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Military symbol of NATO for Corps

A corps [ koːɐ̯ ] ( French corps , "body (shank)"; from Latin corpus , "body") is a large formation of the army made up of several divisions or brigades and additional corps troops . It consists of several branches of arms and today comprises 40,000 to 80,000 soldiers. Today, corps are sometimes only operational planning and command staff, mostly, as in NATO, made up of several nations, which only lead around two to three divisions when necessary. A corps is led by a commanding general with the rank of lieutenant general , in Switzerland corps commander . The main superordinate group of a corps is the army , the subordinate group is the division . The corps supports the large units under its command with corps troops. But corps can also immediately an army group , be English Army Group, assumed or army group .


Before 1945

Commanding general

Originally, the term corps could designate any large formation of special units (e.g. expeditionary corps ).

The modern division into army corps , however, has its origins with Napoleon Bonaparte . In 1805, before the Ulm campaign , he was the first in the war in the camp of Boulogne to assemble several divisions under the command of a marshal as a corp . There were infantry corps from several infantry divisions as well as a cavalry and an artillery reserve and cavalry corps from several cavalry divisions .

The army corp was then adopted by all European armies as a permanent peace association . In Prussia it was introduced by the Highest Cabinet Order (AKO) of November 5, 1816 to increase readiness for war.

In Germany, the largest combat unit of an army that existed in peacetime was then combined into an army corps, and during the war several army corps were formed into one army. In the wars of 1866 ( German War ) and 1870/71 ( Franco-German War ), the advantages especially in terms of security and speed of deployment became so clear that soon all European countries set up army corps.

In the peace structure of the army until 1914, a German army corps usually consisted of two divisions and special weapons (hunters, foot artillery, pioneers, traffic troops, messenger riders, train). It was under the leadership of a commanding general with the rank of general of the infantry or cavalry , less often a lieutenant general . It was the highest military command post of the German army in peacetime, apart from army inspectors , who, however, had no authority to command. These were only allowed to carry out inspections. In the event of war, they were then designated as army commanders in chief . Each army corps had its own corps district in which it was responsible for recruitment, mobilization and military administration. The Prussian Guard Corps had a special position in the German Empire. It did not have its own recruiting district, but received its specially selected personnel replacement from all Prussian army corps districts.

The general command included the staff department , the adjutantage , the military directorate , a medical office , a high court , a Protestant and a Catholic military chief as well as a part-time (senior) rabbi , the corps staff veterinarian and a clothing office.

A mobile army corps was composed in a special way: it consisted of all types of troops and was equipped with administrative and medical authorities, transport troops, field post , field bakery , train, etc. in such a way that it was always capable of independent activity. It was typically divided into two (in some states three) infantry divisions. The assigned cavalry was usually a brigade of two regiments . In some countries the cavalry was consistently evenly distributed among the infantry divisions, see Division Cavalry . Assigning more than one cavalry brigade to the army corps during the war was only customary in the Russian army. Likewise, the artillery was almost always only partially assigned to the army corps, see divisional artillery . Mostly it was at the disposal of the corps command or was available as reserve artillery. Corps artillery was lacking in Germany; the general trained them if necessary. The tasks of the General Command in the home area were transferred to so-called Deputy General Command for the duration of a war .

In the war organization, a German army corps typically consisted of

  • two to three infantry divisions to two to three infantry brigades to two regiments of 3 battalions
  • partly a hunter battalion until 1918, from 1943 a fusilier battalion
  • of the division cavalry (one regiment (battalion strength) to 3 squadrons )
  • a field artillery brigade with two regiments with two divisions with three batteries
  • a corp telegraph department
  • the ammunition columns to two sections to two infantry and two artillery ammunition columns
  • the trains:
  • possibly heavy artillery of the field army (heavy howitzer and mortar batteries plus ammunition columns and trains as well as an observation department).

Altogether there were around 40,000 men, 12,000 horses, 144 guns and 2,000 vehicles, including the artillery. A mobile army corps had a length of about 30 km in normal marching order, 50 km with all trains and columns, and even 60 km with the distances between them. In Austria and Italy the strength of a mobile army corps was 28,000 men, in France 50,000 men, in Russia with two divisions 36,000 men, with three divisions 52,000 men.

In the Reichswehr there were two group commands instead of the corps (in Berlin and Kassel ). The seven military districts each served only one division as a supplementary district.

The army of the Wehrmacht had 13 (after the annexation of Austria in March 1938 15) military district commands in the peace structure , which formed general commands of army corps when mobilizing .

Federal Republic of Germany

In the Bundeswehr there were initially three German and the binational LANDJUT corps , and after German reunification initially four national corps and the binational LANDJUT corps. In the event of a defense, the corps of the NATO member states were subordinate to the integrated staffs of NATO , in Europe to the SHAPE , and were assigned to an army.

With the reorganization of the Bundeswehr after reunification and through the transformation , the German national corps were abolished as a management level, their staffs related to other tasks or converted into multinational corps. Today the corps are the main bearers of multinationality in the army and make a contribution to alliance integration. Its staffs and command support staff, which are always present, are able to provide headquarters for NATO and / or EU missions. Your divisions report only when necessary. The NATO corps are subordinate to the SHAPE . The corps with the participation of the Bundeswehr are / were:

designation resolution used for German part
I. (GE) Corps 1995 1st German-Dutch Corps consisting of a permanent German part
II Corps / II (GE / US) Corps 2005 Operational Leadership Command for intervention forces
III. (GE) Corps 1994 Army Command
IV. (GE) Corps 2001 Command of the Bundeswehr
HQ LANDJUT 1999 Multinational Corps North-East consisting of a permanent German part
Eurocorps - - consisting of a permanent German part
Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps - - consisting of German share if necessary
V. (US / GE) Corps 2013 -

The German participation fluctuates depending on the organizational type of the corps. Some of these corps are multinational corps under the leadership of a lead nation . With the exception of a few liaison officers, they are purely national and only use divisions of other nations when necessary. Examples of this were the V (US / GE) Corps or the II. (GE / US) Corps (the first-mentioned nation is lead nation ). Other corps such as the LANDJUT or the 1st German-Dutch Corps are, or were, run on an equal footing. The German units of multinational corps are subordinate to the army command .

Corps troops

  • Korpsfernmeldebataillon / Korpsfernmelderegiment with Fernmeldebataillon EloKa
    • Telecom company
  • Military Police Battalion
  • Corps artillery regiment with special weapons
  • Corps supply troops
  • Corps Engineer Regiment

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Corps  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Words and Customs in the German Army, Transfeldt - v. Brand - Quenstedt, 6th increased edition, Hamburg 11 HG Schulz 1967, p. 90 (§121) “… Army Corps”.