I SS Panzer Corps

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I SS Panzer Corps
S SS-Pz Abt 101.jpg
Unit insignia
Active 27 July 1943 – 8 May 1945
Country  Germany
Allegiance Adolf Hitler
Branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Type Panzer corps
Role Armoured warfare
Size Corps

World War II

SS-Oberstgruppenführer Josef Dietrich
SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Kraemer
SS-Obergruppenführer Georg Keppler
SS-Obergruppenführer Hermann Priess
Corps Insignia S SS-Pz Abt 101.jpg

The I SS Panzer Corps Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler or I SS Panzer Corps (German: I.SS-Panzerkorps) was a German Waffen-SS panzer corps which saw action on both the Western and Eastern Fronts during World War II.

Formation and training[edit]

The corps was raised on 26 July 1943 in Berlin-Lichterfeld, with initial mustering taking place on the Truppenübungsplatz at Beverloo, in occupied Belgium.[1] The formation resulted in SS-Obergruppenführer Paul Hausser's existing (unnumbered) SS Panzer Corps being renamed to II SS Panzer Corps. SS-Obergruppenführer Josef "Sepp" Dietrich, previously in charge of the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, was the corps' first commander. The Leibstandarte division's symbol was a skeleton key, in honour of Dietrich (Dietrich is German for skeleton key or lock pick), and it was retained and modified to serve as the Corps' symbol.[citation needed]

In August 1943, the corps was transferred to Meran in Italy, where it took part in operations to disarm Italian troops. After the completion of this, the Corps continued its training, being sporadically engaged in anti-partisan operations in northern Italy. By December 1943, the Corps was fully formed and deemed ready for action, and its HQ was set up in Brussels.[citation needed]

Operational history[edit]

Western Front: Normandy[edit]

In April 1944, the corps was moved to Septeuil, to the west of Paris, where it was assigned the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend, Panzer-Lehr-Division and the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen. The corps was to form a part of General Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg's Panzer Group West, the Western theatre's armoured reserve. During this time, the corps was granted the honorary title Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler.

With the launch of Operation Overlord and the allied invasion of France on 6 June 1944, the corps was ordered to Falaise. The Hitlerjugend engaged British and Canadian troops to the north of Caen on 8 June. The corps was tasked with holding the area of Caen and saw heavy fighting around the villages of Authie, Buron and the airport at Carpiquet.[2]

After the launch of the American Operation Cobra, which decimated the Panzer Lehr, the Corps was ordered to take part in Operation Lüttich, the abortive counter-offensive towards Avranches.[3] The remnants of the Corps were caught in the Falaise Pocket, where they fought hard to keep open an escape corridor for the trapped German forces, losing virtually all their armour and materiel in the process. After the fall of the Falaise pocket and the collapse of the front, the Corps took part in the fighting withdrawal to the Franco-German border.[4]

Battle of the Bulge[edit]

In early October 1944, the Corps was pulled back from the front line for rest and refit in Westfalen. Refitting was complete by early December, and it was ordered to the Ardennes region to join Sepp Dietrich's Sixth SS Panzer Army, in preparation for an offensive codenamed Wacht Am Rhein, and the ensuing Battle of the Bulge.

The Corps played a major role in the battle with Kampfgruppe Peiper of the Leibstandarte division forming the spearhead.[citation needed] After several weeks heavy fighting, and with severely limited fuel supplies, the Corps was exhausted.[5][dead link] The offensive was called off, and the Corps, together with the whole of Dietrich's Army, was moved to Hungary.

Eastern Front: Hungary[edit]

The German forces began Operation Frühlingserwachen on 6 March 1945. The Corps, which formed the left flank of Dietrich's assault, was soon bogged down by mud and, despite initial gains, the attack was soon halted by intense Soviet opposition. The Corps fell back in an attempt to support the IV SS Panzer Corps, which was to their left and engaged in heavy action near Stuhlweissenberg.[citation needed] On 15 March, the Soviets launched the Vienna offensive, which split the lines of the neighbouring German Sixth Army and forced the entire southern front to retreat towards Vienna. The Corps retreated through Hungary and Austria and surrendered to the American forces on 8 May 1945.[citation needed]


Orders of battle[edit]

6 June 1944 (Normandy)[edit]

16 December 1944 (Battle of the Bulge)[edit]

6 March 1945 (Operation Frühlingserwachen)[edit]


  1. ^ Reynolds 2007, p. 16.
  2. ^ Milner, Marc, "Stopping the Panzers: Reassessing the Role of 3rd Canadian Infantry Division in Normandy, 7-10 June 1944.", Journal Of Military History 74.2 (2010): 491-522. Academic Search Complete. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
  3. ^ Kingseed, Cole, "Operation Cobra: Prelude to breakout", Military Review 74.7 (1994): 64. Academic Search Complete. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
  4. ^ Reardon, Mark, "Hell in the Hedgerows", World War II 20.8 (2005): 30-38. History Reference Center. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
  5. ^ Winton, Harold, "The Battle of the Bulge", Military Review 75.1 (1994): 107. History Reference Center. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.


  • Reynolds, Michael. Men of Steel: I SS Panzer Corps: The Ardennes and Eastern Front
  • Reynolds, Michael. (2007). Steel Inferno: I SS Panzer Corps in Normandy. Spellmount Books. ISBN 978-1-86227-410-5.

External links[edit]

McTaggart, Pat, "Desperate panzer counterattack at Debrecen", World War II 11.7 (1997): 42. Retrieved 4 December 2015.