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Alpine Corps

 Corps structure  Alpine Corps (Alpenkorps)

The Alpenkorps was a mountain division formed by the Imperial German Army during World War I. It was considered by the Allies to be one of the best units in the German Army.

After experiencing considerable difficulties in fighting the French Chasseurs Alpins in the Vosges Mountains during the Battle of the Frontiers, the German Army decided to form its own specialized mountain units. The Royal Bavarian 1st and 2nd Snowshoe Battalions were formed in Bavaria on November 21, 1914. A third battalion was formed in April 1915 from the 4th, 5th and 6th companies of the second battalion.

In May 1915, the three battalions were brought together with a fourth (composed of other battalions and Bavarian Landwehr troops) to form the 3rd Jäger Regiment.

In October 1915, the designation Schneeschuhbataillon (literally snow shoe battalion) was removed. (units were also called Ski Battalions)

Additionally, in May 1915, the Bavarian 1st, 2nd and 2nd Reserve Jäger Battalions were joined to form the Royal Bavarian 1st Jäger Regiment. The Prussian 10th, 10th Reserve and 14th Reserve Jäger Battalions were also joined together, forming the 2nd Jäger Regiment.

These units, along with the elite Royal Bavarian Infantry Lifeguards Regiment and the Bavarian Army Bodyguard Regiment, became the core of the Alpenkorps. They were provided with additional artillery, machine gun and other support units.

The Alpenkorps was officially founded on May 18, 1915 with Bavarian Generalleutnant Konrad Krafft von Dellmensingen as its commander. Bavarian Generalmajor Ludwig Ritter von Tutschek and Prussian Generalmajor Ernst von Below were appointed as his Jäger Brigade commanders.

Alpine Corps - Order of Battle in May 1915

  • 1st Jäger Brigade
    • 1st Bavarian Jäger Bodyguard Infantry Regiment
  • 2nd Jäger Brigade
    • 2nd Jäger Regiment
    • 3rd Jäger Regiment

Army Troops

  • 203 Field Artillery Regiment
  • 201 Mountain Machine Gun Detachment
  • 202 Mountain Machine Gun Detachment
  • 205 Mountain Machine Gun Detachment
  • 209 Mountain Machine Gun Detachment

Although titled as the Alpine Corps, its size and classification was realistically that of a Division within the German Army.

 Corps structure  Alpine Corps (Alpenkorps)

Divisional Order of Battle - changes in 1916

Army Troops

Artillery changed to 2 Mountain Field Artillery Company formed from Detachments of 187, 203 and 204 Field Artillery Regiments

Engineering and Liaison

  • 102 Pioneer Company
  • 105 Pioneer Company
  • 106 Pioneer Company
  • 175 Trench Mortar Company
  • Cyclist Battalion (dissolved in June 1916)

 Corps structure  Alpine Corps (Alpenkorps)

Order of Battle - 1917

1st Bavarian Jäger Brigade

  • Bodyguard Infantry Regiment
  • 1st Bavarian Jäger Regiment
  • 2nd Jäger Regiment

Army Troops


  • 203 Field Artillery Regiment - 1 Abteil (Company)
  • 6 Mountain Artillery Abteil

Engineers and Liaison

  • 102 Pioneer Company
  • 283 Pioneer Company
  • 175 Trench Mortar Company
  • 204 Bavarian Trench Mortar Company
  • 102 Bavarian Searchlight Section
  • 622 Telephone Detachment
  • 88 Divisional Wireless Detachment

    Medical and Veterinary

    • 201 Ambulance Company
    • 239 Ambulance Company
    • 202 Field Hospital
    • 203 Field Hospital
    • 18 Bavarian Field Hospital
    • Veterinary Hospital


    • 444 Motor Transport Column
    • 695 Motor Transport Column
    • 790 Motor Transport Column

     Corps structure  Alpine Corps (Alpenkorps)

    Changes to Order of Battle in 1918

    Infantry Brigade - no change


    3 Squadron, 4th Bavarian Cavalry Regiment.

    7 Artillery Command

    • 204 Field Artillery Regiment
    • 1 Abteil - 1st Bavarian Reserve Foot Artillery Regiment
    • 1 Abteil - 6th Mountain Artillery (Staff + 1,2 and 17 Batteries)
    • 1401 Light Ammunition Column
    • 1402 Light Ammunition Column
    • 1403 Light Ammunition Column

    Engineering and Liaison

    • 9th Bavarian Pioneer Battalion
    • 102 Pioneer Company
    • 283 Pioneer Company
    • 175 Trench Mortar Company
    • 102 Searchlight Section
    • 622 Signal Command
    • 622 Telephone Detachment
    • 133 Bavarian Wireless Detachment

    Medical and Veterinary

    • 201 Ambulance Company
    • 239 Ambulance Company
    • 201 Field Hospital
    • 44 Bavarian Field Hospital
    • 18 Bavarian Field Hospital


    695 Bavarian Motor Transport Company

     Allied Intelligence evaluation 1917  Alpine Corps (Alpenkorps)

    Recruiting and Value - 1917 Estimate.

