Garde-Ersatz-Division 1914–1918

The Garde-Ersatz-Division was one of a series of replacement divisions established when Germany mobilised on 2 August 1914. Apart from a brief spell on the Eastern Front during the third quarter of 1917, the division spent the war on the Western Front.


The Garde-Ersatz-Division was involved in the fighting known as the Battle for the Frontiers until the end of September 1914 as part of the 6th Army. It was then transferred to the area south of Verdun and formed part of the Ersatzkorps, holding various sectors in this part of the front until late August 1916.


In March 1916, the 6th and 7th Guards Regiments were deployed to the north of Verdun, where they took part in a number of attacks and rested until July. The division was deployed as a complete formation in very hot weather at the beginning of August. The division attacked in the Chapitre Wood sector and had lost some 70 officers and 2400 men killed, wounded and missing by 8 August. It was withdrawn from the front in late August after suffering very heavy losses.

After a period of rest, the division returned to the Flirey sector in September. The division was reorganised and involved in local fighting until it was withdrawn in early November. After a further period of rest, the division was used to strengthen the line following the French attack at Verdun in mid December.


In mid January, the division was withdrawn from the Verdun front and sent to the St. Hilaire sector in Champagne. The division was relieved at the end of March and withdrawn to be held in reserve in the Château-Porcien area.

On 12 April, the division was deployed to resist the French attack known as the Nivelle Offensive (Second Battle of the Aisne). Starting on 16 April, elements of the division counter-attacked towards Berméricourt and relieved the remnants of 21. Infanterie-Division on 18 April. The division spent the second week of May at rest in the Champagne area and then returned to its old sector north of and the area of Flirey.

In the third week of July, the division was withdrawn from the line and transported to eastern front. It was kept in reserve as part of Heeresgruppe Eichhorn and trained in open warfare in the Vilna area until mid August.

At the end of August, the division entered the line in the Üxküll area and took part in the battle for Riga, entering the city on 3 September.

The division returned to the western front by mid September and entered the line north of Bezonvaux on the Verdun front in mid October. At the end of October it participated in the recapture of Vaux Cross height on the west bank of the Meuse River and, a week later, the southern sector of Chaume Wood.


On 19 February, the division was withdrawn from the Verdun sector to start a month of preparation for the spring offensive. During the offensive, the division took part in the crossing of the Somme and fought in the Somme area. After apparently suffering heavy casualties, it was withdrawn in the first week of April to reinforce the front near Hangard.

Following fighting near Villers-Bretonneux and a period of rest near Mons, the division was involved in attacks in the Champagne region in mid July and positional fighting near Reims. At the end of July and the beginning of August, the division took part in defensive fighting between the Marne and Vesle until it was withdrawn from the line on 9 August.

After a further period of rest and recuperation, the division was committed in Flanders in early October and then fought in withdrawals between the Yser and the Lys, on the Lys and in rearguard actions on both banks of the Schelde, and then during the last fighting as the remaining German forces pulled back towards the Antwerp-Maas position.

After the armistice, the division evacuated the occupied territory and returned to Germany by the beginning of January 1919.


In 1917, allied intelligence sources rated the division as good.

The division was rated as an "attack division" by the Germans and was held under the direct control of the Supreme Command. At the end of the war, allied intelligence had always considered the Garde-Ersatz-Division as being in the second of four classes.


The division was formed with brigades raised from guards replacement battalions from all over Germany, and from replacement battalions in the 2nd, 5th and 6th Corps Districts of Pomerania, Posen and Silesia, respectively.


Guards brigade replacement battalions 1–6 were formed from the 2nd companies of the replacement battalions of Garde-Regimenter zu Fuß (foot guards regiments) 1–5, Garde-Grenadier-Regimenter (grenadier guards regiments) 1–5, Garde-Füsilier-Regiment (guards fusilier regiment) and Lehr-Infanterie-Regiment in Potsdam, Berlin and Spandau.

Brigade replacement battalions 5–8 were formed from the 2nd companies of the replacement battalions of Grenadier-Regimenter (grenadier regiments) 2 and 9, Füsilier-Regiment Nr. 34 and infantry regiments 14, 42, 49, 54 and 149 in Stettin, Bromberg and Gnesen.

