I Corps (United Kingdom)


I Corps (United Kingdom)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=I Corps


caption=
dates=World War I
World War II
Cold War 1951-1994
country=United Kingdom
allegiance=
branch=Army
type=Field corps
role=
size=
command_structure=
current_commander=
garrison=
ceremonial_chief=
colonel_of_the_regiment=
nickname=
patron=
motto=
colors=
march=
mascot=
battles=
notable_commanders=
anniversaries=

The I Corps was a military formation, specifically a field corps headquarters of the British Army. The corps was in existence during various periods as an active formation in the British Army for 80 years, longer than any other corps.

World War I

During World War I it was part of the original British Expeditionary Force, under the command of Sir Douglas Haig, and remained on the Western Front throughout the war. It fought at the Battle of Mons in 1914 and alongside the Canadian Corps at the Battle of Hill 70, as well in many other large battles of World War I.

World War II

During World War II, I Corps' first assignment was again to the British Expeditionary Force where it was commanded by General Dill. Along with virtually the whole of that force, it was evacuated from Dunkirk after the Germans broke through Allied lines. I Corps then remained in the United Kingdom until the landings in Normandy for Operation Overlord, where, along with XXX Corps, it was a spearhead corps of Second Army of 21st Army Group. After fighting for two months around Caen, the Corps was subordinated on 1 August 1944 to First Canadian Army for the remainder of the Normandy campaign [Hart, Stephen "Road To Falaise", Sutton Publishing (2004), p.19] and the subsequent operations in the Low Countries and Germany until April 1, 1945, [Williams, Mary H., compiler (1958). "U. S. Army in World War II, Chronology 1941-1945", p. 466. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office.] . I Corps Headquarters then took over administration of 21st Army Group's logistics area around the port of Antwerp, Belgium until the end of the war. During the North-West Europe campaign it was under the command of Lieutenant General John Crocker.

Composition of I Corps in World War II

1944 [Ellis, p.181]
As of 6 June 1944
*3rd Infantry Division
*Canadian 3rd Infantry Division
*6th Airborne Division

As of 7 July 1944
*3rd Infantry Division
*Canadian 3rd Infantry Division
*51st (Highland) Infantry Division
*59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division
*6th Airborne Division

As of 1 August 1944 (now part of First Canadian Army)
*51st (Highland) Infantry Division
*6th Airborne Division (returns to UK 3rd September 1944)
*49th (West Riding) Infantry Division

British Army of the Rhine

After the defeat of Germany, 21st Army Group became the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), and I Corps was transformed into a corps district, with an administrative, rather than combat, role. It was disbanded in 1947.

However, in October 1951 the corps was reactivated to become the principal combat element of the BAOR, with its HQ based in Bielefeld. In March 1952, following the reactivation of 6th Armoured Division, its component formations were:
*2nd Infantry Division
*6th Armoured Division
*7th Armoured Division
*11th Armoured Division

Included as part of this was Canada's contribution to the NATO land forces in Germany. A Canadian mechanised brigade remained part of BAOR until 1970.

In a following 1958-60 reorganisation the Corps was formed into three mixed armour/infantry divisions including five brigade groups, which were in 1965 brought together into three centralised divisions. With the end of National Service manpower across the whole of BAOR dropped from around 77,000 to 55,000.

In the late 1970s the Corps was reorganised as four small five battle group armoured divisions plus a roughly brigade sized infantry 'Field Force'. It then comprised:
*1st Armoured Division
*2nd Armoured Division
*3rd Armoured Division
*4th Armoured Division
*5th Field Force

Following the 1981-3 reorganisation, the Corps consisted of 1st and 4th Armoured Divisions, which would have manned the front line against the anticipated attack by the Soviet 3rd Shock Army, plus in an in-depth, reserve role the 3rd Armoured Division and finally the 2nd Infantry Division which was tasked with rear-area security.

*1st Armoured Division
**7th Armoured Brigade
**12th Armoured Brigade
**22nd Armoured Brigade
*3rd Armoured Division (HQ St. Sebastian Barracks, Soest)
**4th Armoured Brigade
**6th Armoured Brigade
**19th Infantry Brigade (in UK)
*4th Armoured Division
**11th Armoured Brigade
**20th Armoured Brigade
**33rd Armoured Brigade
*2nd Infantry Division
**15th Infantry Brigade
**24th Infantry Brigade
**49th Infantry Brigade
*Artillery Division (HQ Ripon Barracks, Bielefeld)

With the end of the Cold War, I (BR) Corps was redesignated in 1992 as a NATO Rapid Reaction Corps under SACEUR and renamed as Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps. HQ ARRC moved to Rheindahlen in 1994.

General Officers Commanding-in-Chief

"This list is incomplete"
*Lieutenant-General Sir D. Haig, (1914)
*Lieutenant-General Sir H. de la P. Gough, (1916)
*General Sir John Dill, (1939-1940)
*Lieutenant-General Michael Barker, (1940)
*Lieutenant-General Harold Alexander, (1940)
*Lieutenant-General Lawrence Carr, (1940-1941)
*Lieutenant-General Henry Beresford Dennitts Willcox, (1941-1942)
*Lieutenant-General Frederick Morgan, (1942-1943)
*Lieutenant-General Stanley George Savige, (1943-1944)
*Lieutenant-General John Crocker, (1944-1945)
*Lieutenant-General Sir S.C. Kirkman, (1945)
*Lieutenant-General Gwilym Ivor Thomas, (1945-1947)
*Lieutenant-General A.D. Ward, (1951-1952)
*Lieutenant-General A.J.H. Cassels, (1953-1954)
*Lieutenant-General Sir R.E. Goodwin, (1963-1966)
*Lieutenant-General Sir M.A.H. Butler, (1968-1970)
*Lieutenant-General Sir J.A.T. Sharp, (1970-1971)
*Lieutenant-General Sir R.C. Gibbs, (1972-1974)
*Lieutenant-General Sir J.W. Harman, (1974-1976)
*Lieutenant-General Sir R.E. Worsley, (1976-1978)
*Lieutenant-General Sir N.T. Bagnall, (1980-1983)
*Lieutenant-General Sir B.L.G. Kenny, (1985-1987)
*Lieutenant-General Sir P.A. Inge, (1987-1989)
*Lieutenant-General Sir C.R.L. Guthrie, (1989-1991)
*Lieutenant-General Jeremy John George Mackenzie, (1991-1992)

References, Bibliography and Sources

*http://www.regiments.org/formations/uk-cmdarmy/os-baor.htm
*http://www.geocities.com/littlegreenmen.geo/1980.htm?200521 - late 70s-82 order of battle
*http://www.geocities.com/littlegreenmen.geo/1989.htm?200521 - 1989 order of battle
*David Isby & Charles Kamps Jr, Armies of NATO's Central Front, Jane's Publishing Company, 1985, p.256-258.

*Ellis, John. "The World War II Databook". BCA Publishing, 2003. CN 1185599
*Public Record Office, WO 171/258-260, I Corps HQ War Diaries, January - December 1944


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