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World War II

North African Campaign

Sonnenblume Siege of Tobruk Battle of Gazala Battleaxe 2nd Battle of El Alamein Tunisia Campaign

Commanders

Notable commanders Erwin Rommel Ludwig Crüwell Ritter von Thoma Walther Nehring

Insignia

Identification symbol

Identification symbol Seal of the Deutsches Afrikakorps

German Africa Corps Deutsches Afrikakorps (June 1941)

Components

15th Panzer Division 5th Light Division 102nd (Italien) "Trento" Division Fortress Bardia

German Africa Corps Deutsches Afrikakorps (November 1941)

Parent unit

Panzergruppe Afrika

Components

15th Panzer Division 21st Panzer Division Division z.b.V. Afrika 55th (Italian) "Savona" Division Fortress Bardia

German Africa Corps Deutsches Afrikakorps (September 1942)

Parent unit

Panzerarmee Afrika

Components

15th Panzer Division 21st Panzer Division 90th Light Infantry Division

German Africa Corps Deutsches Afrikakorps (January 1943)

Parent unit

Deutsch-Italienische Panzerarmee

Components

15th Panzer Division 21st Panzer Division 132nd (Italian) "Ariete" Armoured Div. 133rd (Italian) "Littorio" Armoured Div.

The Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
or German Africa Corps
Corps
(German: Deutsches Afrikakorps, DAK  listen (help·info)) was the German expeditionary force in Africa during the North African Campaign
North African Campaign
of World War II. First sent as a holding force to shore up the Italian defense of their African colonies, the formation fought on in Africa, under various appellations, from March 1941 until its surrender in May 1943. The unit's best known commander was Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.

Contents

1 Organization 2 Composition and terminology 3 Reforming of units 4 See also 5 References 6 Sources 7 Further reading

Organization[edit] The Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
formed on 11 January 1941 and one of Hitler's favorite generals, Erwin Rommel, was designated as commander on 11 February. Originally Hans von Funck was to have commanded it, but Hitler loathed von Funck, as he had been a personal staff officer of Werner von Fritsch
Werner von Fritsch
until von Fritsch was dismissed in 1938.[1] The German Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, OKW) had decided to send a "blocking force" to Libya to support the Italian army. The Italian army group had been routed by the British Commonwealth Western Desert Force in Operation Compass
Operation Compass
(9 December 1940 – 9 February 1941). The German blocking force, commanded by Rommel, at first consisted of a force based only on Panzer Regiment 5, which was put together from the second regiment of the 3rd Panzer Division. These elements were organized into the 5th Light Division when they arrived in Africa from 10 February – 12 March 1941. In late April and into May, the 5th Light Division was joined by elements of 15th Panzer Division, transferred from Italy. At this time, the Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
consisted of the two divisions, and was subordinated to the Italian chain of command in Africa. On 15 August 1941, the German 5th Light Division
German 5th Light Division
was redesignated 21st Panzer Division, the higher formation of which was still the Afrika Korps. During the summer of 1941, the OKW increased the presence in Africa and created a new headquarters called Panzer Group Africa. On 15 August, the Panzer Group was activated with Rommel in command, and command of the Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
was turned over to Ludwig Crüwell. The Panzer Group comprised the Afrika Korps, with some additional German units now in North Africa, plus two corps of Italian units. The Panzer Group was, in turn, redesignated as Panzer Army Africa on 30 January 1942. After the German defeat in the Second Battle of El Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
and the Allied landings in Morocco and Algeria Operation Torch, the OKW once more upgraded the presence in Africa by adding first the XC Army Corps, under Nehring, in Tunisia on 19 November 1942, then an additional 5th Panzer Army on 8 December, under the command of Colonel-General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim. On 23 February 1943, the original Panzer Army Africa, which had since been re-styled as the German-Italian Panzer Army, was now redesignated as the Italian 1st Army and put under the command of Italian general Giovanni Messe. Rommel, meanwhile, was placed in command of a new Army Group Africa, created to control both the Italian 1st Army and the 5th Panzer Army. The remnants of the Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
and surviving units of the 1st Italian Army retreated into Tunisia. Command of the Army Group was turned over to Arnim in March. On 13 May, the Afrika Korps surrendered, along with all other remaining Axis forces in North Africa. Most Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
POWs were transported to the United States and held in Camp Shelby
Camp Shelby
in Mississippi
Mississippi
and other POW camps until the end of the war.[2] Composition and terminology[edit]

Anti-tank unit pulling a 37 mm gun comes to a halt.

