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XII (1st Royal Saxon) Army Corps
XII. (I. Königlich Sächsisches) Armee-Korps
Stab eines Generalkommandos.svg
Flag of the Staff of a Generalkommando (1871–1918)
Active 1 April 1867 (1867-04-01)–1919 (1919)
Country  Kingdom of Saxony /  German Empire
Type Corps
Size Approximately 44,000 (on mobilisation in 1914)
Garrison/HQ Dresden

Franco-Prussian War

Battle of Gravelotte
Battle of Sedan
Siege of Paris

World War I

Battle of the Frontiers

The XII (1st Royal Saxon) Army Corps / XII AK (German language: XII. (I. Königlich Sächsisches) Armee-Korps) was a Saxon corps level command of the Saxon and German Armies before and during World War I.

The Corps was formed as the Royal Saxon Corps on 1 April 1867 and headquartered in Dresden. Initially, it commanded the 1st Royal Saxon Infantry Division in Dresden and the 2nd Royal Saxon Infantry Division in Leipzig. After the XIX (2nd Royal Saxon) Corps was set up on 1 April 1899 as the headquarters for the western part of the Kingdom of Saxony, XII Corps was made responsible for the eastern part of the Kingdom.

The Corps was disbanded with the demobilisation of the German Army after World War I.

Franco-Prussian War

During the Franco-Prussian War, the corps fought in the Battle of Gravelotte, the Battle of Sedan and the Siege of Paris.[1]

Order of Battle during the Franco-Prussian War

The organization of the XII (Royal Saxon) Corps on August 18, 1870 at the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War was as follows:[2]

Commander: General Crown Prince Albert of Saxony
Chief of the General Staff: Lt. Col. Friedrich von Zezschwitz

  • 23rd (1st Royal Saxon) Infantry Division - Lt. General Prince George of Saxony
  • 24th (2nd Royal Saxon) Infantry Division - Maj. General Erwin Nehrhoff von Holderberg
  • Saxon Cavalry Division - Major General Franz Graf und Edler Herr zur Lippe-Weißenfeld
  • 12th (Royal Saxon) Field Artillery Regiment - Col. Bernhard Oskar von Funcke
  • 12th (Royal Saxon) Pioneer Battalion - Lt. Col. Karl Hugo Klemm
  • 12th (Royal Saxon) Train Battalion - Lt. Col. Edmund Schmalz

Between the wars

On 1 April 1887 another Saxon division was formed (32nd (3rd Royal Saxon) Infantry Division headquartered in Bautzen[3][4]) and assigned to the Corps.

As the German Army expanded in the latter part of the 19th Century, the XIX (2nd Royal Saxon) Corps was set up on 1 April 1899 in Leipzig as the Generalkommando (headquarters) for the western part of the Kingdom of Saxony (districts of Leipzig, Chemnitz and Zwickau).[5] It took over command of 24th (2nd Royal Saxon) Division and the newly formed 40th (4th Royal Saxon) Division. Thereafter, XII Corps was responsible for the eastern part of the Kingdom.

The Corps was assigned to the II Army Inspectorate[6] which formed the predominantly Saxon 3rd Army at the start of the First World War.

Peacetime organisation

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.[7] 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).[8]

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

Organisation on mobilisation

On mobilization on 2 August 1914 the Corps was restructured. 23rd Cavalry Brigade was withdrawn to form part of the 8th Cavalry Division[11] and the 32nd 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, XII Corps mobilised with 25 infantry battalions, 9 machine gun companies (54 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

On mobilisation, XII Corps was assigned to the predominately Saxon 3rd Army forming part of the right wing of the forces for the Schlieffen Plan offensive in August 1914 on the Western Front. It was transferred to the 2nd Army on 14 September 1914 and to the 7th Army one day later. It would later serve under the 5th Army and the 3rd Army again.[15] It was still in existence at the end of the war[16] in Armee-Abteilung B, Heeresgruppe Herzog Albrecht von Württemberg at the extreme southern end of the Western Front.[17]


The XII Corps had the following commanders during its existence:[18][19][20]

From Rank Name
23 February 1867 General der Infanterie Crown Prince Albert of Saxony
19 August 1870 General der Infanterie Prince Georg of Saxony
22 March 1900 Generalleutnant Max von Hausen
26 August 1902 General der Infanterie Crown Prince Friedrich Augustus of Saxony
18 October 1904 Generalleutnant Hermann von Broizem
26 September 1910 General der Infanterie Karl Ludwig d'Elsa
17 April 1916 Generalleutnant Horst Edler von der Planitz
8 September 1917 General der Kavallerie Hans Krug von Nidda
24 July 1918 Generalleutnant Max Leuthold


  • 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.[21]
  • 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. Claus von Bredow, bearb., Historische Rang- und Stammliste des deuschen Heeres (1905), p. 1386.
  2. A. Niemann, Der französische Feldzug 1870-1871 (Verlag des Bibliographischen Instituts, Hildburghausen, 1871), p. 44.
  3. Günter Wegner, Stellenbesetzung der deutschen Heere 1815-1939. (Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, 1993), Bd. 1, p.128;
  4. Claus von Bredow, bearb., Historische Rang- und Stammliste des deuschen Heeres (1905), pp.1388-1389.
  5. German Administrative History Accessed: 11 May 2012
  6. Cron 2002, p. 395
  7. Haythornthwaite 1996, pp. 193–194
  8. They formed the Guards Cavalry Division, the only peacetime cavalry division in the German Army.
  9. War Office 1918, p. 251
  10. Had a third (Horse Artillery) Abteilung of three batteries of 4 guns.
  11. Cron 2002, p. 300
  12. Cron 2002, pp. 310
  13. With a machine gun company.
  14. 4 heavy artillery batteries (16 heavy field howitzers)
  15. XII. Armeekorps (Chronik 1914/1918)
  16. Cron 2002, pp. 88–89
  17. Ellis & Cox 1993, pp. 186–187
  18. German Administrative History Accessed: 11 May 2012
  19. German War History Accessed: 11 May 2012
  20. The Prussian Machine Accessed: 11 May 2012
  21. Cron 2002, p. 84
  • Rangliste der Königlich Sächsischen Armee für das Jahr 1914 (1914), pp. 10–11


  • 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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