The Info List - Belgian Land Component

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The Land Component (Dutch: Landcomponent, French: Composante terre) is the land-based branch of the Belgian Armed Forces. The current chief of staff of the Land Component is Major-General
Marc Thys. 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.


1 Organisation 1870s

1.1 Infantry 1.2 Cavalry 1.3 Artillery 1.4 Engineering 1.5 Train

2 World War I 3 World War II 4 Cold War 5 Structure 6 Equipment

6.1 Firearms 6.2 Vehicles 6.3 Former Equipment

7 Future 8 Notes 9 External links

Organisation 1870s[edit]

A detachment of the 2nd/4th Regiment Mounted Rifles
2nd/4th Regiment Mounted Rifles
at the 2007 Bastille Day Military Parade.

The Regiment of Grenadiers
on maneuvers 1894

The former King and the armed forces

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

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

Note: a battalion (864 men) consists of four companies of 216 men Cavalry[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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


7 train companies

World War I[edit] Further information: Belgian Army
order of battle (1914) 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]

1st Division (Lieutenant-General Baix) - around Ghent. 2nd Division (Lieutenant-General Dassin) - Antwerp. 3rd Division (Lieutenant-General Leman) - around Liège. 4th Division (Lieutenant-General Michel) - Namur and Charleroi. 5th Division (Lieutenant-General Ruwet) - around Mons. 6th Division (Lieutenant-General Albert Lantonnois van Rode) - Brussels. Cavalry Division (Lieutenant-General de Witte) - Brussels.

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[edit] Main articles: Belgian Army
1940, Battle of Belgium, and Battle of France In 1940, the King of Belgium
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
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[edit] See also: Structure of the Belgian Armed Forces
Belgian Armed Forces
in 1989 § Army, and NORTHAG wartime structure in 1989 § I Belgian Corps 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[edit]

Structure of the Belgian Land Forces (click image to enlarge)

Main article: Structure of the Belgian Land Component See also: List of active units of the Belgian Army

Medium Brigade

Light Brigade

Belgian Army
- brigade locations

The Land Component is organised using the concept of capacities, whereby units are gathered together according to their function and material. Within this framework, there are five capacities: command, combat, support, services and training. The command capacity groups the following levels of command: COMOPSLAND (Operational Command of the Land Component), Medium Brigade at Leopoldsburg
(formed from the 1st Mechanised Brigade in 2011) and Light Brigade (formerly the 7th Mechanised Brigade) at Marche-en-Famenne. The combat capacity comprises the main fighting units of the Land Component. It consists of two Para-Commando battalions, the Special Forces Group and five infantry battalions. The support capacity comprises one reconnaissance battalion, a civilian-military cooperation and operational communication battalion, one artillery battalion and two engineer battalions. The service capacity comprises three communication and information systems (CIS) groups, three logistics battalions, the Military Police Group and the Military Detachment at the Palace of the Nation, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (known as DOVO in Dutch and SEDEE in French, the Movement Control 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[edit] Firearms[edit]

Belgian soldiers with FN FNC
assault rifles.

Belgian Special
Forces Group operator with a FN SCAR-H rifle.

Weapon Caliber Origin Photo Notes


Browning GP 9×19mm  Belgium

Standard issue firearm, being phased out in favour of the FN Five-seven.

FN Five-seven
FN Five-seven
mk2 5.7×28 mm  Belgium

Formerly issued to pilots and SFG members, now entering service as the standard issue sidearm.

Submachine Guns

FN Uzi 9×19mm   Israel

Made under license by FN Herstal, used as a personal defence weapon for Special
Forces, Navy and Medical personnel.

FN P90 5.7×28 mm  Belgium

Personal defence weapon used by selected troops, including special forces.

Assault Rifles, Battle Rifles and Carbines

FN FNC 5.56×45mm  Belgium

Service rifle, To be replaced with SCAR-L.

FN F2000 5.56×45mm  Belgium

Used by special forces, and elsewhere in limited quantities to serve alongside the FN FNC.

FN SCAR-L STD 5.56×45mm  Belgium

4500 SCAR-L ordered to replace the FNC as the new standard service rifle between 2015-2017.

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

63 SCAR-H CQC ordered for special forces combat divers.

Sniper Rifles

FN SCAR-H PR 7.62×51mm  Belgium

287 SCAR-H PR rifles on order to replace the AW between 2015 - 2017

Accuracy International Arctic Warfare 7.62×51mm  United Kingdom

Will be replaced by a combination of SCAR-H PR, AXMC and M107A1.

Accuracy International AX338 .338 LM  United Kingdom

Barrett M107A1 12.7×99mm  United States

59 delivered by the end of 2014

Machine Guns

FN Minimi
FN Minimi
5.56 Mk3 Tactical SB 5.56×45mm  Belgium

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
FN Minimi
7.62 Mk3 7.62×51mm  Belgium

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

Standard general-purpose machine gun. To be replaced with 242 7.62×51mm chambered Minimi's.

