Allied Forces Northern Europe

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Allied Forces Northern Europe
Allied Forces Northern Europe.jpg
Allied Forces Northern Europe Emblem
Active 1952 - 1994
Allegiance NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Part of Allied Command Europe, Casteau, Belgium
Location Kolsås, Norway

Allied Forces Northern Europe (AFNORTH) was the most northern NATO command located at Kolsås outside Oslo. It was part of Allied Command Europe from around 1952 to 2003. In the case of war, AFNORTH would assume supreme command of all Allied forces in northern Europe (Norway and Denmark) and Germany north of Elbe/Hamburg and adjacent sea territory.


For much of its existence its commander-in-chief (CINCNORTH) was a British Admiral or General. The chief-of-staff was always a German Vice Admiral. The central Air Force Commander Northern Europe, who would assume command of all NATO air forces in AFNORTH's area in the case of war, was directly subordinated to CINCNORTH and was always a Lieutenant General from the US Air Force. The leadership of AFNORTH additionally included a Land Deputy, a Sea Deputy, and an Air Deputy, who were always Danish or Norwegian Major Generals or Rear Admirals.

In 1993 AFNORTH's major subordinate commands were Allied Forces North Norway; Allied Forces South Norway; and Allied Forces Baltic Approaches (Karup).[1] BALTAP comprised AIRBALTAP, NAVBALTAP, LANDZEALAND, responsible for the land defence of Zealand and the other Danish islands, and Allied Land Forces Schleswig-Holstein and Jutland (LANDJUT). From 1962 LANDJUT had been responsible for the land defence of the Baltic Approaches from a headquarters at Rendsburg, Germany. It comprised the 6th Panzergrenadier Division and the Danish Jutland Division. LANDJUT was planned to be reinforced in time of war by the United Kingdom Mobile Force, primarily 1st Infantry Brigade plus some other forces.[2]

HQ AFNORTH Kolsaas closed on the morning of 30 June 1994.[3] The HQ that replaced it, HQ Allied Forces Northwestern Europe (AFNORTHWEST), located at RAF High Wycombe in the United Kingdom, was activated in the afternoon of 30 June 1994.[4] AFCENT, located in Brunssum the Netherlands, was renamed AFNORTH. AFNORTHWEST was disestablished on 3 March 2000, CINCNORTHWEST transferring his authority to RHQ AFNORTH the same day. In the year 2004, it was again renamed, to Joint Force Command Brunssum.

The headquarters facility at Kolsås is now used by the Norwegian defence logistics organization.

Structure until 1993[edit]

Allied Forces Northern Europe (AFNORTH) with headquarters in Kolsås, Norway

  • Allied Forces Baltic Approaches (BALTAP) with headquarters in Karup, Denmark
    • Commander, Allied Land Forces Schleswig-Holstein and Jutland (COMLANDJUT)
    • Commander, Allied Land Forces in Zealand (COMLANDZEALAND)
    • Commander, Allied Air Forces Baltic Approaches (COMAIRBALTAP) in Karup
    • Commander, Allied Naval Forces Baltic Approaches (COMNAVBALTAP) in Karup (previously in Kiel-Holtenau).
  • Allied Command South Norway (SONOR) with headquarters in Stavanger
  • Allied Command North Norway (NON) with headquarters in Bodø.

Structure 2000-2004[edit]

AFNORTH at this point was a regional command of AFCENT:

  • Two component commands:
    • Allied Air Forces North (AIRNORTH) in Ramstein, Germany;
    • Allied Naval Forces North (NAVNORTH) in Northwood, United Kingdom.
  • Three Joint Sub-regional commands:
    • Joint Command Centre in Heidelberg, Germany;
    • Joint Command North-East in Karup, Denmark;
    • Joint Command North in Stavanger, Norway

The command alternated between British and German generals.


Commanders-in-Chief have been:[3][5]