Belgian Army order of battle (1914)

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Belgian artillery positions around Antwerp

This is the order of battle for the Belgian army on the outbreak of war in August 1914.

Background[edit]

A major reorganisation of the Army had been authorised by the government in 1912, providing for a total army of 350,000 men – 150,000 in the field forces, 130,000 in fortress garrisons and 70,000 reserves and auxiliaries. However, this reorganisation was nowhere near complete – it was planned for completion by 1926 – and only 117,000 men could be mobilised for the field forces, with the other branches equally deficient.

Army[edit]

The Commander-in-Chief was King Albert I, with Lieutenant-General Chevalier de Selliers de Moranville as the Chief of the General Staff.

In addition, there were garrisons at Antwerp, Liège and Namur, each placed under the command of the local divisional commander.

Unit strengths[edit]

Each division contained three mixed brigades (of two infantry regiments and one artillery regiment), one cavalry regiment, and one artillery regiment, as well as various support units. Each infantry regiment contained three battalions, with one regiment in each brigade having a machine-gun company of six guns. An artillery regiment had three batteries of four guns.

The nominal strength of a division varied from 25,500 to 32,000 all ranks, with a total strength of eighteen infantry battalions, a cavalry regiment, eighteen machine-guns, and forty-eight guns. Two divisions (the 2nd and 6th) each had an additional artillery regiment, for a total of sixty guns.

The Cavalry Division had two brigades of two regiments each, three horse artillery batteries, and a cyclist battalion, along with support units; it had a total strength of 4,500 all ranks with 12 guns, and was – in effect – little more than a reinforced brigade.

References[edit]

  • Appendix 5: Order of battle of the Belgian Army in August 1914. In: History of the Great War: Military Operations, France and Belgium 1914, by J. E. Edmonds. Macmillan & Co., London, 1922.