M2HB QCB 12.7×99mm  United States

Standard Issue HMG


Remington 870 12-gauge  United States

In service since 2008[8]

Grenade Launchers

GL-1 40×46mm  Belgium

Used by regular infantry and paratroopers mounted under FN F2000 rifles on a squad based level.

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

Mounted on the army's new Jankel
FOX Rapid Reaction Vehicles.

Anti-tank Missile Launchers

MILAN 115 mm  France

Will be replaced by Spike ATGM in the near future.

Spike-MR 152 mm  Israel

66 new anti-tank missile systems are currently being delivered to replace the army's older MILAN

Anti-tank Rocket Launchers

M72 LAW 66 mm  United States

Will be replaced by RGW 90 as the short range anti-tank weapon on a squad based level.

RGW 90 HH 90 mm  Germany

111 short range anti-tank weapons are to be purchased in the near future.[9]

Anti-air Missile Launchers



Infrared surface-to-air missile. 0 (retired in 2017 without replacement) No surface-to-air defence system left.[10]


120 RT Mortar 120 mm  France

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 regiment for light fire support.[10]

Mark II Howitzer 105 mm  France

About 24 in use[10]


Mecar M72 HE grenade NA  Belgium

Fragmentation hand grenade

Mecar M93BG grenade NA  Belgium

Rifle grenade
Rifle grenade
for the FN FNC

M18 grenade NA  United States

Smoke hand grenade


M6A2 Mine NA  United States

Anti-tank mine


HAFLA NA  Germany

Single-shot, disposable incendiary weapon

Vehicles[edit] 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
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 268[13]

Will be replaced by VBMR Griffon
VBMR Griffon
from 2025.[14]

138 Engineering variants providing Mobility, Countermobility and Protection 64 FUS Armored personnel carriers 19 DF30: Fire support version equipped with MK44 Bushmaster II in an ORCWS-30 18 DF90: Fire support version equipped with a 90 mm cannon 14 CP serving as a mobile command post 6 Ambulance versions 9 Recovery versions

Pandur I  Austria Armoured personnel carrier 59[13]

Will be replaced by EBRC Jaguar from 2025.[14]

45 Reconnaissance variants 10 Ambulance variants 4 Maintenance variants

ATF Dingo
ATF Dingo
2 MPPV  Germany Infantry mobility vehicle 218[13]

Will be replaced by VBMR Griffon
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

FOX  United Kingdom Light Rapid Response Vehicle 108

The FOX of the original is Toyota Land Cruiser, contract for the Belgian Armed 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

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

350 with optional removable ballistic protection kits

Iveco ALC 8x4  Italy Autonomous Load Carrier 149

In service since 2004

Mercedes-Benz Actros  Germany Transport Truck 60

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

Used for medical evacuation

Former Equipment[edit]

An M75 APC at the Brussels
army museum.



Sherman Firefly M4 105mm M24 Chaffee M26 Pershing M46 Patton M47 Patton M41 Walker Bulldog Leopard 1 M22 Locust


including indigenous variants Various types of M3 Half-track

SP artillery

M7 Priest M44 155 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage Jagdpanzerkanone
JPK Flakpanzer Gepard M108 Howitzer M109 howitzer


M74 Armored Recovery Vehicle Bergepanzer 2A1

Future[edit] In the stratregical defence 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.[15] Notes[edit]

^ "de SELLIERS de MORANVILLE". www.ars-moriendi.be.  ^ 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 ^ Isby and Kamps, 1985, 59 ^ Entre rEssEntimEnt et ré-éducation: L’Armée belge d’Occupation et les Allemands, 1945-1952, accessed August 2014. ^ 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, accessed April 2009 ^ " Cold War
Cold War
Battle Orders Make Way for a New NATO
Era", Jane's Defence Weekly, June 8, 1991, p. 961. ^ Decision Soon on Division, JANE'S DEFENCE WEEKLY, 20-Mar-1993, and Belgian Division Joins Eurocorps, Jane's Defence Weekly, 23 October 1993 ^ "Belgian Defence Remington 870 fact sheet". Retrieved 14 January 2015.  ^ a b Belgium
selects Spike missile to replace Milan - Armyrecognition.com, January 3, 2013 ^ a b c d e "Belgian Defense Information". European Defense Information. Armed Forces.co.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2014.  ^ "Leopard lost zijn laatste schot". 11 September 2014.  ^ "België verkoopt 56 Leopardtanks".  ^ a b c "Voertuigen".  ^ a b c " Belgium
to Buy French Scorpion AFVs for €1.1bn". Defense Alert. Retrieved 26 June 2017.  ^ "Akkoord over het strategisch plan voor Defensie 2030". 22 December 2015. 

External links[edit]

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Belgian Army
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website (in Dutch) http://www.sfg.be - The Special
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