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Belgian Land Component

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Land Component
French: Composante terre
Dutch: Landkomponent
Flag of the Belgian Land Component.svg
Flag of the Land Component since 1982
Active1830–2002 (as the Belgian Army)
2002–present (as the Belgian Land Component)
Country Belgium
Allegiance King of the Belgians
TypeArmy
Size10,000 personnel
Part of
Coats of arms of Belgium Military Forces.svg
Belgian Armed Forces
Commanders
CommanderMajor-General Pierre Gérard

The Land Component (Dutch: Landcomponent, French: Composante terre) is the land branch of the Belgian Armed Forces. The King of the Belgians is the commander in chief. The current chief of staff of the Land Component is Major-General Pierre Gérard.

For a detailed history of the Belgian Army from 1830 to post 1945 see Belgian Armed Forces.

Ranks in use by the Belgian Army are listed at Belgian military ranks.

Organisation 1870s

A regiment of grenadiers on maneuvers in 1894
A regiment of grenadiers on maneuvers in 1894
The former King with members of the armed forces
The former King with members of the armed forces

According to the Law of 16 August 1873, the army was to consist of:[citation needed]

Infantry

  • 14 regiments of line infantry (three active battalions, one reserve and one company in each regiment depot)
  • 3 regiments of Jäger (three active battalions, one reserve and one company in each regiment depot)
  • 1 regiment of grenadiers (three active battalions, one reserve and one company in each regiment depot)
  • 1 regiment of Carabinier (four active battalions, 2 reserve and 1 depot company of deposit)
  • 2 companies settled
  • 1 discipline body
  • 1 military school for children of servicemen

Note: a battalion (864 men) consists of four companies of 216 men

Cavalry

  • 4 regiments of lancers (4 active squadrons and one reinforcement in each regiment)
  • 2 regiments of guides (4 active squadrons and one reinforcement in each regiment)
  • 2 regiments of Chasseur (4 active squadrons and one reinforcement in each regiment)

Note: a squadron had approximately 130 horses

Artillery

  • 4 regiments of artillery (10 batteries in each regiment)
  • 3 regiments of fortress artillery or siege artillery (16 batteries, 1 battery and 1 spare battery depot in each regiment)
  • 1 pontoon company
  • 1 company of artificers
  • 1 company of gunsmiths
  • 1 company of artillery workers

Note: A battery has 6 guns

Engineering

  • 1 Engineer Regiment (3 active battalions and one depot battalion)
  • 1 railway company
  • 1 campaign Telegraph company
  • 1 telegraph room company
  • 1 pontoon room company
  • 1 workers company

Train

World War I

A major reorganisation of the army had been authorised by the government in 1912, providing for a total army of 350,000 men by 1926 - 150,000 in the field forces, 130,000 in fortress garrisons and 70,000 reserves and auxiliaries. At the outbreak of war this reorganisation was nowhere near complete and only 117,000 men could be mobilised for the field forces, with the other branches equally deficient.

The Commander-in-Chief was King Albert I, with Lieutenant-General Chevalier Antonin de Selliers de Moranville as the Chief of the General Staff from 25 May 1914 until 6 September 1914 when a Royal Decree abolished the function of Chief of Staff of the army. In this way the King secured his control of the command.[1]

In addition, there were garrisons at Antwerp, Liège and Namur, each placed under the command of the local divisional commander.[2]

Each division contained three mixed brigades (of two infantry regiments and one artillery regiment), one cavalry regiment, and one artillery regiment, as well as various support units. Each infantry regiment contained three battalions, with one regiment in each brigade having a machine-gun company of six guns. An artillery regiment had three batteries of four guns.

The nominal strength of a division varied from 25,500 to 32,000 all ranks, with a total strength of eighteen infantry battalions, a cavalry regiment, eighteen machine-guns, and forty-eight guns. Two divisions (the 2nd and 6th) each had an additional artillery regiment, for a total of sixty guns.

The Cavalry Division had two brigades of two regiments each, three horse artillery batteries, and a cyclist battalion, along with support units; it had a total strength of 4,500 all ranks with 12 guns, and was - in effect - little more than a reinforced brigade.