    The Leib Regiment and the 1st Regiment of Jaegers are Bavarian, recruited principally from upper Bavaria. The 2nd Regiment of Jaegers is purely Prussian.

    Value - 1917 Estimate.

    The discipline and firmness of the commanding officers make the Alpine Corps an elite body, of genuine combat value.

     Allied Intelligence evaluation 1918  Alpine Corps (Alpenkorps)

    Value - 1918 Estimate.

    The Alpine Corps was considered one of the best German units. It showed its worth by retaking the village of Flallu on the l1th of August, and while counterattacking at Foislains on the 2nd September. Nevertheless, the morale was lowered. The Alpine Corps comprised about 3,500 Infantry combatants early in August 1918. It lost about 700 prisoners in August and September.

     Outline History WW1  Alpine Corps (Alpenkorps)

    Outline of main locations 1915 to 1918

    First campaigns in the Dolomites and France

    Although Germany and Italy were not at war until 1916, the Alpenkorps was immediately dispatched to reinforce the thinly occupied front line in the Dolomite mountains. It did not undertake offensive actions, but defended the front against repeated attacks by the Italian Alpini until Austria was able to extract enough forces from the eastern war theatre and relocate them to the new front. The unit had an air arm, which was FFA 9, flying Pfalz Parasol aircraft. After four months, the Alpenkorps returned briefly to the Western Front, as now the Austrian defenders were sufficient in numbers and entrenched enough to hold the front on their own. The Austrian Kaiserschützen honored the men of the Alpenkorps by awarding them their unit insignia: the Edelweiss.


    After only a week in France and the Dolomites, the Alpenkorps was sent to fight in the Serbian Campaign.


    The Alpenkorps returned to France in March 1916. After a short respite, it entered into the Battle of Verdun in June 1916. The regiments of the Alpenkorps lost over 70% of their strength in the fighting around Fort Vaux and Fleury.

    After leaving the line, the regiments were reconstituted, and in mid-July 1916 the 3rd Jäger Regiment was transferred from the division. The 2nd Brigade headquarters was eliminated and the Alpenkorps became a triangular division with 1st Brigade controlling the other two Jäger regiments and the Infanterie-Leib-Regiment.


    Romania entered the war on the side of the Entente on August 27, 1916. In September, the Alpenkorps was dispatched to fight in the Romanian Campaign. The Infanterie-Leib-Regiment suffered a number of losses in the mountain fighting in Romania, including one of its most prominent members, Prince Heinrich of Bavaria, a major and battalion commander. The Alpenkorps remained in Romania until April 1917 and then again returned to the Western Front. In August 1917, the Alpenkorps returned to Romania and participated in the final battles there in the wake of the Kerensky Offensive.


    In September 1917, the Alpenkorps was sent once more to the Italian Front to reinforce the Austrian Army for the upcoming 12th Battle of the Isonzo. By this point, the Royal Württemberg mountain battalion had been attached to the division, and one of its members, the later-Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, would distinguish himself at Caporetto in November. Another company commander who distinguished himself at Caporetto, the Infanterie-Leib-Regiment's Ferdinand Schörner, would also rise to Field Marshal in World War II.


    The Alpenkorps returned to the Western Front in 1918. It participated in the Battle of the Lys in April and fought in the Battle of Picardy in the Hundred Days Offensive.

    In October, it returned to the Balkans, where it was at the time of the Armistice.


    The Alpenkorps was dissolved after the end of hostilities, but the traditions of its constituent regular units were carried on in the Reichswehr and then the Wehrmacht. The Edelweiss became the symbol of the German Gebirgsjäger. Although the Bundeswehr does not formally carry the traditions of any pre-1945 units, the Gebirgsjäger continued to wear the Edelweiss cap badge and informally maintain the traditions of the Alpenkorps.

    1st May 1915 Formation and history  Alpine Corps (Alpenkorps)

    The Alpine Corps was formed in May, 1915.

    Italy 1915.

    At the end of May 1915, it was sent by way of Innsbruck to the Trentino area, where it remained until the 16th October in the vicinity of Campitello. It took part in several smaller actions particularly on the 24th September.

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    Alpine Corps

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