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Inauguration of the Belgian Motorized Brigade, a deep doctrine change.

| 2018

This Thursday 22 November 2018, the Belgian army has officially implemented the creation of its Motorized Brigade, a fundamental change from the previous Medium Brigade by both its composition and doctrine of use. The new command is assigned to Col. Jean-Louis Crucifix. The ceremony took place at Camp Roi Albert, in Marche-en-Famenne (southern Belgium), HQ of the new brigade. It was attended by Sander Loones, the New Belgian Defense Minister, Gen. Marc Compernol, Chief of Defense, and an impressive array of Belgian and foreign generals, staff officers, Defense attachés and civilian authorities.

Inauguration of the Belgian Motorized Brigade a deep doctrine change 1
Inauguration ceremony of the Belgian Motorized Brigade in Marche-en-Famenne. From left to right: Maj.Gen. Marc Thys, commander of the Land Component; Mr. Sander Looners, new minister of Defense; Col. (GS) Jean-Louis Crucifix, commander of the Motorized Brigade (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The Belgian minister of Defense gave an exclusive interview to Army Recognition, explaining his vision for both his personal role and the deep change started in the Belgian Land Component reorganization accompanied by both important investment in vehicles and other equipment, and the recruitment of personnel needed – both in number and skills – to operate this new equipment scheduled to be delivered in the forthcoming years.

Maj.Gen. Marc Thys, commander of the Land Component, explained to Army Recognition how far the adaptation of the Belgian ground forces to the relentlessly changing threat, both internal and external, requires fast and deep changes, in equipment as well as in doctrine. The close cooperation with France in terms of doctrine with the CAMO programme (Capacité Motorisée) and, deeper, the numerous scheduled exchanges of French and Belgian units enabling a perfect interchangeability introduces a new era for the Belgian defense. The Belgian Special Operations Regiment, on its side, starts a closer cooperation with its Dutch counterpart, as they both use Dutch CH-47 Chinook helicopters for air transportation of the Jankel Fox vehicles currently being delivered to the Belgian SO Rgt.

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Inauguration ceremony of the Belgian Motorized Brigade in Marche-en-Famenne. Col. Crucifix, commander of the Motorized Brigade, during his speech (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Colonel Crucifix, commander of the new Motorized Brigade, has explained to Army Recognition that, together with the Special Operations Regiment and the Training Center “Land”, the new Motorized Brigade constitutes one of the major commands of the Land Forces. The decision to create this brigade was made so that the Land Forces can align with the doctrine of Belgium’s main partners but also to be able to cope with the evolution of the geopolitical context and the increasing number of threats Belgium has to face. The composition of the new brigade he is commanding offers a framework that allows its units to live together, train together, think together as a cohesive and efficient team whose members learn to know each other intuitively.

Very interestingly, to Army Recognition's question about the possible reverse move consisting in purchasing tracked heavy combat vehicle (medium or main battle tanks) instead or on top of wheeled combat vehicles, Colonel Crucifix replied that a deep evaluation of the doctrine regarding the Land Component does not exclude any solution, as this evaluation is carried on in regard with the Allies' equipment. Most of the NATO allies with which the Belgian Land Forces operate still use main battle tanks, a class of vehicle Belgium no longer has since its Leopard 1A5s were sold out. Will Belgium once consider the acquisition of something like a medium tank, if not an MBT?

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Inauguration ceremony of the Belgian Motorized Brigade in Marche-en-Famenne. The combat and ISTAR vehicles of the brigade (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The Motorized Brigade is composed of a combat capacity (maneuver), a combat support capacity (reconnaissance, artillery and engineer), a combat service support capacity (logistics and communications), training areas and enablers from other components. The brigade command is located in Marche-en-Famenne, while the HQs are located both there and at Leopoldsburg. The French and Dutch-speaking units composing this Motorized Brigade are the HQ, the Bataillon 12e de Ligne Prince Léopold – 13e de Ligne, the Bataljon Carabiniers Prins Baudewijn – Grenadiers, the Bataillon de Chasseurs ardennais, the Bataljon Bevrijding – 5de Linie, the 1/3 Bataillon de Lanciers, the Battallion ISTAR (Reconnaissance), the Bataljon Artillerie, the 4th Bataillon de Génie, the 11th Bataljon Genie, the 4th Groupe Systèmes de Communication et d’Information (CIS), the 10 Groep Communicatie and Informatie systemin (CIS), the 4th Bataillon Logistique, and the 18th Bataljon Logistiek. Two military camps are used by the brigade: Marche-en-Famenne (in Wallonia) and Beverloo (in Flanders).



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