Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Idioms, Wikipedia.
the highest combined arms unit in the ground forces of the armed forces of various states.
In Russia, corps as combined arms units appeared in the early 18th century. The flying corps, which was called the corps volant and consisted of 7,000 horse cavalrymen and 5,000 infantrymen, was formed in 1701. Five army corps were formed in the Russian Army in 1810, and their number was brought up to 11 in 1812. Cavalry and army corps appeared in the French Army in 1805 and in the Prussian Army in 1816.
By the beginning of World War I (1914–18) the armies of almost all states had army (or infantry) and cavalry corps, which were composed of two to four divisions and had a strength of up to 50,000 men. In the Red Army cavalry corps were formed in 1919 and rifle corps in 1921. In the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) the Red Army had rifle, cavalry, mechanized, tank, aviation, artillery, and airborne corps.
The present-day corps, for example the US Army corps, has a staff, corps units and subunits, various services, and from two to four or more divisions, of which one or two are armored divisions. In combat the corps forms part of the field army or acts independently.