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The XXV Army Corps (German language: XXV. Armeekorps) was an army corps of Germany's Wehrmacht during World War II.

History[]

Formation[]

The XXV Army Corps was established as a reserve command staff in the Upper Rhine border region in 1938. This staff was mobilized as Generalkommando Oberrhein on 26 August 1939 and renamed XXV Army Corps on 17 September 1939. It was initially part of the 7th Army (Dollmann) under Army Group C (von Leeb), tasked with guarding the Franco-German border. The division remained in the Upper Rhine area until the Battle of France in June 1940.[1]

Occupation duty in France, 1940 – 1944[]

18 February 1944: Wilhelm Fahrmbacher (middle), commander of XXV Corps, next to Erwin Rommel (left), commander of Army Group B, in Saint-Nazaire.

After the Battle of France, the XXV Army Corps became part of the German occupation force in France. It served briefly under the 12th Army (Wilhelm List) between May and June 1940. Subsequently, the XXV Army Corps served a three-month tenure under the guidance of the 1st Army between September and November 1940. Under both the 12th and 1st Armies, the XXV Army Corps was on occupation duty in Eastern France. On the rearend of that service, the corps switched from Army Group C to Army Group D (Erwin von Witzleben, the OB West). Under Army Group D, the XXV Army Corps was reassigned to the 6th Army (von Reichenau), where it remained between December 1940 and April 1941. Under the 6th Army, the XXV Army Corps was redeployed from eastern France to the country's northwest.[1]

In May 1941, the XXV Army Corps returned to the control of its initial superior formation, the 7th Army (Dollmann). It would remain under the 7th Army until July 1944. The corps was moved to the Brittany region.[1] The corps headquarters were at Pontivy.[2][3]

On 24 April 1943, divisions under its command included the 94th Infantry Division at Quimperlé and the 76th Infantry Division at Redon.[2]

On 30 October 1943, Wilhelm Fahrmbacher received the German Cross in Silver for his service as the commander of XXV Army Corps.[4]

On 3 June 1944, just before the Allied invasion, the corps, still at Pontivy, oversaw the 275th Infantry Division at Redon, the 265th Infantry Division at Quimperlé, the 2nd Parachute Division at Quintin and the 343rd Infantry Division at Landerneau. On the northern cost of Brittany, the LXXIV Army Corps at Guingamp secured the XXV Army Corps' right.[3]

Western Front, 1944 – 1945[]

U.S. advance into Brittany, 1 – 12 August 1944

The Allied Normandy landings on 6 June 1944 re-opened the Western Front. The Allied attacks at the beaches Gold, Sword, Omaha, Utah and Juno in Normandy (Operation Neptune) attacked the positions of LXXXIV Army Corps, which stood to the right of LXXIV Army Corps, which was in turn the right neighbor of XXV Army Corps.[3]

The units of the XXV Army Corps were pushed into the Atlantic pockets at Brest, Lorient and Saint-Nazaire in August 1944 as a result of the Allied breakthrough from southwestern Normandy into Britanny (Operation Cobra). Beginning on 1 August 1944, the newly formed Twelfth U.S. Army Group pushed from Pontaubault into Brittany.[5] In total, the American force that pushed through the far end of the Allied right flank included four armored and eight infantry divisions.[6] The Allied forces reached Rennes at 1 August, Saint-Malo on 5 August and Brest on 6 August. Furthermore, a southward push by the 4th U.S. Armored Division from Rennes towards Saint-Nazaire and Nantes began on 3 August with the goal of cutting Brittany off any Axis reinforcements. The CCA of 4th Armored Division would take Nantes on 12 August. The XXV Army Corps had quickly retreated its forces into an area around Lorient, starting south of Pont-Scorff and reaching southeast all the wait to Quiberon Bay, including the Quiberon peninsula. Here, the CCB of 4th Armored Division makes first contact with the defenses of the XXV Army Corps on 7 August 1945 at 09:00.[5] Subsequently, the American siege units were content with allowing most of the German garrisons to remain in their pockets; only Brest and Saint-Malo fell under heavy immediate attack. Saint-Malo would fall by the 18 August 1945.[7]

The forces of the 2nd Parachute Division, 266th Infantry Division and 343rd Infantry Division, constituting most of the remains of the XXV Army Corps, were trapped in Brest, where they were defeated until 19 September 1944 in the Battle for Brest.

10 May 1945: General Fahrmbacher, commander of XXV Army Corps, surrenders at Lorient.

The Lorient fortress held out against the Allied siege until after the German surrender on 8 May 1945. The commander of XXV Army Corps Wilhelm Fahrmbacher surrendered the fortress on 10 May 1945.

Commanders[]

  • Alfred Wäger, corps commander from August 1939 to November 1939.
  • Karl Ritter von Prager, corps commander from November 1939 to May 1942.
  • Wilhelm Fahrmbacher, corps commander from May 1942 to June 1944 and again from June 1944 until surrender.
  • Dietrich von Choltitz, corps commander in June 1944. Later instrumental in the Liberation of Paris.

