XXXXI Panzer Corps
Coat of Arms XXXXI Pz.K. (Dec 1941)
|Active||05 February 1940 - 08 May 1945|
|Engagements||World War II|
Formation and actions
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 June 1941, the XXXXI Panzer Corps was deployed on the Eastern Front for Operation Barbarossa, 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 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 destroyed in March.
- Lieutenant General Georg-Hans Reinhardt - 5 February 1940 - 5 October 1941
- Lieutenant General Otto-Ernst Ottenbacher - 5 October - 1 November 1941
- General of Panzer Troops Walther Model - 1 November 1941 - 10 January 1942
- General of Panzer Troops Josef Harpe - 10 January 1942 - 15 October 1943
- General of Artillery Helmuth Weidling - 15 October 1943 - 19 June 1944
- Lieutenant-General Edmund Hoffmeister - 19 June - 1 July 1944
- General of Artillery Helmuth Weidling - 1 July 1944 - 10 April 1945
- Lieutenant-General Wend von Wietersheim - 10 April - 19 April 1945
- Lieutenant-General Rudolf Holste - 19 April - 8 May 1945
References & Sources
- Clark, Lloyd, Kursk: The Greatest Battle: Eastern Front 1943, 2011, page 120,476
- Steven H Newton (2003) 'Panzer Operations - The Eastern Front Memoirs of General Raus 1941-1941' Da Capo Press p9
- Steven H Newton (2003) 'Panzer Operations - The Eastern Front Memoirs of General Raus 1941-1941' Da Capo Press p14-34
- Mitcham 2000, p. 265.