World War II

In 1940, the King of Belgium was the commander in chief of the Belgian Army which had 100,000 active duty personnel; its strength could be raised to 550,000 when fully mobilized. The army was composed of seven infantry corps, that were garrisoned at Brussels, Antwerp, and Liege, and two divisions of partially-mechanised cavalry Corps at Brussels and the Ardenne. The Corps were as follows:

  • I Corps with the 1st, 4th, and 7th Infantry Divisions
  • II Corps with the 6th, 11th, and 14th Infantry Divisions
  • III Corps with the 1st Chasseurs Ardennais and the 2nd and 3rd Infantry Divisions
  • IV Corps with the 9th, 15th, and 18th Infantry Divisions
  • V Corps with three divisions
  • VI Corps with three divisions

Each Army Corps had its own headquarters staff, two active and several reserve Infantry Divisions, Corps Artillery Regiment of four battalions of two batteries with 16 artillery pieces per battalion, and a Pioneer regiment.

Each infantry divisions had a divisional staff along with three infantry regiments, each of 3,000 men. Each regiment had 108 light machine guns, 52 heavy machine guns, nine heavy mortars or infantry gun howitzers, plus six antitank guns.

Within the Free Belgian Forces that were formed in Great Britain during the occupation of Belgium between 1940–45, there was a land force formation, the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade. An additional three divisions were raised and trained in Northern Ireland, but the war ended before they could see action. However, they joined the initial Belgian occupation force in Germany, I Belgian Corps, whose headquarters moved to Luedenscheid in October 1946.[3] Of the 75,000 troops that found themselves in Germany on 8 May 1945, the vast majority had been recruited after the liberation of Belgium.[4]

Cold War

During the Cold War, Belgium provided the I Belgian Corps (HQ Haelen Kaserne, Junkersdorf, Lindenthal (Cologne)), consisting of the 1st Infantry Division in Liège and 16th Mechanised Division in Neheim-Hüsten, to NATO's Northern Army Group for the defence of West Germany.[5] There were also two reserve brigades (10th Mechanised Brigade, Limbourg, and the 12th Motorised Brigade, Liège), slightly bigger than the four active brigades, which were intended as reinforcements for the two divisions. Interior forces comprised the Para-Commando Regiment in Heverlee, three national defence light infantry battalions (5th Chasseurs Ardennais, 3rd Carabiniers-cyclistes, and 4th Carabiniers-cyclistes), four engineer battalions and nine provincial regiments with two to five light infantry battalions each. (Isby and Kamps, 1985, 64, 72)

After the end of the Cold War, forces were reduced. Initial planning in 1991 called for a Belgian-led corps with 2 or 4 Belgian brigades, a German brigade, and possibly a U.S. brigade.[6] However, by 1992 this plan was looking unlikely and in 1993 a single Belgian division with two brigades became part of the Eurocorps.[7]

Structure

Structure of the Land Component after the 2018 reform
Structure of the Land Component after the 2018 reform

The Land Component is organised as 1 Brigade and 1 Special Operations Regiment. In total, the Land Component consists of almost 10,000 military personnel (as of 2019). After the 2018 reforms, the ground forces are organised as following:

COMPONSLAND (the HQ of the Land Component) It oversees and plans all activities and operations of the land component.

  • Motorized Brigade at Leopoldsburg (formed from the Medium Brigade). The brigade comprises about 6,500 soldiers divided into 14 units. The combat capacity consists of 5 motorized infantry battalions equipped with VBMR Griffon vehicles, which are supported by 2 engineer battalions, 2 logistic battalions, 2 CIS groups (communications), 1 field artillery battalion, 1 reconnaissance (ISTAR) battalion equipped with EBRC Jaguar vehicles, 2 military training camps and the 8/9 line HQ company.
  • Special Operations Regiment (formerly the Light Brigade) at Marche-en-Famenne. The regiment has more than 1,500 elite soldiers under its command. It plans and carries out special operations all around the world and is the main expeditionary unit of the Belgian ground forces. The regiment consists of the 2nd commando battalion, the 3rd parachute battalion, the special forces group (SFG) the 6th communications group, parachute and commando training centres and the 4th commando HQ company. All units have airborne capabilities. The regiment operates light armoured vehicles to maneuver across difficult terrains.

