British Army of the Rhine

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Formal group photograph of British and French officers and commissioners outside the house of the Commander-in-Chief Allied Armies of Occupation, Marienberg.

There have been two formations named British Army of the Rhine (BAOR). Both were originally occupation forces in Germany, one after the First World War, and the other after the Second World War.



18th Hussars in Cologne, 6 December 1918.

The first BAOR was set up in March 1919 to implement the occupation of the Rhineland It was originally composed of five corps, composed of two divisions each, plus a cavalry division:

II Corps: Commanded by Sir Claud Jacob

IV Corps: Commanded by Sir Alexander Godley

VI Corps: Commanded by Sir Aylmer Haldane

IX Corps: Commanded by Sir Walter Braithwaite and later by Ivor Maxse

X Corps: Commanded by Sir Thomas Morland

Cavalry Division (formed from 1st Cavalry Division)

However most of these units were progressively dissolved, so that by February 1920 there were only regular battalions:

In August 1920 Winston Churchill told the British Parliament that the BAOR consisted of approximately 13,360, consisting of, Staff, Cavalry, Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Infantry, Machine Gun Corps, Tanks, and the usual ancillary services. The troops were located principally in the vicinity of Cologne at an approximate cost per month of £300,000.[1]

From 1922 the BAOR was organised into two Brigades:

1st Rhine Brigade

2nd Rhine Brigade


Commanders have been:[2]

Other information[edit]

The Cologne Post was a newspaper published for members of the BAOR during this period.


The second British Army on the Rhine was formed on 25 August 1945 from 21st Army Group. Its original function was to control the corps districts which were running the military government of the British zone of occupied Germany. After the assumption of government by civilians, it became the command formation for the troops in Germany only, rather than being responsible for administration as well.

As the potential threat of Soviet invasion across the North German Plain into West Germany increased, BAOR became more responsible for the defence of West Germany than its occupation. It became the primary formation controlling the British contribution to NATO after the formation of the alliance in 1949. Its primary combat formation was British I Corps. From 1952 the commander-in-chief of the BAOR was also the commander of NATO's Northern Army Group (NORTHAG) in the event of a general war with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The BAOR was formerly armed with tactical nuclear weapons.

The 1993 Options for Change defence cuts resulted in BAOR being replaced by the 25,000 strong British Forces Germany (BFG) in 1994.

Commanders have been:[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hansard, Debate 10 August 1920 vol 133 cc204-5
  2. ^ a b Army Commands


  • The Original British Army of the Rhine by Richard A. Rinaldi
  • Peter Blume : BAOR – Vehicles Of The British Army Of The Rhine – Fahrzeuge der Britischen Rheinarmee – 1945–1979 Tankograd 2006.
  • Peter Blume : BAOR : The Final Years – Vehicles Of The British Army Of The Rhine – Fahrzeuge der Britischen Rheinarmee – 1980–1994 Tankograd 2007.
  • T.J. Gander : British Army of the Rhine Ian Allan Publishing, Londres 1984.
  • Thomas Laber : British Army of the Rhine – Armored Vehicles on exercise, Concord Publications, Hong Kong 1991.
  • Carl Schulze : British Army Of The Rhine, Diane Pub Co 1995.
  • Graham Watson & Richard A. Rinaldi : The British Army in Germany: An Organizational History 1947–2004 , Tiger Lily Publications LLC 2005.

External links[edit]