British Forces Germany

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British Forces Germany (BFG), is the name for British Armed Forces service personnel and civilians based in Germany.[1] It was first established following the Second World War as the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR).

Although much smaller than BAOR, it is still the largest concentration of British armed forces permanently stationed outside the United Kingdom.[2] With the end of the Cold War and the Options for Change defence review in the early 1990s, BFG has been considerably reduced. Since the 1990s, the British presence has centred on the 1st Armoured Division, and supporting elements.[1] BFG is concentrated in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony.

Following the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the permanent deployment will end by 2019[3] although some training will still be undertaken.


First established following the Second World War, the forces grew during the Cold War, ultimately consisting of I (BR) Corps made up of four divisions; 1st Armoured Division, 2nd Armoured Division, 3rd Armoured Division and the 4th Armoured Division which provided the covering force.

Disbandment of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) and Royal Air Force Germany (RAFG) following the end of the Cold War reduced the personnel strength of the British Armed Forces in Germany by almost 30,000.[4] The garrison at Osnabrück was closed in 2009.[1][5]


Bielefeld Headquarter Entrance
Bielefeld Headquarter Corner
Herford Barracks
Bielefeld Building

BFG is concentrated in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. The divisional HQ is located at Herford, near Bielefeld, with garrisons at Gütersloh, Hohne, and Paderborn.[6] Rhine Garrison, which contained HQ BFG in the Rheindahlen Military Complex, closed in 2013; the HQ moved to Bielefeld and other units returned to the UK.[7] The two central garrisons - Gütersloh and Paderborn - combined to form a single "super garrison". The BFG presence is estimated to contribute 1.5 billion Euros annually to the German economy.[8]

Administrative support for British service personnel in Germany and across Continental Europe was delegated to United Kingdom Support Command (Germany). The four Army garrisons in Germany were under the direct administrative control of UKSC.[1] The General Officer Commanding UKSC also functioned as head of the British Forces Liaison Organisation (Germany), which is responsible for liaising and maintaining relations with German civil authorities.[9] HQ BFG was formed in January 2012 replacing the United Kingdom Support Command (Germany) (UKSC(G) and the Germany Support Group (GSG).[10]

In August 2012 there were 21,500 British soldiers in Germany and along with families and civilian component the total number of people is around 40,000. The 1st Armoured Division is currently equipped with Challenger 2 MBTs, Warrior IFVs, AS-90 howitzers, Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, armoured personnel carriers, Gazelle and Lynx helicopters.[1]

In summer 2015, Bergen-Hohne Garrison closed leaving a minimal presence in the state of Lower Saxony.[11]

Off duty life[edit]

The British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) radio services are widely available on FM across north-western Germany.

The British Army Germany rugby union team regularly plays games against emerging rugby nations like Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg.[12]

During the height of "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland, the IRA targeted personnel in Germany between 1988 and 1990. The attacks resulted in the deaths of 9 people, including three civilians, and many wounded. As a result, vehicles owned by personnel ceased to have distinct registration plates, which had made them easily identifiable.[13]


Under the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the British Army in Germany will be reduced by half by 2015,[14] and permanent deployment will end by 2019,[15] although some training will still be undertaken with regards NATO capability.[16]

Major Units as of 2015[edit]


250th anniversary of the Battle of Minden: Mungo Melvin and German General Markus Kneip crossing the Weser

Commanders have included:[17]
General Officer Commanding United Kingdom Support Command (Germany)

General Officer Commanding British Forces Germany


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°07′34″N 8°40′59″E / 52.12611°N 8.68306°E / 52.12611; 8.68306