Organizational chart[]

Organizational chart of the XXV Army Corps[1]
Year Date Subordinate Divisions[8][9][10][11] Army Army Group Operational Area
1939 26 August None 7th Army Army Group C Upper Rhine
16 October 260th Infantry, 14th Landwehr, 78th Infantry, 215th Infantry
4 December 260th Infantry, 14th Landwehr, 95th Infantry, 96th Infantry
1940 17 January 260th Infantry, 205th Infantry, 212th Infantry, 246th Infantry
10 May 555th Infantry, 557th Infantry
9 June
21 July 260th Infantry, 23rd Infantry 12th Army Eastern France
1 August 215th Infantry, 73rd Infantry
13 September Großdeutschland, 73rd Infantry, 1st SS Panzer, 169th Infantry, 167th Infantry 1st Army
7 October
November Army Group D
12 December 290th Infantry, 211th Infantry, 61st Infantry 6th Army Northwestern France
1941 15 January
10 February 290th Infantry, 211th Infantry
12 March 205th Infantry, 211th Infantry
5 April
1 May 212th Infantry, 205th Infantry, 211th Infantry, 83rd Infantry 7th Army Brittany
5 June 709th Infantry, 332nd Infantry, 205th Infantry, 211th Infantry
1 July 712th Infantry, 205th Infantry, 211th Infantry, 709th Infantry
7 August
3 September
2 October 205th Infantry, 211th Infantry, 709th Infantry
4 November
4 December 327th Infantry, 205th Infantry, 211th Infantry, 709th Infantry
1942 2 January 205th Infantry, 211th Infantry, 335th Infantry, 709th Infantry
6 February 332nd Infantry, 305th Infantry, 335th Infantry, 709th Infantry
10 March
5 April 336th Infantry, 333rd Infantry, 305th Infantry, 335th Infantry, 709th Infantry
11 May 336th Infantry, 333rd Infantry, 335th Infantry, 709th Infantry
8 June 1st Parachute Panzer, 333rd Infantry, Panzerbrigade 100, 17th Infantry, 335th Infantry, 709th Infantry
4 July 333rd Infantry, 17th Infantry, 335th Infantry, 709th Infantry
5 August 337th Infantry, 333rd Infantry, 17th Infantry, 335th Infantry, 709th Infantry
2 September 6th Panzer, 1st Parachute Panzer, 709th Infantry, 337th Infantry, 335th Infantry, 333rd Infantry, 182nd Infantry, 17th Infantry
8 October 6th Panzer, 1st Parachute Panzer, 337th Infantry, 333rd Infantry, 182nd Infantry, 17th Infantry, 257th Infantry, 335th Infantry, 709th Infantry
5 November 346th Infantry, 161st Infantry, 343rd Infantry, 333rd Infantry, 182nd Infantry, 17th Infantry, 257th Infantry, 335th Infantry, 709th Infantry
1 December 257th Infantry, 333rd Infantry, 17th Infantry
1943 1 January 257th Infantry, 333rd Infantry, 17th Infantry, 38th Infantry
3 February 257th Infantry, 17th LFD, 17th Infantry, 38th Infantry
4 March 17th Infantry, 38th Infantry, 257th Infantry
9 April 94th Infantry
1 May 76th Infantry, 94th Infantry, 113th Infantry
1 June 76th Infantry
7 July 384th Infantry
5 August 38th Infantry, 265th Infantry, 343rd Infantry
5 September 384th Infantry, 265th Infantry, 343rd Infantry
4 October 243rd Infantry, 265th Infantry, 343rd Infantry
8 November
3 December
1944 1 January
12 February 275th Infantry, 265th Infantry, 343rd Infantry
11 March 275th Infantry, 265th Infantry, 343rd Infantry, 353rd Infantry
15 April
15 May Army Group B
12 June 2nd Parachute, 275th Infantry, 265th Infantry, 343rd Infantry
17 July 265th Infantry, 343rd Infantry
August – October Trapped in Brest (until 19 September 1944): 2nd Parachute, 266th Infantry, 343rd Infantry

Trapped in Lorient: 265th Infantry

Trapped in Saint-Nazaire: Various contingents

Directly under OKW Multiple Atlantic pockets
November – December Trapped in Lorient: 265th Infantry

Trapped in Saint-Nazaire: Various contingents

1945 January – April

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Tessin, Georg (1977). "Generalkommando XXV. Armeekorps (röm. 25. AK)" (in German). Die Landstreitkräfte 15-30. Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945. 4. Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag. pp. 221–222. ISBN 3764810971. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Boog, Horst et al. (2006). The Strategic Air War in Europe and the War in the West and East Asia 1943–1944/5. Germany and the Second World War. 7. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 482. ISBN 0198228899. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Boog, Horst et al. (2006). The Strategic Air War in Europe and the War in the West and East Asia 1943–1944/5. Germany and the Second World War. 7. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 501. ISBN 0198228899. 
  4. Patzwall, Klaus D. (2001) (in German). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber. 2. Norderstedt: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. pp. 540. ISBN 9783931533458. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Zaloga, Steven (2001). Operation Cobra 1944. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. pp. 58. ISBN 1841762962. 
  6. Schramm, Percy E. (2005) (in German). 1944-1945. Kriegstagebuch des OKW. 4-1 (Studienausgabe ed.). Augsburg: Verlagsgruppe Weltbild GmbH. pp. 335. 
  7. Schramm, Percy E. (2005) (in German). 1944-1945. Kriegstagebuch des OKW. 4-1 (Studienausgabe ed.). Augsburg: Verlagsgruppe Weltbild GmbH. pp. 347. 
  8. Tessin, Georg (1977). "7. Armee" (in German). Die Landstreitkräfte 6-14. Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945. 3. Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag. pp. 49–56. ISBN 3764810971. 
  9. Tessin, Georg (1977). "12. Armee" (in German). Die Landstreitkräfte 6-14. Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945. 3. Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag. pp. 227–230. ISBN 3764810971. 
  10. Tessin, Georg (1977). "1. Armee" (in German). Die Landstreitkräfte 1-5. Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945. 2. Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag. pp. 1–4. ISBN 3764810971. 
  11. Tessin, Georg (1977). "6. Armee" (in German). Die Landstreitkräfte 6-14. Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945. 3. Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag. pp. 1–8. ISBN 3764810971. 

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