The service capacity comprises the Military Police Group, the Explosive Removal and Destruction Service (known as DOVO in Dutch and SEDEE in French, the Movement Control Group, the information operations group and the training centres and camps. The training capacity comprises four departments: the Training Department Infantry at Arlon, the Training Department Armour-Cavalry at Leopoldsburg, the Training Department Artillery at Brasschaat and the Training Department Engineers at Namur.

Some of the regiments in the Land Component, such as the Regiment 12th of the Line Prince Leopold - 13th of the Line, have names consisting of multiple elements. This is the result of a series of amalgamations which took place over the years. The Regiment 12th of the Line Prince Leopold - 13th of the Line was created in 1993 as a result of the merger of the 12th Regiment of the Line Prince Leopold and the 13th Regiment of the Line.

Equipment

Firearms

Belgian soldiers with FN FNC assault rifles
Belgian soldiers with FN FNC assault rifles
Belgian Special Forces Group operator with a FN SCAR-H rifle
Belgian Special Forces Group operator with a FN SCAR-H rifle
Weapon Caliber Origin Photo Notes
Pistols
Browning GP 9×19mm  Belgium
High power Inglis (6971784217).jpg
Standard issue sidearm. Almost completely phased out by the FN Five-seven
FN Five-seven mk2 5.7×28 mm  Belgium
FN5701.jpg
Formerly issued to pilots and SFG members. Now entering service as the standard issue sidearm
Glock 17 9×19mm  Austria
GLOCK 17 Gen 4 Pistol MOD 45160305.jpg
Used by the SOBU and DAS.
Submachine guns
FN Uzi 9×19mm  Israel  Belgium
Uzi of the israeli armed forces.jpg
Made under license by FN Herstal and used as a personal defence weapon for Special Forces, Navy, and Medical personnel. Almost completely phased out by the FN P90
FN P90 5.7×28 mm  Belgium
P90--.png
Personal defence weapon used by medical component personnel and SFG - Special Operations Boat Unit
MP9 9×19mm   Switzerland
MP9 23-11-2010 11-00 00224.jpg
Used by DAS
Assault rifles, battle rifles and carbines
FN FNC 5.56×45mm  Belgium
FNC IMG 1527.jpg
Used by recruits for training
FN F2000 5.56×45mm  Belgium
FN F2000S.JPG
Used by SOR Pathfinders in limited quantities to serve alongside the FN SCAR
FN SCAR-L STD 5.56×45mm  Belgium
Scar L Standard.jpg
SCAR-L in use as the new standard service rifle
FN SCAR-L CQC 5.56×45mm  Belgium Standard service rifle of the Belgian special forces group
FN SCAR-H CQC 7.62×51mm  Belgium
SFG 32.jpg
63 SCAR-H CQC ordered for special forces combat divers
Sniper rifles
FN SCAR-H PR 7.62×51mm  Belgium
FN SCAR.jpg
287 SCAR-H PR rifles on order to replace the AW between 2015 and 2017
Accuracy International Arctic Warfare 7.62×51mm  United Kingdom
Accuracy International AW.png
Almost completely replaced by a combination of SCAR-H PR, AXMC, and M107A1
Accuracy International AXMC .338 LM  United Kingdom
ACCURACY INTERNATIONAL AX-50 Rifle.jpg
Barrett M107A1 12.7×99mm  United States
M82A1 barrett.jpeg
59 delivered by the end of 2014
Machine guns
FN Minimi 5.56 Mk3 Tactical SB 5.56×45mm  Belgium
FN MINIMI Standard Right.jpg
Standard issue LMG. Currently being updated to 'Mk3 Tactical SB' standards, featuring a shorter barrel, adjustable buttstock with shoulder rest, ergonomic railed handguard, new bipod assembly and cocking handle.
FN Minimi 7.62 Mk3 7.62×51mm  Belgium
MSPO2007-41.jpg
The Belgian government signed a 2 million euro contract to replace all MAG's with 242 Minimi's chambered in 7.62×51mm.
FN MAG 7.62×51mm  Belgium
FN MAG white background.jpg
Standard general-purpose machine gun. To be replaced with 242 7.62×51mm chambered Minimi's
M2HB QCB 12.7×99mm  United States
IDF-M2-Browning-v01-by-Zachi-Evenor.jpg
Standard issue HMG
Shotguns
Remington 870 12-gauge  United States
In service since 2008[8]
Grenade launchers
GL-1 40×46mm  Belgium
FN GL1.png
Used by regular infantry and Paracommando's mounted under FN F2000 rifles on a squad based level. Almost completely replaced by the FN40GL
FN40GL 40×46mm  Belgium Used by special forces mounted under FN SCAR rifles. 507 on order to replace the F2000 on a squad based level
Heckler & Koch GMG 40×53mm  Germany
HK GMW.jpg
Mounted on the army's new Jankel FOX Rapid Reaction Vehicles
Anti-tank missile launchers
MILAN 115 mm  France
MILAN P1220770.jpg
Will be replaced by Spike ATGM in the near future
Spike-MR 152 mm  Israel
Euro-Spike MR Lippujuhlan päivä 2014 4.JPG
66 new anti-tank missile systems are currently being delivered to replace the army's older MILAN ATGM.[9]
Anti-tank rocket launchers
M72 LAW 66 mm  United States
M72 ASM RC Kokonaisturvallisuusmesssut 2015.jpg
Will be replaced by RGW 90 as the short range anti-tank weapon on a squad based level
RGW 90 HH 90 mm  Germany
MATADOR Stand.jpg
111 short range anti-tank weapons are to be purchased in the near future.[9]
Artillery
120 RT Mortar 120 mm  France
Mor120.jpg
About 30 in use[10]
M1 Mortar 81 mm  United States About 42 in use[10]
M19 Mortar 60 mm  United States About 60 used by the Paracommando Battalions for light fire support[10]
LG1 Mark II Howitzer 105 mm  France
Royal Thai Army firing LG1 howitzer with extended range ammunition.jpg
14 in use
Grenades
Mecar M72 HE grenade NA  Belgium
M72 Frag Grenade.jpg
Fragmentation hand grenade
Mecar M93BG grenade NA  Belgium Rifle grenade for the FN FNC
M18 grenade NA  United States
M18 Grenade.svg
Smoke hand grenade
Mines
M6A2 Mine NA  United States Anti-tank mine
Miscellaneous
HAFLA NA  Germany
Handflammpatrone.jpg
Single-shot, disposable incendiary weapon

