VII Corps (United States)
- For the VII Corps of the Union Army during the American Civil War, see VII Corps (ACW).
Shoulder sleeve insignia of VII Corps
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Army|
|Nickname||The Jayhawk Corps|
|Engagements||World War I
World War II
*Battle of Normandy
*Battle of Hurtgen Forest
War in Southwest Asia
|Frederick M. Franks, Jr.|
|Distinctive unit insignia|
|U.S. Corps (1939 - Present)|
|VI Corps (United States)||VIII Corps (United States)|
The VII Corps of the United States Army was one of the two principal corps of the United States Army Europe during the Cold War. Activated in 1918 for World War I, it was reactivated for World War II and again during the Cold War. During both World War II and the Cold War it was subordinate to the Seventh Army, or USAREUR and was headquartered at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, West Germany, from 1951 until it was redeployed to the US and inactivated in 1992.
World War I
World War II
VII Corps was reactivated at Fort McClellan, Alabama 25 November 1940 and participated in the Louisiana Maneuvers staged as the US Army prepared for World War II. In late December 1941, VII Corps HQ was moved to San Jose, California as part of the Western Defense Command and as it continued to train and prepare for deployment. Its first return to continental Europe took place on D-Day in 1944, as one of the two assault corps for US First Army during Operation Overlord, targeting Utah Beach via amphibious assault. For Overlord, the 101st Airborne and 82nd Airborne Divisions were attached to VII Corps. After the Normandy Campaign the Airborne units were assigned to the newly created XVIII Airborne Corps. Subsequently, the unit participated in many battles during the advance across France and Germany until the surrender of the Third Reich. The corps was inactivated in 1946.
Battle of Normandy
For the Normandy Operation, VII Corps was part of 21st Army Group under the command of Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery and the First Army commanded by Maj. Gen. Courtney Hodges. The Corps was commanded by Maj. Gen. J. Lawton Collins.
Assigned Units and Commanders
- 6th Armored Group, Col. Francis F. Fainter
Battle casualties, 6 June – 1 July 1944
|4th Inf Division||5,452||844||3,814||788||6|
|9th Inf Division||5,438||301||2,061||76||0|
|79th Inf Division||2,438||240||1,896||240||0|
|90th Inf Division||2,376||386||1,979||34||0|
|82d A/B Div.||4,480||457||1,440||2,571||12|
|101st A/B Div.||4,670||546||2,217||1,907||0|
Source: VII Corps, G-1 Reports, June 1944
VII Corps led the initial assault of Operation Cobra, the First United States Army-led offensive as part of the breakout of the Normandy area. Its success is credited with changing the war in France from high-intensity infantry combat to rapid maneuver warfare.
From reactivation in 1950 and throughout the Cold War, the corps guarded part of NATO's front with the Warsaw Pact. Headquartered in Stuttgart at Kelley Barracks it was one of the two main US combat formations in Germany along with V Corps, which was headquartered in Frankfurt am Main at Abrams Building. At the end of the Cold War, VII Corps would have commanded the following units in case of war:
- VII Corps, Stuttgart
- 1st Armored Division, Ansbach
- 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Riley, Kansas, OPERATION REFORGER unit. POMCUS Set 1 depots at Mannheim
- 1st Canadian Infantry Division (Mechanized), Kingston, Ontario
- 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), Würzburg
- 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Nürnberg
- VII Corps Artillery, Stuttgart
- 11th Combat Aviation Brigade, Illesheim
- 7th Engineer Brigade, Kornwestheim
- 14th Military Police Brigade, Ludwigsburg
- 2nd Support Command, Nellingen
- 207th Military Intelligence Brigade, Ludwigsburg
- 38th Infantry Division (National Guard), Indianapolis, Indiana
- 602nd Air Support Operations Group, USAF  Stuttgart
After Saddam Hussein's troops invaded Kuwait in 1990, the corps was deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of the second major wave of deployments of American forces. Its presence took US forces in theatre from a force capable of defending Saudi Arabia to a force capable of ejecting Iraqi troops from Kuwait.
In the Gulf War, VII Corps was probably the most powerful formation of its type ever to take to the battlefield. Normally, a corps commands three divisions when at full strength, along with other units such as artillery of various types, corps-level engineers and support units. However, VII Corps had far more firepower under its command.
Its principal full strength fighting formations were U.S. 1st Armored Division, U.S. 3rd Armored Division and U.S. 1st Infantry Division. In addition, the corps had U.S. 2nd Cavalry Regiment to act as a scouting force, and two further heavy divisions; US 1st Cavalry Division and British 1st Armoured Division, as well as the U.S. 11th Aviation Group. Although both 1st Cavalry Division and 1st Armoured Division had only two maneuver brigades, they were still immensely powerful formations in their own right.
