Every officer had to serve at least 3 years in th "frontline" before he could apply for the War Academy.
There they took around 1910 the best 120 Lt / 1st Lt per Year. You had 4 times a chance to apply.
After the 3 years in the War Academy the General staff took the best 20 of a year to a 2-3 years command to the General staff. The best ones from them were taken directly over after their command and promoted to Captain.
The other ones who did not qualify for the General staff went normally in the Adjutant service, Division and later Corps level.
Nearly all the General staffers and Adjutants served as well for a time in nearly every level of frontline service like their "mortal" colleagues. Every Captain got Company, every Major a Bataillon, every Colonel a Regiment and a Major General a brigade.
The higher promotions are quite easy. You did not have to serve until whatever retirement age as it is nowadays in Germany, You could always retire with the pension You earned until then.
The big mass of frontline officers retired as Captain or Major after around 25 Years of service.
For the frontline guys who stayed in I would say 6-8 years as Major, 3-4 as Half-Colonel, 2 as full Colonel.
General staffer got promoted around 2 years earlier to LtCol and maybe 1 year earlier to Col.
From that grade it could go very fast, all 2 years a promotion until the rank of General der Infanterie / Artillerie / Kavallerie.
This rank could easily last for 8 Years and was regularly the end of th line. There are just a handful of guys who made Generaloberst or Field Marshal.
Edited by Daniel Krause, 03 May 2008 - 13:44 .