Analysis Belgian army parade 21 July 2019 armored and combat vehicles review


Army Recognition editorial team with its Online Defense and Security Web TV news channel was in Peutie military barracks to cover the military parade rehearsal for the Belgian National Day of July 21, 2019. Every year, Belgium’s national day is celebrated with a whole range of activities including a military parade of Belgium armed forces, police, civil defense and emergency services in the center of Brussels. This year was a special edition: a large number of World War 2 vehicles took part to the parade to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Belgium's Liberation.


Analysis Belgian army parade 21 July 2019 armored and combat vehicles review 1
Piranha IIIC DF30 at the Belgian National Day military parade in Brussels, July 21, 2019 (Picture source: Alain HENRY de FRAHAN)



The traditional military and civilian parade took place on the Place des Palais (Palaces square) starting at 4 p.m. To commemorate the 75th anniversary of Belgium's Liberation from the German occupation, the parade included a massive participation of Allied vehicles of World War 2 vehicles split into two convoys mainly aiming at commemorating the Belgian Brigade Piron embedded in the British army for the European campaign: convoy B was made of 24 privately owned Willys MB and Ford GPW Jeeps driven by collectors in WW2 uniforms to bring 32 Belgian veterans (SAS, Brigade Piron, Belgian Section of the RAF, U.S. Army volunteer, etc.) to the royal stage where they would be individually greeted by King Philippe. Convoy C was made of 20 vehicles operated by the Vehicle Restoration Center working in the Bastogne Barracks under the authority of the World Heritage Institute: Willys MB Jeep for the convoy commander, Humber Heavy Utility staff car, M5A1 Stuart light tank, 4 Sherman main battle tanks, M7B1 Priest self-propelled howitzer, Daimler Mk.2 armored car (the very one commanded by Lt (later Lt.Gen.) Roger Dewandre when entering Brussels on 3 September 1944), AEC Matador armored car (the last running one in the world), Bren Carrier, Humber and Daimler scout cars, half-track M16 antiaircraft, half-track M3 ambulance, Morris Commercial C8 artillery tractor with 25 pdr gun, Bedford QLB anti-aircraft artillery tractor, GM C15A APC, Scammel recovery truck, GMC CCKW-353 truck, and more.


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24 privately owned Willys MB and Ford GPW Jeeps of World War 2 brought 32 Belgian WW2 veterans to the royal stage (Picture source: Belgian MoD)


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Sherman Firefly MBT, the British version of the U.S. M4A1 (76mm) Sherman (Picture source: Alain HENRY de FRAHAN)


 Foreign military and civilian delegations also took part, demonstrating their partnerships with Belgium in various forms.


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Maj.Gen. Marc Thys, commander of the Land Component, Belgian Army, in his Iveco Lynx LMV (Picture source: Army Recognition)


The Belgian military parade for the National Day of 21 July 2019, headed by Maj.Gen. Marc Thys, commander of the Land Component of the Belgian army, started with LMVs (Light Multirole Vehicle) Lynx (namely the king's one), which are 4x4 tactical vehicles developed by Iveco, in service with several countries. The vehicle can carry four military personnel with driver and commander at the front and two more soldiers at the rear. The vehicle offers protection against firing of small arms and artillery shell splinters. This is the standard tactical armored vehicle in service with the Belgian army.


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VBMR Griffon operated by the STAT (Section Technique de l'Armée de Terre, French army, Land forces) (Picture source: Army Recognition)


This year, the French army took part to the parade with two VBMR Griffon 6x6 APCs, the same vehicles as the 382 units bought by Belgium in the framework of the French-Belgian CaMo programme (Capacité Motorisée, Motorized Capacity). As one of the forthcoming vehicles foreseen in the Scorpion programme, the Griffon will be delivered in six major variants, plus sub-variants.


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LMV Lynx SPS of the 1/3rd Lancers Regiment of the Armored Brigade based in Marche-en-Famenne (Picture source: Army Recognition)


Another version of the Lynx (LMV) is the Lynx SPX SPS (Self-Protection System), a 4x4 armored vehicle used by the infantry units of the Belgian army, fitted with a remotely operated weapon station armed with one 7.62mm machine gun. The vehicle can carry four military personnel.


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Piranha IIIC DF30 and DF90 (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


To symbolize the participation of the Belgian army to a NATO deployment in Lithuania, various versions of the 8x8 Piranha IIIC took part: CP (command post), APCs, DF90, DF30, APC. The DF90 is a fire support vehicle based on a Piranha IIIC wheeled armored chassis. The vehicle is fitted with a Belgian John Cockerill two-man turret armed with a Cockerill LCTS 90mm cannon. It can efficiently fire at a maximum range of 2.2 km. The vehicle has a crew of three (driver, commander and gunner). 18 units are in service with the Belgian army.

