XXXXI Panzer Corps

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Plate from 5. 2. 1940
July - December 1941
Coat of Arms XXXXI Pz.K. (Dec 1941)

XXXXI Panzer Corps (also written: Panzer Korps 41 or XLI Panzer Corps[1] ) was a tank corps in the German Army (Wehrmacht Heer) during World War II.

Formation and actions[edit]

The corps was originally formed, as the XXXXI Corps, on 5 February 1940 in Wehrkreis VIII (Silesia) as "Armeekorps (mot)". Reorganised as a Panzer Corps, it was known as the XXXXI Panzer Corps and was commanded by General Georg-Hans Reinhardt. In the May 1940 Battle of France, the XXXXI Panzer Corps was one of the three Panzerkorps that broke through the Ardennes in the Battle of Sedan and drove west to the sea at Abbeville. In late 1940, Reinhardt and XXXXI Panzer Corps were designated to participate in Operation Sea Lion, the proposed invasion of Great Britain. Reinhardt's force was to be in the first landing wave. However, the operation never occurred.

In June 1941, the XXXXI Panzer Corps was deployed on the Eastern Front for Operation Barbarossa,[2] the invasion of the Soviet Union. It defeated the Soviet 3rd Mechanised & 12th Mechanised Corps in the Battle of Raseiniai in late June, which destroyed more than 300 Soviet tanks[3] and led the advance of Army Group North to the outskirts of Leningrad in October.

It was reorganised in 1942, becoming part of the Second Panzer Army of Army Group Centre. The XXXXI Panzer Corps fought at Bely, in the anti-partisan operations at Nikitinka, Yartsevo, Vyazma, and Dukhovshchina.

In March 1943, the corps fought at Smolensk, Kromy, and Bryansk. In April 1943, it fought in Sevsk, Trubchersk, and Ponyri. Later, the XXXXI Panzer Corps fought at the Battle of Kursk. During this period it transferred several times between the Ninth and Second Panzer Armies.

In June / July 1944 the corps was almost destroyed during the Soviet summer offensive, Operation Bagration, and required complete rebuilding. As part of the reconstructed Fourth Army, it faced the East Prussian Offensive during January 1945. After a week of heavy fighting its divisions were trapped in the Heiligenbeil pocket on the Baltic coast, where they were eventually destroyed in March.

In common with several other of the Wehrmacht 'Panzer Corps', the XXXXI Panzer Corps only periodically had an actual panzer division in its establishment, and was generally composed of several standard infantry divisions along with artillery and support units.

Commanders[edit]

References & Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Clark, Lloyd, Kursk: The Greatest Battle: Eastern Front 1943, 2011, page 120,476
  2. ^ Steven H Newton (2003) 'Panzer Operations - The Eastern Front Memoirs of General Raus 1941-1941' Da Capo Press p9
  3. ^ Steven H Newton (2003) 'Panzer Operations - The Eastern Front Memoirs of General Raus 1941-1941' Da Capo Press p14-34
  4. ^ Samuel W. Mitcham Jr (2000) 'The Panzer Legions' Stackpole Books p265
  5. ^ Samuel W. Mitcham Jr (2000) 'The Panzer Legions' Stackpole Books p265
  6. ^ Samuel W. Mitcham Jr (2000) 'The Panzer Legions' Stackpole Books p265
  • "[1]". German language article at www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
  • Samuel W. Mitcham Jr (2000) 'The Panzer Legions' Stackpole Books ISBN 0-8117-3353-X