Brigade replacement battalions 17–20 were formed from the 2nd companies of the replacement battalions of Grenadier-Regimenter (grenadier regiments) 6 and 7, and infantry regiments 19, 46, 47, 50, 58 and 154 in Glogau, Liegnitz and Posen.


Guards field artillery replacement detachments 1 and 2 were raised in Berlin and Potsdam, respectively. They each comprised a staff, 2 field artillery batteries and a light ammunition column.

Field artillery replacement detachments 38 and 53 were raised in Stettin and Bromberg, respectively. They each comprised a staff, 2 field artillery batteries and a light ammunition column.

Field artillery replacement detachments 20 and 41 were raised in Posen and Glogau, respectively. They each comprised a staff, 2 field artillery batteries and a light ammunition column.

Kriegsgliederung/order of battle on mobilisation

1. gemischte Garde-Ersatz-Brigade

Garde-Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 1 Garde-Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 2
Garde-Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 3 Garde-Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 4
Garde-Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 5 Garde-Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 6
Garde-Kavallerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Berlin (later Garde-Kavallerie-Eskadron 1)
Garde-Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung 1 Garde-Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung 2
1. Ersatz-Kompagnie Garde-Pionier-Bataillon

5. gemischte Ersatz-Brigade

Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 5 Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 6
Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 7 Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 8
Kavallerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Pasewalk (II. A.K.)
Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung 38 Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung 53
1. Ersatz-Kompagnie Pommersches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 2

17. gemischte Ersatz-Brigade

Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 17 Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 18
Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 19 Brigade-Ersatz-Bataillon 20
Kavallerie-Ersatz-Abteilung Posen (V. A.K.)
Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung 20 Feldartillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung 41


Brigade replacement battalions 17 to 20 were dissolved by the end of 1914 and used to form Landwehr infantry regiments. Also by the end of 1914, guards brigade replacement battalions 1, 2 and 6 were used to form 1. Garde-Ersatz-Regiment. Guards brigade replacement battalions 3, 4 and 5 were used to form 2. Garde-Ersatz-Regiment. On 1 August 1915, the regiments were renamed 6. Garde-Infanterie-Regiment and 7. Garde-Infanterie-Regiment, respectively.

In the winter of 1914/1915, brigade replacement battalions 6, 7 and 8 were used to form Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 357. Brigade replacement battalions 5 and 50 were used to form Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 358. Both regiments received their numbers in the course of 1915 and initially remained with the division.

Field artillery replacement detachment 53 was transferred to 1st Bavarian Landwehr division in early October 1914. Field artillery replacement detachments 20 and 41 were assigned to 3rd Landwehr division. At the beginning of July 1915, guards field artillery replacement detachments 1 and 2 were used to form the 1st and 3rd battalions of 7. Garde-Feldartillerie-Regiment. Field artillery replacement detachment 38 was used to form the 2nd battalion.

Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 399 was formed on 12.09.1916 with men taken from 6th and 7th guards infantry regiments and infantry regiment 357. Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 357 was transferred to 199. Infanterie-Division. Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 358 was used to form 214. Infanterie-Division. At the same time, the division received men from other formations to fill the gaps.

Kriegsgliederung/order of battle on 1 August 1916

Together with 21. Reserve-Division, Garde-Ersatz-Division was fighting in the Chapitre Wood sector at Verdun as part of XVIII. Reserve-Korps in August 1916. This overview also shows the smaller support elements that are not included in the overviews for the early and late war periods.


6. Garde-Infanterie-Regiment 7. Garde-Infanterie-Regiment

5. Ersatz-Infanterie-Brigade

Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 357 Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 358
Maschinen-Gewehr-Scharfschützen-Trupp 155
5. Eskadron 2. Garde-Ulanen-Regiment
7. Garde-Feldartillerie-Regiment

Stab II./Pio. 20

Garde-Pionier-Kompagnie 301 Pionier-Kompagnie 302
7. Garde-Minenwerfer-Kompagnie Minenwerfer-Kompagnie 103
Divisions-Brücken-Train 301 Scheinwerfer-Zug 292
Feldsignal-Trupp 169 Feldsignal-Trupp 170
Sanitäts-Kompagnie 63