When Rommel was promoted to the newly formed Panzerarmee Afrika, his command included a number of Italian units, including four infantry divisions. Two Italian armoured divisions, Ariete and Trieste initially remained under Italian control as the Italian XX Motorized Corps
Corps
under the command of General Gastone Gambara.[3] The Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
was restructured and renamed in August 1941. "Afrikakorps" was the official name of the force for less than six months but the officers and men used it for the duration. The Afrika Korps was the major German component of Panzerarmee Afrika, which was later renamed the Deutsch-Italienische Panzerarmee and finally renamed Heeresgruppe Afrika (Army Group Africa) during the 27 months of the Desert campaign.[4]

Goggles
Goggles
and face covering are worn to protect against sand storms.

Reforming of units[edit] Certain divisions were reformed in Europe after the cessation of fighting in Tunisia:

15th Panzer Division
15th Panzer Division
(as 15th Panzergrenadier Division
15th Panzergrenadier Division
in Sicily, Italy and Western Front) 21st Panzer Division (in France) Hermann Göring Panzer Division (in Sicily and Italy) 90th Light Division (as 90th Panzergrenadier Division
90th Panzergrenadier Division
in Italy)

See also[edit]

Fliegerführer Afrika Ramcke Parachute Brigade Western Desert Campaign László Almásy Operation Salaam

References[edit]

^ Beevor, Antony (2009). D-Day: The Battle for Normandy. London: Viking. p. 405. ISBN 978-0-670-88703-3.  ^ Beasley 2010, p. 262. ^ Lewin 1968, p. 54. ^ Toppe 1952, p. 14.

Sources[edit]

Beasley, Jimmy Lee (2010). I Was There When It Happened. Xlibris. ISBN 1-4535-4457-7. [self-published source] Cooper, Matthew (1990). The German Army 1933–1945. Scarborough House. Chelsea, MI, USA. ISBN 0-8128-8519-8. Lewin, Ronald (1998) [1968]. Rommel As Military Commander. New York: B&N Books. ISBN 978-0-7607-0861-3.  Von Luck, Hans (1989). Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck. New York: Dell (Random House). ISBN 0-440-20802-5.  von Mellenthin, Major General F. W. (1971) [1956]. Panzer Battles Panzer (First ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-24440-0.  Rommel, Erwin (1982) [1953]. Liddell Hart, B. H., ed. The Rommel Papers. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-80157-0. 

Toppe, Generalmajor Alfred (1990) [1952]. German Experiences in Desert Warfare During World War II
World War II
(PDF). The Black Vault (Report). II. Washington: U.S. Marine Corps: Historical Division, European Command. FMFRP 12-96-II. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

Chamberlain, Peter (1971). Afrika Korps: German military operations in the Western Desert, 1941–42. Almark Publishing. ISBN 0-85524-018-0. OCLC 165305.  Macksey, Kenneth (1968). Afrika Korps. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-35602-544-6.  Mitcham, Samuel W. (2007). Rommel's Desert War: the Life and Death of the Afrika Korps. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-81173-413-7. 

v t e

German Army Corps

Army Corps Armeekorps

I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X. XI. XII. XIII. XIV. XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. XIX. XX. XXI. XXII. XXIII. XXIV. XXV. XXVI. XXVII. XXVIII. XXIX. XXX. XXXII. XXXIII. XXXIV. XXXV. XXXVIII. XXXIX. XXXX. XXXXI. XXXXII. XXXXIII. XXXXIV. XXXXVI. XXXXVII. XXXXVIII. L. LI. LII. LIII. LIV. LV. LVII. LIX. LXII. LXIII. LXIV. LXV. LXVI. LXVII. LXVIII. LXIX. LXX. LXXI. LXXII. LXXIII. LXXIV. LXXV. LXXVI. LXXVIII. LXXX. LXXXI. LXXXII. LXXXIII. LXXXIV. LXXXV. LXXXVI. LXXXVII. LXXXVIII. LXXXIX. LXXXX. LXXXXI. LXXXXVII. CI.

Tank Corps Panzerkorps

III. IV. VII. XIV. XXIV. XXXVIII. XXXIX. XXXX. XXXXI. XXXXVI. XXXXVII. XXXXVIII. LVI. LVII. LVIII. LXXVI. Feldherrnhalle Großdeutschland

Mountain Corps Gebirgskorps

XV. XVIII. XIX. XXI. XXII. XXXVI. XXXXIX. LI.

Cavalry Corps Kavalleriekorps

I.

Miscellaneous Corps

Afrika Korps

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