A Grand Illusion? German Reserves, 1815–1914

Dennis Showalter

in Scraping the Barrel

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780823239771
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823239818 | DOI:
A Grand Illusion? German Reserves, 1815–1914

Show Summary Details


From the Napoleonic Wars the Prussian/German state had backed its regulars with reserve forces. There were some political issues with funding, and who would be the officers, and active-army officers certainly felt the reservists were second-rate. However, they were necessary since there was never enough money for the active army, and reserve units performed solidly in their limited roles in the mid-century wars. After 1871, the reserves were expanded, with categories by age up to 46, and the army found uses for all the categories. Expanding the reserves caused some friction, as money spent on manpower could not be spent on new equipment in an increasingly technological age, but war plans always needed more units, so reserve units were increasingly assigned forward combat missions. While having less artillery, their performance in battle was little different from active units, and the Germans dropped the term for divisions formed during the war.

Keywords: World War I; German Army; Military reserves; Franco-Prussian War; Napoleonic Wars

Chapter.  10417 words. 

Subjects: Military History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Fordham University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.