The Piranha IIIC DF30 used by infantry units of the Armored brigade. The DF30 is an infantry fighting vehicle also based on the Piranha IIIC wheeled armored chassis that can carry 6 men. This vehicle is armed with a 30mm cannon remotely operated.


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Piranha IIIC APC (FUS) (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


The Piranha IIIC Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), officially "Piranha FUS" (for "fusilier", infantryman), is mainly used by infantry unit of the Armoured brigade. The vehicle can carry a total of 10 military personnel driver, commander, gunner and 7 infantrymen. It is fitted with a remotely operated weapon station mounted on the roof of the vehicle which is armed with a 12.7mm M2 heavy machine gun.


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MPPV Dingo 2, armored vehicle based on a Mercedes Unimog U5000 chassis (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


The Dingo 2 armored personnel carrier (APC), also called MPPV (Multi-Purpose Protected Vehicle) in the Belgian army, is a 4x4 armored personnel carrier which is in service with the light infantry units, including airborne units. The vehicle is manufactured by the German Company KMW. The vehicle is based on the German-made Unimog 5000 light truck chassis. The vehicle provides a high level of protection against ballistic and mine threats. In the Belgian Army, the vehicle is fitted with a remotely operated weapon station which can be armed with a 12.7mm or 7.62mm machine gun.


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The Pandur 1 equips reconnaissance units (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


The reconnaissance units of the Belgian army paraded with LMV Lynxes and Pandur 1s. The Pandur 1 is a 6x6 armored vehicle used by reconnaissance units of Belgium army. The vehicle was developed by the Austrian Company Steyr-Daimler-Puch, now part of General Dynamics European Land System. The rear part of the vehicle is fitted a telescopic mast with optics to perform observation of the battlefield. The vehicle has a one-man open-top turret armed with a 12.7mm machine gun.


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Willys MB as modified by the Belgian SAS in 1944 (armament: 3 Vickers .303 MGs and a Bren .303 ), followed by an armored Minerva (armament: 3 MAG MGs) of the airborne troops in the 1960s and 1970s (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


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VW/Bombardier Iltis (armament: 1 MAG MG) of the Belgian airborne troops, namely the 3L Para (3e Lanciers Parachutistes) in the 1980s and 1990s (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


Seeking to recall its history, the Special Forces Regiment, encompassing airborne troops and the Special Forces Group, took the brilliant initiative of calling private collectors to bring vehicles that the Belgian special forces (under various designations) and some airborne units had operationally used since August 1944, when the first Belgian SAS Jeeps secretly operated in Belgium, much ahead of the U.S. and British armies fighting their way eastward through France. So, their convoy started with a Willys MB carefully modified by its owner in total conformity with the 1944 SAS model. This Jeep was followed by an armored Minerva as operated by the Belgian paratroopers in the 1960's and 1970's (these Minervas were modified Land Rovers produced under license in Belgium). Then, a VW/Bombardier Iltis of the Belgian airborne troops. And finally, the newly delivered Jankel Fox light tactical vehicles (already operationally used in Africa) and Unimog Jacam trucks (to be replaced in the near future). 


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Jankel Fox RRV (Rapid Reaction Vehicle) of the Special Forces Regiment armed with a 40mm automatic grenade launcher and an FN MAG machine gun (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


The Fox RRV (Rapid Reaction Vehicle), based on a Toyota 4x4 Hi-Lux chassis, is designed and manufactured by the British Company Jankel. In January 2016, Belgian armed forces awarded a contract to Jankel for the delivery of 108 Fox RRVs. For the Belgian Army, the vehicle is being delivered in two variants named Command vehicle (48), and Liaison and Reconnaissance (60). The first variant will be armed with a 7.62mm mounted on swivel station fitted on the right side of the vehicle that can be operated by the commander of the vehicle. The reconnaissance version has a ring mount located on the superstructure of the vehicle; it can be armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher.


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Mercedes Unimog Jacal of the Special Forces Group (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


The Jacam is a 4x4 light tactical truck based on a Unimog U5000 chassis specially designed to perform long-range reconnaissance missions. The vehicle is armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun and three 5.56 /7.62 mm machine guns mounted on swivel stations located at the front and the rear of the truck.