VII corps was originally deployed to give the CinC an offensive option if needed. In the 100 hour war they were given a force mission: To wipe out the Iraqi Republican Guards Heavy Divisions. That meant that the 1st Infantry Division had to make a forced entry to make room for the British attack on the right wing and to secure the main forces advance on the left. That attack force was led by the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment followed by the 1st Armored Division and the 3rd Armored Division. That main force was later joined by the 1st Infantry Division after they had completed their breach. That gave VII Corps commander General Frederick M. Franks, Jr. a three division strike force to confront several Iraqi Armored Divisions. After the corp had turned 90 degrees east according to FRAGPLAN 7 and after the Cavalry Regiment had fought the single sided Battle of 73 Easting the three Divisions (plus the British on the right wing) fought one of the most one sided battles in the history of the US Army.
VII Corps cut a swathe through Iraqi forces. It advanced with U.S. XVIII Airborne Corps on its left wing and Arab forces on its right wing. It pulverized all Iraqi forces that tried to stand and fight and destroyed a good proportion of the Iraqi Republican Guard divisions. A ceasefire was called before the destruction of the Republican Guard units could be completed.
VII Corps' attack cost about a hundred US and British soldiers' lives. But it destroyed several divisions including the Medina and the Tawalkna Republican Guards division along with support units. It also destroyed most of the Iraqi VII Corps that had guarded the frontline as well as other units. The attack was one of the most single sided battles in history of warfare. The Battle of 73 Easting was studied as a textbook armored battle in the US armored units.
Redeployment and inactivation
After the fighting was over, most VII Corps units were redeployed directly to the United States for reassignment or inactivation. VII Corps HQ returned to Germany and was disbanded as part of the post-Cold War American defense spending cuts. Some VII Corps units remained in Germany and were reassigned to V Corps or USAREUR. A farewell ceremony was held in downtown Stuttgart at Schlossplatz, where the VII Corps colors were retired on March 18, 1992. The official inactivation was held at Fort McPherson, Ga., in April 1992.
Commanders during the Cold War and Gulf War
- Maj. Gen. Withers A. Burress - June 1951 - December 1952
- Maj. Gen. James M. Gavin - December 1952 - March 1954
- Lt. Gen. Henry I. Hodes - March 1954 - February 1955
- Lt. Gen. George H. Decker - February 1955 - May 1956
- Maj. Gen. Halley G. Maddox - June - July 1956
- Lt. Gen. John F. Uncles - August 1956 - August 1958
- Lt. Gen. Gordon B. Rogers - September 1958 - October 1959
- Lt. Gen. Guy S. Meloy, Jr. - October 1959 - January 1961
- Lt. Gen. John C. Oakes - January 1961 - April 1962
- Lt. Gen. C. H. Bonesteel III - April 1962 - August 1963
- Lt. Gen. Louis W. Truman - September 1963 - July 1965
- Lt. Gen. Frank T. Mildren - July 1965 - May 1968
- Lt. Gen. Donald V. Bennett - June 1968 - September 1969
- Lt. Gen. George G. O'Connor - October 1969 - February 1971
- Lt. Gen. Fillmore K. Mearns - February 1971- March 1973
- Lt. Gen. George S. Blanchard - March 1973 - June 1975
- Lt. Gen. Frederick J. Kroesen - July 1975 - October 1976
- Lt. Gen. David E. Ott - October 1976 - October 1978
- Lt. Gen. Julius W. Becton, Jr. - October 1978 - June 1981
- Lt. Gen. William J. Livsey - June 1981 - July 1983
- Lt. Gen. John R. Galvin - July 1983 - February 1985
- Lt. Gen. Andrew P. Chambers - February 1985 - July 1987
- Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Watts - July 1987 - August 1989
- Lt. Gen. Frederick M. Franks Jr. - August 1989 - June 1991
- Lt. Gen. Michael Spiglemire - August 1991 - 1992 (Inactivation)
- "Mission Accomplished Story of the VII Corps". Xixcorps.nl. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- "VII Corps in WWII". Vii-corps.org. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- "VII Corps in WWII". Vii-corps.org. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- "USAREUR Units & Kasernes, 1945 - 1989". Usarmygermany.com. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- Clancy, Tom (2007). Into The Storm: A Study in Command. Berkley Trade.
- Ryan, John (May 1998). Battle Command in the Storm: Lieutenant General Franks and VII Corps. School of Advanced Military Studies United States Army Command and General Staff College.
Casey, Melanie (13 July 2004), "From Helenen Kaserne to Kelley Barracks", Stuttgart Citizen (Stuttgart, Germany): P 10