Amiens and finally at St. Quentin.

Peacetime organisation[edit | edit source]

The 25 peacetime Corps of the German Army (Guards, I - XXI, I - III Bavarian) had a reasonably standardised organisation. Each consisted of two divisions with usually two infantry brigades, one field artillery brigade and a cavalry brigade each.[4] Each brigade normally consisted of two regiments of the appropriate type, so each Corps normally commanded 8 infantry, 4 field artillery and 4 cavalry regiments. There were exceptions to this rule:

V, VI, VII, IX and XIV Corps each had a 5th infantry brigade (so 10 infantry regiments)
II, XIII, XVIII and XXI Corps had a 9th infantry regiment
I, VI and XVI Corps had a 3rd cavalry brigade (so 6 cavalry regiments)
the Guards Corps had 11 infantry regiments (in 5 brigades) and 8 cavalry regiments (in 4 brigades).[5]

Each Corps also directly controlled a number of other units. This could include one or more

Foot Artillery Regiment
Jäger Battalion
Pioneer Battalion
Train Battalion

World War I[edit | edit source]

Organisation on mobilisation[edit | edit source]

On mobilization on 2 August 1914 the Corps was restructured. 16th Cavalry Brigade was withdrawn to form part of the 3rd Cavalry Division[7] and the 15th Cavalry Brigade was broken up and its regiments assigned to the divisions as reconnaissance units. Divisions received engineer companies and other support units from the Corps headquarters. In summary, VIII Corps mobilised with 24 infantry battalions, 8 machine gun companies (48 machine guns), 8 cavalry squadrons, 24 field artillery batteries (144 guns), 4 heavy artillery batteries (16 guns), 3 pioneer companies and an aviation detachment.

Combat chronicle[edit | edit source]

On mobilisation, VIII Corps was assigned to the 4th Army forming part of the centre of the forces for the Schlieffen Plan offensive in August 1914. It was still in existence at the end of the war.[10]

Commanders[edit | edit source]

The VIII Corps had the following commanders during its existence:[11][12][13]

From Rank Name
21 June 1815 General der Infanterie August Neidhardt von Gneisenau
20 May 1816 Generalleutnant Ernst von Hake
3 April 1820 General der Kavallerie Johann Adolf Freiherr von Thielmann
18 June 1825 General der Kavallerie Ludwig von Borstell
9 May 1840 Generalleutnant Adolf Eduard von Thile
5 May 1848 General der Kavallerie Friedrich Wilhelm Graf von Brandenburg
15 May 1849 General der Infanterie Karl Friedrich von Hirschfeld
27 November 1859 General der Infanterie Eduard von Bonin
29 June 1865 General der Infanterie Eberhard Herwarth von Bittenfeld
18 July 1870 General der Infanterie August Karl von Goeben
11 December 1880 Generalleutnant Ludwig von Thile
12 January 1884 General der Kavallerie Walter Freiherr von Loë
27 January 1895 General der Kavallerie Adolf von Bülow
2 January 1896 General der Infanterie Maximilian Vogel von Falckenstein
27 January 1897 General der Infanterie Frederick II, Grand Duke of Baden
18 October 1902 General der Kavallerie Adolf von Deines
2 October 1906 General der Infanterie Paul von Ploetz
27 January 1912 Generalleutnant Erich Tülff von Tschepe und Weidenbach
5 October 1914 General der Infanterie Julius Riemann
18 December 1916 Generalleutnant Karl Dieffenbach
12 March 1917 General der Infanterie Otto von Plüskow
11 May 1917 Generalleutnant Roderich von Schoeler

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. German Administrative History Accessed: 26 May 2012
  2. Cron 2002, pp. 312
  3. Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  4. Haythornthwaite 1996, pp. 193–194
  5. They formed the Guards Cavalry Division, the only peacetime cavalry division in the German Army.
  6. War Office 1918, p. 247
  7. Cron 2002, p. 301
  8. Cron 2002, pp. 312
  9. 4 heavy artillery batteries (16 heavy field howitzers)
  10. Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  11. German Administrative History Accessed: 26 May 2012
  12. German War History Accessed: 26 May 2012
  13. The Prussian Machine Accessed: 26 May 2012

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Cron, Hermann (2002). Imperial German Army 1914-18: Organisation, Structure, Orders-of-Battle [first published: 1937]. Helion & Co. ISBN 1-874622-70-1. 
  • Ellis, John; Cox, Michael (1993). The World War I Databook. Aurum Press Ltd. ISBN 1-85410-766-6. 
  • Haythornthwaite, Philip J. (1996). The World War One Source Book. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-351-7. 
  • Histories of Two Hundred and Fifty-One Divisions of the German Army which Participated in the War (1914-1918), compiled from records of Intelligence section of the General Staff, American Expeditionary Forces, at General Headquarters, Chaumont, France 1919. The London Stamp Exchange Ltd (1989). 1920. ISBN 0-948130-87-3. 
  • The German Forces in the Field; 7th Revision, 11th November 1918; Compiled by the General Staff, War Office. Imperial War Museum, London and The Battery Press, Inc (1995). 1918. ISBN 1-870423-95-X. 


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