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I Anzac Corps

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This article is part of the
Anzac series.
Military History

Australia | New Zealand

Expeditionary Forces

AIF | NZEF

Corps

ANZAC | I Anzac | II Anzac
Australian | Desert Mounted

Divisions

Aus 1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th
NZ & Aus | New Zealand
Anzac Mounted | Aus Mounted

The I Anzac Corps was an Australian and New Zealand World War I army corps formed in Egypt in February 1916 as part of the reorganization of the Australian Imperial Force following the evacuation of Gallipoli in November 1915. This corps, along with the II Anzac Corps, replaced the original Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).

The corps was initially commanded by General Alexander Godley and comprised the three "veteran" Anzac divisions — the Australian 1st and 2nd divisions and the newly formed New Zealand Division.

The corps' divisions were initially manning the defences east of the Suez Canal against the anticipated Turkish invasion of Egypt. On March 29 1916 the corps embarked for France, now under the command of General Sir William Birdwood, the original commander of ANZAC. In France the I Anzac Corps was attached to the British Second Army, positioned on the relatively quiet sector south of Ypres. The corps went into the line south of Armentières, taking over from the British III Corps which was moving to the British Fourth Army in preparation for the Somme Offensive. The Australian 2nd Division was the first into the line on April 9, 1916.

With the Somme Offensive faltering in mid-July, the British Commander-in-Chief, General Douglas Haig, required fresh divisions to continue the advance. The corps was moved to General Hubert Gough's Fifth Army and directed to capture Pozières.

By this time the II Anzac Corps had started to arrive in France from Egypt under the command of General Godley. As Godley was also the commander of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, it was decided that the New Zealand Division would be more appropriately located under his command so it swapped with the Australian 4th Division in time for the move to the Somme.

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