Articles

The Smaller Armies of Germany

Friedrich Engels

The work “The Armies of Europe” was created by Friedrich Engels at the request of Karl Marx who received an order from the American monthly periodical “Putnam’s Monthly” via “New-York Daily Tribune” managing editor Charles Anderson Dana. Karl Marx assisted Friedrich Engels in writing series of articles, collecting information on various European armies, particularly on that of Kingdoms of Spain and Naples, in the British Museum. “The Smaller Armies of Germany” article was written by Friedrich Engels in September 1855 and was published the same month in the “Putnam’s Monthly”, No.XXXIII.

Bavaria has two army-corps, of two divisions each. Each division contains two brigades of infantry (four regiments of infantry and one battalion of rifles), one brigade of cavalry, containing two regiments, and three foot and one horse batteries. Each army-corps has, beside, a general reserve of artillery, of six foot batteries, and a detachment of sappers and miners. Thus, the whole army forms sixteen regiments of three battalions each, with six battalions of rifles, in all, fifty-four battalions; two regiments of cuirassiers, and six of light dragoons, in all, forty-eight squadrons; two regiments of foot artillery (of six six-pounder and six twelve-pounder batteries each), and one of horse artillery (four six-pounder batteries), in all, twenty-eight batteries of eight guns each, making 224 guns, beside six companies of garrison artillery, and twelve train companies; there are also one regiment of engineers, of eight companies, and two sanitary companies. The whole strength, on the war-footing, is 72,000 men, beside a reserve and Landwehr, the cadres of which, however, do not exist.

Of the army of the Germanic Confederation, Austria furnishes the 1st, 2d, and 3d corps; Prussia the 4th, 5th, and 6th; Bavaria the 7th. The 8th corps is furnished by Württemberg, Baden, and Hesse-Darmstadt.

Württemberg has eight regiments (sixteen battalions) of infantry, four of cavalry (sixteen squadrons), one regiment of artillery (four foot and three horse-batteries, with forty-eight guns). Total, about 19,000 men on the war-footing.

Baden keeps four regiments (eight battalions), two fusileer battalions, one rifle battalion; in all, ten battalions of infantry, with three regiments, or twelve squadrons of cavalry, and four foot and five horse-batteries, containing together forty guns. Total, on the war-footing, 15,000 men.

Hesse-Darmstadt has four regiments or eight battalions of infantry, one regiment or six squadrons of light horse, and three batteries of artillery (one mounted) of eighteen guns. Total, 10,000 men.

The only peculiarity of the 7th and 8th army-corps is, that they have adopted the French gun-carriage for the artillery. The 9th federal army corps is formed by the kingdom of Saxony, which furnishes one division, and Electoral Hesse and Nassau, which furnish the second.

The quota of Saxony is four brigades of infantry, of four battalions each, and one of rifles, of four battalions; beside four battalions of the line, and one battalion of rifles as a reserve, still unorganized; four regiments of light horse, of five squadrons each; one artillery regiment, six foot and two horse-batteries. Total, twenty battalions of infantry, twenty squadrons and fifty guns; or 24,500 men on the war-footing. In Electoral Hesse there are four regiments or eight battalions, with one battalion of fusileers and one of rifles; two squadrons of cuirassiers, seven squadrons of hussars; three batteries, of which one of horse artillery. Total, ten battalions, nine squadrons, nineteen guns, and 12,000 men on the war-footing. Nassau affords seven battalions, 2 batteries, or 7,000 men, and twelve guns, on the war-footing.

The 10th army-corps consists of Hanover and Brunswick, which maintain the first division; and of Mecklenburg, Holstein, Oldenburg, and the Hanse towns (The free cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck. – Ed.) which furnish the second division. Hanover furnishes eight regiments or sixteen battalions, and four battalions of light infantry; six regiments or twenty-four squadrons of cavalry, and four foot and two horse-batteries. Total, 22,000 men, and thirty-six guns. The artillery is on the English model. Brunswick furnishes five battalions, four squadrons, and twelve guns, in all, 5,300 men. The small States of the second division are not worth mentioning.

Finally, the smallest of the small fry of German States form a reserve division, with which the entire army of the German Confederation, on the war-footing, may be summed up in a table, as follows:

 

Contingents

Reserve Contingent

 

Infantry

Cavalry

Guns

Total

Infantry

Cavalry

Guns

Total

Austria

73,501

13,546

192

94,822

36,750

6,773

96

47,411

Prussia

61,629

11,355

160

79,484

30,834

5,660

80

39,742

Bavaria

27,566

5,086

72

35,600

13,793

2,543

36

17,800

8 Corps

23,369

4,308

60

30,150

11,685

2,154

32

15,075

9 Corps

19,294

2,887

50

24,254

9,702

1,446

25

12,136

10 Corps

22,246

3,572

58

28,067

11,107

1,788

29

14,019

Reserve Division

11,116

   

11,116

5,584

   

5,584

Total

238,721

40,754

592

303,493

119,455

20,364

298

151,767

This of course does not represent the real armed force of the Confederation, as, in case of need, Prussia, Austria, and Bavaria would furnish far more than the above contingents. The troops of the 10th corps and reserve division, perhaps, also, those of the 9th corps, would form the garrisons, so as not to interfere, by their multifarious organizations and peculiarities, with the rapidity of field operations. The military qualities of these armies are more or less the same as those of the Austrian and Prussian soldiers; but, of course, these small bodies furnish no occasion for developing military talents, and many old-fashioned arrangements exist among them.