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Corps of the Waffen-SS

Corps of the Waffen-SS

During the course of the Second World War the Waffen-SS established a number of SS corps headquarters, with their respective corps troops, to provide the necessary tactical leadership for its field divisions. At first, specific SS divisions were allocated to make up each corps, and the rule was two divisions per corps. In practice, however, their corps were made up of whatever was available, and with the demands of war and the constant movement of mobile divisions, SS corps could be found comprising purely SS, a combination of SS and army, or just army elements.

SS corps were number in Roman numerals. Each had certain service and security units, some of which were indissoluble from it. These included a signals battalion, a military police troop, a security company and a field post office. The number of corps troops varied from corps to corps, and generally those corps formed first were more richly endowed. The following is a list of those elements most usually found within a corps:

German Abbreviation
English Translation
SS-Korpskommando Corps Headquarters
SS-Kartenstelle K (mot) Motorized Map Office
SS-Fla.-Kp. Anti-aircraft Company
SS-Korps-Nachr.-Abt. (mot) Motorized Signal Battalion
SS-Kraftfahr Kp. Motor Transport Company
SS-Kraftfahrzeug Inst.-Kp. Motor Transport Repair Company
SS-Kr.Kw. Zug (Krankenkraftwagen) Motor Transport Ambulance Section
SS-F.P.A. (mot) (Feldpostamt) Motorized Field Post Office
SS-FG-Trupp (mot) (Feldgendarmerie) Motorized Field Police Troop
SS-Korps Sich.-Kp. (Sicherheits) Corps Security Company

In addition, some SS corps had other units designed for the immediate use of the corps itself, rather than for detachment to divisions, and these varied from one corps to another.

The corps troops were originally designated as being "of the … SS Corps" ("der … SS-Korps") or had the word "Corps" ("Korps") included in their title, but these were later numbered by adding the parent corps’ number to a base of 100 and expressing the result in Arabic numerals. For example, the SS Corps Security Company of the I. SS-Panzer-Korps was designated "Korps Sich.-Komp. 101".

In 1944, some of the corps troops were re-mustered as SS Army Troops (Führungstruppen) or Special Troops of the SS High Command (Sondertruppen des Reichsführung-SS). On 11 October 1944 the numbering of these units was altered by the addition of 400, so bringing them up to the 500+ series. As Special Troops of the SS High Command they were not supposed to have been attached to any specific corps, but were to be used when and where required. Certain of these former corps troops did, by necessity, remain behind with their old corps, such as signals and security units and these were probably not renumbered. In other cases it is believed that corps commanders who were unwilling to lose control of such units insisted that they remain behind. Such units that received the 500+ numbers will only be listed as corps troops in the lists that follow where they are known to have served as such, and have been found in original documents.

Properly-constituted SS corps numbered in Roman numerals should not be confused with the specially created formations also called "SS Corps" (e.g. Degrelle’s SS-Korps "West", (SS)-Korps "Gille", and (SS)-Korps "Oder"). These were created in the latter stages of the war and were of a completely different nature, like SS battle groups (SS-Kampfgruppen), but larger.

No special insignia was worn by members of the SS corps staffs and corps troops1. Naturally, members of those elements comprising the corps retained their original insignia.
1Bezeichnung der Feldtruppenteile der Waffen-SS, SS-FHA, 22 October 1944, indicates that no special cuffbands were worn by members of the staffs, corps troops or component divisions and units.

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