After the end of World War II, under the conditions of the Yalta and Potsdam agreements, Allied forces occupied West Berlin. This occupation lasted throughout the Cold War. The Berlin Brigade was the brigade-sized garrison forces based there by the British and American armies; the French army also had units in Berlin, called Forces Françaises à Berlin.
During the Berlin Wall Crisis of 1961, the army reorganized the command structure of the forces in Berlin and created the U.S. Army Berlin and created the Berlin Brigade from the units already in the city. At this time, the infantry units of the brigade were organized according to the "pentomic" structure: One "battle group" consisted of five line (rifle) companies, a combat support company, and a headquarters & headquarters company. Berlin Brigade had the 2nd & 3rd battle groups of the 6th US Infantry Regiment assigned to it from 1960 through 1964, when structure reverted to battalions.
The brigade consisted of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 6th Infantry and 4th Battalion of the 18th Infantry. The 4th Battalion 18th Infantry was later changed to the 4th Battalion 6th Infantry. (reflagged to 4th, 5th and 6th Battalions of the 502d Infantry Regiment), Battery C 94th Field Artillery (replaced by Echo Battery 320th Field Artillery), Company F of the 40th Armor, 42nd Engineer Company, 42nd Military Police Company (Customs), 287th Military Police Company (Separate), 43rd and 76th Chemical Detachments, 279th Station Hospital (became US Army Hospital Berlin in 1976), 168th Medical Detachment (Veterinary Service), 592nd Signal Company, 298th Army Band. The 168th and 298th share the distinction of being the longest-serving units in Berlin. They both arrived to the city in a 37-vehicle convoy on 3 July 1945. The commanders of both units were old high school classmates.
Until the end of the Cold War members of the brigade were eligible for the Army of Occupation Medal with Germany clasp. Because of the legal status of West Berlin, it was technically "occupied" territory left over from World War II.
During the early 1980s, the U.S. Army Regimental System initiative renamed a large percentage of infantry, armor and artillery battalions to align overseas commands with units assigned to stateside brigades, reinforcing the Army's regimental designations and unit morale. The original intent was to initiate personnel replacement and rotations within regiments, a "next step" that did not provide sufficient flexibility to Army personnel managers. The impact on Berlin-based infantry battalions was to re-designate 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions, 6th Infantry Regiment to 4th, 5th and 6th Battalions, 502nd Infantry Regiment, respectively, during the summer of 1984, assigning Berlin infantry units a shared identify with infantry battalions of 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.
Under the treaties which enabled the reunification of Germany, all non-German military forces were required to leave Berlin. The Berlin Brigade was officially deactivated by President Bill Clinton on 6 July 1994.
Individual members of the brigade deployed to Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990–1991. But the first Berlin Brigade units to take part in an out-of-theater operation were the command-and-staff element of Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) as well as B Company of the 6th Battalion, 502nd Infantry, and the 42nd Engineer Co. These units served in Operation Provide Comfort, a relief and protection mission for Iraqi Kurds. They served with a multinational "Allied Ground Combat Force" that also included British, French, Italian, Dutch, and Turkish infantry companies. Based in Silopi, Turkey, near the Iraqi border, from July to October 1991, these ground forces were soon withdrawn to avoid entanglement in the local Turkish-PKK conflict and because it was decided that the US Air Force presence at Incirlik constituted an adequate deterrent to Iraqi attempts at encroaching on the Kurdish autonomous zone. Soldiers of this task force were authorized to wear the Berlin Brigade shoulder sleeve insignia as a combat patch on the right shoulder of their uniform, the first and only time elements of the Berlin Brigade were authorized to.
Elements of the Berlin Brigade were the first combat units selected to deploy as a member of the United Nations Protectionary Forces (UNPROFOR) to Macedonia in July 1993; later to be renamed Task Force Able Sentry. Members of the Berlin Brigade also deployed in July 1994, to Entebbe, Uganda as part of Joint Task Force Support Hope, to help prevent a humanitarian crisis resulting from large-scale refugee movements caused by the civil war in Rwanda.