Vehicles

The Belgian Army is currently undergoing a major re-equipment programme for most of its vehicles. The aim is to phase out all tracked vehicles in favour of wheeled vehicles. As of 2010, the tank units were to be disbanded or amalgamated with the Armored Infantry (two infantry companies and one tank squadron per battalion). 40 Leopard 1 tanks were still waiting to be sold; the rest were transferred to Lebanon. As of 2013, only some M113 variants (Radar, recovery, command posts and driving school vehicles) and Leopard variants (Recovery, AVLB, Pionier, driving tanks) will remain in service.

The Leopard 1A5 tank was retired on 10 September 2014. 56 of the tanks will be sold, about 24 will stay as historic monuments or serve as a museum pieces; the rest will be phased out or used for target practice.[11][12]

Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
Armoured vehicles
Piranha IIIC   Switzerland Armoured fighting vehicle 138[13]
Belgique-2009 07 21-Fête nationale-Retour du défilé militaire-Avenue Chazal (04).JPG
Will be replaced by the VBMR Griffon from 2025[14]
  • 64 FUS Armored personnel carriers[15]
  • 19 DF30: Fire support version with MK44 Bushmaster II in an ORCWS-30[15]
  • 18 DF90: Fire support version with a 90 mm cannon[15]
  • 14 CP serving as a mobile command post[15]
  • 9 Repair and recovery variants[15]
  • 8 Engineer variants[15]
  • 6 Ambulances[15]
Pandur I  Austria Armoured personnel carrier 59[13]
COMBINED RESOLVE VII 160908-A-NY707-008.jpg
Will be replaced by the EBRC Jaguar from 2025[14]
  • 45 Reconnaissance variants
  • 10 Ambulance variants
  • 4 Maintenance variants
ATF Dingo 2 MPPV  Germany Infantry mobility vehicle 218[13]
Fête nationale belge à Bruxelles le 21 juillet 2016 - Armée belge (Défense) 21.jpg
Will be replaced by the VBMR Griffon from 2025[14]
  • 156 FUS variants for troop transport
  • 52 Command Post (CP)
  • 10 Ambulance variants
Iveco LMV  Italy Infantry mobility vehicle 439
20110721 bruxelles45.jpg
Jankel FOX  United Kingdom Light rapid response vehicle - SOF 108
Jankel Fox Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV) - Nationaal defilé 2018 21-07-2018.jpg
The FOX is based on the Toyota Land Cruiser, for use by the Specials Forces, includes a removable armour kit to increase ballistic and mine protection. The vehicles will be fitted with a 360° ring mount which can be armed with a 12.7mm machine gun or an automatic grenade launcher.[1]
Unarmoured vehicles
Unimog 1.9T  Germany Light truck 61
Unimog 1,9T 4x4 SVB (slagveldbewaking) - Nationaal defilé 2018 21-07-2018 16-43-40.jpg
  • 10 Unimog 1.9T 4×4 JACAM variants
  • 47 Unimog 1.9T 4×4 Mistral variants
  • 4 Unimog 1.9T 4×4 SVB variants
Iveco M250  Italy Medium heavy truck 400