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Dingo 2 towing an 81mm RT F1 mortar designed by the French Company Thomson-Brandt (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


The artillery was represented by two Dingo 2s towing an 81mm RT F1 mortar designed by the French Company Thomson-Brandt. It has a firing range of 8,000 meters with standard projectiles and 12,850 meters with rocket projectiles. No 105mm LG guns displayed this year.


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Piranha IIIC with mine-clearing equipment (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


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Leguan AVLB bride layer on Leopard 1 chassis (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


The engineer troops were represented mainly by a Leopard 1 AVLB "Leguan" bridge layer and a Piranha IIIC equipped with a demining device. 


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Like in 2018, Luxembourg sent two Dingo 2 PRVs to parade with the Belgian army (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


The Army of Luxembourg was represented with two Dingo 2 PRVs. The Dingo 2 PRV is intended to provide a full reconnaissance capability for the Luxembourg army, with a view to detecting, identifying and localizing potential threats or enemies (by day and by night), gathering just-in-time data for situational awareness, sharing information with other operational uniting and accelerating decision-taking to support action. The Dingo 2 PRV (Protected Reconnaissance Vehicle) is equipped with Optronic Head (Margot 5000) with Thermal Imager, CCD camera and Laser Range Finder mounted on a 4 m telescopic mast located at the rear of the vehicle. For its self-protection, the vehicle is fitted with one Kongsberg’s Protector remotely-operated turret armed with one 12.7mm heavy machine gun.


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Dutch army Fennek reconnaissance vehicles (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


The Dutch army took part with two Fennek 4x4 reconnaissance armored vehicles, each operated by a three-man crew and deployed in units of two vehicles. A scouting party equipped with this vehicle is able to operate independently for a period of up to five days. The Dutch reconnaissance vehicles are armed with a 12.7mm machine gun and two containers are mounted at the rear of the vehicle to carry Panzerfaust, a single-shot anti-tank weapon. The vehicle is also equipped with a Rheinmetall Defence Electronics BAA which comprises a thermal imager, a CCD day vision camera, and a laser rangefinder and is installed in a sensor head mounted on an extendable mast.


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German army Leopard 2A6 (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


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German army Buffel engineer vehicle (Picture source: Army Recognition)  


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German army Dingo 2 of a PsyOps unit (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


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German army Mercedes G500 (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


The German army was represented by several types of vehicles: two Leopard 2A6 MBTs, a Buffel engineering tank, two Dingo 2s, and an armored Mercedes G500. The two Dingo 2 are in PsyOps (Psychological Operations) version. The Psychological Operations (PsyOps) are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The Dingo 2 offers protection against firing of small arms and artillery shell splinters. It has a crew of four. The roof of the vehicle is fitted with a remote weapon station FLW 100 armed with one MG3 7.62mm machine gun. The vehicle-mounted PsyOps loudspeaker equipment replacing the short lightweight all-terrain loudspeaker team truck for loudspeaker equipment installation kit which was used up to 2018.


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Iveco Astra with fuel tank container (Picture source: Army Recognition) 


Support units of Belgian Army displayed different types of all-terrain military trucks including Iveco Astra and Euro Trakker truck with fuel tank containers manufactured by the German Company WEW mounted at the rear of the chassis. This new support vehicle provides the Belgian Army with a significant improvement in fuel delivery capability. After unloading the container, the system can be operated independently using its autarkic diesel-driven pump.


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Scania T144 with Lohr semi-trailer transporting a Piranha IIIC APC (Picture source: Army Recognition)


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Mercedes medium transport truck carrying a Dingo 2 (Picture source: Army Recognition)


Logistic units were represented by two types of tractor trucks with semi-trailers, each transporting an armored vehicle: a Scania T144 with Lohr semi-trailer transporting a Piranha IIIC APC (the Belgian army bought these tank transporters at the time it still had Leopard 1 MBTs. Nowadays, it only retains a few Bergpanzer recovery tanks and Leguan bridge layers) and a Mercedes 6x4 medium transport truck.


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Piranha IIIC and Dingo 2 ambulances of the Belgian Medical Service (Picture source: Army Recognition)


The medical unit of the Belgian army uses two types of ambulance armored vehicles. The first one is the Piranha IIIC in ambulance version which is used to evacuate wounded soldiers from the battlefield under the armor of the vehicle. The rear part of the vehicle can accommodate four stretchers or six seats.

The second ambulance is the Dingo 2 medical support vehicle, similar to the Dingo 2 armored vehicle used by the light infantry unit, but the rear part of the vehicle is designed to carry wounded soldiers.


 

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