Kriegsgliederung/order of battle on 8 March 1918


6. Garde-Infanterie-Regiment 7. Garde-Infanterie-Regiment Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 399
Maschinen-Gewehr-Scharfschützen-Abteilung 29
5. Eskadron 2. Garde-Ulanen-Regiment

Garde-Artillerie-Kommandeur 6

7. Garde-Feldartillerie-Regiment Fußartillerie-Bataillon 89  

Stab Pionier-Bataillon 501

Garde-Pionier-Kompagnie 301 Pionier-Kompagnie 302 7. Garde-Minenwerfer-Kompagnie
Garde-Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 551


Garde-Ersatz-Division 1914–1918

Calendar of battles and engagements

  Garde-Ersatz-Division (Westfront)
22.08.–14.09.1914 Schlacht vor Nancy-Epinal
17.09.–27.09.1914 Gefechte bei Gerden (Lagarde)
28.09.1914–22.07.1916 Kämpfe zwischen Maas und Mosel
21.10.–23.10.1914 Gefechte am Mort-Mare
12.12.1914 Gefecht am Walde von Remières
16.12.1914–20.02.1916 Kämpfe bei Flirey
30.12.–31.12.1914 Kämpfe am Eisenbahneinschnitt bei Flirey
16.02.1915 Gefecht bei Flirey
05.04.–20.04.1915 Aprilkämpfe bei Flirey (am Mort-Mare)
28.04.1915–22.07.1916 Kämpfe am Montsec
06.10.1915–22.07.1916 Kämpfe am Bois-brûlé
23.07.–21.08.1916 Schlacht bei Verdun (Kämpfe im Chapitre-Wald)
01.09.–04.11.1916 Stellungskämpfe zwischen Maas und Mosel
01.09.–04.11.1916 Kämpfe bei Flirey
05.11.–15.12.1916 Reserve der O.H.-L.
16.12.1916–14.01.1917 Stellungskämpfe vor Verdun
14.01.–30.03.1917 Stellungskämpfe in der Champagne
31.03.–12.04.1917 Reserve der O.H.-L.
12.04.–07.05.1917 Doppelschlacht Aisne-Champagne
16.05.–20.07.1917 Stellungskämpfe vor Verdun: bei Richecourt, Seicheprey und Flirey
21.07.–26.07.1917 Reserve der O.H.-L. und Transport nach dem Osten
  Garde-Ersatz-Division (Ostfront)
26.07.–15.08.1917 Reserve der Heeresgruppe Eichhorn
16.08.–31.08.1917 Reserve der 8. Armee
01.09.–05.09.1917 Schlacht um Riga
06.09.–13.09.1917 Reserve der O.H.-L. und Transport nach dem Westen
  Garde-Ersatz-Division (Westfront)
13.10.1917–19.02.1918 Stellungskämpfe vor Verdun
29.10.1917 Wiedernahme der Vauxkreuzhöhe
09.11.1917 Wiedernahme des südl. Chaume-Waldes
19.02.–20.03.1918 Vorbereitungszeit für die "Große Schlacht in Frankreich"
21.03.–06.04.1918 Große Schlacht in Frankreich
23.03.–25.03.1918 Sommeübergang
23.03.–26.03.1918 Verfolgungskämpfe im Sommegebiet
07.04.–16.05.1918 Kämpfe an der Ancre, Somme und Avre
24.04.–26.04.1918 Schlacht bei Villers-Bretonneux, an Luce und Avre
15.07.–17.07.1918 Angriffsschlacht in der Champagne
18.07.–19.07.1918 Stellungskämpfe bei Reims
20.07.–25.07.1918 Abwehrschlacht zwischen Soissons und Reims
26.07.–03.08.1918 Die bewegliche Abwehrschlacht zwischen Marne und Vesle
04.08.–08.08.1918 Stellungskämpfe an der Vesle
06.10.–17.10.1918 Abwehrschlacht in Flandern
18.10.–24.10.1918 Nachhutkämpfe zwischen Yser und Lys
25.10.–01.11.1918 Schlacht an der Lys
02.11.–04.11.1918 Nachhutkämpfe beiderseits der Schelde
05.11.–11.11.1918 Rückzugskämpfe vor der Antwerpen-Maas-Stellung
12.11.1918–03.01.1919 Räumung des besetzten Gebietes und Marsch in die Heimat


Copyright © 2009 David Gregory