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Xxx corps (united kingdom)

The meaning of «xxx corps (united kingdom)»

XXX Corps (30 Corps) was a corps of the British Army during the Second World War. The Corps was formed in the Western Desert in September 1941. It provided extensive service in the North African Campaign and many of its units were in action at the Second Battle of El Alamein in late 1942. It then took part in the Tunisia Campaign and formed the left flank during the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943.

It returned briefly to the United Kingdom; it then served in the Allied Invasion of Normandy in June 1944. Due to the failure of allied troops to seize the Nijmegen bridge, it arrived too late at the Arnhem bridge as planned and most of the British 1st Airborne Division were lost during Operation Market Garden. It continued to serve in the Netherlands, and finally in Operation Veritable in Germany until May 1945.

XXX Corps was formed in the Western Desert under Lieutenant-General Vyvyan Pope in September 1941.[1] It played a major role in the Western Desert Campaign, where it was initially formed for the British armoured units in North Africa in preparation for Operation Crusader, the last British attempt to relieve the siege of Tobruk.[2]

It took severe casualties, mainly because of obsolete British tank tactics, (especially charging anti-tank guns) but finally forced Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps to withdraw to El Agheila in Central Libya. In spring 1942, Rommel had counter-attacked and driven the British back to Gazala, a few miles west of Tobruk. The plan of British Eighth Army Commander Neil Ritchie was to have XIII Corps hold the line, while XXX Corps would stop any attempt to outflank the position south of Bir Hachiem, held by the 1st Free French Brigade. They managed to slow Rommel's armour down and forced Rommel's tanks into "The Cauldron", the gap left in the British Lines by the destruction of the 150th Infantry Brigade, part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division in late May 1942. British counterattacks attempted to crush it but failed. Eventually, the Free French at Bir Hachiem were forced to withdraw and Rommel was able to break out of the Cauldron. XXX Corps was forced to retreat to Mersa Matruh, held by the newly formed British X Corps.[3] The Germans quickly broke through, surrounded X Corps (which fortunately for the British, managed to break out) and pushed XXX Corps back to El Alamein in June 1942.[4]

The depleted XXX Corps pulled back to El Alamein, the last defensible position west of the River Nile. It was the only place in the Western Desert campaign in which there would not be an open flank (a normal rule of desert warfare), due to the soft ground of the Qattara Depression, immediately south of the opposing forces and the Mediterranean Sea. The northern, coastal sector was assigned to XXX Corps.[4]

Due to significant previous casualties and equipment losses, XXX Corps was reinforced at Alamein by the attachment of units from other Commonwealth armies (that had previously been attached to XIII Corps): the South African Army's 1st Infantry Division and the Australian Army's 9th Infantry Division. The corps's other main unit was the British 23rd Armoured Brigade Group.[5]

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