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US VII Corps

The VII Army Corps of the United States Army was one of the two principal corps of the army in Europe during the Cold War, along with V Corps. It was subordinate to the 7th Army, or USAREUR, throughout most of its existence.

Its first entry into Europe took place on D Day in 1944, as one of the two assault corps for US 1st Army during Operation Overlord. Subsequently, the unit participated in many battles during the advance across France and Germany until the surrender of the Third Reich.

Throughout the Cold War, the corps guarded the Fulda Gap on NATO's front with the Warsaw Pact. After Saddam Hussein's troops invaded Kuwait in 1990, the corps was deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of the second major wave of deployments of American forces. Its presence took US forces in theatre from a force capable of defending Saudi Arabia to a force capable of ejecting Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

In the Gulf War, VII Corps was probably the most powerful formation of its type ever to take to the battlefield. Normally, a corps commands three divisions when at full strength, along with other units such as artillery of various types, corps-level engineers and support units. However, VII Corps had far more firepower under its command.

Its principal full strength fighting formations were US 1st Armored Division, US 3rd Armored Division and US 1st Infantry Division. In addition, it had US 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment to act as a scouting force, and two further heavy divisions; US 1st Cavalry Division and British 1st Armoured Division. Although both 1st Cavalry Division and 1st Armoured Division both had only two manoeuvre brigades, they were still immensely powerful formations in their own right.

VII Corps cut a swathe through Iraqi forces. It advanced with US XVIII Corps on its left wing and Arab forces on its right wing. It pulverised all Iraqi forces that tried to stand and fight and destroyed a good proportion of Iraq's Republican Guard divisions. Unfortunately, a ceaeefire was called before the destruction of the Republican Guard units could be completed.

After the fighting was over, VII Corps returned to Germany. It was disbanded as part of the post-Cold War American defence spending cuts.