Fête nationale belge à Bruxelles le 21 juillet 2016 - Armée belge (Défense) 26.jpg

350 with optional removable ballistic protection kits
Iveco ALC 8x4  Italy Autonomous load carrier 149
Belgique-2009 07 21-Fête nationale-Retour du défilé militaire-Avenue Chazal (14).JPG
In service since 2004
Mercedes-Benz Actros  Germany Transport truck 60
Mercedes 1117 of the Belgian Army, licence registration 37599.JPG
In service since 2002
Renault Kerax  France Tow truck 27 In service since 2001
Scania T144  Sweden Heavy transport 26 In service since 2002
Groundhog  United Kingdom Terrain vehicle 38 In service since 2009
M-Gator  United States Light utility vehicle Unknown Used for medical evacuation

Former Equipment

An M75 APC at the Brussels Army Museum
An M75 APC at the Brussels Army Museum

Future

In the strategical defense vision report of the Belgian government it was stated that by 2030 the Belgian land component will invest in new modern equipment such as weapons, vehicles, communication assets, body armor and more.[16]

References

  1. ^ "de SELLIERS de MORANVILLE". www.ars-moriendi.be. Archived from the original on 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2016-12-30.
  2. ^ George Nafziger's order of battle for the Belgian Army in 1914 can be seen at http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/CGSC/CARL/nafziger/914WAAA.pdf Archived 2015-07-13 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Isby and Kamps, 1985, 59
  4. ^ Entre rEssEntimEnt et ré-éducation: L’Armée belge d’Occupation et les Allemands, 1945-1952 Archived 2013-10-14 at the Wayback Machine, accessed August 2014.
  5. ^ Steven J. Zaloga, Tank War: Central Front NATO vs Warsaw Pact, Osprey Elite 26, 1989, p.25. See also (Fr) Les Forces Belges en Allemagne Archived 2009-03-31 at the Wayback Machine, accessed April 2009
  6. ^ "Cold War Battle Orders Make Way for a New NATO Era", Jane's Defence Weekly, June 8, 1991, p. 961.
  7. ^ Decision Soon on Division, JANE'S DEFENCE WEEKLY, 20-Mar-1993, and Belgian Division Joins Eurocorps, Jane's Defence Weekly, 23 October 1993
  8. ^ "Belgian Defence Remington 870 fact sheet". Archived from the original on 12 April 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  9. ^ a b Belgium selects Spike missile to replace Milan Archived 2017-06-29 at the Wayback Machine - Armyrecognition.com, January 3, 2013
  10. ^ a b c "Belgian Defense Information". European Defense Information. Armed Forces.co.uk. Archived from the original on 19 February 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  11. ^ "Leopard lost zijn laatste schot". 11 September 2014. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  12. ^ "België verkoopt 56 Leopardtanks". Archived from the original on 2014-09-04. Retrieved 2014-09-04.
  13. ^ a b c "Voertuigen". Archived from the original on 2016-06-28. Retrieved 2016-07-11.
  14. ^ a b c "Belgium to Buy French Scorpion AFVs for €1.1bn". Defense Alert. Archived from the original on 19 August 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g "Piranha FUS". Belgian Defence Forces. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Akkoord over het strategisch plan voor Defensie 2030". 22 December 2015. Archived from the original on 18 August 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016.

External links

This page was last edited on 17 October 2020, at 11:31
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