Belgian Forces in Germany
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
|Belgian Forces in Germany
|Role||Army of Occupation
Protection of West Germany
|Part of|| Northern Army Group
British Army of the Rhine
("Shield of the Belgians")
The Belgian Forces in Germany (French: Forces belges en Allemagne or FBA, Dutch: Belgische strijdkrachten in Duitsland, BSD) was the name of the Belgian forces of occupation in West Germany after the Second World War. The occupation lasted between 1946 and 2002, when the last Belgian soldiers left the country. The FBA-BSD was originally part of the British Zone of Occupation and formed part of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR). It later formed part of NATO's Northern Army Group (NORTHAG), forming part of the planned defence of West Germany during the Cold War.
From 1 April 1946, three Belgian infantry brigades were present in West Germany under British command. Shortly after, the Belgians were give their own zone with operational autonomy in the British sector. The territory covered the towns of Aachen, Cologne, Soest, Siegen and Kassel in North Rhine-Westphalia. There was also a Belgian garrison in Bonn until 1949.
When West Germany joined NATO in May 1955, the Belgian mission changed from being a "force of occupation" to being a "force of protection" against Warsaw Pact forces under the Northern Army Group (NORTHAG). Plans for the evacuation of families in event of war were also drawn up.
The zone was considered an integral part of Belgium, and was sometimes referred to as the "tenth province of Belgium". Tens-of-thousands of Belgian citizens lived in the area with their families. At the start of the 1950s, 40,000 soldiers were garrisoned there. The number was around 25,000 at the beginning of 1990.
Following the restructuring of the Belgian army, the contingent was gradually reduced. The last Belgian barracks (Troisdorf-Spich) was shut on 31 August 2004. Nevertheless, some soldiers remained in the camp of Vogelsang on the Belgian border until 2005.
Today, a museum in Soest, Germany is dedicated to the history of the FBA-BSD. The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces in Brussels held a temporary exhibition on the subject, entitled "Belgian soldiers in Germany, 1945-2002", in 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Belgium during the Cold War.|
- "Le site des ex-Forces Belges en Allemagne". Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- "Musée des Forces Belges en Allemagne". www.museum-bsd.de. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- Brüll, Christoph. Entre ressentiment et ré-éducation, L’Armée belge d’Occupation et les Allemands, 1945-1952 (PDF). CEGES-SOMA.