6th Bavarian Reserve Division (German Empire)

6th Bavarian Reserve Division (German Empire)

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The 6th Bavarian Reserve Division (6. Bayerische Reserve-Division) was a unit of the Royal Bavarian Army, part 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 10 September 1914 and organized over the next month. The division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I.

6th bavarian Reserve Division was raised and recruited from Bavaria's Ist and IIIrd Army Corps Districts. As a reserve division, it consisted mainly of recalled reservists. A considerable number of war volunteers was taken in, also. Among the latter was perhaps the division's most famous, or rather infamous, soldier, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, a Gefreiter
Gefreiter is the German, Swiss and Austrian equivalent for the military rank Private . Gefreiter was the lowest rank to which an ordinary soldier could be promoted. As a military rank it has existed since at least the 16th century...

in the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16.

Combat chronicle

The division entered the war on 30 October 1914, when it entered the First Battle of Ypres
First Battle of Ypres
The First Battle of Ypres, also called the First Battle of Flanders , was a First World War battle fought for the strategic town of Ypres in western Belgium...

, part of the so-called 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 remained in Flanders thereafter, and fought in numerous actions, including the Battle of Fromelles
Battle of Fromelles
The Battle of Fromelles, sometimes known as the Action at Fromelles or the Battle of Fleurbaix , occurred in France between 19 July and 20 July 1916, during World War I...

 in July 1916 and the latter phases of the Battle of the Somme in October 1916. In the Spring of 1917, the division fought in the Battle of Arras
Battle of Arras (1917)
The Battle of Arras was a British offensive during the First World War. From 9 April to 16 May 1917, British, Canadian, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and Australian troops attacked German trenches near the French city of Arras on the Western Front....

. It remained in the Flanders region until August 1917, when it was transferred to Upper Alsace for rest and then to the Chemin des Dames
Chemin des Dames
In France, the Chemin des Dames is part of the D18 and runs east and west in the département of Aisne, between in the west, the Route Nationale 2, and in the east, the D1044 at Corbeny. It is some thirty kilometres long and runs along a ridge between the valleys of the rivers Aisne and Ailette...

 region. In 1918, it participated 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 the Spring and Summer offensives and counteroffensives, it faced French and American troops in several battles, including on the Aisne and Champagne-Marne. The division returned to the Flanders region in August 1918, where it remained until the end of the war. Allied intelligence rated the division as a second class division, noting that while trained as an assault division, it was more often employed as a follow-on unit.

Order of battle on 8 December 1914

The order of battle of the 6th Bavarian Reserve Division on 8 December 1914 was as follows:
  • 12. bayerische Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 16
    • Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 17
  • 14. bayerische Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 20
    • Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 21
  • Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Kavallerie-Regiment 6
  • Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Feldartillerie-Regiment 6
  • Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Fußartillerie-Bataillon 6
  • Kgl. Bayerische Reserve-Pionier-Kompanie 6

Order of battle on 10 April 1918

Divisions underwent many changes during the war, with regiments moving from division to division, and some being destroyed and rebuilt. The 6th Bavarian Reserve Division was triangularized in January 1917, losing the 14th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Brigade headquarters and the 21st Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment. Cavalry was reduced, engineers increased, and an artillery command and a divisional signals command were created. The 6th Bavarian Reserve Division's order of battle on 10 April 1918 was as follows:
  • 12. bayerische Reserve-Infanterie-Brigade
    • Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 16
    • Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 17
    • Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 20
  • 2. Eskadron/Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Kavallerie-Regiment 6
  • Kgl. Bayerischer Artillerie-Kommandeur 18
    • Kgl. Bayerisches Reserve-Feldartillerie-Regiment 6
    • Kgl. Bayerisches Fußartillerie-Bataillon 12
  • Stab Kgl. Bayerisches Pionier-Bataillon 19
    • Kgl. Bayerische Reserve-Pionier-Kompanie 6
    • Kgl. Bayerische Reserve-Pionier-Kompanie 7
    • Kgl. Bayerische Minenwerfer-Kompanie 206
  • Kgl. Bayerischer Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 406