Other units that were assigned to the Berlin Brigade included the 42nd Postal Brigade a small force of individuals who were responsible for the mail service for the military assigned to Berlin, the Potsdam unit, and the Helmsberg detachment. They received very little recognition but were vital to the moral of the military. Besides postal service, they also performed other services such as courier duty throughout the European theater. They resided at Andrews Barracks under Special Troops.
The Berlin Infantry Brigade of the British Army was formed in October 1953 out of the force called "Area Troops Berlin" consisted of some 3,100 men in three infantry battalions, an armoured squadron, and a number of support units. its shoulder sleeve insignia was a red circle over a black background with the word Berlin in red on a black background running around the top. It was not initially part of the British Army of the Rhine despite being based in Germany. However, it is recorded, at the very least, by the mid-1980s, that the brigade was indeed part of BAOR, being its second major component after I (BR) Corps.
The military post code for Berlin was BFPO 45.
The actual three infantry battalions and armoured squadron assigned to Berlin were rotated regularly; the single armoured squadron was detached from an armoured regiment assigned to I (BR) Corps. The infantry battalions were rotated every two years 7 Flight Army Air Corps, based at RAF Gatow, provided aviation support. Other units such as 62 Transport and Movements Squadron RCT, 14 Field Workshop REME, RAOC, 504 CRASC (ODT), 131 DID RASC, Det No 2 Independent Petrol Station Platoon RASC, 31st Quartering and Barracks Office RASC,121 & 122 Barracks Stores, 38 (Berlin) Field Squadron RE, 229 Signals Squadron and 3 Squadron 13 Signals Regiment Royal Signals, 3 Intelligence and Security Coy Int Corps, 247 Provost Coy RMP, 248 German Security Unit and the British Military Hospital (BMH) Berlin were also permanently based in Berlin.
In 1992 the brigade was reduced to 2 battalions, then further reduced in 1993 to a single battalion. It was disbanded in September 1994.
|November 1946 -||British Troops Berlin|
|February 1949 -||Area Troops Berlin|
|October 1953 -||Berlin Infantry Brigade Group|
|December 1963 -||Berlin Infantry Brigade|
|April 1977 -||Berlin Field Force|
|January 1981 – September 1994||Berlin Infantry Brigade|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Berlin Brigade.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Berlin Infantry Brigade.|
- USA 6941st Guard Veterans Association
- 248 German Security Unit Veterans Association
- Berlin Brigade Memories
- Installations of the Berlin Brigade
- History of the Berlin Brigade
- History of the French, American and British Berlin Brigades
- Berlin Brigade - McNair Barracks
- Berlin 1969 – the Allies in Berlin at midpoint of the Cold War
- Co F 40th Armor site by Bob Decker.
- Berlin U.S. Military Veterans Association (BUSMVA) website
- British Army of the Rhine Locations
- Berlin-Brigade Installations
- "West Alliierte in Berlin". The history of the three Western Allied Forces and their civilian employees in Berlin from 1945–1994.
- BerlinBrigade.com Dedicated to all that served in West Berlin from 1945 to 1994
- "Army Regulation 600-82, The U.S. Army Regimental System" (PDF). Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- "Berlin Brigade". Western-allies-berlin.com. 22 June 2005. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- The British Army in Germany: An ... – Google Books. Google Books. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- David C. Isby & Charles Kamps Jr, Armies of NATO's Central Front, Jane's, 1985, p.303
- "Berlin Infantry Brigade". Western-allies-berlin.com. 2 July 1945. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- "British Army Units". Western-allies-berlin.com. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- The British Army in Germany: An ... – Google Books. Google Books. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- Graham Watson; Richard A. Rinaldi (2005). The British Army in Germany (BAOR and after): An Organizational History 1947–2004. Tiger Lily Publications LLC. p. 127. ISBN 0-9720296-9-9.
- Durie, W. (2012). The British Garrison Berlin 1945-1994 "No where to go" Berlin: Vergangenheits/Berlin. ISBN 978-3-86408-068-5.
- British Garrison Berlin 1945 -1994, "No where to go", W. Durie ISBN 978-3-86408-068-5 (will be published in Germany on 14 May 2012)
- AMTLICH GEWONNEN; considering the spirit during the Berlin Wall period,
including a dedication to the former personnel of 7350th Air Base Group, Großek, Michael (2012) ISBN 978-3-89950-993-9