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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Army Corps


Old Tom
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Prior to the Great War the British army seldom deployed formations larger than a division. Even in 1914, before mobilisation, there was only one Army Corps in existence. Continental armies had a long history of fielding large armies and I think that Napoleon used the term Corps for his formations. During WW1 the term Army Corps was used but in WW2 the 'Army' bit dropped out of use. Where did the term 'Army Corps' come from? was it to distinguish a formation of a number of divisions from corps like the AOC and the ASC or even the Royal Corps of Engineers. Does anyone know the origin of the term?

Old Tom

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Old Tom,

it is the Corps of Royal Engineers as many a Sapper will tell you!

Regards

Pompey

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Terry,

A useful steer. Corps d'armee makes an understandable start point. However the question of why we used the term in WW1 and not in WW2 remains open.

Old Tom

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Tom

The phrase "Army Corps" wasn't generally used in WW1 either. Becke's OOB uses just the word Corps and the Mobilisation Tables, drawn up in April 1914, omit the word altogether. In fact, the tables just use `First and Second Army for some inexplicable reason.

TR

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Terry,

Interesting, thanks. I am not familiar with the OOB (Order of battle?) or the mobilisation tables. It seems, therefore, that it is historians that refer to 'army corps' perhaps the term has a grander ring about it.

Old Tom

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"French restored the Latin -p- in 14c., and English followed 15c., but the pronunciation remained "corse" at first and corse persisted as a parallel formation. After the -p- began to be sounded (16c. in English), corse became archaic or poetic only."

I didn't think the "p" was sounded? Nor pronounced "corse".

I thought it was "Core"???

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