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Guards Reserve Corps
Stab eines Generalkommandos.svg
Flag of the Staff of a Generalkommando (1871–1918)
Active 2 August 1914 - 9 February 1915
7 July 1915 - post November 1918
Country  German Empire
Type Corps
Size Approximately 38,000 (on formation)

World War I

Battle of the Frontiers
Eastern Front
First Battle of the Masurian Lakes
Battle of the Vistula River
Western Front
Battle of Passchendaele
Battle of Pilckem Ridge

The Guards Reserve Corps (German language: Garde-Reserve-Korps / Garde RK) was a corps level command of the German Army in World War I.


Guards Reserve Corps was formed on the outbreak of the war in August 1914[1] as part of the mobilisation of the Army. It was initially commanded by General der Artillerie Max von Gallwitz, formerly Inspector General of Artillery.[2] It ceased to exist on 9 February 1915 as it headquarters was used to form the headquarters of Armee-Gruppe Gallwitz (later 12th Army) on the Eastern Front.

Temporary Corps Marschall was formed on 7 July 1915 and renamed Guards Reserve Corps on 18 April 1916.[3] It was still in existence at the end of the war[4] in the 4th Army, Heeresgruppe Kronprinz Rupprecht on the Western Front.[5]

Structure on formation

On formation in August 1914, Guards Reserve Corps consisted of two divisions. In general, Reserve Corps and Reserve Divisions were weaker than their active counterparts, but the Guards Reserve Corps was exceptional in that

the 3rd Guards Division, although newly formed, consisted almost entirely of regular army units
the 1st Guards Reserve Division had a Field Artillery Brigade of two regiments (most Reserve Divisions only had a single regiment)
the Corps Troops were equivalent to an Active Corps, lacking only an Aviation Detachment[6]

In summary, Guards Reserve Corps mobilised with 26 infantry battalions, 9 machine gun companies (54 machine guns), 6 cavalry squadrons, 24 field artillery batteries (144 guns), 4 heavy batteries (16 guns) and 3 pioneer companies.

Corps Division Brigade Units
Guards Reserve Corps[7] 3rd Guards Division 5th Guards Infantry Brigade 5th Foot Guards Regiment
5th Guards Grenadiers Regiment
6th Guards Infantry Brigade Guard Fusilier Regiment
Lehr Infantry Regiment[8]
3rd Guard Field Artillery Brigade 5th Guard Field Artillery Regiment
6th Guard Field Artillery Regiment
Guards Reserve Uhlan Regiment
1st Company, 28th Pioneer Battalion
3rd Guards Divisional Pontoon Train
1st Guards Medical Company
3rd Guards Medical Company
1st Guards Reserve Division 1st Guards Reserve Brigade 1st Guards Reserve Infantry Regiment
2nd Guards Reserve Infantry Regiment
Guards Reserve Jäger Battalion
15th Reserve Infantry Brigade 64th Reserve Infantry Regiment[9]
93rd Reserve Infantry Regiment[10]
Guards Reserve Schützen Battalion[11]
Guards Reserve Field Artillery Brigade 1st Guards Reserve Field Artillery Regiment
3rd Guards Reserve Field Artillery Regiment
Guards Reserve Dragoon Regiment
2nd Company, 28th Pioneer Battalion
3rd Company, 28th Pioneer Battalion
2nd Guards Divisional Pontoon Train
2nd Guards Reserve Medical Company
Corps Troops II Battalion, 1st Guards Foot Artillery Regiment[12]
Guards Reserve Corps Pontoon Train
Guards Reserve Telephone Detachment
28th Pioneer Searchlight Section
Munition Trains and Columns corresponding to the II Corps

Combat chronicle

On mobilisation, Guards Reserve Corps was assigned to the 2nd Army as part of the right wing of the forces that invaded France and Belgium as part of the Schlieffen Plan offensive in August 1914. It participated in the capture of Namur and was immediately transferred to the Eastern Front to join the 8th Army in time to participate in the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes.

On 9 February 1915, the Corps headquarters was upgraded to form the headquarters of Armee-Gruppe Gallwitz (later 12th Army).

Temporary Corps Marschall was formed on 7 July 1915 and established as the Guards Reserve Corps on 18 April 1916.[13] It was still in existence at the end of the war[14] in the 4th Army, Heeresgruppe Kronprinz Rupprecht on the Western Front.[15]


Guards Reserve Corps had the following commanders during its existence:[16][17]

From Rank Name Notes
2 August 1914 General der Artillerie Max von Gallwitz[18]
9 February 1915 Upgraded to Armee-Gruppe Gallwitz
14 February 1915 Reformed as Korps Marschall
17 April 1916 General der Kavallerie Wolf Freiherr Marschall von Altengottern[19]


  • Armee-Abteilung or Army Detachment in the sense of "something detached from an Army". It is not under the command of an Army so is in itself a small Army.[20]
  • Armee-Gruppe or Army Group in the sense of a group within an Army and under its command, generally formed as a temporary measure for a specific task.
  • Heeresgruppe or Army Group in the sense of a number of armies under a single commander.

See also


  1. Cron 2002, p. 86
  2. The Prussian Machine Accessed: 3 March 2012
  3. Cron 2002, p. 88
  4. Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  5. Ellis & Cox 1993, pp. 186–187
  6. Cron 2002, p. 86
  7. Cron 2002, p. 308
  8. Busche 1998, p. 4 Lehr (meaning teach or training) is usually left untranslated. The Lehr Regiment was formed on mobilisation by the expansion of the Lehr Infantry Battalion. It had two machine gun companies
  9. Busche 1998, p. 24 Raised in Berlin from 2nd Foot Guards
  10. Busche 1998, p. 31 Raised in Berlin from 4th Foot Guards
  11. Schützen is usually left untranslated; in this context it means sharp-shooter. They were part of the Jäger.
  12. Cron 2002, p. 142 Four batteries of heavy field howitzers (4 guns each)
  13. Cron 2002, p. 88
  14. Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  15. Ellis & Cox 1993, pp. 186–187
  16. "German War History". Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  17. "Armee-Reserve-Korps". The Prussian Machine. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  18. "Max von Gallwitz". The Prussian Machine. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  19. "Wolf Freiherr Marschall von Altengottern". The Prussian Machine. Archived from the original on 20 December 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  20. Cron 2002, p. 84


  • 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. 
  • Busche, Hartwig (1998) (in German). Formationsgeschichte der Deutschen Infanterie im Ersten Weltkrieg (1914 bis 1918). Institut für Preußische Historiographie. 
  • 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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