4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group
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|4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group|
|Branch||Canadian Army (to 1968)|
Mobile Command (1968-1993)
|Role||main forward deployed land element of Canada's armed forces|
|Part of||Canadian Forces Europe|
4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group was a formation of the Canadian Army, then Mobile Command of the unified Canadian Forces. It was part of the European formation known as Canadian Forces Europe. The formation served as the main forward deployed land element of Canada's armed forces, and was stationed in West Germany from 1957 until it was disbanded in 1993.
In 1951, 27th Canadian Infantry Brigade arrived in Europe, to be succeeded by the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade in 1953, then 2 CIBG in 1955, then 4 CIBG in 1957. In 1959, when 4 CIBG's tour was due to end, a change was made in the reinforcement policy for Germany. Instead of whole brigades rotating every two years, the decision was made to keep 4 CIBG and its associated brigade units in place, instead rotating the major combat elements to Germany every three years.
The presence of the three mechanized infantry battalions led Canada's brigade in Germany to be renamed as 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group on 1 May 1968, three months after Canada's three separate armed forces were unified into the single Canadian Forces.
Around the same time, a review of Canada's foreign policy was announced by the Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, part of which involved an investigation into the role of 4 CMBG, which was the Canadian military's main overseas force. The ultimate result of the investigation was the announcement by the Prime Minister, as part of an overall cut in defence spending, to reduce the Canadian military commitment in Europe by half. 4 CMBG would also be re-roled - rather than its attachment as an active part of BAOR, it would become a reserve attached to either the VII (US) Corps or II (GE) Corps, relocating to Lahr in Southern Germany. Most notably, this downsizing and re-rolling led to the withdrawal of the tactical nuclear weapons capability. 4 CMBG operated a large force of Canadian tanks and armoured fighting vehicles and remained in place as one of NATO's Cold War tank formations. When the 1st Canadian Division was reactivated in 1989, 4 CMBG became the forward deployed brigade of the division assigned to the Central Army Group. The end of the Cold War brought the final draw down of Canada's military presence in Europe when the Brigade was disbanded in 1993.
The following is a list of major combat units serving in 4 CIBG/4 CMBG:
- 1st Battalion, Canadian Guards – 1959–1962
- 2nd Battalion, Canadian Guards – 1957–1959
- 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment – 1962–1965
- 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment – 1965–1969
- 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment – 1977–1984, 1988–1993
- 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry – 1964–1967
- 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry – 1966–1970, 1984–1988
- 1er Bataillon, Royal 22e Régiment – 1967–1993
- 2e Bataillon, Royal 22e Régiment – 1965–1969
- 1st Battalion, The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada – 1960–1964
- 2nd Battalion, The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada – 1957–1959
- 2nd Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada – 1962–1965
- 3rd Mechanized Commando, The Canadian Airborne Regiment – 1970–1977
- 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery – 1957–1960, 1967–1993
- 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery – 1964–1967
- 3rd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery – 1960–1964
- Sean M. Maloney, War Without Battles: Canada's NATO Brigade in Germany 1951-1993, McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd, (Toronto,Montreal, and others) 1997.